Eichel & McDavid set to meet for only the second time since entering the league in 2015

Posted at 1:12 PM, Dec 06, 2016
and last updated 2016-12-06 13:12:26-05

First things first -- Jack Eichel says he feels good and is ready to play on Tuesday against Connor McDavid.

"I went home, slept and came to the rink. I think I did alright," Eichel said with a grin on his face. "Going trough an injury like this you know it's going to come back and bother you at times but it's fine now."

Eichel took a spill against the boards early in the second period Monday night against the Capitals. He finished the game, but was a shell of himself from the moment he went down. Both Eichel and Sabres head coach Dan Bylsma have said Eichel and his ankle are fine and that he experienced a "tweak."

"He's played great," McDavid said about Eichel. "You know it's a tough injury to come back from, honestly, ankles like that kind of stick with you for a while, so he's done a great job of coming back and he's playing some good hockey early."

Eichel's health is certainly something that needs to be monitored, and it will be, but the hockey world is surely happy to see McDavid vs. Eichel: Round 2 -- except for maybe the two in the center of it all.

"I think you guys are obviously going to make it look like you know Eichel vs. McDavid, that whole thing," Eichel added. "But, it's a team game, it has always been a team game."

"I definitely sense it's certainly not as big of a deal as last year and that's to be expected," McDavid said about the matchup. "I think it can be a bit of a sideshow sometimes and now we kind of just get to focus on playing and that's kind of nice, still should be a good one tonight (though)".

Bove's Take

Why yes, yes it will be. Let's not kid ourselves -- McDavid vs. Eichel is good for hockey. Both young super stars have already proved that they cannot only compete, but at times dominate, at the NHL level.

It's a shame that the game isn't on national television so the whole country, and our neighbors to the north, can watch what's shaping up to be a 'rivalry' for years to come.

Both McDavid and Eichel have played off the matchup like it's no big deal -- but I can't imagine that both guys aren't fired up for Tuesday's game. This will be only the second time the two have played against each other in the NHL -- and the first time was a doozy.

In case you forgot, McDavid scored less than a minute into the game. Eichel was buzzing all over the place making plays. Then, the game goes into overtime. Eichel streaks down the ice and gets denied, only for McDavid to take it end to end and win the game in dramatic fashion. It wasn't what Sabres fans wanted to see -- but boy was it fun.

Coincidentally, they've actually been teammates (World Hockey Championships) more than they've been opponents since entering the league and speak highly of each other. But there's just so many awesome storylines that make this matchup fun.

-Pick #1 vs. Pick #2
-Canadian player vs. American player
-Junior hockey vs. College hockey
-The whole lottery thing

The list goes on and on -- so sit back, relax, and enjoy a game featuring two of the leagues brightest young stars. And who knows, maybe one day we'll get to see them square off for a Stanley Cup. Hopefully that one will be broadcast on national television. 

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