Bruce Cassidy coached his first game in the NHL almost exactly 20 years ago to the day. He’s stood behind the bench for three different teams (including VGK), he’s won 509 games, and he’s been within one game of lifting the Stanley Cup.
Yet even with all that experience, he still finds himself in awe of what Jack Eichel can do on a hockey rink.
I didn’t realize how strong he is at full speed. Going around people that get a piece of him doesn’t even knock him off balance. That’s kind of unique because he has the puck a lot. He’ll be going around a guy and he’ll put it in an area and the guy will kind of chip him and he’ll skate right on without losing any of his pace, that’s what has surprised me how often he’s able to do that. -Cassidy
The power in Eichel’s stride truly is impressive. Cassidy went on to detail a few occasions when he’s backchecking after a turnover and he catches up to players by taking two strides while the other guy has to take five or six.
The fact that a coach who has game-planned for him time and time again over his career still finds parts of his game shocking is quite stunning.
And, it’s not just his strength that’s amazed Cassidy.
He’s got a hell of a shot too and he hasn’t even tapped into that yet I don’t think. When you see the goal against San Jose on that breakaway it was in and out of the net before the goalie moved. Like he can sling it. That maybe surprised me a little bit, how good his wrist shot is. -Cassidy
The goal Cassidy is talking about was actually against LA, but it truly was ridiculous nonetheless.
He may have been remembering this one against San Jose, which is also quite the display of Eichel’s speed. (For a good laugh, watch Erik Karlsson backcheck on this too!)
Eichel leads the team in the preseason with six points in just three preseason games including three goals and three more assists. He’s done it by taking just nine shots and playing about 18 minutes a night.
There’s no doubt he’s primed to have a massive season and has a great shot of breaking the Golden Knights’ record for goals (43), assists (50), and points (78) in a single season.
That will certainly amaze me and it will probably amaze Cassidy as well.