ANAHEIM, Calif. — Nate Schmidt remembers tons of people showing up. Same for Alex Tuch. Jon Merrill remembers watching football.
It’s Thanksgiving, and for the Golden Knights’ American-born players, there are memories of good times spent with families, playing with friends and plenty of good food.
“It was pretty standard stuff,” said Schmidt, the defenseman who grew up in Minnesota and will host some of his teammates Thursday. “We’d have everyone out to the family farm. Everything my mom made was homemade — wild turkeys, pumpkin pie. We’d go outside and play football, some street hockey.
“I haven’t been able to make it back. It’s a great time. I miss it. But I always get a good Facetime in and see everybody.”
For Merrill, the Knights defenseman who grew up in Michigan, Thanksgiving meant watching the Detroit Lions play football.
“Dinner was always based around everything when the Lions played,” Merrill said. “It didn’t matter if the Lions were good or not. The whole city and the entire state of Michigan would watch.”
Tuch, the forward who grew up outside Syracuse, New York, remembers driving to see relatives some years while having his parents host other Thanksgivings.
“There’d always be a lot of people,” he said. “Grandparents. Aunts. Uncles. Cousins. And tons of food. You’d have so much to eat.”
For all three, their favorite side dish is stuffing. But Schmidt said it can also be the worst if not done right.
“A really good stuffing can make the meal,” he said. “A tough stuffing can almost break the meal.”
Merrill’s least favorite side dish? “Probably green beans. I’m not a big green beans guy.”
For Tuch, he’ll pass on the tomatoes.
“I’m not a big fan,” he said. “If I see it at the table, I’m probably not going there.”
Fleury not being rushed
Marc-Andre Fleury has been at practice the last couple of days and has been talking with goaltender coach David Prior. Fleury is still recovering from an Oct. 13 concussion.
“I expect him to be back,” Prior said. “He’d like to be on the ice already. But I want him healed to the point where he doesn’t have to worry about incidental contact. I’m asking that we be conservative with him so when we get him back we don’t lose him again.”
Prior said he invited Fleury to join him during practice.
“I asked him to join me so he can be aware of what I’m teaching Malcolm (Subban) and Max (Maxime Lagace),” Prior said. “We talk about what I’m seeing on the ice, and it makes him feel like he’s part of what we’re doing.”
Still Lagace’s net
Lagace remained the Knights’ starting goaltender as he took a three-game winning streak into Wednesday’s game with the Anaheim Ducks.
Despite the fact Subban is healthy and available, coach Gerard Gallant indicated at the morning skate he is sticking with Lagace, who started his 10th straight game.
Center Oscar Lindberg also returned to the lineup after being a healthy scratch Sunday against Los Angeles. Tomas Nosek and Merrill were the Knights’ healthy scratches Wednesday.