Defenseman Jake Bischoff’s stint in the American Hockey League was short, but meaningful.
The Golden Knights sent the 24-year-old to their AHL affiliate in Chicago on Oct. 12 and he played two games before being recalled Oct. 14.
“It was definitely valuable,” said Bischoff, who has been a healthy scratch in every game he’s been on the NHL roster this season. “You can practice here and try to keep yourself in game form as much as you want, but to be able to play games is the best way to get yourself ready to go so I definitely think that was very valuable.”
The Cambridge, Minnesota, native made the team out of training camp but has yet to make his debut. He didn’t know he would be recalled to the Knights so soon when he was sent down, though the injury suffered by defenseman Deryk Engelland may have been a factor in the decision.
While he’d prefer to be on the ice, Bischoff is doing his best to prepare every day for whenever the Knights need him.
“It’s different, that’s for sure,” he said of watching games from the press box. “But the coaching staff and trainers have done a terrific job working with me after practice and doing extra conditioning just to make sure I’m as ready as I can be. That’s the goal right now to just be ready to help the team when you get your shot.”
The Knights’ freshly minted $33.25 million man is inching closer to a return.
“It’s good to get him back,” coach Gerard Gallant said. “He’s getting close. Working hard, had a good practice today. We get a day off tomorrow so we’ll see where he’s at on Tuesday. He looked good.”
Jonathan Marchessault leads the Knights with five goals but he almost gave one up Saturday.
Marchessault and linemate Reilly Smith had a 2-on-0 facing an empty net against the Anaheim Ducks, and Marchessault looked back to see if his teammate wanted the puck. But Smith pointed to the net to tell Marchessault to take the shot and get the goal.
Smith still got an assist on the play.
“I was just trying to go get the puck and I was looking around if Karly wanted an empty net or if it was Smitty. Smitty didn’t want it, so I was just trying to get it done,” Marchessault said. “That’s the way we are on our team. We’re happy for everyone out here and we want to play for each other. We want everybody to be successful and that’s the way it is here.”