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Vegas Golden Knights get early jump on training camp

Updated September 5, 2017 - 6:46 pm

Oscar Lindberg got his first taste of life as a Golden Knight on Tuesday and it seemed to agree with him.

“It’s a great facility,” the 25-year-old center and former New York Ranger said after taking a spin on the ice at City National Arena, the Knights’ practice facility, where he worked out with a few of his teammates among a group of 25 that took part. “It’s a great group of guys and I think you’ll see us come together quickly.”

The veterans don’t officially report until next Thursday. But that didn’t stop several of the Knights from getting a head start. For the second straight day, they skated, passed and shot together, getting a feel for each other and their games.

“It’s not that hard; hockey guys are good guys,” defenseman Brayden McNabb said after the 75-minute informal workout wrapped up. “It’s good to get to know the guys and get comfortable. You’ve got 20-some strangers who are trying to get to know each other.”

General manager George McPhee and assistant GM Kelly McCrimmon watched the workout from upstairs and McPhee was glad to see the large turnout.

“It helps in every regard,” McPhee said. “It’s a nice orientation for them to learn to get around the building and also to develop some chemistry.”

For coach Gerard Gallant, it’s great to get a head start in building relationships. He has coached against most of the players that are now Golden Knights, including Reilly Smith and Jonathan Marchessault when they were all in Florida with the Panthers.

“As a coach, you’re excited to meet the players you’re going to work with,” Gallant said. “It’s going to be a lot of fun when we get them all on the ice together next week.”

While getting used to each other, the players and coaches are also trying to get settled in the community. Gallant is building a home in Summerlin near the practice facility and several players are doing likewise.

“It’s a beautiful area,” said McNabb, who would come to Las Vegas when he was a member of the Los Angeles Kings and they would come to town every year for the Frozen Fury preseason game and never left the Strip. “It’s nice to be close by where you’re working and everyone is very friendly.”

Goaltender Calvin Pickard is also planning to live in Summerlin and said having a modern facility to work in and be close by is a big plus.

“It’s a first-class facility,” he said. “The guys are going to really enjoy coming to work here.”

Pickard also said being on the ice with his new teammates early can only help in terms of chemistry.

“I think everyone is excited to be here and get started,” he said. “It’s a brand new team and everyone who’s here was wanted and that’s a good feeling.”

Monday, McNabb and a couple of teammates went to dinner in Downtown Summerlin. Tuesday, that number figured to grow. By the end of the week, they’ll likely need a room to themselves to eat and drink together.

Contact Steve carp at scarp@reviewjournal.com or 702-387-2913. Follow @stevecarprj on Twitter.

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