MONTREAL — Max Pacioretty stepped off the Golden Knights’ team plane early Friday and was greeted by subzero temperatures that chilled him to the bone.
Not long ago, the frigid conditions were a part of everyday life for the former Montreal Canadiens captain.
But living in Las Vegas the past 16 months admittedly has turned Pacioretty into a cold-weather wimp.
“It was much colder than in Ottawa,” he said. “Something I wasn’t used to.”
On Saturday, Pacioretty made his second visit to Bell Centre since he was traded from the Canadiens to the Knights in September 2018 for forwards Tomas Tatar, Nick Suzuki and a second-round pick.
Unlike last season, when his return two months following the deal was front-page news throughout Quebec, Pacioretty said that “the dust has kind of settled now” and treated it as any other game.
Pacioretty spent 10 seasons with the Canadiens and served as captain from 2015 to 2018. He was the team’s leading scorer in six of his final seven seasons and surpassed 30 goals five times.
This season, Pacioretty is the Knights’ leading scorer with 47 points (21 goals, 26 assists) in 51 games and is set to make his first appearance in the All-Star Game in St. Louis. He scored in Saturday’s 5-4 shootout loss.
The trade appears to have worked out for both sides. Tatar has a team-best 43 points, and the rookie Suzuki posted nine goals and 27 points. Tatar scored the decisive goal in the shootout.
“I enjoyed my time here a lot, even when (the media) thought things were going really bad. It wasn’t the case in my mind,” Pacioretty said. “I don’t want to take away anything from what happened here, but I’m very happy with where I’m at right now.”
William Carrier was one of the few participants in Saturday’s optional morning skate, and the forward was working on his “lacrosse style” shot from behind the net, among other moves.
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“We were just messing around how we’d do it if we ever tried doing it (in a game),” Carrier said. “We had a couple of good ideas out there, a couple good ones off the rush or behind the net.”
The “lacrosse” shot was first pulled off in 1996 by the University of Michigan’s Mike Legg but has become a standard move in the arsenal of many younger players. Carolina’s Andrei Svechnikov has scored twice this season, and Vancouver prospect Nils Hoglander pulled it off in the Swedish pro league.
Carrier was doubtful that he would try such a move in a game, but it’s always a possibility if the situation presents itself.
“It’s not part of hockey until someone does it, and now it becomes part of the game,” he said. “I think it’s a move like the others.”