The sharp cuts of skates, the loud taps of sticks and the crunch of bodies against the boards meant hockey was back at City National Arena on Friday.
The Golden Knights held their first workouts of training camp with three practices and an intersquad scrimmage and, in the words of coach Gerard Gallant, “so far, so good.”
“I thought it was a great day,” Gallant said. “Everyone came into camp in real good shape. It’s real nice when you hear that from your trainers.”
Left wing Max Pacioretty said players were motivated this offseason after the Knights’ controversial playoff exit against the San Jose Sharks and that their fitness testing results showed that. The scrimmage did, too, with players flying up and down the ice trying to make plays and impress the coaching staff.
“That pace was unbelievable,” said Pacioretty, who’s entering his 12th NHL season. “The best I’ve seen in a training camp, and we want to try to maintain that to make sure we’re ready for Game 1.”
The Knights had near full participation from the 51 players on their camp roster. The two most notable players not on the ice were right wing Ryan Reaves, who suffered a minor injury while training, and defenseman Shea Theodore, who was hurt during off-ice testing Thursday and needs to catch up conditioningwise after undergoing surgery for testicular cancer this summer.
Theodore missed 11 days of camp last season while negotiating a new contract. The Knights aren’t in that situation this year, unlike 10 other teams that have at least one restricted free agent to sign.
“Obviously, as a coach, you like having your full lineup, and we’re pretty close to that,” Gallant said. “We like our group. It’s a good bunch of guys.”
The Knights tried to help their younger players on the first day of camp by grouping them with veterans. Many of the defensemen from rookie camp had an older partner, and most of the younger forwards skated on a line with at least one NHL player.
“You remember being the young guy in camp, kind of looking around and looking for someone to tell you what to do,” said defenseman Jon Merill, who skated with 21-year-old Dylan Coghlan. “To be on this side of it and help guys out, and offer any tidbits I can, it’s a lot of fun.”
Goalies sent down
The Knights announced Friday that young goaltenders Jordan Kooy and Jiri Patera left training cap to rejoin their junior teams.
The move leaves the club with five goalies: Marc-Andre Fleury, Malcolm Subban, Garret Sparks, Oscar Dansk and Dylan Ferguson.
Team of the Rockies
The Knights’ seven preseason games will be shown on Nevada Sports Network, KNSN in Reno and KJZZ-14 in Salt Lake City.
KNSN will show all games live except for the team’s Sept. 27 clash against the Los Angeles Kings. That game will be shown on tape delay Sept. 28.
KJZZ-14 will broadcast all games live except for Thursday’s matchup with the Kings, which will be shown on KMYU in Salt Lake City.