It was time to get back to work for the Vegas Golden Knights as the team held its first on-ice workout Monday in what will be a 10-day training camp.
The Knights open their fourth NHL season on Thursday, Jan. 14 when they host Anaheim at T-Mobile Arena, where fans will not be admitted. The NHL announced Monday that game time for the opener will be 7 p.m. PT.
It is also Peter DeBoer’s first full season as the team’s head coach after he replaced Gerard Gallant last Jan. 15. The first day went smoothly as 40 players participated and engaged in a scrimmage which saw Jonathan Marchessault and Reilly Smith score for the Gray team in a 2-1 victory over the White, which had Robin Lehner in goal and saw Gage Quinney score its lone goal.
“We were really close comparably and credit to the group. To a man, they’re taking it seriously,” DeBoer said of how the first day was similar to the first day of the return to play back in July. “They recognized it worked and we haven’t changed a whole lot. We tweaked it a little bit.
Who: The boys
What: They’re back
Where: In town pic.twitter.com/2As39IM432
— Vegas Golden Knights (@GoldenKnights) January 4, 2021
“The big thing is we don’t have an exhibition game. But we’ll have our own exhibition game before the season begins.”
Monday was also Alex Pietrangelo’s first day with his new team. The former St. Louis Blues captain was paired with veteran Brayden McNabb as members of the White squad and after a bit of a rough start in the scrimmage where he turned the puck over several times, Pietrangelo settled down and looked good.
“The speed we have here up front is a bit of an eye-opener,” Pietrangelo said. “We’ve been skating for about a month now so the transition has been good.
“The first day is always scattered. As we get on through camp and play more scrimmages, it’ll be more fun. You can see the energy and the talent out there. It’s fun just to get back and play some hockey.”
DeBoer said of Pietrangelo: “He looks a lot better in our uniform than in a St. Louis uniform. He’s got a real high hockey I.Q. He loves to talk about the game.”
With no preseason games, the Knights will rely on these daily scrimmages to get into game shape, sort out their lines and defensive pairings and find some rhythm heading into opening night vs. the Ducks. Monday, Chandler Stevenson was centering for Max Pacioretty and Mark Stone while Cody Glass was with Nic Roy and Alex Tuch. The other lines were familiar to Golden Knights fans as William Karlsson was centering for Smith and Marchessault while Tomas Nosek was between Will Carrier and Ryan Reaves.
“It’s a quick turnaround,” said Marchessault of getting camp going. “But we all came here to work and be ready for Jan. 14. We’ve all been through it. So I’m not worried about our group. We think we can be a great team this year.”