Las Vegas–Today marked the start of the 1st ever Vegas Golden Knights training camp in franchise history ahead of the National Hockey League’s start of the next 100 years in existence of professional hockey in North America.
For many of the prospect players with the organization, they have had the opportunity and participated in both development camp that happened days after the NHL Entry Draft to the most recent rookie camp that just wrapped in Los Angeles yesterday.
The players that were selected in the recent Vegas Draft, headed into camp with a change of scenery from the last season.
Those who skated in colder and much more traditional hockey markets like Boston, New York, Buffalo, Detroit, and Pittsburgh traded their cold weather attire in exchange for a t-shirt, shorts, and sandals to play under the hot Vegas sun in Nevada’s Thriving Metropolis.
The players of the Golden Knights took part in the most important process ahead of actual training camp activities and that was the off ice testing along with going thru the physicals with Vegas’s medical staff.
What could be a leadership role player on the team, winger James Neal talked about what’s it like to start with a fresh new set of teammates with the Vegas Golden Knights.
Neal was selected by Golden Knights General Manager George McPhee thru the Vegas Draft after Nashville exposed him after this year’s Stanley Cup Finals.
“Getting to know each other is the biggest thing, become familiar on the ice, start to practice here.” Neal said. “I know that a lot of guys have come in early that’s been good so getting the system going and getting familiar with the coaching staff and all those things that become a team.” Added Neal.
For Neal, it’s a bit of reunion of sorts with former Pittsburgh Penguins teammates Marc-André Fleury and Deryk Engelland. All 3 of them, played together in Pittsburgh from 2010 thru 2014 campaigns.
“It feels great, I love playing with them in Pittsburgh were all good friends so it was nice to see them when I came into town and came in the locker room, they are 2 great guys.” Neal replied.
Neal also mentioned the opportunity to play with most likely during training camp is centerman Vadim Shipachyov. Shipachyov is projected to be the team’s top line center for the 2017-18 season on his wing.
“He’s a guy that likes to pass the puck so I’m looking forward to that for me to be able to be a shooter and have a guy like that who’s a left-hand shot that’s going to be looking for you all the time is exciting.” Says Neal.
Later on, both Head Coach Gerard Gallant and VGK GM McPhee provided an update on the completion of rookie camp, the start of training camp, to the regular season in what they would like see from the team in their 1st year in the NHL.
Gerard Gallant Full Presser
George McPhee Full Presser
***Note: With GMGM’s Presser, recommend using headphones so that you can hear the segment.***
Check back with us again tomorrow for day 2 of the Vegas Golden Knights training camp.