Las Vegas–After the Vegas Golden Knights have played two preseason games that resulted in victories, hockey fans in the community continue to watch in large numbers as the team gears up for their inaugural season.
Before the start of today’s training camp practice’s Golden Knights winger James Neal who is currently recovering from a hand injury took to the ice for a special session to give his injured hand a go.
Neal injured his hand in game 1 of the Western Conference Finals last season when he was a member of the Nashville Predators.
According to what General Manager George McPhee has indicated previously, is that Neal is currently up to a month out from returning to the ice for regular practice sessions with his fellow teammates.
During the first morning session of practice, players who did not play in last night’s 4-1 victory over Colorado worked line rushes, puck retrieval, 5 on 5 play, and battle drills to continue to put that layer of polish in their game ahead of the regular season.
As it stands today, forwards Tyler Wong and Tomas Hyka currently are the team’s co-leaders in goals with 3 each, while defenseman Brad Hunt leads the team in points at 4 (1 goal and 3 assists).
These three guys have been putting in the work over the course of camp to make things tougher on Head Coach Gerard Gallant and GM McPhee. With the Vegas, this is the team of opportunity and Wong, Hyka, and Hunt are making the most of it thus far.
Another player who continues to with his recovery is prospect Jake Leschyshyn. Leschyshyn’s has been wearing his usual red no-contact jersey as he took part in both sessions of today’s practice.
His speed and mobility on the ice continue’s to get stronger and stronger with each passing day at training camp.
At the conclusion of today’s second session, I caught up with Golden Knights forward Marchessault and prospect defenseman Hunt to get their take on how training camp has been for them, getting to know their new teammates, establishing chemistry, and taking this opportunity for the fullest.
For defenseman Hunt who is gunning for a roster spot with the Golden Knights, he talked about what the experience has been like for him since coming to Vegas.
“It’s been a really cool experience you know coming into something with the new guy’s stuff it’s a little bit nervous, it’s been an unbelievable experience to be a part of.” Hunt said.
Hunt made mentioned in our segment on how the last few weeks has been for him.
“I think everything I mean the guys in the room the city, the hype around the city, people that you talk to are super excited about hockey, it’s just been a whirlwind like I said it’s been an unbelievable experience.” Says Hunt.
Since the start of camp, the fans support has been amazing to see from stands filling the seats at “City National Arena” to taking in watch parties at MacKenzie River Pizza during the last two games has shown how much the people love this team.
The blueliner expressed his appreciation to the fans showing up and watching the practices.
“You just realize the passion that’s already here and ready to go for the season to start and it’s cool see everyone showing up and showing their support and very thankful for that.” Hunt replied.
The catch the rest of our interview with Hunt, here’s the video below.
Full Interview With Defenseman Brad Hunt
Last night, Marchessault played his first ever preseason game with the Golden Knights and in that game, he scored his 1 goal in the exhibition season vs Colorado courtesy of his play with veteran d-man Jason Garrison who played a simple game of play and catch with the winger.
“He’s a good hockey player I know he has a big shot so I was just trying to see if he could get his shot off but they were playing it good and that just wanted out a bit quick shot on net for maybe a rebound or something and went it.” Marchessault said.
In watching and playing in at least of 1 of the last two games for Vegas, Marchessault has been impressed with defenseman Hunt’s play.
“Amazing, I always heard a lot of his name when I was in the AHL three years ago, I played 4 years in the AHL and I always knew he was there, never played against him and just looking at him yesterday he’s a really good defenseman.” Marchessault said of Hunt. I think
“I think we’re lucky to have a guy like that he’s a high quality offensive defensive, he’s doing a really good job right now and he needs to keep going.” Marchessault added on Hunt’s performance.
Below is our full interview with Forward Jonathan Marchessault.