Las Vegas Sun

October 15, 2018

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Golden Knights players back in Las Vegas, bonding ahead of second season

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Steve Marcus

Golden Knights defenseman Brayden McNabb, left, (3) Nick Holden, center, (22) and Jonathan Marchessault (81) practice at the City National Arena in Summerlin Wednesday, Sept. 5, 2018.

Most Golden Knights players have returned to Las Vegas from their offseason retreats and the team is preparing for the upcoming season.

The players are bonding thanks to everything from player-organized practices to fantasy football drafts.

By day the players are bonding on the ice with player-organized practices, and by night they bonding with social activities such as fantasy football drafts.

“Right off the bat everyone has opened their arms up and helped me with anything I need,” said newly-signed center Paul Stastny. “It’s always nice to get out here a little early to get in a couple skates and a couple fantasy drafts in. Get to know the guys a little bit so when camp rolls around you’re a little more comfortable.”

Stastny, who signed a three-year, $6.5 million per year deal this offseason, has only played with one player on the Golden Knights prior to this year — Ryan Reaves. Reaves and Stastny were together for a stint in St. Louis.

The Golden Knights attributed much of their success last year to their off-ice chemistry, and that appears to be better than ever entering their second season.

Sept. 5: Golden Knights Practice

Golden Knights left wing Erik Haula (56) puts the puck into the net past goaltender Marc-Andre Fleury (29) during practice at the City National Arena in Summerlin Wednesday, Sept. 5, 2018. Launch slideshow »

“You want to get out here, get back with the boys and back into a routine,” goaltender Malcolm Subban said. “We’re all out here eager and excited to start the season.”

Newcomers Stastny and Nick Holden were on the ice for the first time with their new teammates.

“No matter how many years you’ve been in the league I think any time you come to a new team it’s a little nerve wracking at first,” Stastny said. “I’m an observer. All eyes and ears just watching what guys do and get a feel for how they play.”

The players were all smiles during Tuesday’s practice, with Jonathan Marchessault leading the way in trash talking during drills. He was particularly vocal to Subban, who he would taunt after every goal with a sarcastic “Suuuub” chant.

“I pick on him behind the scenes when no one sees, so he tries to get even with me out here,” Subban said while laughing. “The quicker we can all gel the better.”

The Golden Knights officially open training camp Sept. 13, but the players will continue skating most days in the interim. Rookies report for camp today, starting with medical exams and fitness testing, and will play in the Vegas Rookie Faceoff against rookies from the Avalanche, Sharks and Kings on Sept. 8, 9 and 11.