LAS VEGAS (FOX5) Anyone who knows Golden Knights Head Coach, Gerard Gallant, knows he is a no-nonsense guy, who will tell it like it is, but won’t tell too much. Thursday morning, the Vegas bench boss had his eyes on one thing and one thing only: practice one of training camp.
"This is a new team, a new year. It's going to go forward, we're not going to worry about yesterday. We're going to go forward, worry about tomorrow. (Friday) is the first day of training camp and it's open and fresh for everybody," Gallant said.
Just three months ago, the Golden Knights capped a 51-win inaugural season, a Pacific Division championship, a Western Conference championship and a trip to the Stanley Cup Final. Gallant said the only way to replicate a season like that is to not worry about last season.
"It's not about trying to finish first in our division or trying to win the Stanley Cup. It's 'let's try and win enough games to make the playoffs and then we'll go from there.' That's going to be a battle. There are too many good teams out there. There are no teams in the playoffs today. It's not going to happen like that," Gallant said.
The big news this week was the trade for Canadiens Captain Max Pacioretty, a player Gallant coached for two years in Montreal. He said he knows exactly what the Golden Knights are getting.
"He's a big-time player, he's going to help our group a lot, and like I said, he's going to play all situations. So I'm looking forward to having him here. He's relieved, he's a family man that's going to have some fun and fit in with our group real well."
And for the past few weeks, Gallant's group has been getting together for captain’s practices: informal skates to get the legs going for camp.
"Intensity is going to go up,” Golden Knights forward Jonathan Marchessault said. “As much as you work out in the summer, nothing prepares you for hockey season as much as playing some games. Definitely going to be good, I think all the guys are excited."
"Captains practices; they're fun, but it's not really the same things. It will be really nice to have everyone engaged in a structured environment," Golden Knights forward Reilly Smith said.
The Golden Knights first practice of training camp is set for Friday at 10 a.m. All practices are free and open to the public.