Tuesday, July 21, 2020 / by Ken Couture
The Golden Knights’ preplayoff training camp, as opposed to the one in the fall, has few battles for lineup spots. Coach Pete DeBoer’s lines, defensive pairs and power-play units have stayed consistent throughout the first week.
The fight to stick on the expanded roster instead is supplying most of the drama. The players the team called up for camp are jockeying for tickets to Edmonton and trying to show their worth in practice.
“(I) just (want to) try to come out here and have fun and show them why I’m here,” defenseman Dylan Coghlan said. “Hopefully, I’ll grab a roster spot in the future.”
Coghlan is one of 10 players the Knights brought to camp to provide depth. The team is allowed to bring 31 players into the bubble, so eight of the new faces will stick around.
Deciding who goes will be tricky. Unlike a normal fall training camp, the Knights won’t have any exhibition games before having to make lineup decisions. They’ll instead have to rely on how players practice and look in scrimmages.
“For me, it’s just how quickly the young guys can pick up what we’re talking about off the ice and implement it into drills, and I think they’ve done a great job,” DeBoer said. “Some of them have experience with how we want to play and some of the things we want to do, some of them don’t. They haven’t slowed down our practices or what we’re doing here, and that’s the main thing. They’ve all fit right in.”
Many of the call-ups are viewing the experience as a positive one no matter how it ends. Just being in camp has given them a leg up since they’ve had easy access to ice and lots of face time with the coaching staff.
“There’s a lot of people that I know back home, buddies and stuff, (for) whom just finding ice right now is really tough,” said defenseman Jake Bischoff, who played in three games for the Knights this season. “So being able to skate every day is definitely an advantage, and skating at a high level with these guys in practice and stuff, preparing for whatever, whether it be this year or next year, is definitely going to be an advantage.”
Let’s get physical
The Knights increased their intensity at practice Sunday.
Several drills got physical, especially a five-on-five in the offensive zone. DeBoer said while he wants his practices to err on the side of caution, adding a checking element is a “necessary evil” before games begin.
“The last thing you want is an injury, but you have to get some level of physicality back in your practice so it’s not a shock come game time,” DeBoer said. “It’s a fine line, and we’re trying to walk it.”
Knights ask for masks
Defenseman Alec Martinez wrapped up his Zoom call with the media Sunday by redonning the mask he wears around City National Arena.
The Knights took the image and used it for a public service announcement on Twitter.
“This is Alec,” the team tweeted. “He wears a mask to protect himself and others. Be like Alec.”
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