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Golden Knights take ice for first time

Practice for prospects has 'been awesome'

by Lisa Dillman @reallisa / Staff Writer

SUMMERLIN, Nevada -- The first official day on the ice is in the books for the Vegas Golden Knights.

"I've been waiting for this for a long, long time," said forward Reid Duke, the first player in Golden Knights history who signed March 6.

"It's been fun. I've looking forward to this for a while now. I've been in a few places. This is easily the best setup I've had.

"Now that the day has come, it's been awesome."

Camp opened for the Golden Knights' prospects at City National Arena, their practice facility. About 100 fans were on hand.

The first day can be difficult on many levels. There is the eagerness to get going, the new atmosphere and new teammates.

"It was good just to get the legs back under me," said forward Cody Glass, the Golden Knights' first pick (No. 6) in the 2017 NHL Draft. "It was a tough first practice for everybody. We're all just trying to get into our groove, and tomorrow will be a way better practice.

"I'm just trying to take everything in. Obviously it's my first training camp and I haven't been around pro guys a lot. I'm around [Alex] Tuch right now.

"But then I'm going to be around (veteran) guys like James Neal and Marc-Andre Fleury. I'm just going to try to take it all in. It's just another steppingstone. You don't want to have that feeling of getting cut again."

Tuch, 21, is a veteran compared to many of the players in camp. He participated in Minnesota Wild camp and played six NHL games for them last season. The Golden Knights acquired him in a trade June 21, the day of the NHL Expansion Draft.

"Last year was a little different," Tuch said. "We played more games last year, at the Traverse City (Michigan) rookie tournament. We got going right away. We had one practice and hopped on the plane the next day and practiced when we got there. Then four games in five days.

"It's a little different being a new franchise. It's hard to get in a rookie tournament. We were lucky to get two games against [the Los Angeles Kings'] rookies. I think it'll be really good."

Those games will be played Tuesday and Wednesday in El Segundo, California. 

The workouts Friday were run by Rocky Thompson, who will coach Chicago of the American Hockey League, the Vegas affiliate.

"I thought it was great for the first practice," Thompson said. "The ice held up pretty good. We were fortunate having the two surfaces. We want this to be taxing. When I was younger, when I went to an NHL camp, I noticed there was a difference.

"It was faster, it was harder and the intensity was there, and we wanted to recreate that today as best we could."

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