Even aside from being dubbed as “Kids Day” at T-Mobile, the 3 PM start, and the home team wearing white jerseys, Friday’s game had a lot going on. So, when the game ended, we at SinBin.vegas split up to cover all three major stories at the same time. Jason went to the visitor’s locker room to track down James Neal, Steve spent the day focused on Daniel Carr and chatted with him after the game, and I drew the Schmidty straw. Here are all three stories wrapped up into one post.
Schmidt Comes Home
(written by Ken Boehlke)
Ever been in one of those circus mirror rooms where everywhere you turn you see a slightly different version of yourself? Creepy, right? Now, imagine you do the same thing, but the room doesn’t have mirrors and instead, they are real people, over 10,000 of them.
It felt like another dimension out there. -Nate Schmidt
“It felt like myself was staring back at myself during warmups.” -Nate Schmidt pic.twitter.com/TRDlU84ljP
— Vegas Golden Knights (@GoldenKnights) November 24, 2018
But as much as Schmidt’s return was celebrated by those in the stands, it was his teammates and his coach who have the deepest appreciation for what he brings back to the Golden Knights.
You guys talked about Nate Schmidt and that’s important to our team and he is really important to our group and I think it makes us a lot better team, when we can come out and throw the defense at you like that and play the game that we play all the time. -Gerard Gallant
Nate seemed to really enjoy his time on the ice as well.
It’s fun to be back, fun to be back here (at T-Mobile Arena). It was such a fun game to be a part of. I love when we play our game. It’s fun, it’s fun hockey. It’s the reason why you play the game is when your team is playing that way. -Schmidt
You might say, he had fun. So did the rest of the Golden Knights when they saw the 10,000+ Schmidt faces in the crowd.
I got back in there in the locker room and the guys just stared at me and gave the open eyes like ‘woah.’ Never seen something like that. -Schmidt
No matter how you look at it, whether it’s as a fan, as a player, as a coach, or even as the annoying guy sticking his phone in guys faces hoping they say something funny (that’s me) it’s great to have Nate Schmidt back in the locker room.
Oh, and one other place it’s nice having him back, the standings. Don’t look now, but the Golden Knights are just two points out of third place in the Pacific Division.
(written by Jason Pothier)
Yeah it was nice, yeah I mean it’s very nice of them. It’s great to be back. This place was rockin’ like always, probably the best rink in the league. The fans are unbelievable and I loved playing here again. -James Neal, Calgary Forward
Neal and his new team the Calgary Flames visited the T-Mobile arena Friday afternoon, #18’s last place of business. Remember, Neal’s last memory of that building was watching Alex Ovechkin skate around with the Stanley Cup.
It’s fresh for sure, it’s tough. Just makes the rink feel so small, everything just feels kind of backwards out there. It’s hard to explain unless you go through it, it doesn’t get any easier. When you change teams and you go back and go in the wrong way and do all the things that you’re not used to. Especially here, I’ve never even been in this room before or in this way before. It’s tough, no fun. -Neal
Like David Perron the other night, I got the feeling Neal was still disappointed he couldn’t get a deal done with Vegas. He spoke about the team, the fans, and the city with a big smile on his face. It was clear the franchise’s first goal-scorer missed Las Vegas.
It’s nice to be back, great memories here. One of those things that you will never forget, last year, playing here. Just your teammates and everything that went with our team and the city. It was quite a run we had. I had a special bond with the guys and it was emotional coming back for sure. -Neal
Now that his emotional return to Vegas is over, Neal now just becomes an opponent. But fans in this city will never forget that special bond either.
It’s really cool, loved the signs during warmups from the kids and the fans. They were great and I have a lot of friends here. Nothing but great memories. -Neal
In nine years when Vegas has its ten-year anniversary, Neal will be there alongside Marc-Andre Fleury, Deryk Engelland, Perron and others waving to passionate, appreciative fans. And the same will happen on the 15th, 20th, and 25th anniversary. It might’ve been short but guys like Neal and Perron will always feel welcomed in Las Vegas.
(written by Steve Carp)
With all the good things going on Friday, Fleury’s shutout, Schmidt’s season debut at home, Neal’s return to Vegas, Daniel Carr’s callup from the Chicago Wolves got lost in the mix.
The AHL’s leading scorer with 23 points debuted with the Golden Knights and he turned in a more-than-respectable performance. He started the game centering for Ryan Carpenter and Tomas Nosek and in 12:06 of ice time, played a strong game at both ends.
They preach playing a five-man game and working together here. I thought we did a good job of just trying to keep things simple and we seemed to work well together. -Daniel Carr
Gerard Gallant was very pleased with Carr.
He did a real nice job. The whole line played well and they worked hard. They had a couple of good offensive chances and I was very happy with them. -Gerard Gallant
Carr, 27, who had signed with the Golden Knights as a free agent back in July, has 94 games of NHL experience. He has 14 goals and 34 points, all in his three years with the Montreal Canadiens. With Tomas Hyka not producing, it was worth rolling the dice to give Carr a chance to once again play in the NHL.
In his 13 shifts Friday, he had one shot on goal, one hit, one giveaway, one takeaway and one blocked shot. He was going to the net when the Golden Knights were in the Calgary zone, his forecheck was solid, and he was picking up the Flames forwards in the Vegas defensive zone, making sure Fleury didn’t have to deal with a lot of rebounds in posting his league-leading fourth shutout of the season. The much-maligned 3rd line, now including Carr, was credited with seven SOG, and a stellar 72% Corsi For percentage.
We did a good job of getting pucks to the net. It didn’t bounce our way. But those guys were easy to play with. -Carr
Carr’s first regular-season game in T-Mobile Arena was also a memorable experience.
It was rocking. It was a lot of fun. So it was pretty cool. -Carr