LAS VEGAS (KTNV) — For the first time in more than two months, Vegas Golden Knights players were allowed to practice at City National Arena Monday.
"This week is a real, real opportunity to get back, to glide around the ice and shoot the puck," said Daren Millard, a Vegas Golden Knights broadcast host.
The NHL officially began Phase 2 of its Return to Play plan Monday, which allows teams to reopen facilities and players to begin practicing in small groups both on and off the ice.
"It's being back on the ice, it's being back around teammates, it's shooting the puck around and it's getting a feel for being back in their normal environment," said Millard.
It's a welcome allowance for players and staff after the past two and a half months were anything but normal.
"The workouts in the garage are getting old. I'm sure they're getting old for everyone," said Deryk Engelland, veteran defenseman.
Engelland said he and his teammates are eager to pick up the season where they left off as Pacific Division champions.
"It'll be nice to get back with the guys and workout with some people and get back in that team atmosphere," he said.
And while the pause on the season was unprecedented, Millard said it may be an advantage for the Golden Knights.
"The Golden Knights were banged up when the pause occurred," he said. "That's not going to be the case when they come out of the pause."
Between being a veteran team with recently acquired players and finding a rhythm with head coach Peter DeBoer, Millard expects the Knights to be well positioned in this year's playoff.
"It was all there. It was all happening and then you have the added health, I think that they are well situated," he said.
The NHL said Phase 3 of the Return to Play plan will not begin before July 10th. In that phase, teams will begin formal training camps.