The Vegas Golden Knights will return to practice Wednesday and are on track to play their next game Friday against the Los Angeles Kings at T-Mobile Arena, general manager Kelly McCrimmon said Monday.
It’s been almost a week since the Golden Knights were last in action; a 5-4 shootout loss to the St. Louis Blues that saw McCrimmon serve as the acting head coach, while the Henderson Silver Knights coaching staff were the assistants.
Since then, one Golden Knights player — defenseman Alex Pietrangelo — and three Vegas coaches had been placed into COVID-19 protocol. One of the coaches had tested positive prior to Tuesday’s game.
McCrimmon confirmed Monday that an unnamed member from the team’s taxi squad had also been placed in protocol. The second game of the St. Louis series, set to take place on Thursday, was postponed.
The two-game set against the San Jose Sharks, which was supposed to start Monday in Glendale, Arizona, had also been postponed.
McCrimmon said the team went four consecutive days with negative tests and will ramp up activities leading to their two-game slate with the Kings this weekend.
Silver Knights coach Manny Viveiros and staff have been cleared to return to daily activities with their club. Henderson opens its inaugural American Hockey League season Saturday, at Orleans Arena, against the Ontario Reign.
As to when everyone may rejoin the team, McCrimmon was not certain.
“The timelines aren’t finite,” McCrimmon said. “There’s a process you go through to come out of protocol, which we anticipate will happen without further incident based on everyone being in a good place. Exactly the dates, we don’t have that yet.”
The NHL announced changes to the Golden Knights’ schedule: the St. Louis game has been moved to March 22, while Vegas plays San Jose at SAP Center on Feb. 13, the Sharks’ home opener, and the first time Pete DeBoer will coach against his former team.
The Knights will play the Sharks again on Feb. 25, while a Feb. 26 matchup against the Anaheim Ducks was moved to April 23.
Rather than moving those games toward the end of the season as a buffer, the Golden Knights’ schedule now becomes more compact.
To recap:— Danny Webster (@DannyWebster21) February 1, 2021
- VGK no longer has a B2B against against Anaheim; they'll go from COL (2/22) to SJS (2/25) to ANA (2/27)
- VGK now has B2B at LA (3/21) to vs. STL (3/22) then 2 at COL (3/25 and 3/27).
- VGK at ANA (4/23) is now inbetween a four-game homestand for Vegas.#VegasBorn
McCrimmon said he didn’t think it was a regrettable decision to play Tuesday.
“You put your trust in the hands of the medical people, within our own organization as well as the National Hockey League. They were very diligent in removing all coaches from the game based on the potential of close contacts,” McCrimmon said. “I don’t think the team was at risk.”
McNabb on long-term IR
Golden Knights defenseman Brayden McNabb sustained a lower-body injury against the Blues and has been placed on long-term injured reserve. McCrimmon said he will be evaluated in three weeks.
It’s unclear when the injury took place; McNabb played 21:33 Tuesday and played up until the 19:08 mark of the third period.
McNabb has been Vegas’ top defensive defenseman for the better part of three seasons and has been on the top pair with Pietrangelo this season.
McNabb must miss a minimum of 10 games and 24 days before returning to the lineup, meaning the earliest he can return is Feb. 27 against the Ducks.
It’s unclear how long Pietrangelo will be out of the lineup, barring a return to practice Wednesday, but Vegas’ top defense pair could be out of commission until further notice. The Golden Knights recalled Nick Holden from their taxi squad and are currently working with a 13-5-2 roster.