Re­turn to Mon­treal: Cher­ish the thought

Knights team­mates tell Pa­cioretty to en­joy mo­ment

Las Vegas Review-Journal - - SPORTS - By David Schoen Las Ve­gas Re­view-jour­nal

MON­TREAL — If there is one per­son on the Golden Knights’ ros­ter who can re­late to what Max Pa­cioretty is go­ing through, it’s Marc-an­dre Fleury.

While nearly ev­ery player had a home­com­ing of sorts against his for­mer team last sea­son, the vet­eran goal­tender made an emo­tional re­turn to Pitts­burgh af­ter 14 sea­sons. His ad­vice to Pa­cioretty? “I’m sure he’s go­ing to have a lot of re­quests for tick­ets or passes, peo­ple com­ing to watch the game,” Fleury noted, “so you just have to deal Full prep foot­ball cov­er­age, Page 10C

with it early.” Pa­cioretty was way ahead of his team­mate in that depart­ment. KNIGHTS Sat­ur­day-sun­day No­vem­ber 10-11, 2018 re­viewjour­

“I turned off my phone so I don’t have to max out my credit card,” he quipped.

Pa­cioretty, who spent 10 sea­sons in Mon­treal, re­turns to Bell Cen­tre for the first time as a vis­it­ing player Sat­ur­day when the Knights face the Cana­di­ens.

The Habs’ for­mer cap­tain was bom­barded by ques­tions from the Cana­dian me­dia at the first two stops of the road trip, and the spot­light will shine on him even brighter here.

“It’s a dis­trac­tion, as you would ex­pect it to be, play­ing there for so long and be­ing the cap­tain,” Pa­cioretty said this week. “Peo­ple men­tioned that it’s prob­a­bly good to get it out of the way early, and it prob­a­bly is. Ob­vi­ously, guys will be talk­ing about it a lot in the (locker) room, and it’ll be fun to go back.”

Pa­cioretty pro­duced five 30-goal sea­sons in his time with the Cana­di­ens but slumped to 17 goals in 64 games last sea­son. As trade ru­mors swirled, Pa­cioretty was forced to shoul­der much of the blame for Mon­treal’s dis­ap­point­ing record.

With the club look­ing to re­build, Pa­cioretty was dealt to the Knights on Sept. 9 in ex­change for for­ward To­mas Tatar, prospect Nick Suzuki and a sec­ond-round pick in the 2019 draft. The left wing then signed a four-year, $28 mil­lion con­tract ex­ten­sion with the Knights.

“It was much eas­ier than I thought,” Pa­cioretty said. “This is a group that they had a lot of suc­cess last year be­cause of what type

of group they do have. The tran­si­tion has been seam­less.”

Pa­cioretty’s re­la­tion­ship with the Cana­di­ens soured by the end of his time with the team, and gen­eral man­ager Marc Bergevin and owner Ge­off Mol­son told re­porters the day af­ter the deal to the Knights that Pa­cioretty re­quested a trade dur­ing last sea­son.

Pa­cioretty said those dis­cus­sions were mis­in­ter­preted and that he has “no hard feel­ings” to­ward Bergevin. But the breakup could make for an in­ter­est­ing re­cep­tion from Cana­di­ens fans when he takes the ice for the first time.

“It was such a spe­cial mo­ment that I will never for­get,” Fleury said of his re­turn to Pitts­burgh. “Ob­vi­ously we’ve got a big game to play and a game to win, but the emo­tions you get from this game, the peo­ple, the wel­come, it’s some­thing he will cher­ish for­ever.”

Pa­cioretty hasn’t kept close tabs on his for­mer team but said he isn’t sur­prised the Cana­di­ens opened 8-5-3 and are alone in third place in the At­lantic Divi­sion.

He was off to a slow start with the Knights be­fore miss­ing four games with a sus­pected con­cus­sion from a shoul­der to the face by Tampa Bay de­fense­man Bray­don Coburn on Oct.


Pa­cioretty played both games of the road trip and has two goals in 12 ap­pear­ances while shuf­fling through mul­ti­ple line­mates.

“Our team had a lit­tle bit of a tough start. He was play­ing fine, he was work­ing hard,” coach Ger­ard Gal­lant said. “The prob­lem was the puck wasn’t go­ing in the net, like every­body else, and when you’re a key player like that and you come to a new team, you want re­sults right away — and he wasn’t get­ting them.

“But I’m not wor­ried about Max. He’s been around a long time, and ob­vi­ously it’s go­ing to be a big night in Mon­treal.”

Con­tact David Schoen at dschoen@re­viewjour­nal. com or 702-387-5203. Fol­low @David­schoen­lvrj on Twit­ter.

Chase Stevens

Las Ve­gas Re­view-jour­nal @cssteven­sphoto Faith Lutheran’s Ken­dall Light­foot bulls his way into the end zone Fri­day night for a touch­down in a 48-35 vic­tory over Canyon Springs in a Moun­tain Re­gion semi­fi­nal at Canyon Springs High School.

Max Pa­cioretty served as cap­tain of the Cana­di­ens be­fore be­ing traded to the Golden Knights. He re­turns to Mon­treal on Sat­ur­day for the first time since be­ing dealt away. As­so­ci­ated Press file

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