Most felt St. Louis and Chicago would be a good litmus test for the Golden Knights, and let’s be honest, plenty of us thought Vegas would lose both games. Even the most optimistic Golden Knights fan couldn’t have envisioned a pair of wins, but now the test is over, and the Golden Knights proved us all wrong. A pair of wins while limiting two of the best offenses to four goals, in 124 minutes of play. Not too shabby.
It’s still too early to make predictions, but based on the first eight games, the team currently constructed can (and probably should) contend for a playoff spot all year. Potential future roster moves could derail the postseason, but for now, this team is playing better than anyone in the NHL, and that’s not an exaggeration. The Chicago Blackhawks left the T-Mobile ice defeated, but impressed by the new franchise.
Good team, very hard working. You know obviously they are excited so and they are playing almost playoff like hockey. They have guys coming down, blocking shots, playing with energy and playing off of their crowd quite a bit. –Jonathan Toews, Blackhawks forward
Toews describes the style of play Gerard Gallant has pushed since training camp. The Golden Knights are exciting, hard-working, energetic, and despite how corny and cliche we think it is when Turk says it, fun.
I give them credit. They had a lot of structure in their game. Not a lot of time, not a lot of space. They might have been quicker in certain areas. I thought we were in a great spot, killing that four minute the penalty, but they scored the big goal and it took the momentum away from us. -Joel Quenneville, Chicago Head Coach
The word ‘structure’ must tickle Gallant with pride. It’s a huge compliment when a future Hall of Fame coach calls a three and half week-old team structured. In one word, Quenneville is suggesting the Golden Knights have bought into the system.
We’re going to take it one game at a time. Like I said, right now things are going well. We’re playing well and we’re playing against some good teams and winning. The more we win the more compliments we’re going to get. Like I said, we’re not going to get ahead of ourselves. A great start, obviously, but it’s a long year. The guys have got to work hard. They’ve got to compete every night and play every night. If we don’t do what we did tonight for the most part of the season, then we’re not going to win. I like our group. They’re working hard and we’ll see what happens. -Gerard Gallant
Gallant sounds more like a coach that’s packing for an upcoming six-game road trip, than a coach enjoying his 7-1-0 record.
Yeah I think they played great. They played fast. They played a good game. I don’t think anyone expected them to be that good coming into the league. They played a fast game, they seem to all be on the same page. I think they’ve got a good team. –Brent Seabrook, CHI defenseman
The Blackhawks’ royalty came forward to praise the Golden Knights after the game. We’re talking about three guys (Quenneville, Seabrook, Toews) with three Stanley Cup rings each. They’ve played against every team, every coach, and every style. Their opinions matter.
I’ll tell you one thing, Chicago may have been happy to answer my fluffy questions but they weren’t happy about the loss. We should expect a tighter game on February 13th when Chicago comes back. C’mon Vegas fans, can we please hang on to at least a few of those tickets.