As we near the end of Phase 3, the Golden Knights confidently continue to prepare for life in the bubble. Coach Pete DeBoer and his players have expressed their goals throughout training camp and sound as if they are already in postseason mode.
We’re not going there for vacation. We’re going there for work and a goal in mind to win the Stanley Cup. –Alec Martinez, SiriusXM NHL
The message is clear from this organization that while their surroundings will be unique, nothing has altered their objective. The chatter from the Golden Knights since training camp has been focused and positive, more so than other clubs. And it starts with the head coach.
Even if we had a first-round opponent, through this portion we would be spending 90% of the time on our game anyway. I’m a big believer that if our game is in a good place that we throw that out there and let the other team adjust to us. –Pete DeBoer, NHL Network
While the local team feels good about their playoff chances other franchises are still trailing in preparation. The clock is ticking for some to get their act together before traveling to their hub city destination.
#CBJ coach John Tortorella just stopped practice 15 seconds into the first drill. He brought everybody together, let loose w an expletive-filled rant and started practice over again.
He wasn’t pleased after practice on Monday, and couldn’t have been happy w Tuesday’s scrimmage.
— Aaron Portzline (@Aportzline) July 23, 2020
The Blue Jackets have a qualifying round matchup with the Toronto Maple Leafs, however, neither seem to be feeling as confident as Vegas. As most fans already know, Tortorella never holds back and he isn’t now. Maybe it’s motivation or maybe he’s legitimately concerned that his players aren’t ready for August.
You’re playing against the guy that you’re having lunch with an hour after the practice… Although one team beat another team 6-0, and that team may say something different, I just didn’t like our energy level at all today. -John Tortorella, CBJ coach
It’s not just in the Eastern Conference. The Winnipeg Jets have some highly-skilled forwards that need to catch fire in order to advance. Last week sharpshooter Patrick Laine didn’t sound like he’s gained his shot back when he spoke about preparing for the playoffs.
Still kind of far away… It’s kind of hard to see myself playing playoff hockey in two weeks. But just trying to make the most out of it and trying to be as well-prepared as I and as we can … just try to work hard these next couple of weeks so we’ll be ready when the puck drops.-Patrick Laine, WPG Forward
You haven’t heard comments like Laine’s coming from Golden Knights camp. In fact, Vegas players have felt ready to hit the postseason ice for weeks.
"Guys have been training for almost four months to get this chance, so I don't see guys screwing it up." -Smith on pandemic protocols
— SinBin.vegas (@SinBinVegas) July 17, 2020
It’s possible other clubs are as confident as the Golden Knights, and it’s possible that some are more worried about what to bring with them to the bubble. Either way, the games begin in one week and there’s no reason to believe Vegas won’t be more than prepared.