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Tag: Gerard Gallant (Page 1 of 7)

Results Aren’t Changing, So Something Else Must

Let’s try changes before it’s 3-0. (Photo Credit: SinBin.vegas Photographer Brandon Andreasen)

Following their latest nightmare of a road trip, all three trips have been now, the Golden Knights now sit at 3-8-0 on the road, 7-10-1 overall, and with a measly 15 points in the first 18 games. If you extrapolate those numbers over a full 82 game season, that’s 11-31-0 on the road, 32-46-4 overall, and 68 points. That is a disaster.

That is also why something has to change. Of course, the easiest change will be made available to the Golden Knights in two games, when Nate Schmidt is eligible to return from his suspension. It will almost certainly help, but relying on one player to completely turn the fortunes of a team around is like walking up to the craps table thinking you’re going to win rent for the month. It might happen, but realistically, it’s probably not.

Following the loss in Boston, reigning Jack Adams winner Gerard Gallant responded to a question about swapping Max Pacioretty and Jonathan Marchessault mid-game with this answer.

If you are not winning you are going to try things. That’s what a coach’s job is supposed to be. So you try and get a little spark. -Gallant

However, the team has barely tried anything nearly a fourth of the way through the season. They’ve made one call-up from the AHL, they’ve made voluntary changes on just one line, and they’ve never swapped more than one defenseman if not dealing with an injury.

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Is It Time For Line Changes? Massive Line Changes?

Pierre-Edouard Bellemare – 2nd line center? (Photo Credit: SinBin.vegas Photographer Brandon Andreasen)

The Golden Knights top line made up of William Karlsson, Jonathan Marchessault, and Reilly Smith have a total of 24 points. That’s the exact same total as every other skater on the roster combined. 24 points.

One of the reasons for the Golden Knights early success a year ago was eventual Jack Adams award winner Gerard Gallant’s willingness to switch his lines. Because there was no history of success or failure, there was no fear of letting guys skate with anyone, anywhere, in the lineup. This year that hasn’t really been the case.

(If you haven’t checked out our Line Charts yet, you really need to.)

Last year, Erik Haula went from third line wing to first line center within the first 10 games of the season. William Karlsson from playing with Haula and Brendan Leipsic to Marchessault and Smith. Vadim Shipachyov from first line center to retired cry-baby. Oh, and all of this happened while the Golden Knights raced out to an 8-2-0 start.

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Two Golden Knights Say VGK Played Well, Two Others Completely Disagree; The Divide Is Not Ideal

There hasn’t been nearly enough of this thus far. (Photo Credit: SinBin.vegas Photographer Brandon Andreasen)

The Golden Knights are now 1-3-0 in their first four games of the season. Two points in four games is not going to make anyone happy. However, there is a bit of a sense that Vegas has been playing a little better than the scores have indicated at times.

Specifically, last night in Washington, the Golden Knights created plenty of goal scoring chances and got bit by the post a few times. To me, it was a well-played game for Vegas on the road against the best team in hockey. On most nights, especially at home, that level of play will win games, even with the few mistakes that were made. One Golden Knight and the Jack Adams award winner agree.

Maybe the score wasn’t relative to the game that was shown. We had a lot of posts, maybe three or four. We had the puck a lot. I thought it was probably one of our better games so far. It’s a good sign. We are getting chances, we are getting pucks to the net. We’re going to score at some point. -Marc-Andre Fleury

I thought we played a real good game 5-on-5, we got lots of scoring chances, their goalie played real well, so I liked a lot of our game but we gave them too many odd-man rushes and too many power plays. -Gerard Gallant

However, that sentiment was not shared by everyone in the locker room.

I don’t think this was our best game. We played like a team with no identity and if we are going to try and trade chances with the Capitals we aren’t going to win. It wasn’t our best and there are some things we can tighten up and I think awareness is something we can do a much better job with. -Reilly Smith

I just think as a whole we aren’t playing our game. We are taking too many penalties. It’s a long year but we have to figure out things quick. Our goal from this road trip is to be a .500 team and when we are playing like this, that’s not going to happen. We definitely have to work some things out and find our game. -Shea Theodore

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Golden Knights Lacking Offense; But Why?

No stats account for missing wide open nets though, and the Golden Knights have had their fair share of those through three games. (Photo Credit: SinBin.vegas Photographer Brandon Andreasen)

In their first three games, the Golden Knights are outshooting opponents 104 to 72 in shots on goal. The numbers are even more staggering when you include all shots, 197-125. That’s a Corsi For Percentage of 61.2%!  Yet Vegas is 1-2-0 and have been outscored in the only category that matters, goals, 10 to 5.

So the stats seem suggest Vegas had plenty of scoring chances in Buffalo but Jack Adams winner Gerard Gallant didn’t agree following the game.

Well there were a lot of shots but I didn’t see many scoring chances to be honest with you. We had a few chances in the second half of the game but the first half I thought we were sound alseep. -Gallant

Sometimes Gallant can be a little emotional, irrational even, in the pressers after losses, so we decided to take a little deeper dive to see if the Golden Knights are indeed taking harmless shots, if it’s just been a case of tough luck early, or if it’s some combination of both.

According to NaturalStatTrick.com, the Golden Knights had 22 scoring chances on 37 shots. That’s down significantly from the first two games in which Vegas had 33 (PHI) and 31 (@MIN) scoring chances. 22 is very low for the Golden Knights when compared to last year. Just 13 times did they have fewer than 22, including the other time they visited Buffalo. However, the Golden Knights went 8-3-2 in the games in which they had fewer than 22 scoring chances. So, that’s not a great indicator of success.

The next stat, and this is an odd one, is Corsi or Shot Attempts. Vegas outshot the Sabres 67-35 for a Corsi For Percentage of 65.7%. Only one time all year, including the playoffs, did the Golden Knights create a higher discrepancy in shots. That was the famous night before Thanksgiving game in Anaheim where they overcame a 2-0 lead to win 4-2. Vegas hit 64% or more five other times last season and they went a winless 0-3-2 in those games. In other words, massive Corsi differences does not equal success for the Golden Knights. Instead, it likely indicates they are forcing bad shots and inflating the numbers rather than working for good ones.

That brings us to the heat charts. Where are the shots coming from?

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“It’s The Results On The Ice That Matter” To Determine 2nd Line Winger

It appears to be Haula’s gig to lose, but it’s not necessarily up to him to keep it. (Photo Credit: SinBin.vegas Photographer Brandon Andreasen)

It’s been a question since the moment Paul Stastny signed and it only ramped up when Max Pacioretty was acquired via trade. Will be it Alex Tuch, Erik Haula, or someone else playing as the second line right winger?

We expected the preseason to help reveal the answer to the question, but to this point, it hasn’t. Heading into last night’s game, both Haula and Tuch played with Pacioretty and Stastny once. Haula got his second shot last night.

To be honest I couldn’t really tell. Like I said it was a messy game, I don’t think anybody played really well. The execution wasn’t good for our team. It’s probably a lot of what I expected after two days in Montana so I didn’t take a lot out of it to be honest with you. -Gerard Gallant

Tuch is expected to get the final chance Sunday in the last preseason game and certainly can grab hold of it heading into Opening Night.

It’s the results on the ice that matter. It’s not what I think or what they think, it’s the results on the ice that matter. The Karlsson line, we put it together and I didn’t have to touch it because they were good. That makes it easy for a coach and players enjoy that so they like to know, coming to the rink, who they’re playing with. They decide it when they play well. -Gallant

Gallant admitted he doesn’t see anyone other than Haula or Tuch starting the season on the second line in the preseason, which means it’s going to be one or the other on October 4th. 

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Recap Of George McPhee’s Presser On Max Pacioretty And The Impact Of What He Said

#67 is here to stay (Photo Credit: SinBin.vegas Photographer Brandon Andreasen)

George McPhee met with the media to talk about the trade for Max Pacioretty. Here’s absolutely everything you need to know about what he said and why it all matters.

  • Trade negotiations for Pacioretty began after the draft and it took a couple months to get done. It picked up considerably the last few days and then GM Marc Bergevin gave McPhee about seven hours to negotiate a contract with Pacioretty. The trade would not have happened at all if Vegas did not have a contract extension in place for Pacioretty. Trade with the team was contingent upon the deal with the player. The contracr extension was $28 million for 4 years or $7 million AAV against the salary cap.
    • Why it matters: This proves the Golden Knights would not have taken the risk to give up as much as they did if they did not have the guarntee that they would have Pacioretty for longer than just the one year. It also shows a bit of a template for what McPhee may be thinking in the Erik Karlsson deal. Not looking for a rental at this time, at least not at as steep of a price as he paid for Pacioretty.
  • McPhee confirmed a previous deal that Montreal had (reported as being the LA Kings) that did not work out because a contract extension could not be reached. Thus, Montreal was reluctant to allow Vegas to negotiate with Pacioretty before a deal was completed.
  • McPhee says he thinks Pacioretty fits well with the Golden Knights. Called him a scorer and a great two-way player that can play in all situations.
    • Why it matters: McPhee did not like the defense of the second line (Neal, Perron, Haula) last year. So he went out and acquired two strong defensive players that also have a lot of offensive potential. Pacioretty and Stastny will both help on power play and penalty kill. In McPhee’s mind the team is even better now than it was a year ago. (I agree.)
  • McPhee also specifically mentioned that Pacioretty has played for Gerard Gallant in the past (while Gallant was an assistant in Montreal).

We’ve added a couple of players in Stastny and Pacioretty that are very good two-way players, very good character people. So I hope that we are a better team than we were last year. Time will tell. -McPhee

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Golden Knights Results At NHL Awards

Should have been a Selke candidate, could have been a Hart candidate, but the Lady Byng will have to do. (Photo Credit: SinBin.vegas Photographer Brandon Andreasen)

For every Golden Knight, any trophy they win tonight is not the one they really wanted. However, a little hardware for an amazing season never hurt anybody. Vegas has four finalists in four separate categories at the 2018 NHL Awards. William Karlsson is up for Lady Byng (sportsmanship), Deryk Engelland for Mark Messier Leadership Award, Gerard Gallant is a shoe-in for Jack Adams (coach of the year), and George McPhee for GM of the Year.

The other finalists for each award are as follows. (We will update each award with the winner as well as some quotes and whatever else we come across throughout the night)

Lady Byng Trophy

William Karlsson (VGK)
Aleksander Barkov (FLA)
Ryan O’Reilly (BUF)

Winner: William Karlsson

To be honest I’m more nervous, kind of scared. What if I win? I have to go up on the stage, it’s kind of scary. For sure (scarier than playing the Stanley Cup Final). Much more. At least I know what I do on the ice. Going up on the stage and potentially having to speak to a lot of people is a lot scarier. -William Karlsson

It’s very special, just looking back a year ago who would have thought I would have been sitting here nominated for an award, but to win it, it’s been a crazy year. -Karlsson

Messier Leadership Award

Deryk Engelland (VGK)
Wayne Simmonds (PHI)
Blake Wheeler (WPG)

Winner: Deryk Engelland

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Gallant On Stanley Cup Final Loss, Theodore, Free Agency, In TSN Interview

“When you’re 22-years-old in the Stanley Cup final, or even in the Stanley Cup playoffs you’re going to make mistakes.’ (Photo Credit: SinBin.vegas Photographer Brandon Andreasen)

Before Jack Adams finalist Gerard Gallant celebrated with thousands of fans on Fremont Street, he joined old buddy Chris “Knuckles” Nilan on TSN Montreal.

It was an outstanding year. We battled, we worked hard, and we had an unbelievable regular season. It just carried over to the playoffs. -Gerard Gallant

Nilan asked about coming up short in the finals, and if Washington was able to slow the Golden Knights down.

Our guys weren’t gassed and they weren’t tired, I think Washington made us look tired. They really took it to us, and played a physical brand of hockey. Washington was a better team… Our top line is an outstanding line and they played really well. I gotta give Washington credit, their two top lines played outstanding hockey. Down the middle, Kuznetsov was outstanding, Backstrom was outstanding. They just had more fire power in the final. -Gallant

One of the best exchanges in the interview was about Shea Theodore and his costly giveaways in the Cup finals. Knuckles alerted Gallant he wasn’t calling out the young defenseman but was more interested in how he handled his mistakes after games.

There was no issue with that. The kid made a couple of mistakes, everybody makes mistakes, and that’s what we told the kid. When you’re 22-years-old in the Stanley Cup final, or even in the Stanley Cup playoffs you’re going to make mistakes. That kid made more good plays for us than enough, we’re real happy with him. He just shook it off. -Gallant

Moving on to next season, the TSN host asked the Golden Knights coach about the offseason and building a roster for next season. I’m beginning to think Gallant gets the latest NHL Rumors push notifications on his iPhone. For a guy that doesn’t read box scores or standings, he sure knows who’s available.

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Golden Knights “Didn’t Execute” On The 5-on-3 And It Cost Them Game 2

5-on-3’s changes games whether goals are scored or not. Vegas was on the wrong side of it in Game 2. (Photo Credit: SinBin.vegas Photographer Brandon Andreasen)

John Carlson called it a “momentum shifter,” Barry Trotz said he was “praying like crazy”, and Jonathan Marchessault said “they played it well.” The Golden Knights unsuccessful 5-on-3 power play in the 3rd period was a major turning point of Game 2.

Definitely when you have a 5-on-3 in the playoffs you have to score, and I think that’s on us. -Jonathan Marchessault

Early in the 3rd period, Tom Wilson took his normal residency in the box for an interference penalty on Brayden McNabb. This gave Vegas a two-minute power play with 16:47 remaining in the game.

Two faceoffs, a stoppage in play, and a Colin Miller shot attempt later, the Capitals made a second blunder. Lars Eller was caught hooking Miller, creating a two-man advantage for Vegas.

I was praying like crazy. They’ve done a really good job in those situations. They’re well prepared and they have a high commitment level. -Barry Trotz, Washington head coach

For the next 1:08, Vegas did very little and only shot once on net.

The chances are there. Really, we didn’t execute them. You look at it back, and everything we wanted to do was there. We just didn’t execute the play right. We didn’t do it quick enough. It was guys not making the right plays at the right time. -Gerard Gallant

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“Remarkably Consistent” Golden Knights Shouldn’t Be Surprising Anymore

All they do is win. (Photo Credit: SinBin.vegas Photographer Brandon Andreasen)

The Golden Knights are 12-3 in the playoffs. They have yet to lose back-to-back games, they’ve trailed in just five of the 15 games, and they have only been behind in a series once.

In the regular season, they started the year winning eight of their first nine. They made their way into first place in the Pacific Division on November 24th and held it for all but a few days the rest of the season. Their longest losing streak was three games and they had an excellent 19-10-1 record following a loss.

They are, in a word, consistent.

This team has played really similar to the way its played all year. A lot of times you don’t see that. Some people elevate their game, some people sort of drift on you a little bit, almost to a man this team has been the same. This team has been remarkably consistent from day one. -George McPhee

Of the Golden Knights top 10 scorers in the regular season, nine of them are among the top 10 in the playoffs. Jack Adams finalist Gerard Gallant has distributed the minutes nearly identically to how he did throughout the whole year. When they have had injuries or sickness, the next guy has stepped up and filled in, just like he did in the regular season. Since the moment the playoffs began, nothing has changed.

I don’t expect guys to do anything more than they’ve done all season long. Just be ready to play, ready to compete and give yourself a chance to win. -Gerard Gallant

The Golden Knights have been a surprise to many around the hockey world this postseason, but to anyone watching every day, the only real surprise is that there hasn’t been any. They’ve played the same brand of transition-oriented offense, the same simplistic style of defense, had the same goaltending, and are enjoying the same results.

There have been long layoffs, early games, unfortunate reviews, and more oddities that have happened since April 11th, but nothing has changed for the Golden Knights.

We just play one game at a time, round to round. For me personally, we’re in the Stanley Cup Finals but it hasn’t really felt like a grind. We felt like we can compete with any team and play with any team so we just move on. It doesn’t feel like a Stanley Cup Final right now. Our guys are fresh and ready to go. -Gallant

It is the Stanley Cup Final though, and if things stay the same for four more wins, the Golden Knights will be crowned the best hockey team in the world. That’ll be a surprise to many, but it won’t be for the Golden Knights, and at this point it really shouldn’t be for anyone, because they’ve been doing it all year, even when most weren’t watching.

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