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Buy, Sell, Or Hold, Pacioretty Trusts VGK To Make The Right Call

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The NHL trade deadline is a week away and it could be another active one for the Golden Knights. Since their first trade deadline in 2018, Vegas hasn’t been shy adding players to their already competitive roster. The first season Ryan Reaves and Tomas Tatar were acquired to give the coaching staff extra skill and muscle. On last year’s deadline day, the Golden Knights traded and signed Mark Stone who quickly became the face of the franchise. Needless to say, the players and fans are anticipating the front office to be calling and texting other general managers.

 I’ve been on every end of that situation, buying and selling, or standing put. In terms of rumors you don’t hear too many playing in Vegas as opposed to playing in a Canadian city. On trade deadline having the TV on in here, you heard about the possibility of getting a guy like Mark Stone. I’m sure once we get closer to the day maybe we’ll hear a little more. In terms of what we hear with outside noise, we don’t as a player in Vegas and that’s a nice thing. -Pacioretty

Max Pacioretty has seen his share of deadlines come and go in his 12-year career. The 31-year-old has been on both sides of the scale, teams that were buyers and teams that were sellers. Even for a veteran the trade deadline period can be a bit stressful, knowing a teammate or potentially himself could be dealt to another club.

It’s a pretty crappy feeling when you get the day off and you’re all hanging out, which has happened to me, and everyone has got their phones on. Seeing guys drop like flies getting traded to other teams because your team is selling. That’s the worst feeling in the world and you never want to be in that position.- Pacioretty

That isn’t the case for Vegas, nor has it been in team history. Pacioretty and his teammates expect the Golden Knights to be heavily involved, even if a trade doesn’t materialize.

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On A Set Play Vegas Comes Through In The Clutch

(Photo Credit: SinBin.vegas Photographer Brandon Andreasen)

It was the play of the game, if not one of the biggest plays of the season (feels like we’ve said that a lot, hopefully this one actually sticks). Having given up a 3-1 lead, Vegas could have easily skated out the period and secured at least a point in Carolina. However, the Hurricanes gave the Golden Knights one more chance to come away with a win. And that’s exactly what they did.

The late-game power play allowed Vegas to execute a perfectly set up game-winning goal. The beautifully designed tic-tac-toe sequence by Shea Theodore, Paul Statsny and Alex Tuch clinched a wild game for the Golden Knights. Not only was it a big goal for Tuch, but for the new coaching staff as well.

It was a good play by Theo and Stas, something we were kind of looking to do and we were able to execute. I just put my stick on the ice and made sure I hit the net. -Alex Tuch

The play began with a faceoff won by Stastny, purposely to his left, which Mark Stone jumped on and fed out to Theodore. Instead of taking his own shot, giving the puck back to Stone or Max Pacioretty to his right, the defenseman walked the blue line with the puck, opened up the seam and then used a little shot pass to feed the puck through an incredibly tight window to Stastny.

Theodore’s stutter-step/fake shot shifted the defense and goaltender just enough to find an open passing lane to Stastny who was waiting on one side of the net.

Knowing the puck was coming to him, he quickly directed the pass across the crease and on to the stick of Tuch, who tapped in the game-winner.

From the initial pass by Stone, to Theodore’s shot fake, to Stastny’s quick touch pass, each player knew exactly where the others would be. You’ll even notice Pacioretty charging in behind Tuch ready to scoop up any rebounds in case the puck was blocked. Or perhaps as a secondary option. Either way, all five players did their job and the execution paid off.

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Ryan Reaves Responds To David Perron’s “Whining”

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Former Golden Knight David Perron didn’t hold back on Saturday after the Blues loss in overtime. Perron made some scathing remarks about Vegas’ physicality, suggesting they stepped over the line.

You don’t like to see some of that extra stuff they do. One to our captain, I thought that was bullshit to be honest with you. That’s how I see it… Now we know what to expect. We’ve played them enough already. I see a lot of games of them. I really appreciate a lot of the stuff they do. I like their coaches, the organization, everything. But I didn’t like that (stuff on Alex Pietrangelo). -David Perron, Blues forward

Perron was clearly upset with some of the after whistle scrums, which in his eyes, were created by Vegas. One in particular involving Ryan Reaves and St. Louis captain Alex Pietrangelo.

Everybody saw what happened. I didn’t even start it. I just stopped in front of the net Petro (Alex Pietrangelo) tried to move me. He’s not going to move me. -Ryan Reaves

By now, most of us understand and appreciate Reaves’ role. If a player wants to get face-to-face, no matter who it is, #75 isn’t backing down. Pietrangelo happens to be an important player for St. Louis which is why Perron took umbrage. To Reaves, an opponent is just another opponent.

Hats off to Petro (Pietrangelo) for standing in there. You look at that situation, Petro stands up and tries to get to get me from out in front of the net.-Reaves

Pietrangelo got nicked up during his scrum with Reaves. On Monday, he sounded off.

I was just trying to take care of business. He was standing in front of our goalie. But I’ll tell you: It’s the first time I’ve ever been scratched in the eye before… I’m OK with getting into a scrum, but I’m not too fond of being scratched. Maybe that’s his new way, I don’t know. -Alex Pietrangelo, Blues defenseman

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“Our Game Has Taken Off Since” VGKD 2.0

There’s no doubt that game was huge for us. We played a good hockey game that night and all of a sudden it looked like we were going to come out with no points. Then with 0.3 seconds left on the clock we tie it up and then we win the game. Our team was really excited after that game. They were excited, pumped up and I think that’s been a big positive for us moving forward. –Gerard Gallant on VGK Insider Show

With each and every game that’s passed since, the game in Nashville is looking more and more like the turning point of the season.

(Photo Credit: SinBin.vegas Photographer Brandon Andreasen)

Since that game, which was three weeks ago now, the Golden Knights are 8-2-1. They’ve won four road games, and even in the three games they dropped they played well for the majority of them.

There’s plenty that’s changed since that fateful night in Nashville (listen to our podcast dropping later today where we dive into all of them), but the biggest one is undoubtably the introduction of VGKD 2.0.

It’s no secret we tweaked some things in our game and I think it’s allowed us at times to work hard going the other way. -Max Pacioretty

Before the change, the Golden Knights had scored 77 goals and allowed 77 goals. That’s 2.96 goals per game both scored and allowed. Since, Vegas has scored 35 and allowed 28. 3.18 goals for and 2.55 goals against. A difference in 0.63 goals per game total!

We’ve been a lot better at getting our guys up into the offensive zone and keeping pucks alive. You give our forwards an extra 10 seconds in the zone and that’s all they need sometimes. -Nate Schmidt

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Pacioretty’s Slick Skills Surprising Goaltenders

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It’s fair to say Max Pacioretty is on fire. Over his last four games, he’s totaled 8 points (5 goals, 3 assists) and was easily named the NHL’s Player of the Week. It’s not surprising by the points he’s collected, because that’s what Pacioretty does, but it’s the fashion in which he’s scoring. His flashy deke move clinched an overtime victory in Dallas, and a nearly identical move gave Vegas a cushion against Vancouver. So, what’s gotten into him?

It didn’t really work as much in the past, maybe I’m faking the shot a little bit more. I had been shooting a lot of pucks this year so goalies are expecting the shots a little bit more. I’m trying to mix things up and it’s worked twice in a row.- Max Pacioretty

His arcade-style goals were scored on goaltenders built like monsters. Ben Bishop is 6’7 and Jacob Markstrom is 6’6, two of the biggest players in the NHL. Pacioretty had no problem getting them to bite on his move. Did their giant sizes force #67 to hold his shot and go for a filthy fake out?

No, not really. A lot of the times I come down the left side I shot the puck and realized after how far out the goalie was. In St. Louis, one I ended up scoring on the rebound but then I had another one coming down the left side where Binnington was so far out I had to find a way to get him to move side to side. So, it was something I thought about after the St. Louis game. – Pacioretty

We’ve seen show-stopping dangles from Shea Theodore, Alex Tuch, Reilly Smith and of course William Karlsson. But it’s pleasantly surprising coming from a sharpshooting winger like Pacioretty.

He’s got a chance to get pucks on goal every game. Obviously, those two goals, the deking goals you don’t see a whole lot of those from Max but he’s shooting the puck so well so he’s trying to surprise the goalie.- Gerard Gallant

This season, Pacioretty is 2 for 2 channeling his inner Gretzky, so how much can Golden Knights expect to see?

I can’t go to it every time but it keeps the goalies a little but honest. -Pacioretty

In his second season as a Golden Knight, the 12-year-veteran is on pace for career highs in points and assists, so it’s clear he’s feeling confident with the puck.

We may not see as many highlight rushes to the net but we’ll sure be reading his name on the box score plenty the rest of the year.

Max Pacioretty On Pace For Career Bests

(Photo Credit: SinBin.vegas Photographer Brandon Andreasen)

In 2016-17, Max Pacioretty scored 35 goals and 32 assists. He averaged 0.83 points per game with Montreal, his last majorly productive season as a Canadien. Known for his point collecting ability, the numbers fell short of his seasonal averages over the last two. This year, however, Pacioretty is on a pace to match his best years in Montreal.

2019-2020 (VGK Rank)
27 Points (1st)
11 Goals (Tied 2nd)
16 Assists (2nd)
8 Even Strength Goals (2nd)
9 Power Play Assists (2nd)
133 Shots (1st)

Through 33 games Pacioretty is scoring .82 points per game. It stands as his 3rd best PPG average in his 12-year career in which he’s eclipsed 60 points five times.

Last year the team leader in goals was Jonathan Marchessault with just 25. And as we all fondly remember, William Karlsson went bananas the first season and scored 43. That franchise-record could be set for a while, and chances are it’ll be safe at the end of this season.

If Pacioretty can score around 30, and the current pace Reilly Smith and Mark Stone are on keeps up, Vegas would have the three-headed monster they need. That’s without mentioning Jonathan Marchessault, Alex Tuch or Karlsson’s production. Just imagine what a consistent offense can do over the remaining 49 games .

Another upward trend is Pacioretty’s assists per game average. It’s the second-highest in his career.

2012-13: .55 Assists Per Game
2019-20: .48 Assists Per Game

At this rate, #67 will pass his season-high in assists.

2015-16: 34 Assists
2011-12: 32 Assists
2016-17: 32 Assists
2019-20: 39 Projected

The numbers project the 12-year veteran will score close to 30 goals, but his assist rate could become just as useful. Pacioretty adds a lot of vision on the power play, and if he and Stone keep playing catch and shoot as they did on Tuesday night, the numbers should continue to pile up.

While there have been some concerning nights offensively, if the average numbers stay true, Vegas should have at least three players in the 30s and a couple more hitting 25. There’s nothing wrong with that.

Golden Knights Weigh In On Abuse Accusations By Former NHL Players

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The stories began to leak after the Toronto Maple Leafs relieved Mike Babcock from his coaching position. Former and current players spoke out about Babcock’s harsh, critical style hidden behind his success. Then more stories came out by past players, stories that were very concerning.

Akim Aliu broke open the door when he accused former coaches of being openly racist. Aliu’s claims were taken seriously enough that Calgary quickly parted ways with coach Bill Peters for his involvement a decade ago. They weren’t claims anymore, the nightmare stories by former players were sadly proven right. Peters resigned and the league is better for the swift actions.

Most teams got a chance to address the controversy over the past two weeks, so we thought it was time for the league to hear from some of the Golden Knights.

I wasn’t there in those situations but the Bill Peters thing, there’s no room for that on hockey. There’s no room for racism in the world at all.

Guys coming out saying that got yelled at, if you’re a hockey player you have to have tough skin. If you’re getting yelled at you probably just have to brush it off. I don’t know. All of these stories coming out about the past is a little weird but this stuff about berated guys, racism and that stuff is important and needs to be discussed and taken care of. -Ryan Reaves

Ryan Reaves didn’t hesitate to call out Peters for his racist actions but he doesn’t want the outpouring of other stories clouding Aliu’s serious accounts.

Akim Aliu comes out with the racism story, that’s an important subject. That’s something that needs to be dealt with but the four or five other stories that came out seems like they’re just trying to catch a story and try and be part of a story that isn’t really there. There are certain subjects that need to be dealt with and then there’s certain things that are just noise. -Reaves

Twelve year NHL veteran Max Pacioretty has had his share of uncomfortable moments in his career but he’s never witnessed any form of abuse.

I can’t relate to any of the negative stuff that’s been coming out but often times in a team sport environment you can’t always be everyone’s best friend. You got to pick your time and spots when to be hard on guys and I think that accountability is present on pretty much every good team. -Max Pacioretty

Same goes for #75, he’s never seen any of the accusations firsthand.

I’ve never been on a team that had that. I’ve seen coaches and players battle, and sometimes they didn’t quite like each other. There’s going to be heated moments, it’s a heated sport. Sometimes the emotions get the best of you but I’ve never been a part of anything that crossed the line. -Reaves

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Expecting Another Golden December

(Photo Credit: SinBin.vegas Photographer Brandon Andreasen)

Kelly McCrimmon spoke with the media yesterday to formally announce the Chandler Stephenson acquisition. He also mentioned his high expectations for the month of December.

We’re trying to get all little bit of traction. December has for one reason or another traditionally been a really good month for this organization. We’re hopeful we can get a solid footing and play good hockey. -McCrimmon

Vegas’ GM should feel optimistic about the next 13 games in December. A month his players annually shine.

Win Percentage in December
2017: .846 %
2018: .600 %
Overall: .714 %

Point Percentage in December
2017: .923 %
2018: .800 %
Overall: .857 %

Including last night’s game in New Jersey, the Golden Knights have an exceptional franchise record of 22-4-4 in the month of December. Beginning the month 2-0-0 is a good sign their holiday tradition will continue. Vegas plays 13 more games this month including seven at home and only three are against teams in the top 3 in their division.

Historical Breakdown

December 2017
13 Games: 8 Home/5 Road (11–1-1) Record

  • Goals For: 49 Total
  • Goals Against: 33 Total
  • Win Streak: 7 Games
  • OT/SO Games: (4-1)
  • 2+ Goal Wins: 5
  • Pacific Division Points: (8 points)
  • Wins vs Playoff Teams: 8 (Anaheim x 2, LA, Nashville, Pittsburgh, Tampa, Toronto, Washington)
  • William Karlsson: 10 Points (7 Goals, 3 Assists) +9
  • Jonathan Marchessault: 14 Points (5 Goals, 9 Assists) + 9
  • Reilly Smith: 11 Points (3 Goals, 8 Assists) +10
  • Alex Tuch: 8 Points (3 Goals, 5 Assists) +3
  • Marc-Andre Fleury: (4-0-1) 1.56 GAA, .948 Save%, 8 Goals Allowed
  • Malcolm Subban: (6-0) 2.25 GAA, .920 Save%, 14 Goals Allowed

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Golden Knights Have To Start “Trying To Dominate,” Especially At Home

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The last time the Golden Knights won at home was 17 days ago. The last time they’ve won two in a row at home was 211 days ago when they won Games 3 and 4 of the series against the Sharks.

Over the course of the first season and a half for the Golden Knights, no matter what else was going on, they could always rely on their ability to win at home. They went an unbelievable 29-10-2 at T-Mobile Arena in 2017-18 and backed it up by starting 16-4-3 at home to start 2018-19. But since, it’s been a bit of a struggle.

They finished last year at 10-6-2 before dropping a crucial Game 6 at home leading to a first-round exit. This year they’ve actually lost more games inside of T-Mobile Arena than they’ve won, posting a 4-3-2 record.

If you dig into the stats, you’ll see they’ve been scoring fewer goals, shooting much less, and for the most part not controlling the flow of the game even close to as often as they used to.

I don’t think it’s anything with personal or the style of play or anything like that. I just honestly think it’s a mentality thing. We’ve got to play a little bit harder, little bit chippier. We’ve got to really want to dominate teams. I think we are going out to just try and win, we want to go out and try to dominate. It makes winning that much easier and I think it makes everyone around us better. -Alex Tuch

Tuch has been watching from the sidelines for all but four periods this season, and he’s seeing exactly what most everyone else is seeing. While he was speaking about the team in general, in my opinion, his comments translate to the team’s play at home even more than on the road.

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Golden Knights History Before And After Breaks Suggest Success

The Golden Knights have a mini-break this week with their next game being on Thursday night against the Montreal Canadiens. Last year, they had seven separate occasions of three or more days off. Vegas went 7-6-1 on games directly before and after those breaks. In 2017-18, the Golden Knights had five occasions and were 7-2-1.

2017-18: Before and After Break Record
7-2-1 Overall
4-1-0 Games Before Break
3-1-1 Games After Break

2018-19: Before and After Break Record
7-6-1 Overall
2-4-1 Games Before Break
5-1-1 Games After Break

Some look at the extra rest as a good thing, others will argue the timing could possibly disrupt any momentum from Vegas’ dominant performance last night against Anaheim. Either way, the Golden Knights will use the lay off to their advantage.

Yeah I think so. We’ll practice Monday and take Tuesday off. So we’ll have a good hard practice on Monday, hopefully they’ll smile in the practice and make it fun. If not, I’ll be grumpy. -Gerard Gallant

Veteran Max Pacioretty can appreciate the extra rest but also puts the responsibility on individual players. He stresses each member of the team is a professional and should spend their time wisely.

Approach it as a player. Do the right things, make sure your body is ready to play the next game. Everybody responds differently to different types of preparation. At this point in our career, most guys know how to handle a couple of days here between games. It’s important to make the right decisions. -Pacioretty

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