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Tag: Pierre-Edouard Bellemare (Page 1 of 3)

The Play That Beat The Ducks

The play of the game. (Photo Credit: SinBin.vegas Photographer Brandon Andreasen)

Unlike baseball where there’s one pitch or football where there’s one play, hockey is not a game that is often decided, or even swung, by an individual moment in a game. However, during the game against Anaheim, Tomas Nosek and Pierre-Edouard Bellemare combined to make a play that flipped the course of that game and if all goes well, could end up changing the course of the season.

It came late in a somewhat sloppily played first period. The Golden Knights had taken a penalty and appeared like they could be headed for the all too familiar fate of falling behind early. The penalty kill begins with Bellemare winning the draw,  Brayden McNabb clears the puck, and the Golden Knights stop the first entry. But then, the Ducks maintain possession for 20 more seconds before setting up a shot from the high slot. It’s wired, Bellemare courageously blocks it, he then finds it first and springs Nosek into open ice. Here, give it a watch.

 

Nosek picks up the puck and drives directly toward the goal drawing a penalty, thus killing off the current penalty and earning Vegas a power play. But it’s not just the block and the breakaway, it’s when it happened in the shift. Penalty kill shifts are meant to be as short as possible, :20-:30 is great for forwards. Once you can safely change, you are supposed to do it. The normal play there would have been to send the puck down and get off the ice, but Nosek dug deep into his gas tank, already :50 seconds into the shift, and went straight to the net. 

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Marchessault: “It’s All On Us” – But Was It Really?

Not much went right for the Golden Knights in the opener. (Photo Credit: SinBin.vegas Photographer Brandon Andreasen)

No doubt about it, last night’s 5-2 loss to Philadelphia was an ugly start to the season.

They played a good game and we played a bad game, and that’s usually a bad mix. -Pierre-Edouard Bellemare

It’s all on us. The D has the puck and we didn’t give options on the wall, we were far from each other, we didn’t manage the puck well at both blue lines and just bad decisions the whole game. -Jonathan Marchessault

The Golden Knights will toss it away and move on to Minnesota like they normally do. After all, even though it was the first game of the season, it’s still just one game and a lopsided loss is the same as a close loss in the standings.

But the question certainly needs to be asked, how did the Golden Knights look so bad? Was it the Flyers stellar play or mistakes the Golden Knights made, and more importantly, is this something that might continue?

We need to be ready. This was definitely not good enough of an effort. Every night there’s a good hockey team, if we’re not ready we’re going to get spanked like we just did. -Marchessault

From the winning locker room, Philadelphia believed it was a combination of both their strong execution and Vegas’ miscues.

We took advantage of what we got. It was a solid game, we did a good job of creating opportunities. -Wayne Simmonds, Flyers forward

On the Flyers first and second goals, Vegas made costly errors from their defensemen and forwards. Jon Merrill made a timing mistake in the offensive zone which led to an odd-man rush on the first one, and Oscar Lindberg made an egregious backhand dump attempt that Philly picked off and stormed to the net to score the second. Both mistakes led directly to goals.

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Training Camp Day 1 Quotes

New guys are fitting in quickly. (Photo Credit: SinBin.vegas Photographer Brandon Andreasen)

A team that plays a high paced game like we do I think it’s important to do a lot of skating and to do a lot of up-tempo drills so that when it comes to games you are kind of used to that. -Paul Stastny

It’s hard to see any positive in losing the Final, but after a few weeks or months you start to understand what you did right and what you did wrong and make sure you don’t do it again, so there is always something you can take from any negative situation. -Pierre-Edouard Bellemare

(Having a child) is still the best accomplishment we’ve ever done. He’s so cute, it’s impossible to be that cute. He has a hockey stick, he doesn’t know what it is, but he has one. -Bellemare

We had the meeting to go over our systems and it was very very similar to what we did in Montreal. I was able to sit in that meeting and kind of know what to expect. Then I went out on the ice and was able to not think on the first day because I’m so used to our breakouts and our system when we go back for pucks. It’s a system I’ve had a lot of success with and I look to pick up where I left off with it. -Max Pacioretty

It’s important to make sure everyone knows that just because there’s a lot of hype around here it doesn’t mean anything. It starts with what we did in the summer, it starts with what we do today and constantly building as a team on and off the ice to repeat that success from last year and take that next step. -Stastny

First and foremost their unbelievable guys (Stastny and Pacioretty). I’ve been talking to them and I sat next to them at the team dinner and we were cracking jokes and they are just great guys. They’ve been around the block for a while and they’re really experienced and it’ll be fun to be on the same team as them this year and I’m going to try to learn as much as I can from them too. -Alex Tuch

I still think we have some doubters that we won’t do it again, that it was almost like a lucky Cup run. That’s the mentality that we have going in that we still have a lot to prove and we still want to be that elite team that’s making a Cup run and we are all in, all of us are. -Tuch

We have some new guys, we have some different situations than last year in a way but I think every individual, just make sure you stay healthy, make sure you put the work in. Hopefully everyone did put the work in during the Summer, that’s the expectation when we left here. -Erik Haula

Just individually try to get better, and having a little internal competition is good. Just keep pushing each other and that ultimately makes all of us better. -Haula

It’s a little bit different (than last year), we’re so comfortable with each other, we’re a really tight group, but I don’t think the prove it mentality is gone and I think that’s really good. We’re still building towards something and we want to be a really good team for a long time. -Haula

Don’t Expect A Golden Knights Captain Any Time Soon

One of the biggest reasons the Golden Knights don’t have a captain is that this guy won’t let his teammates anoint him as one. (Photo Credit: SinBin.vegas Photographer Brandon Andreasen)

Last year the Golden Knights were one of just a handful of teams that did not have a player wearing a “C” on the ice. Instead, they opted for what they called a “leadership group” which was a rotating cast of about seven alternate captains.

They went on to have an incredible season on the ice and players still rave about how amazing the group was off it. Plus, they were able to integrate new players starting a few days before the season began with Malcolm Subban, a waiver add in December in Ryan Carpenter, and the trade deadline acquisitions of Ryan Reaves and Tomas Tatar, without a hitch.

Yet, the question still seems to be floating around the organization, who will become the team’s first captain?

The short answer, and the right answer, is no one.

Nothing’s been said. I don’t think anybody is too worried about it. We have a ton of really good leaders. Old guys, young guys, so it’s really a collective group thing and I think everybody in the room is absolutely fine with that. –Deryk Engelland to NHL Network

Before Opening Night last year, the team announced Deryk Engelland, Jason Garrison, James Neal, David Perron, Luca Sbisa, and Reilly Smith would wear “A’s.” However, throughout the course of the season and into the playoffs Pierre-Edouard Bellemare became a staple as an alternate as well.

With Garrison, Neal, Perron, and Sbisa all gone, there certainly could be some consideration to hand the captaincy over to Engelland. However, the more likely scenario is for the team to add players like Nate Schmidt, Jonathan Marchessault, Cody Eakin or even a newcomer like Paul Stastny or Nick Holden to Smith and Bellemare in the leadership group.

The Golden Knights organization, especially when it comes to symbolic things, are very much believers in the “if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it” mindset. Thus, as Western Conference Champions, don’t expect to see a “C” on any players sweater any time soon.

Although, the argument can be made that it is broke. No team since the 1972 Boston Bruins has won the Stanley Cup without a captain. The Golden Knights were three wins away from bucking that trend, but they didn’t. Personally, I’m skeptical that the lack of a “C” on a jersey was the reason, but hockey players are weird, so who knows what they believe.

The Golden Knights Haven’t Been Here Before, But They Feel Like They Have

The word of the day in the Golden Knights locker room was “doubt.” It’s a word that’s all too familiar to expansion team who now finds itself in a 3-1 hole in the Stanley Cup Finals. They’ve been doubted every step of the way, and now they hear the doubt from the outside creeping back up, maybe as strong as it ever has, and they are ready to relish the opportunity like they have before.

It would be another crazy element to the fairy tale. As if it needs another one. (Photo Credit: SinBin.vegas Photographer Brandon Andreasen)

I asked Nate Schmidt if there was more doubt now or before the opening game of the season. He gave the classic puzzled Schmidt look, thought about it for about 10 seconds, and said “equal.”

They’ve never been down 3-1 in a series. They’ve tied their longest losing streak of the year. They are facing a climb no team has successfully made since the 1942 Toronto Maple Leafs. Quite simply, they’ve never been here before, but in a way, it kind of feels like they have.

I don’t think anyone thought we could make it to this point now, and I know a lot of people that are already giving it to Washington and saying the Cinderella story is over but we’ve been resilient all year and we’ll be ready for tomorrow. We are not looking past tomorrow. -Alex Tuch

We’re going to do what we’ve done all year. We’re just going to focus on the next game and see where it takes us. Stuff that we’ve done this year has never been done. -Jonathan Marchessault

What they’ve done all year is win. At every pass, they’ve proven the doubters wrong and found a way. Now, down 3-1, they’ll look to do it again; all the while trying to do the only thing they really set out to do in the first place.

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May The Real Golden Knights Please Stand Up

Play like the Golden Knights and win Game 4. (Photo Credit: SinBin.vegas Photographer Brandon Andreasen)

Jonathan Marchessault used the words “must-win” three times in the first two questions during his morning skate media availability. That term has been thrown around by others in the moments since the Golden Knights went behind 2-1 in the Stanley Cup Final, the deepest they’ve trailed in a series all postseason. However, the focus is inward, looking at themselves to get back to the style of hockey that’s gotten them to this point, something they believe they haven’t played in any of the three games this series.

We haven’t shown our game yet, that’s the reason we are down by one. -Pierre-Edouard Bellemare

Bellemare believes the fix is easy too.

Small details. Late on the forecheck, sometimes forwards are not reloading as hard as they have been all year. It’s the Final, so being close to a player isn’t good enough, you have to be on him. At the end of the day I feel like we’ve been able to play our game against any team we’ve played and it shouldn’t be any different if we are all committed to it, it’s as simple as that. -Bellemare

His message has also comes through on the ice. The Golden Knights fourth line has been consistently excellent in the series, scoring goals, checking both ways, and controlling play a majority of the time they are on the ice.

It’s just making the right play at the right time. If the play’s not there in the middle then just chip it (in). The best example is the Bellemare line, they play a simple game and they have a lot of success. I think we should definitely play more like that. -Marchessault

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Scoring First Is Great, What Vegas Does With It Is Better

If VGK jumps out ahead of Washington like they did Winnipeg, it might be another quick series. (Photo Credit: SinBin.vegas Photographer Brandon Andreasen)

In the Western Conference finals, the team that scored the first goal of the game won all five games. Pretty simple formula. However, it was what Vegas did once they had the first lead of the game that really determined the series. The Jets tied things up in Games 3, 4, and 5, but failed to take ever over a lead. After Game 1, Vegas never allowed Winnipeg to take a lead in the series.

It definitely is a testament to great goaltending. Its something special, especially with all of the big saves. It’s a common effect when Marc has the net. -Reilly Smith

There’s no question Marc-Andre Fleury has been the difference maker for Vegas this postseason, his brilliance has made it easier for teammates do their job.

We played well defensively, our goalie was tremendous. We made the right play at the right time. Time after time the way we play, the right plays happen more often than not. -Pierre-Edouard Bellemare

Against Winnipeg, the Golden Knights played disciplined, made quick decisions moving the puck, and capitalized on forced mistakes. In 300 minutes played against the Jets in the WCF, Vegas had the lead for an astounding 194 minutes.

Game 1: Vegas @ Winnipeg
WPG Time in Lead: 58:55
Tied: 1:05
VGK Time in Lead: 0:00

Game 2: Vegas @ Winnipeg
WPG Time in Lead: 0:00
Tied: 13:23
VGK Time in Lead: 46:37

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Golden Knights Ability To Force Errors Continues To Leave Opponents Shaking Their Heads

They’ll call the Golden Knights opportunistic. They say Vegas capitalizes on others mistakes, and they’ll throw out quotes like this…

We win that game nine times out of 10. Tonight was the one. -Blake Wheeler, Jets captain

Those terms don’t resonate for the Golden Knights though because they don’t believe dumb luck is what’s making it happen.

Sometimes you create your own bounces. -Pierre-Edouard Bellemare

You go do what you can on your shift, and you rely on the next guy to go do his job on his shift, and hopefully that wear and tear will eventually push them into making a play they don’t want to make. Nate Schmidt

This is a look many goaltenders have had at T-Mobile Arena. It’s a look of confusion, but it shouldn’t be.  (Photo Credit: SinBin.vegas Photographer Brandon Andreasen)

Vegas is tenacious on the forecheck, they hound teams in the neutral zone, they transition from defense to offense faster than any team in the NHL, they roll four dangerous lines and three solid d-pairings, and they have high-end talent that finish the chances when they come.

This isn’t a mirage, this is a darn good hockey team and it doesn’t take much to end up on the wrong side of the result when teams play against them.

Most people will call the mishaps of the Jets, Sharks, and Kings mistakes, but it’s probably best to call them something else. “Forced errors” is the term that popped into my head, but if you’ve got a better one let me hear it. No matter what we call them though, the Golden Knights are the best in the league at creating them.

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Vegas Losing Battle Of Fourth Lines, Especially In Games 3 And 4

Could use a little more of this in Game 5. (Photo Credit: SinBin.vegas Photographer Brandon Andreasen)

Vegas is a team known for its ability to use all four lines in a game. Prior to the series, we talked about San Jose having the same luxury, and it showed on Wednesday night.

It’s important for us to use everybody and try to save energy. We want to make sure our top guys are fresh. Those are the guys that carry the mail for us. -Eric Fehr, San Jose forward

In Game 4, San Jose’s fourth line of Melker Karlsson, Marcus Sorensen, and Fehr were +3 with 2 points (on an illegal “pick” play). Depth scoring is essential in the postseason, but like Pierre-Edouard Bellemare’s line, San Jose’s fourth isn’t expected to score. Both Coaches expect their depth forwards to clog, pressure, dump, check, eat minutes, and maintain the score.

It was kind of a mix and match. As the game went on we were really just trying to win our matchup with whoever was out there. -Fehr

Fehr logged 12:24 TOI, and created issues for Vegas whenever the center hit the ice. He was four out of five in neutral zone draws, and 70% overall from the faceoff circle. Fehr’s line quieted both third line wingers David Perron and Tomas Tatar. Cody Eakin’s second period shot was the only one on net for the Golden Knights third line the entire night.

We want to do our part when we’re out there chipping in. -Fehr

Fehr sounds like Bellemare after a successful Golden Knights game. Sharks defenseman Marc-Edouard Vlasic couldn’t speak enough about the importance of San Jose’s role players.

It’s our depth that has helped us get this far. The guys that don’t play as much as other guys have stepped up. Played their role and we’re getting contributions from all four lines. Which is what you need in the playoffs. -Marc-Edouard Vlasic, San Jose defenseman

When the Golden Knights get the most out of their fourth line, the game is in VGK’s control. Vegas will deploy the Bellemare-Nosek-Carrier line to win situational matchups throughout the game. When Vegas isn’t getting their normal production from the fourth line it makes Jack Adams finalist Gerard Gallant’s job of balancing lines more difficult. Same goes for the other side.

Well we wouldn’t be here without it. Our guys have recognized the importance of depth and depth scoring for teams that find a way to win. -Pete DeBoer, San Jose head coach

Gallant should expect a bounce back game by his entire team tonight, including Bellamare and the fourth line. Depth can be the difference in this series, and Vegas has the horses to pull it off. It’s just a matter of which team’s fourth line can be more effective, and up in San Jose, it wasn’t the Golden Knights.

Blocking Burns’ Shots Top Priority For Bellemare

“If you’re not willing to pay the price then you have no reason being here.” (Photo Credit: SinBin.vegas Photographer Brandon Andreasen)

It’s no secret the Golden Knights will get a heavy dose of Brent Burns’ dangerous shot from the point this series.

He’s probably one of the best, or the best, in the league at finding a way to get the puck to the net. He’s got a long reach and he can shoot from far away. You can’t go down that easily but you can’t give him too much time. He can make you look like a fool. -Pierre-Edouard Bellemare

An average slap shot from the Sharks defenseman can register up to 90 MPH. At points throughout the series, Jack Adams Finalist Gerard Gallant will have to deploy his unit of shot blocking warriors. Led by the fearless Bellemare.

I make sure what I’m covering is the entire net. So, whatever shot that goes beside me will miss the net. That’s all I’m thinking. -Bellemare

Bellmare takes the simple approach to blocking attempts from bombers like Burns. His main objective is to cut off angles and net views which forces shooters to pass the puck or skate around searching for open shooting lanes. Also, mix in a touch of Bellemare grit and devotion.

He’s a tough guy to block a shot but it’s really all about dedication. How much you want to block that puck? If you can’t block it you got to find a way to get something in the way. That’s all you need just a little piece of the body, stick or the blade. -Bellemare

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