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Praise Be To Foley, Vegas Golden Knights Hockey Website

The Mantra Puts Major Pressure On McPhee And Gallant

Playoffs in three, Cup in six, the mantra. As a fan, you’ve got to love the optimism, no matter how unlikely you feel it may be, but have you ever wondered how George McPhee and Gerard Gallant feel about the mantra? Let’s be honest, it has to make them uneasy.

Does The Creator’s wish list mean there’s an apocalypse clock on McPhee and Gallant and does “no excuses, that’s the standard,” mean the coach/GM duo have a hard deadline? Whether true or not, there’s no question every time the mantra is said publicly by the guy signing the checks, pressure has to be mounting for McPhee and Gallant.

So, just how ambitious or impatient is The Creator with his future plan? After researching expansion history, “playoffs in three and Cup in six” doesn’t seem that far off for a new owner’s expectations. We can’t find any other owners publicly stating a mantra like this (let alone hundreds of times), but it appears to be a standard set decades ago. In fact, three and six would actually have been considered overly patient for many new owners.

San Jose Sharks
First coach: George Kingston
Two seasons: 1991-93 (fired offseason)
Win% .129 (28-129-7)

First GM: Jack Ferreira
One season: 1990-92; 17 wins (39 points)

Ottawa Senators
First Coach: Rick Bowness
Four seasons: 1992-95 (fired mid-season)
Win% .204 (39-178-18)

First GM: Mel Bridgman
One season: 1991-93; 10 wins (24 points)

Tampa Bay Lightning
First Coach: Terry Crisp
Six seasons: 1992-97 (fired early season)
Win% .421 (142-204-45)
Playoffs: (2-4)

First GM: Phil Esposito
Six seasons: 1991-98; one playoff appearance

Florida Panthers
First Coach: Roger Nielson
Two seasons: 1993-95 (fired mid-season)
Win% .489 (53-56-23)

First GM: Bobby Clarke
One season: 1993-94; record points (83) for an expansion team

Anaheim Ducks
First Coach: Ron Wilson
Four seasons: 1993-97 (fired offseason)
Win% .458 (120-145-31)
Playoffs: (4-7)

First GM: Jack Ferreira
Five seasons: 1993-98; acquired Teemu Selanne, one postseason appearance

Nashville Predators
First Coach: Barry Trotz
Fifteen seasons: 1998-2014 (fired offseason)
Win% .533 (557-479-160)
Playoffs: (19-31)

First GM: David Poile
Nineteen seasons: 1998-present; Stanley Cup runner-up, one Conference title, ten playoff appearances

Atlanta Thrashers
First Coach: Curt Fraser
Four seasons: 2001-03 (fired mid-season)
Win% .312 (64-169-46)

First GM: Don Waddell
Nine seasons: 1998-10; Division title, one postseason appearance

Columbus Blue Jackets
First Coach: Dave King
Three seasons: 2000-03 (fired mid-season)
Win% .397 (64-106-34)

First GM: Doug MacLean
Six seasons: 1998-07; no titles, no playoff appearances

Minnesota Wild
First Coach: Jacques Lemaire
Eight seasons: 2000-09 (resigned in offseason)
Win% .529 (293-255-108)
Playoffs: (11-18)

First GM: Doug Risebrough
Eight seasons: 1999-09; Division title, three postseason appearances

Only three original expansion coaches lasted longer than five seasons. Other than Nashville, most franchises became noticeably impatient after the second or third year. Below-average and/or developing rosters likely won’t matter, Gallant’s fate could already be determined by expansion history and The Creator’s goals. Same goes for most original expansion GMs. Four general managers lasted longer than six seasons. Only three expansion teams qualified for the postseason by their third season.

Let’s be clear, fans shouldn’t give a bleep about past expansion trends, and they won’t. They’ll gladly let Gallant and McPhee know if and when they’re on the hot seat. As impatient as the owner may seem, fans will always take the cake in that category.

The mantra will be revisited hundreds of times over the next six seasons, probably by this site alone. Gallant and McPhee must hear it in their heads at night, “Playoffs in three, Cup in six.” I can’t confirm but I heard from an imaginary source that this is what every text conversation with the owner is like for McPhee and Gallant.

 

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27 Comments

  1. James

    @Jason Pothier
    Now here’s a thought… Point-wise, the Golden Knights may be better in Year 1 than in Year 3 … This team could be young and inexperienced in Year 3 … Glass, Suzuki and Branstrom could be making their debuts. It could be like a rebuilding year

    • Jeff

      I agree I actually think of the first 3 years year 1 will be our best season.

      • It’s not the craziest prediction. Though I’ll disagree, I think you may be right on year one to year two, but by year three the pieces will start to be in place.

    • PhiSig 150

      But.. but.. playoffs in 3. Foley promised! Love your comments James. My mantra is drive for 5. Love to be in contention for playoffs in year 5

    • RJ

      I’ve thought a lot about this myself. The “Process” the 76ers are undertaking had their worst year, 10 wins, in year three. I haven’t actually heard McPhee use the term ‘Hinkie on ice’ but it is thrown around a lot by misguided fans on social media.

      We only have a single player on our likely NHL roster under contract in year three. Having our 2017 develop fully by then is a heavy lift, and our 2018 and 2019 draftees definitely wont be ready. Who is taking the ice in 2020? I keep hearing playoffs in three, but my own eyes are telling me 50pts year one and two, 30pts year three.

      • James

        @RJ
        I was with you until 30pts. The godawful 2016–17 Colorado Avalanche finished with 48pts. I think you’re underestimating the loser point, 3-on-3 overtime and the shootout…

        The 2016–17 Colorado Avalanche are more talented on paper, but couldn’t play as a team

        What’s the over/under for points in year one? The Bookies usually have a good idea what will happen

        • RJ

          I mean it, I think 50pts is the number year one unless many players operate well beyond their potential ceilings. Colorado played terrible, but they had more talent last year than we will at any point this year. I’m also taking into account the prediction that our best players on opening day will be traded by the trade deadline.

          The team that takes the ice in December is almost certainly going to be less able to win than the team that takes the ice in October; and the team in March is going to be even worse than that.

          If we keep our opening day roster intact, and everyone has an above average year, and we don’t have any major injuries, then a respectable 70pts is definitely possible. I just don’t see the above conditions as very likely.

          • James

            @RJ
            I found 30pts year three most jarring. 18pts less than the historically bad 2016–17 Colorado Avalanche. To put things in perspective, the tanking 2014–15 Buffalo Sabres finished with 54pts

      • Phisig150

        Hinkie on ice is this misguided fan’s coinage. Thanks for the shout out RJ. I don’t think we’ll be as awful as your gloom and doom predictions but I don’t see playoffs until year 5 either.

  2. James

    @PhiSig 150
    What’s the average age of the current roster? – Hopefully by year three the pieces will start to be in place for the future. I hope by then we will have the youngest roster in the NHL. Hague and Leschyshyn could be making their debuts too. Maybe some other draft picks from the present and the future. I would imagine there would be growing pains … Skaters hitting that rookie wall. We might have to take a step back so we can take a big jump forward … Instead of progressing from one stage to another in a series of steps; sequential “playoffs in three and Cup in six”

  3. James

    @PhiSig 150
    ‘But.. but.. playoffs in 3. Foley promised!’

    After re-calibrating expectations in year 3, Foley/The Marketing Department can sell the fan base the hope of a better tomorrow. Trafficking hope has already started in full force.

    https://www.nhl.com/goldenknights/news/red-line-report-ranks-vegas-draft-performance-as-tops-in-nhl/c-290456546

    • RJ

      Recalibration is another work for caught in a lie.

      • James

        @RJ
        Personally I think that Foley was very naive/cocky in his assessment. He laid out the best case scenario based upon the past with the Cup in six. Plausible but not probable.

        Playoffs in three is definitely more realistic, but the team is not really built with the short-term in mind.

        Does he really believe it? Perhaps he was just trying to sell season tickets by drumming up enthusiasm with his outlandish comments? Time will tell if heads will roll within the organization

        • Phisig150

          I think he really believes it. I also think the NHL is going make him a little more humble. It’ll be a good learning experience for him. He probably hasn’t failed in quite sometime.

        • RJ

          In my mind there is only one of three scenarios with the 3/6 edict.

          1) He has no idea what he is talking about. (What you seem to think).
          2) He is outright lying. (What I think).
          3) He is the smartest man ever to own a sports franchise. (What Ken and Jason seem to think)

          The problem with options 1 and 3 is they don’t match what McPhee is actually doing. I might not see the very very big picture, but it really looks like this team is building for looooooong term success. Their actions do not match their words. When people say one thing, it do another, there is a word for that, it is lying.

          • James

            @RJ
            ‘The problem with options 1 and 3 is they don’t match what McPhee is actually doing.’

            I totally agree with you. Correct me if I’m wrong, but I recall Foley saying that McPhee changed his thinking about building slowly through the draft. Initially, Foley seemed more interested in the marquee names in free agency. He wanted to build the best team possible in the expansion draft. Foley shared the same vision as RJ.

            The only thing is, Foley double down on the “playoffs in three and Cup in six” despite changing the blueprint.

          • Phisig150

            That’s a nice breakdown. It really does have to be one of those 3. options. Boils down a year plus of arguments into options a, b or c

  4. RJ

    @James

    For the record I don’t necessarily think building the best possible team was the best idea. I think we should have built a decent, exciting team that we could build on. The team we are putting on ice is going to be pretty hard for a lot of fans to enjoy, and impossible to stay excited about. Put a team that we could be proud of on the ice, and simultaneously build for the future.

    Going for broke year one but trading future picks for players is a bad idea. Screwing over ticket holders year 1-3 to build far future prospects is also a bad idea. Worst of all by far is being lied to, of the plan is slow burn build for loooong term success, I’d be much happier to ‘trust the process’.

    They are telling us to expect short term success but in reality we are going to have a lot of disappointed fans in 2020 when we are 20pts out of a playoff spot. In 2023 when we don’t have a Cup or anything close to one, most Las Vegans are going to call themselves Raiders fans, and NHL will be a small niche market. That’s my great concern with this plan I am watching unfold.

    • RJ

      Notice I said exciting team not winning team. If I was a fan of the Jets or the Lightning or even the Flyers I’d feel pretty good about our team’s non-playoff efforts in 2016-2017 and I’d be pretty excited about the next season. I fear it will be a very very long time before Golden Knights fans can say the same thing.

    • Phisig150

      If we land a superstar most of your concerns will go away. Getting that star player is key. Rasmus? I hate the Raiders but yeah you’re right they’ll be huge out here. Compared to the behemoth that is the NFL the NHL is always going to be a small niche market

  5. James

    @RJ
    I understand your reservations, I personally think that the slow burn build for loooong term success would be better suited in already crazy for hockey Quebec City than Las Vegas.

    • Phisig150

      That’s where the marketing that they refuse to do comes into play. Sell the shit out of hockey to us. Make this seem like the hottest thing in town that you can’t escape no matter where you turn. Get creative. Instead we get West Coast West Point. Drab uniforms. Morals and values. No sizzle or flash at all.

  6. James

    @Phisig150
    @Ken Boehlke
    Ken’s alternate history of the Vegas Golden Knights on Puck Daddy has got to be the team name and the lack of a name the team contest. The Topic is a lightning rod. It got fans talking about the sport of Hockey. Shortening Las Vegas to Vegas controversy. What if … Las Vegas Aces or Las Vegas Black Aces got the all-clear by the league? Or how about Las Vegas Scorpions if Bettman didn’t budge?

    • Phisig150

      I can’t see him opening that can of worms again. He still thinks only a couple of people really cared about the name. I think it’s what if Las Vegas got a relocated team instead of an expansion team.

  7. James

    @Phisig150
    I think it’s what if Las Vegas got a relocated team instead of an expansion team.

    That’s an interesting question. Are the Arizona Coyotes that much closer to the playoffs in three and Cup in six?

    • James

      I guess that RJ would point out that the Arizona Coyotes have been picking in the lottery for years, but it hasn’t translated into success … You need a bit of luck. There are similar examples in the NBA

  8. James

    @Phisig150
    ‘I think it’s what if Las Vegas got a relocated team instead of an expansion team.’

    It’s too early to judge, but I thought it might be what if Vegas hired Jason Botterill and Phil Housley instead of George McPhee and Gerard Gallant. The younger Botterill appears to be more into analytics. He was always Ken’s first choice, but Foley gravitated more towards the experienced McPhee

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