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A Dip Into Max Pacioretty’s Cold Gameday Routine

(Photo Credit: SinBin.vegas Photographer Brandon Andreasen)

The list of why professional athletes are professional athletes and the rest of us are just fans is a long one that probably doesn’t need any more entries added to it. But,  we’re going to add one anyway.

Max Pacioretty was recently on the Agent Provocateur podcast with his agent, Allan Walsh, where he discussed his gameday routine, one that clearly shows he is much closer to a machine than a normal human being.

I wake up, go to the rink, eat breakfast, get treatment, stretch, roll out a little bit, then go on the ice for pregame skate. Then I do a little bit of a lift. Cold tub. Eat lunch, come home, nap. I do my Normatech (recovery boots that “flushes your legs and squeezes them with air”), then some breathing stuff and meditation.  Wake up from the nap, have a snack, go to the rink, another cold tub. Meetings. (Pre-game) Warm-up. Another cold tub. Go out on the ice and play the 1st period, then another cold tub. And then after the game probably another cold tub as well. -Pacioretty on Agent Provocateur podcast

Yes, you read that right, four to five dips in a tub of water filled with ice cubes every single game day.

Just something to shock the body, and makes your feel a little bit more fresh. -Pacioretty on Agent Provocateur podcast

It’s just one of the things that makes Max Pacioretty, Max Pacioretty. This is a guy who has played more than 800 games in the NHL. He’s one of the league’s elite scorers and a veteran that’s respected by players across the league. He’s established, has signed a massive contract, and is probably better than 99.9% of people in the world at playing hockey the moment he rolls out of bed, yet he puts himself through the harshness of dipping his entire body into a cold tub five times a day just to get a tiny edge.

You get in these routines and it’s not even superstitious, I just feel better while doing it. And mine’s not even too crazy, a couple guys have weirder things but it does help me I think. -Pacioretty on Agent Provocateur podcast

I’m literally shivering just writing this article and I had to put on a coat while I was listening to him describe it, but it should serve as a reminder of the incredible rigors these guys put themselves through to entertain us night in and night out for an 82-game season.

It’s not fun, getting in that ice bath is never fun but you feel like if you can go through that you can go through anything. -Pacioretty on Agent Provocatuer podcast

If this doesn’t make you respect Max Pacioretty, and all NHL players for that matter, I’m not sure what will.

**Make sure you give a listen to the Agent Provocateur podcast with Pacioretty as it does a great job of telling his story both in Montreal and then once he got to Vegas. Here’s the link.**

VEGAS GOLDEN KNIGHTS 7 ARIZONA COYOTES 1 (13-10-0 26 PTS)

Recap: The Golden Knights had no trouble scoring in Arizona. Jonathan Marchessault began the parade with his 10th and Max Pacioretty wristed in his 5th of the season. Pacioretty’s scored Vegas’ third power play goal in two games. After the opening 20 minutes the Golden Knights held a 2-1 lead. 

The offense blew up for Vegas in the 2nd period. Chandler Stephenson, Michael Amadio and Pacioretty all registered goals to stretch Vegas’ lead to 6-1. 

The 3rd period was useless and didn’t matter. Everyone skated around trying to not get hurt.

The Golden Knights record improves to 13-10-0 after dominating the Coyotes 7-1 Arizona. Vegas heads home for their next four games beginning with Calgary on Sunday night. Puck drop against the Flames is scheduled for 7 PM. (Recap by Jason)

Analysis: The Arizona Coyotes are horrendous. VGK did what any decent team in the NHL should do to them. (Recap by Ken)


Upcoming stories from the Vegas Golden Knights vs. Arizona Coyotes game at Gila River Arena.

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Goalie Interference – Episode 8

With the Golden Knights coming off two losses we dive into the goalie’s impact on them, other players stepping up, VGK’s lack of dominance against the Pacific, and much more. As always, the show airs live at 7 PM every Wednesday (or Thursday when VGK play on Wednesday).

Audio Only

VGK’s Head-To-Head Dominance Over Pacific Division Slipping

(Photo Credit: SinBin.vegas Photographer Brandon Andreasen)

Since the Golden Knights entered the NHL they’ve done nothing but dominate the Pacific Division.

Not just in the overall standings, in which the Golden Knights have won the division two of the three years they’ve competed in it, but also in the postseason where Vegas has been the last team standing three of the four playoff seasons.

One of the main reasons for this dominance has been the head-to-head play between the teams. Of the six teams still in the division (Arizona left for the Central), the Golden Knights had a combined record of 68-21-8 record coming into this season. That’s 144 points in just 97 games or a points percentage of .742. Against all other teams, VGK have earned 226 points in 194 games for a points percentage of .583.

Literally almost 40% of the points the Golden Knights have earned in franchise history have come on the backs of just six teams. But this year it hasn’t gone as well.

Record against ANA, CGY, EDM, LAK, SJS, and VAN
21-22: 2-4-0 (.333)
20-21: 21-3-0 (.875)
19-20: 13-5-2  (.700)
18-19: 18-8-3 (.672)
17-18: 16-5-3 (.729)

The Golden Knights have won just two games against Pacific Division opponents not named Seattle while dropping four. They’ve lost both division games they’ve played on the road (at LAK, at ANA) and have allowed their opponent to grab at least a point in every game but one, a game they trailed 2-0 six minutes in (vs VAN).

Winning in the division has been a staple for the Golden Knights’ success and one has to wonder what their overall record will look like if they are not amassing huge point totals against the Pacific Division.

Obviously, Seattle has helped as Vegas has beaten them twice in two tries, both in regulation. However, those games were both at T-Mobile Arena and the Kraken appear to be improving as the season progresses. The next two matchups in late March and early April may not be as easy.

There are still 18 games left against division opponents. Including Seattle, the Golden Knights have recorded eight points in the first eight games. To reach their normal pace against the division (.742), they’d need to go 15-2-1.

Making that even trickier, 10 of the 18 games are on the road, including a pair in Edmonton and Calgary who are in 1st and 2nd in the division.

Adding this all up, the fact of the matter is, the Golden Knights are going to need to play much better out of division than they ever have before to reach the playoffs.

There’s no better time than now to start that as nine of the next 10 games are out of the division.

ANAHEIM DUCKS 6 VEGAS GOLDEN KNIGHTS 5 (12-10-0 24 PTS)

Recap: The Golden Knights got off to a slow start in Anaheim, recording their first shot 5:43 into the opening period. The two teams traded penalties but neither converted on the man advantage. After the opening 20 minutes the game was locked in a scoreless tie. 

Anaheim took the first lead of the game 4:21 in the middle frame, only to double it two minutes later. William Carrier cut the lead in half with his third goal of the season. The Ducks however, widened their lead adding two more but Zach Whitecloud got Vegas back in the game with a shorthanded goal with :12 left in the period. After 40 minutes expired the Golden Knights trailed 4-2. 

Mattias Janmark scored Vegas’ second shorthanded goal of the evening to close Anaheim’s gap. The Ducks regained their two goal lead but the Golden Knights wouldn’t go a way. On Vegas’ third power play opportunity Max Pacioretty kept the visiting team alive scoring his third of the season. The Golden Knights gave up a shorthanded empty net goal, but scored another power play to make it a 6-5 game. Anaheim survived a wild third period beating Vegas by one. 

The Golden Knights record drops to 12-10-0 falling 6-5 to the Ducks in Anaheim. Vegas wraps up their short two-game trip with a stop in Arizona on Friday night. Puck drop against the Coyotes is scheduled for 6:30 PM. (Recap by Jason)

Analysis: After starting to look a little more like themselves the last week or so, the Golden Knights lacked an attention to details. Major issues in the neutral zone, inability to breakout, unwillingness to cover for active d-men. VGK fought their butts off to come back into the game but they couldn’t get over the hump. A winnable game playing the Ducks on a back-to-back, the Golden Knights couldn’t get it. (Recap by Ken)


Upcoming stories from the Vegas Golden Knights vs. Anaheim Ducks game at Honda Center.

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Surprising Ducks Not Cup Ready Like Golden Knights

(Photo Credit: SinBin.vegas Photographer Brandon Andreasen)

The Golden Knights are loaded with high-ticket talent and proven leaders. When Jack Eichel makes his Vegas debut the 31st franchise will be one of the league’s most dangerous teams. Tonight’s opponent, the Anaheim Ducks are skilled but built much differently. Through the draft the Ducks became younger, cheaper and much more competitive than they had over the last few seasons. For instance, Anaheim had an eight game win streak, one of their players string together a sixteen game point streak, and currently sit one point above the Golden Knights in the standings. It’s a bit of a shock to fans of teams in the Pacific Division.

Since their arrival, Vegas is 18-3-0 all-time against Anaheim. The Golden Knights have outscored the Ducks 79-41 and allow only 1.95 goals per game. It’s been a one-sided series to say the least. This season the two teams met in late October and as usual the Vegas won 5-4. However, the box score won’t tell you Vegas blew a 4-1 lead in the 3rd period, or Anaheim scored three unanswered goals in a five minute span, or the game was decided in shootout.

If it wasn’t clear before, trading for Eichel was clear sign the Golden Knights are in a full win-now mode. Whereas the Ducks are playing without any organizational pressure. It’s all about building chemistry, experience, and making an unsuspected run towards the playoffs. Of course, every team desires deep playoff runs but few are constructed well enough to win a Stanley Cup. Vegas is one of them. Anaheim is showing early signs they could be in the future.

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32nd In Penalties Drawn, DeBoer Explains Why And What Must Change To Improve It

(Photo Credit: SinBin.vegas Photographer Brandon Andreasen)

For the Golden Knights the biggest cause for consternation this season has been their inability to score on the power play. However, there’s something directly related to scoring power play goals that the Golden Knights are actually worse at; that’s drawing them.

Vegas currently sits in dead last in the NHL with just 60 penalties drawn in 21 games. That comes out to an average of 2.84 penalties drawn per game. Every other team draws at least three per game.

We’ve got to draw some more penalties, that’s been an issue here for a long time. For the amount of time we have the puck when we are playing well we should draw more and that’s on us to attack those holes a little harder. -Pete DeBoer

Since 2017-18 when the Golden Knights came into the league, only five teams have drawn fewer penalties. VGK have sat in the bottom 10 in the league three of their four completed seasons, and have never drawn more than 3.6 in a season.

As a group I just think using our speed and our size to put teams in uncomfortable situations more. That’s a mindset we’ve got to get better at. -DeBoer

The good news for the Golden Knights is that they aren’t a highly penalized team themselves. Despite being near the bottom of the league in drawing penalties, only once have they finished the season taking more penalties than drawing them, and it wasn’t that far off at -18.

This season though is heading for their worst yet. VGK have taken 73 penalties while just drawing 60. That puts them on pace to finish the season around -50 in net penalties. The last time the NHL played a full 82-game season, in 2018-19, the Anaheim Ducks were the only team that eclipsed 50 in that category. In fact, since 2012-13, only three teams have finished above 50, the Ducks twice and Columbus in 2014-15.

DeBoer believes it’s fixable though, and in a couple times discussing the topic he did not mention refereeing a single time. He puts the blame on his players, not the guys with the whistles.

We have multiple opportunities a game where we have defensemen flatfooted or there’s a hole that we can attack and this group is getting a little better at it but we have to attack those situations more and put teams in bad spots with our speed. We tend to look at the hole and then look for a play instead of racing through it. -DeBoer

Of course, health has been an issue for the Golden Knights this season, which is a major contributor to any negative stats against Vegas. Playing without Mark Stone, Max Pacioretty, William Karlsson, Jonathan Marchessault, and Shea Theodore for extended periods of time will obviously have an effect on penalty generation. As the team starts to get people back, DeBoer is hopeful things will pick back up.

We haven’t had the puck much this year because of our health. As we have the puck more and those guys who score and attack those areas come back into the lineup, I’m sure we’re going to draw more. Even then, I think we need to find another level than we have here in that area. -DeBoer

Film Breakdown: Denying Pass At Blue Line On Penalty Kill

Since Pete DeBoer took over as head coach of the Golden Knights, one aspect of the game they’ve been consistently excellent at is penalty killing.

In today’s film breakdown, we show how VGK’s commitment to taking away a single pass on the penalty kill limits the amount of space the Golden Knights must defend, neutralizes one player on the opposing power play, and leads to VGK having one of the strongest penalty kills in the league.

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Iole: Centers Of Attention

This season, diehard VGK fan and legendary combat sports columnist Kevin Iole will be delivering columns a few times a month on Sundays. Kevin’s back today to take a look at a position of depth, one that’s been notoriously thin in years past.

(Photo Credit: SinBin.vegas Photographer Brandon Andreasen)

LAS VEGAS — In that magical first season, the Golden Knights went with William Karlsson, Erik Haula, Cody Eakin and Pierre-Edouard Bellemare 1-4 as their centers.

In this season’s playoffs, assuming Jack Eichel recovers, that group will be Eichel-Karlsson-Chandler Stevenson and Nicolas Roy, potentially with Nolan Patrick, Keegan Kolesar and Jake Leschyshyn in the hole. It’s quite an improvement and impressive depth.

That’s the center depth of a Stanley Cup champion, but don’t start scoping out spots for the parade just yet.

There is no guarantee that Eichel will return this year, or that he’ll be the impact player he is when healthy. He underwent a surgery shortly after the Knights acquired him from Buffalo that no NHL player has ever undergone.

UFC fighters Chris Weidman and Aljamain Sterling both had it and recommend it, but because it worked for them does not necessarily mean it will work for Eichel.

But if Eichel comes back and resembles the player he once was, this will be a deep and potentially dominant group because it will create matchup issues aplenty. Stevenson has raised his game this year as the team’s No. 1 center to this point, and if you drop him to No. 2 or No. 3 where his matchups are better, it figures he can maintain if not improve upon his start.

If Karlsson is the Knights’ No. 3 center, I would dare say there may not be a better No. 3 center in the NHL. And Roy has done far more than a credible job centering Reilly Smith and Jonathan Marchessault while Karlsson has been out. Like Stevenson, he’d be a matchup issue for other teams’ No. 4 centers.

Teams that win the Stanley Cup are strong down the middle. When the Pittsburgh Penguins won back to back titles in 2016 and 2017, they did it on the backs of Sidney Crosby and Evgeni Malkin. But Nick Bonino was a quality third-line center for those Penguins with Phil Kessel on his line, and Matt Cullen was a smart, effective fourth liner.

The Lightning have won the last two Cups, with Brayden Point and Steven Stamkos. When Washington defeated the VGK in 2018 for the Cup, they had Nicklas Backstrom and Evgeny Kuznetsov as their centers.

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EDMONTON OILERS 3 VEGAS GOLDEN KNIGHTS 2 (12-9-0 24 PTS)

Recap: The Golden Knights did a great job defending Connor McDavid and the Oilers for the opening 15 minutes but it wouldn’t last. Edmonton picked up two quick goals in the final two minutes of the period to take a 2-0 lead into the first intermission.

Edmonton stretched their lead early in the middle frame but Vegas quickly answered. Chandler Stephenson backhanded in his eighth of the season getting his team back within two.

Vegas came out strong in the final period outshooting Edmonton 11-2 in the first 10 minutes. Reilly Smith made it a one goal game when he tapped in his ninth of the season. The Golden Knights couldn’t find the tying goal and lost a tight divisional battle.

The Golden Knights record drops to 12-9-0 after falling to the Oilers 3-2. Vegas hits the road for a short two game road trip beginning in Anaheim on Wednesday night. Puck drop against the Ducks is scheduled for 7 PM. (Recap by Jason)

Analysis: The Golden Knights have really lived or died by their defense chipping in offensively. Tonight, they got caught trying to help out far too often and it led to what felt like an endless string of breakaways for Edmonton. VGK pushed back but couldn’t find the game tying goal before time ran out. (Recap by Ken)


Upcoming stories from the Vegas Golden Knights vs. Edmonton Oilers game at T-Mobile Arena.

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