Like everything players, coaches, and GMs say before a game it can be taken many different ways. The same is true with what St. Louis Blues GM Doug Armstrong said on TSN’s Hockey Central Friday afternoon, but we are going to choose to take them a very specific way because it might be good for the Golden Knights.
The Blues got here Friday morning at 1 AM (42 hours before the game) and it sure seems like Armstrong is concerned about the team spending a night off in Sin City.
There’s a lot to distract you here in Vegas as I’m looking out the window now. I think the first couple of years it’s certainly going to happen. That’s going to test quite honestly the maturity of our team right now.
We do talk about it, we are not naive in the sense that we are going to spend the night here Saturday night, the bus is going to leave much later than it normally does. What we are trying to do is lob the ball and say it’s Vegas and it’s a great opportunity for you guys to have some fun and blow off some steam and become a team, but that’s for after game. -Doug Armstrong, St. Louis Blues GM
To be fair, you can easily read those quotes as a challenge to his team, but the fact that the discussion about distractions came up, and there’s already a bit of planning for the after-game celebration have to be good signs for the Golden Knights.
It’s not like you are going to beat Vegas all the time, they are a good team and they’ve got good players. This is way different than (Columbus) had to deal with. But if we’re sluggish and not ready to play than it tells us about our team. But you have to address it, I think you’re a little bit naive if you don’t let everyone know that Vegas is a good town and we expect you guys to act like pros and then when the game is over and we’ve performed then we are going to treat them like men also. -Armstrong
Again, we are probably reading too much into this and since we are about to publish this article I’m sure it won’t be true at all, but it sure seems like a pre-game excuse for a team that’s played lights out hockey the first two weeks of the season, and set to play their final game of a long road trip.
Would George McPhee ever say something like this about the Golden Knights going on the road to New York? Would Gerard Gallant say it about the first trip to Canada? I highly doubt it.
Sometimes you draw too much attention to it too. -Armstrong
We’ll find out in a few hours, but if the Blues come out flat (like the Coyotes, Bruins, and Sabres all did), we might already have the reason.