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Cassidy’s Philosophy of Using Ice Time As “The Ultimate Accountability Factor”

(Photo Credit: @vg on SinBin Discord Server)

Accountability is expected to be a hallmark of the Bruce Cassidy era in Las Vegas. That’s not to say players weren’t held accountable under the previous two regimes, they absolutely were, but with Cassidy, it just seems to hit different because of his bluntly honest style when talking about it publicly.

Like every coach though, actions speak louder than words, and while Cassidy’s words often back up his actions in a way Pete DeBoer’s and Gerald Gallant’s did not, there’s one place where his actions will always undoubtedly speak volumes throughout his tenure with the Golden Knights.

The ultimate accountability factor is ice time. That’s the one area where you can really get the attention of a hockey club. I’ve never met a player that said ‘hey coach you played me too much last night.’ That’s just not something you hear. They want to be out there in all situations. -Cassidy

Every coach in the NHL operates this way, but they all have slightly different approaches to how they do it. For Cassidy, he comes into each game with an idea of the various roles of every player and along with it a corresponding expected time on ice.

When the game goes well, everyone fills his own role and the time on ice numbers will fall in line with the pregame expectations.

Lucky for us, that happened in the Golden Knights’ first-ever game under the new head coach.

I thought the numbers in LA was really good for what our group should look like. We didn’t tax anybody. There’s always going to be the higher-minute guys when they play in all situations. But I really like the way it was divided up and it showed in the way we played the game. I thought we were the better team. That’s the way it should be if we are going. It should be fairly consistent. -Cassidy

Why I say it’s lucky is that it immediately set a precedent of where everyone’s time on ice is expected to land, and thus, set a measurable benchmark for each player moving forward.

Fast forward to Game 2 of the season against Chicago, where for the first time Cassidy used his “hammer.” (A word he admitted is a bit too harsh but “well, we’ll use it cause I already said it and you can’t go backward.”)

There’s one line I didn’t like their puck management at the beginning of the game so you flip it around. Try to get their attention, hold them accountable, maybe it’s not their night, maybe it’s all of the above. I always like to try and get back to it to see if they can work through things. -Cassidy

That line was the 1st line of Jack Eichel, Reilly Smith, and Phil Kessel. Both Eichel and Kessel saw their time drop from the first game to the next.

I knew some guys’ numbers would be down last night because I purposely sat them down. Or lessen their responsibility than they may normally have. -Cassidy

So, what are the benchmarks to look for? Here are the numbers for each player in the season opening win against the Kings.

PlayerTotal Ice Time5v5 Ice Time

Obviously, it’s not the perfect guide, and game state will often skew things a bit and the larger sample size will hone the numbers in. But if someone falls well below, especially at even strength, it will be clear something is up

Or probably more likely down.


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  1. THE hockey GOD

    Nice observation, I was waiting for someone to say something that the posters here caught on early on.

    “Ice time = accountability”
    no different than any other good , aware coach over the ages has done !!

    Espo and Orr easily played over 25 minutes a game in their prime !

    What I like about Cassidy is he immediately recognizes, reacts, and
    hopefully pushes the right buttons. PDB and GG mixed things up, but
    did not react as quickly. PDB reacted quicker than GG, sometimes GG
    took over a game to adjust. PDB maybe one or two periods. Some times I thought
    GG was in coma behind the bench day dreaming about his playing days.

    Right now PP2 is doing better than PP1 , and Cassidy noticed that too. Surprised it’s not mention in article.

    But over adjustment can be a problem too, especially if too many different buttons are pushed and nothing results. A tough KRAKEN team tonight followed by the red hot flames will test his big push button machine. Wait a minute it’s not a push button, it’s more like one big spin of wheel of fortune. What is that red and black game in casino called ? oh yeah, fancy french name. Roooouuuuu lette.

    Don’t spin out.

  2. Sorvino

    This type of coaching will endear Cassity to the fans. I noticed that “fourth liner” Nic Roy got more ice time than the “first liner” Phil Kessel in game two.

  3. Mark

    Marchessault needs to play way more

  4. I can see Lehner and Cassidy not getting along.

  5. Sorvino

    I think we got a pretty big game tonight against a divisional opponent. Seattle outplayed Anaheim and could easily be 2-0. The Kings should have a great night tonight against Minnesota because the Wild’s goalie is old and really shit. So we want to keep that four point lead on the Kings.

    Let’s hope Adin Hill who did not look great in the preseason has a big game. This is really important. We need a good tandem. I don’t have a lot of confidence in Brossoit and if he comes back.

  6. Good effort. Hill did his job well( BIG MAN, stays on his FEET!). I do wonder why that 1st line isn’t scoring more..other lines are having more success. Carrier is a welcome return, for sure…Active, checking, pushing the puck. Pp again showed signs of life. ..Cassidy has made positive improvements there . The guys are playing quicker. Passing is quick, crisp. Seems the F’s are tighter in formation as they move the puck up-ice..less space to be intercepted by opponents.
    Overall success. I really like Coach’s style / pace of play!!! The team looks more like the 1st year team, and that bodes very well for our season!

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