When Pete DeBoer took over as head coach of the Golden Knights we knew there would be changes. He mentioned his “non-negotiables” which included shorter shifts, something Vegas implemented in their very first game with DeBoer behind the bench.
But DeBoer said he was hesitant to adopt too many changes too quickly fearing information overload.
My biggest fear coming in was to overwhelm them with information, which slows you down, you’re thinking too much. So when I initially came in and got the job I said I’m not going to do that. –DeBoer on SLGND Podcast
DeBoer has been a head coach in the NHL, for a long time, 12 years to be exact, but he’s never taken over a team in the middle of the season. So, he’s leaned on the advice of his friends who have, one of which being Winnipeg Jets head coach Paul Maurice.
In doing so, DeBoer decided it would be best to use the first three games to observe. After one game and one practice, there’s already by a shift.
I’ve given them a little bit more than maybe I’d planned a couple days ago because the group has impressed me with their intelligence and their ability to pick up on some things, so that’s something that’s moving on the fly. –DeBoer on VGK Insider Show
Over the course of the first three years, the Golden Knights systems have remained essentially the same. Under Gerard Gallant, line changes were common, but the style of play never changed.
Save for one key moment earlier this season when the Golden Knights introduced their new zone defensive scheme (VGKD 2.0). According to all accounts, that system change was implemented in a single day and without ever even practicing it on the ice. It wasn’t perfect but they were able to put it into action and ended up winning the first game using it in Nashville.
We threw a bunch of different stuff at them. They were dialed in. They executed. (They asked) a lot of good questions. -DeBoer after practice on 1/17
DeBoer credits most of the 180 in philosophy change to the intelligence of the players in the room, but also believes the schedule dictated it.
Part of the reason too is we have some real practice time here on this trip. Today and in Boston (on Monday). Coming out of the break that trip doesn’t set up as well after 10 days off and I wanted to get them thinking about some of these things before they went on a 10-day break.- DeBoer on SLGND Podcast
He didn’t hint at anything specific but that won’t stop us from reading into what he did say. (He’ll get used to it eventually too.)
They are built differently. In San Jose, I had a team built around elite skilled defensemen in Brent Burns and Erik Karlsson. We tried to play our systems to maximize their puck touches and their ability to get them the puck in the right places on the ice. Vegas is built a little differently. They are more top-heavy with their skill up front. So, we’re going to have to try and maximize that a little bit more. -DeBoer on VGK Insider Show
To borrow from the great Bob Dylan, I feel a change comin’ on.
And you’ll start to see it as soon as tonight in Montreal.