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DeBoer’s Won’t Hesitate To Make Big In-Game Changes

It had been almost 9,000 minutes since the Golden Knights played a meaningful game, but it took less than 30 for Pete DeBoer to have seen enough.

I gave it as long as I thought I could. -DeBoer

Midway through the 2nd period against the Stars, DeBoer shook up his lineup, changing three of the four forward lines.

We were flat. For 40 minutes we didn’t have our stuff. We didn’t have our game, we didn’t have our system in place, we just didn’t play well. So, shake it up a bit, kind of give us a kick in the butt. -Mark Stone

After months of preparation to figure out what the lines should be followed by weeks of working almost exclusively together in training camp, the trios that were supposed to work out the best for the Golden Knights were blown up at the first sign of distress.

I would have loved to have had us play at a high enough level all the way through that we wouldn’t have to change anything but that’s not realistic. -DeBoer

This is a good look into the coaching style DeBoer is going to bring to the Golden Knights through this playoff run. Unlike Gallant who liked to trust the process and allow the players to work through issues, DeBoer is going to be proactive.

Without Max Pacioretty, the lines weren’t exactly what DeBoer was looking at for the last five months while the league was paused, but they were pretty darn close. Yet, he didn’t hesitate to change them in the first game that had true meaning to the team.

Starting Lines

Stephenson-Karlsson-Stone
Marchessault-Stastny-Smith
Cousins-Roy-Tuch
Carrier-Nosek-Reaves

Lines in 2nd and 3rd periods

Cousins-Stephenson-Stone
Marchessault-Karlsson-Smith
Roy-Stastny-Tuch
Carrier-Nosek-Reaves

A coach only has so many tools in those situations to use and that’s obviously one of them. I knew it was a team-wide problem because we really didn’t have anybody that was very good in the first 40 minutes. -DeBoer

New centers on three lines, a completely new line around Mark Stone, the return of the old first line, and a 3rd line that on paper is as good as the Golden Knights have ever fielded.

You can get that little jolt of energy, change things up, get a new look, we found our game in the 3rd, it was almost picture-perfect for us. -Stone

This is DeBoer’s style and it’s one he’s going to become more and more aggressive with as the games ramp up in importance. He won’t hesitate to “shuffle the deck,” he’s not afraid to bench a player, and he’s certainly not going to shy away from making a change at the most important position, between the pipes.

In this game, it couldn’t have worked better.

You keep hoping they’ll work their way out of it but it wasn’t happening. It didn’t work immediately in the 2nd period, we didn’t get a lot of results from it but we were really good in the 3rd. -DeBoer

A lot has changed for the Golden Knights since that fateful day when DeBoer’s Sharks put an end to season two. The time has finally come to see if those changes will reap the rewards the front office intended.

So far, so good, the pitchforks remain stowed away in the shed, but with the bar set incredibly high and an aggressive decision-maker at the helm, they’re always going to be within arm’s length for the next two months.

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31 Comments

  1. Will someone VGK step up about Max P

    • Its refreshing to have someone at the helm who doesn’t hesitate to take the bull by the horns. He obviously realizes doing the same thing when it doesn’t work borders on stupidly. His comment “flat” was very kind as most all were acting like they were on vacation and an embarrassment to a team that supposedly has the potential to go all the way. Attitude is everything and in many respects tops skill. they can’t afford to have the nonchalant attitude they displayed during the stars outburst in second period. They couldn’t get out of their own way. Fortunately they got their act together in the third. It was great to see 28 rewarded for his work.

      • Ken – what does that mean – mean???? If you have a comment on what was written fine – seems to me very clear. PDB at the helm is a plus at this time. Like you. he recognized an issue and took steps to hopefully fix it which worked . Seems to me that’s a plus as following this site the change from Turk wasn’t particularly well received. Maybe how and when it was done was questionable but the need was necessary.

    • RG

      Maybe Patches didn’t follow Covid guidelines while in Vegas, and had to self quarantine for 14 days before he’s let into the playoff bubble and there’s no actual injury.

  2. Tim

    Ken you covered it perfectly and Pete’s comments were very truthful. We basically stunk the place up the first two periods and change was needed. We were playing scared just trying to get the puck out of the stars zone it was hard to watch. When we had the puck they picked us up immediately and most times couldn’t get the puck up ice. As I said in your last column it was men against boys in the first two periods. People can say what they want about Nosek but he along with Reeves and Carrier have been consistently our best line for three years. Nosek is a very reliable player who deserves to be resigned. I know DeBoer looks like he likes Cousins over Nosek but not me not that Cousins is a bad player but Nosek is much more physical along with Reeves and Carrier on our fourth line thats indisputable. Patch not being there doesn’t help causing a lot of this juggling of lines. Supposedly Patch is on the horizon but this may just be a coverup and he’s history. Looking forward to the Blues game should be a rockum sockum game with a lot of hitting.

  3. Doktor Hockey

    This “pro-active” attitude is exactly what I liked about DeCoach over Gallant. Turk is a good coach, just different. This guy is very smart on how to handle guys. As far as patch goes . hell I don’t know. Ya keep hearing he is getting close. IF he does come and play, the lines will look really good. Very good! If he is out for good, it will hurt a lot!!!!

  4. SB

    The repeated promotion of Stephenson is pretty clear evidence that Stastny will be bought out. The Team cannot afford to keep Stastny one more year at the cost of losing Stephenson. The cap credit gained should be enough to sign Stephenson. Also, WT_ ……………….. Why did NBCSN exit the game after the second period to go to the Montreal game – at least here on the East coast? MIssed the entire third period!

    • I Stan Jon Merrill

      No team has ever bought out a player in the last year of his contract. They can keep Stastny and still sign Stephenson. The more likely scenario is them not re-signing Lehner. I agree with the fact that Chandler has been a huge positive for this team. I see him turning a third line of 20-9-89 into an above-average unit next season. Cody Glass needs to get acclimated to the NHL and play a full season before he gets top-6 minutes. Tuch needs talent around him to thrive. One more year of a steady veteran presence like 26 on a cup contender is a good thing. Him being around buys Glass and Krebs another year to prepare to take the reins. Not many better centers for them to learn from, especially because their games are fairly similar.

      • Julie

        I’m sure it was fantasy, but an article on pensburgh.com on 7/18/20 talks about Vegas buying out Fleury and maybe Fleury going back to Pittsburgh as a coach in light of trouble Murray is now having and probably facing replacement by Jarry.

    • Doktor Hockey

      The game was the “rights” of ATT sportsnet. So as soon as Mon game was ready they had to cover and give up Knights game, being shown only in the west.

  5. Rob

    Ken’s interactions in the comments read like an existentialist haiku:

    What does that mean?
    I’m asking what “Will someone VGK step up about Max P” means.
    What in the world are you talking about?

    I’m glad hockey is back and Ken can relax the grind and ‘WTF’ a bit more freely.

  6. Doktor Hockey

    Ken never lets anyone know WHO the hell he is addressing. I could say “What in the world are you talking about”, to many of his articles! 😉

  7. Daryl

    I like the switching of lines trying to light a fire but I disagree he is willing to bench a player. For a stretch Holden was on the ice for 20-some of 20-some goals against, even knocking the puck into his own goal twice and wasn’t benched. Roy hasn’t looked good at all in these 2 games, he’s looked lazy, and I’m sure he won’t be benched.

  8. James

    The non stop always occurring problem is Stasnty. He doesn’t put forth an effort no matter where you put him. Please send him packing this off season.

  9. Just want information on Max P injury did he test positive for covid
    league wanted to cover up?
    Did he stub his toe? Come on loyal fans want to know. Is he out for rest of year?

    • We ask literally every single day. We post the update on our Injury Report page moments after we get it. It can be found at the top of the site.

      He does not have COVID. We don’t know what happened. He should not be out for the rest of the year.

      • The Noodle King

        You gotta have his cell number, Ken. Shoot him a text and ask, WTF, Max. The FANS need to know your status, NOW !!

        And SUPER happy to read 24 comments without any quotes reported from Brietbarf. GOOD JOB EVERYONE !!

  10. THE hockey GOD

    Max Pacioretty LW, Vegas Golden Knights
    Max Pacioretty will make an appearance soon, according to Golden Knights coach Peter DeBoer.

    Pacioretty missed the start of the round-robin due to a “minor” injury that he sustained during the training camp. He hasn’t joined the Golden Knights in the Edmonton bubble.
    Source: SinBin.vegas on Twitter
    Jan 19, 1970, 6:29 AM ET

  11. Pete

    I don’t agree that Gallant never shuffles the lines when things are not working out. I’ve seen Gallant shuffle lines and bench guys he thinks screwed up. He does “trust” the process but it’s a fine line between that and not shuffling lines. Shuffling lines is one aspect of it, but what’s more key is this thing called line matching. It means you play the line that matches well against the opposing team’s line. So no one is tied to a line or a team mate you have to play with. It’s all about the player and his counterpart. Sometimes you roll 4 lines, sometimes you roll 3 lines if there’s an opposing line that’s dominating one of your lines. Sometimes you risk having to double shift your guys. It’s a tough thing to do but I’ve seen Joel Quenneville use that aspect many times against tough teams when the Hawks won the cup 3 times.

    • I didn’t say he doesn’t shuffle the lines, I’m just saying it took more fire him to do it. He absolutely would not have done it in that game if he was still behind the VGK bench.

  12. Pete

    That’s speculative at best. Be that as it may, it takes more than juggling lines to win a game. It takes every player to know every other player he is facing and being able to dominate him whether is being strong on the puck or being able to pick his pocket or just being able to get under his skin. A lot of homework needs to be done and a lot of video needs to be watched. Players need to communicate and pass on tips on opposing players and their tendencies. That’s how you stop a bull like Radulov or a sniper like Seguin or a mere opportunist like our friend Pavelski. Against an old team like Dallas (avg age 30), we should have enough footage to know each player’s strength and weakness. With our speed and talent we should have been able to win this one easily. As I write this, COL is picking them apart.

  13. A VGK Fan

    Hey remember when i talked about Karlsson Marchy and Smith being the “Misfit Line” and yall were sayin they weren’t gonna play together anymore?

    HOW YOU LIKE ME NOW?

  14. Pete

    The misfit line is truly a misfit. Not for the line but for the team. This is why they don’t put Toews and Kane on the same line. They don’t put McDavid and Draisaitl on the same line and they don’t put Malkin and Crosby on the same line. Only when desperate times and power plays do they do that. There’s a reason to split your strongest player and spread them over the lines. That way you can confidently roll all 4 lines. As for Patches. I think it’s wise he stays out until the Cup round starts. This is a smart move. Every year the Hawks won the cup, one of their stars will be on some sort of “injured-reserve” a few weeks before the post season starts. It happened with Kaner, it happened with Toews and it happened with Hossa. Don’t know why but I think it’s a smart move. Call it insurance or what you will but you need at least one of your best players to be in tip top shape when it matters most and he will have to create the momentum necessary to win the cup.

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