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Five Years Later, The Same Place With A Much Different Feel

(Photo Credit: @NHL on Twitter)

The Golden Knights are back. Back to the Stanley Cup Final.

Back to the place they saw their storybook inaugural season come to an end, just short of ultimate glory.

For the six players who were there then, the memories of that final series are all returning to the front of their minds, but instead of trying to run from them, they’re taking a different approach.

That first year was just kind of a whirlwind. We’d never been there before and everything was kind of flowing and I don’t know maybe we took it for granted a little bit back then. Five years later there’s been ups and downs and this opportunity doesn’t come around too often. -Karlsson

That group’s feelings have permeated through the entire Vegas roster. It was on full display as they skated as a team towards the Clarence S. Campbell Bowl to be officially crowned Western Conference Champions.

Last time they won, five years ago, de facto captain Deryk Engelland snatched the trophy and began passing it around. They took pictures with it, they brought it back to the locker room, and they clearly cherished it as an accomplishment no one ever expected them to achieve.

And there’s absolutely nothing wrong with that. They climbed a mountain most believed was unscalable for an expansion team, and they deserved the honor and the glory that’s represented by the trophy presented to the best team in the West.

This time though, not a single player laid a finger on it.

Just talked with the guys (about not touching the trophy). The ultimate goal is to win the Stanley Cup. So we took a picture with it and we’re moving on to the next one. Whether it’s a curse or not, I don’t know. We just want to win the Stanley Cup, that’s really all it is. -Mark Stone

Jonathan Marchessault admitted he was vocal about the decision, still clearly bothered by the fact that the last trip to the Final did not end how they wished.

This time they feel more prepared.

Our team is more mature than we were in that first year. No one was expecting us and we kind of just showed up there and looked at the opportunity. This team wants to win and we will never be finished until we raise that Cup. I’ve kind of got that feeling where the boys feel like tonight is just another series and it’s not the end of the road, we really want more. -Carrier

The feeling in the room about the history of that fateful team was palpable. It doesn’t feel debilitating though. Instead, it’s serving as a reminder and a motivator.

It’s fun to be back with (the guys from the first season) and along the years you go through ups and down and to be back here with them is an opportunity of a lifetime. We know we’ve been here and we lost it. It was disappointing and we learned from it and now we’re back so we have to take advantage of it. -Marchessault

This team is ready.

Ready for tonight’s moment.

Ready to make amends for what went wrong the last time.

Ready to finish the job.




Golden Knights Have Stymied Top Players Deep Into Each Series


  1. Brian

    Ken, probably as good of a place as any to ask this: how much do you think the results of the Caps series influenced the roster construction going forward? You remember better than I do, but seems like the three at T Mobile were close (if Tuch only could’ve gotten lift on that puck in G2), but they got clobbered in the two here in DC and I always thought the Caps just out muscled VGK.

    Nonetheless, excited to be back playing in the SCF. Last year injuries derailed the season, but to think the Year 2 team may well at least made the WCF if not for #NotAMajor (although STL seemed like the team of destiny). It’s been a great run so far for the franchise. Let’s go make the Creator’s prediction come true!

    • Pistol Pete

      Much better team this time around. Better coach, better players. That first season., overachievement was off the charts. Unreal effort.

      • Pistol Pete

        Don’t get me wrong the first year was a good hockey team with good players, in fact exactly 1/3 of the forwards (Karlsson, Marchessault, Smith, Carrier) and 1/3 of the D corp (Theodore, McNabb) remain, but just look how McPhee and McCrimmon dug in and built an improved roster by adding Stone, Pietrangelo and Eichel and home growing Whitecloud and Hague. Add a couple good young scratches in Dorofeyev and Cotter, Brisson over in Henderson plus a number of prospects in the Juniors and the next two years should be strong until the older players begin to really fade in which case it will be up to Cassidy to develop the next group of overachievers. Some have criticized the depth of VGK’s prospect pool, underestimating it imo. This year’s draft will be interesting.

        • vgk21

          watching Sapovaliv this year I think he is a left handed version of Roy. a future center on the bottom 6.

  2. THE hockey GOD

    yeah baby !

    So much for the momentum queens.

    PBD blew that last game, mixing up his lines with his captain returning. Had no timing, none. A big mistake. Probably contributed to them losing the game.

    ELLIOTT FRIEDMAN said two things 1) don’t hit on a hard 17, and politely
    ask players at table it he can hit a soft 17 – I never asked 2) VGK should be favorites.

    Cassidy outcoached PDB in last game. Dallas won’t forget.

    Knights on Saturday nite !!! The Barn will be rocking !!

  3. THE hockey GOD

    no 81 said don’t touch the campbell trophy

    they didn’t

    JINX’s exist.

    They know it, we all know it. !!

  4. Tim

    I’m shocked and elated we won on the road 6 zip. The chicken shit that I am with a doom and gloom outlook for my teams never getting over the hump finally another one made it . Last winner 1990 UNLV that was 33 years ago. I couldn’t watch the game until my wife said it was 4 zip at the end of the second and then I watched the third period without a lot of stress. Congrats to the management, coaches, and players the city of Las Vegas is standing tall this morning.

    • TS

      No need for apologies, Tim! I’ve had to change channels a few times this season– too painful to watch some losses. We can relax a few days, lower our blood pressure and heart rates( I do breathing exercises!), and steel ourselves for the BATTLE of the YEAR!!

    • Howard

      Last winner is Vegas Aces – I count WNBA as a major sports championship.

  5. THE hockey GOD



    NHL plays into JUNE HEAT. Hockey on hot ice, NHL needs to fix
    this BS.

    The ice will suck, which rink will be worse ?

    Florida of course, it will be a slush fest.

    And maybe a Buffalo fog will show up, who knows ?

    Florida has best sweaters, the palm tree crossing the hockey stick. Look out
    if they wear them.

    • Howard

      I was at game 1 and 5 of the WCF, Game 1 the ice was ok, game 5 however was the worst I’ve seen to date. Bad ice normally favors the chip/grind/smash heavier team.

      • THE hockey GOD

        favors the muckers— one two clyde, one two slide, one two smash something.

        One two meaning skate one left skate then on right skate

  6. Michael

    Of all the dumbest things in sports, teams not touching conference championship trophies has to be among the worst. I can’t believe in a sport as hard working as hockey, players will give credit to superstition over their own talents and endeavor!

    It is also insulting to the fans, as only one group of fans will get to see their team lift the Stanley Cup, so the losing fans have memories of their players acting as though the conference trophy is a biohazard.

    Simple solution, NHL – mandate that every team has to lift the trophy. That was both teams have “the curse” and it does not matter, but fans get to see their team actually act excited about winning their conference!

    • Emmanuel

      Im always stunned with all this jinx nonsense but I think the dumbest thing in sports are GMs overpaying for overrated positions/roles like goalie or say a closer in baseball, but they have to because of CYA, the media will push the narrative thats why the team lost and then they lose their job. Sports media is a cancer…..

    • THE hockey GOD

      says someone who never been in locker room, and have no clue about superstitions many players have.

      • THE hockey GOD

        Five years ago they touched the Clarence Campbell Bowl.

        This time, they are not.

        • Emmanuel

          Well if they had touched it you have a 50/50 chance of being right! Theres a lot of randomness involved in the playoffs.

          • THE hockey GOD

            the odds were much , much, much less than 50/50 of VGK beating the CAps in their first year. The Caps had much better team, and were more battled tested at that point in time.

    • TS

      ” YOU MUST lift that trophy, or ELSE!” Ridiculous!! All this side- show stuff is silly!!

  7. Jailbird

    What? Force the teams to touch that tropheys? How childish! Anyway, back to some that makes sense, hockey. I have no doubt the Knights have the best TEAM! But, Florida is relentless, they never stop pushing, they have a nasty edge. Goaltending will make the difference. Hill is playing well, but Bobrovsky is playing lights out. I see another 6-7 game series. If we play like last night, we will win, but can/will we do that every game? Florida will. This is the finals, no more taking off games. Best effort every game boys!

  8. Howard

    “but Bobrovsky is playing lights out. ” Have you actually seen entire game of Panthers playing? Bob is playing very good, but IMO Hill has been standing on his head at times while Bob is generally making saves he should. I think people are grossly overrating Bob and not giving Panthers D in front of him the correct credit.

    • Jailbird

      Howard call it what you want. He is playing very well, period! Most goalies getting good numbers are getting help from their d-men, etc. I have watched every game so don’t lecture to me about his play. His numbers the last 4-5 games are amazing!

  9. LVsc

    the VGK 4th line was unbelievable last night.

    I thought I was watching Gretzky, Lemieux, and Iginla

    • THE hockey GOD

      what is an Ingla ??

      • THE hockey GOD

        oh the guy who played for the flames, never won stanley cup, not as good as gretzky or lemieux. Wouldn’t even mention him in same sentence as not at same level of greatness.

  10. THE hockey GOD

    If we can’t win, there’s some guys in the dressing room there that I really hope can win a Cup. I watched Mark Stone and Jack Eichel and (Alec) Martinez and Riley Smith rehab; tons and tons of games and months,” said DeBoer. “Last year, the adversity that group dealt with — and they’re healthy now and playing, so if we can’t win, there’s a lot of guys in the dressing room that I hope can win a Cup with what they’ve been through.”

    DeBoer was a first-hand witness to the injury rehabs of Eichel, whom the Golden Knights acquired and allowed to have disc replacement surgery, and Stone, who suffered a lower-body injury last season.

    DeBoer’s Golden Knights were among the league leaders in man-games lost, which was a significant factor in missing the playoffs. In his introductory press conference with Dallas, DeBoer admitted he was blindsided by his Vegas firing.

    And yet he still wished his former players well.
    — vegas hockey now

    PDB is classy guy and one of top four best coaches in league. I hope the STars don’t can him in off season.

  11. I’m glad that the Golden Knights won last night after everyone (coach, team members & management) jumped to the defense of Jamie Benn. He went after Stone’s neck and was unapologetic in his explanation. He turned out to be irrelevant in the game & confirmed for many that he’s an arrogant thug.
    Best of luck,
    Rangers fan – NYC

    • TS

      Hey, Mark, thanks for supporting Coach Gallant’s last team– sorry the Rangers didn’t advance further this year. As a former Gallant supporter, I cheer for the Rangers, as long as the Knights aren’t playing them! ENJOY THE FINALS!!!

  12. Jailbird

    Thanks Mark! It’s nice to get some respect from an eastern conference fan! Yes, Benn is a jerk and his returning to the lineup meant nothing. He was invisible.

  13. Tim

    I’m still trying to absorb the run we’ve been on. The Stanley Cup finals are special and here we are with another chance. It should be a good series being the home team hopefully helps. Not much more to say 4 more victories and we climb the mountain.

  14. Jailbird

    Tim, I too found myself getting very emotional during every game. Now, I’m not saying I won’t have my moments or distress so to speak, but I realize that we do have the team to win the cup. If we just play like we want it, such as last game. This series will have its share of ups and downs. And we just need to roll with them best we can. I do believe we will win the cup, but it may be a very tuff series.

  15. bruce silliman

    Another tradition in the NHL, it can’t be a superstition since you won’t have it if you lose, is the playoff beard. My first year working at T-Mobile I noticed some of the VGK Staff, Kerry and his staff, the men working behind the bench (gloves, changing skates, handing out new sticks) and then I noticed the players. So I asked the question and got the answer, “you don’t shave until you lose”. So halfway through the first series I started growing my beard and only shaved after we lost to the Caps. Here now in the present some of the boys have just let it grow, some have made it a distinctive growth and some whose beards really grow have it groomed exquisitely. We are a sharp looking group and that last photo when we CAN hold the cup will be looking very pretty with all the winning beards. (I’ve posted a current pic along side my photo from 2018 on my Facebook page. Lots more grey to show).

    • TS

      Bruce, Best Beard* so far), : Burns of Hurticanes
      And on the other end of the scale: poor Jack Eichel, only a few curly trailers on his face— just FUTILE that he’s still trying! ( Never give up attitude, perhaps?) Lol

      • TS

        Honorable mention on Knights: Pietrangelo. But, to be fair, he’s a few years older than most other guys, his beard has experience!!

      • TS

        Changed my vote– Gouda of the Panthers is the Beard- master!

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