After three seasons in the league, no Western Conference team has pestered the Golden Knights like the Minnesota Wild. In eight games, the Wild are 6-1-1 against Vegas, including a 3-1-0 record at T-Mobile Arena. Minnesota’s success against Vegas came under former coach Bruce Boudreau who was happy to share his Sin City experiences with TSN Toronto.
We had great results in Vegas. In the three years they were in the league we’ve only lost once. If you look at our team in Minnesota out of the nine games in three years we only lost once to them. –Bruce Boudreau, Former NHL coach on TSN Toronto
Although he’s off by one game, Boudreau clearly enjoyed road trips to Vegas. His teams had success and he met his favorite poker player, Daniel Negreanu.
The 2007-08 Jack Adams winner was at first concerned about how his players would perform in Las Vegas, especially since there were reports of the “Vegas Flu” infecting incoming teams.
When we got the schedule the first thing that I was hoping was that we played somewhere else the night before. You’d get in at two in the morning and you’d go straight to bed. –Boudreau, TSN Toronto
Boudreau took a more laid-back approach when his team traveled to Las Vegas though. Sure, it was possible his players would take advantage of the unique NHL stopover, but he didn’t set any mandates. The coach’s main focus was planning on how to beat a really good Golden Knights club. Boudreau didn’t police his squad when they visited any other city so why change when they hit the Strip?
The one thing I found over the years is guys are really professional. If we had a day off you could see them all at the tables and they were playing. They weren’t drinking or anything. I’d much rather have them do that for a couple of hours. I don’t think they ever worried if the lost a thousand or won a thousand. –Boudreau, TSN Toronto
Vegas’ success didn’t surprise Boudreau too much. Like other coaches around the league, he had seen what George McPhee built from the Expansion Draft and how Gerard Gallant had them off to a hot start. Also, he had knowledge of two budding stars Vegas acquired in the Expansion Draft.
William Karlsson for example, I had him in Anaheim for about two months. He was an average player, looked like he was smart. We ended up trading him to Columbus and Columbus sent him down and I think he went twenty games in Springfield without a point. For him to come and then get 75 points, who would’ve known? Maybe he just needed the opportunity. Shea Theodore, he became a star and he was basically let go by Anaheim. –Boudreau, TSN Toronto
Somehow a normal weekday sports radio interview in Toronto turned into a Golden Knights segment. The three radio hosts (two former NHL’ers) were curious if the COVID affected season would impact the love affair with the Golden Knights. It was clear the three mic hogs hadn’t attended many games at T-Mobile Arena.
I think the hockey fans will still be the same. After three years the local hockey fan knows much more than coming to a game screaming and having fun. If they are anything like us Canadians or real hockey fans they’ll be so happy it came back. They’ll be cheering at every offside. –Boudreau, TSN Toronto
With the latest trade noise circulating around the team, it’s nice to hear some positivity from an outsider like Boudreau. He’s well aware of what the Golden Knights organization built and how aggressive they are chasing the Stanley Cup.
And thanks to Gabby, now all of Toronto is concerned the Golden Knights will end up beating their Leafs in the Cup Final.