Shortly after Pete DeBoer was named head coach of the Golden Knights he began the process of implementing the changes he wanted to see to their systems.
The guys would gather at the team hotel to go over breakouts, d-zone coverages, neutral zone play, special teams, and everything else that went with the tweaks DeBoer wanted to see from his new team. It was all fine and well until the lights turned off.
On came the video clips and the playlist went something like this.
Sharks vs Oilers
Sharks vs. Ducks
Sharks vs Kings
Yeah, in my head I was like, ‘is that shit going to last long or what’s the deal here?’ -VGK Forward
The only footage DeBoer had of players playing his system was from his former team.
Yeah, it was pretty brutal because I felt like every time we played them, we were the better team, so it was weird to see those clips. -VGK Defenseman
It just so happens that his former team is the team his current team went to war with time and time again and developed a genuine hatred for.
That was a little tough at the beginning. You are sitting there watching it thinking, ‘these fuckin’ guys?!?’ -VGK Defenseman
Imagine the Golden Knights watching Brent Burns, Logan Couture, Joe Thornton, and all of the other guys they can’t stand and being told, “this is how you play hockey.”
Brutal. -VGK Defenseman
By all accounts though, it only went on for a few days and no one remembered any specific clips that involved the Sharks succeeding against the Golden Knights.
It didn’t take long because we were starting to do the things he wanted to pretty quickly into it. -VGK Defenseman
Now, thankfully, it’s all clips of the Golden Knights and according to DeBoer, they are mostly reinforcement clips, not so much educational.
We don’t see them often anymore. We have better clips now. -VGK Forward
The turnaround he has made with this defense is nothing short of a miracle. They have been suffocating on shots allowed and more specifically on high danger shots allowed. I think it’s directly had a correlation to Fleury playing better as well. Additionally allowing them to become more involved in the O zone has resulted in Theodore becoming a star almost overnight. Martinez and Lehner were nice adds, but make no mistake about it, PDB and his “tweaks” have this team looking every bit like a Cup contender again
(Or looking like they did when they won 13 of 19 right before Gallant was fired. Or like they did after the deadline last year. Or like they did for the entirety of the 1st season)
You keep going back to earlier this season defending Gallant when it had been a total inconsistent nightmare. They had 24 wins and 25 losses this season when Deboer took over the team. That’s pathetic. Keep on pointing out your miracle first season that can not and never not ever be recreated. It was like the movie Miracle. I will give Gallant his due on that 1st season but the circumstances (oct shooting, expansion dam us against the world, the excitement of vegas) was the biggest factor in that run not coaching. Deboer is the reason this team is now a Stanley cup contender and playoff bound. Gallant had them headed for the golf course in June.
You add all the players that are new to Gallant’s roster there is a high likelihood the wins would be the same.
Young guys get better with ice time if they are skilled.
The only reason we are better defensively is because the forwards are getting back to give support in D Zone. We are playing much deeper in defensive zone. We are becoming a defense first team that can still use speed to break out.
Fundamental d zone coverage with added skilled players.
No likely knights would be any better with Deboer with out added talent.
Jeff is 100% correct in what went into that 1st season!!!! I don’t like to comment on being “good” or “bad” and I’m sure Gallant is considered one of the good ones … but …. DeBoer just impresses me. I am convinced it was a move that was required, this season, to get the Knights back on track.
Right on Tim …. Of course Gallants buddy Ken will never agree! 🙂
I meant MIKE (not tim) sorry
I agree Mike, sorry Ken this is a different team under the new coach. I hated the move at first but this team is playing better and in my humble it has alot to do with this coach’s system.
I’ll continue to disagree (especially before we see it in the playoffs).
The key for me is that I was never going to credit or blame DeBoer no matter what happened. If the team went to complete shit, I wouldn’t be blaming him in any way. The players needed to play like they can. If that happened, especially the goalie, the new system or the old system would have produced a winner.
They also supplemented the team since Gallant left.
I think you have the right idea. This is a very talented team, with the potential for great things. Most of them have succeeded in the past under Gallant, and now have proved to be successful under PDB.
I feel Gallant being fired was on the players. For whatever reason, they stopped playing hard. They admitted as much in their post game statements.
Changing the lines every other game was looking like desperation. nothing seemed to wake up the team.
When something like that happens, and it happens often in all sports, you have no choice but to move on to the next coach.
Gallant got them as far as he could as a “players coach”, which to me as a former youth softball, baseball and football coach(8-12 year olds) in Florida that were very successful at that level, means I am your coach and your buddy.
I was no ones buddy. I demanded 100% effort, not 100% wins. 100% every practice, every drill and every game.
Won some, lost some, but NEVER from lack of effort. Most of my kids went on to play at the youth 14-18 level and some played at the high school.
Not because of me, but because of THEM.
DeBoer doesn’t play favorites. You earn your start practice by practice, play by play, and game by game.
That is how you win games, division and conference championships and Stanley Cups.
You want a buddy, by an effing dog.
By the way, I coached boys AND girls teams. My military background gave those kids discipline, focus, team building, perseverance and most of all respect for each other.
We like to think adult’s success is different than children’s. It is not.
DeBoer made EVERY team better that he coached.
I am extremely proud of what Gallant did for the team and Las Vegas and respect him for that.
It wasn’t his lack of wins that did him in. It was his lack of leadership and focus.
Foley is a West Point grad who made $40,000 as a Cadet investing his salary while at the academy and bank rolled that into a multi million dollar conglomerate.
He wants the Knight players to be warriors.
100% every drill, practice, play and game.
If the players can’t handle that, find another team.or occupation.
knights fan in minny
love your take mike enjoyed my 8 days in vegas I was at the sabres game had a blast your fans sure know how to have a good time lets see a parade on the strip with a cup
Hahaha this is one of my favorite articles you’ve written, Ken! Just hilarious. I didn’t really think about it this way, but yeah I’d be thinking the same as the players!
Ken – you must be desperate for a laugh or something to write about including your responds to Mike G are you certain on the numbers you quoted. If l recall expect for first year weren’t the knights in a sideway slid . Funny l don’t recall the 13 of 19 as everyone including you had nothing but negative things to say about what wasn’t going on or should be happening.
Ken make no mistake Gallant did a great job for over two years then came the excuses you were at the press conferences so I don’t have to go into that. As I recall the team had a team only meeting because of their play so their was a problem. Like Deboer or not he has tightened up the defense partially because of the addition of Martinez and he likes Whitecloud over Merrill and Enggeland which Gallant favored. As soon as we got Roy I new he was a player but Gallant would have kept him in the AHL. Personally I’d rather have Quinney up instead of Perri but whatever. A comment you made that I agree with is Cody Glass is a bust. For one he’s to fragile and second he’ll never be a top six player of coarse I hope I’m wrong.
I don’t believe l said Gallant didn’t do a great job. I was sorry to see him go as most were but something had to be done to wake up the troops. By there own admission the players said mgt couldn’t fire 15 of them and they had in fact let him down. My reference was to the “or like”. Fist all who ever Ken was referring should be ashamed of themselves those comments and conversation does nothing to improve their play. Did anyone think that maybe the brutal films were meant to embassas them knowing they had beaten the sharks a number of times except year two when it really mattered. Maybe PD just wanted to get their attention and was smarter about it than given credit for. Ken has away ar pointing out the negative to stir the pot and by the responses he accumulates probably deserves an “A”. PD was put in a tuff spot so whatever had to be done was necessary. They are playing substantially and will have their hands full on this road trip. They have the potential they just have to maintain the right attitude. Go knights go.
Can you re-read the article to understand what was “brutal” about the film sessions? It had nothing to do with the way the Golden Knights were playing.
PD is a good coach. No question. His pedigree proves that. He has the VGK playing well and has tightened up the D.
But Gallant, in my opinion, is a better coach. What he did, both in FL and Vegas, proves that as well.
Gallant may play favorites and his defensive thinking may need some tweaking at times, but his players would run through a wall for him.
If I am going to criticize anyone (and I won’t because the Knights have been awesome) it would be management. They assembled the team.
It is not thought of often outside some, but the Tatar trade still irks me to no end. Personally, I would have done nothing that deadline. That team was a force and rolled in relentless waves. I would have avoided the whole affair, especially all we gave up.
And I believe we would already have one cup had we done this. And it would have been magical.
Hindsight is 20/20 and no one cares, blah, blah, blah. But I cannot conceive of any other coach and team doing what they did.
Hail from Atlanta and this old Flames fan. Go Flames and VGK ! If I am being honest, more love to the Knights. They play a great style and I love the road whites (should still be home whites btw. . . NHL needs to change that, but they won’t because of jersey $).
Be relentless and come in waves Vegas Golden Knights!
Bring the cup to Vegas, besting Boston in 6.
Bring the cup to Vegas!
The Tatar trade was unfortunate, not wrong. We had a chance to win the Stanley Cup as an expansion team. If you get that chance, you go for it. If GMGM didn’t make any moves, he would have been criticized forever.
Looking back now and knowing how Tatar failed to fit, it’s still confusing. It should have worked, it should have been great. Good player, scoring pop, speed, just what we needed.
You spend a lot and trade for a good player because you believe in a teams chances. If they would have stood pat, I would have been very disappointed.
I neither like nor dislike PDB. I do think that the team is playing better lately. But I vividly remember during a postgame news conference with Gallant, he said words to this effect, “these guys are professionals. I shouldn’t need to fire them up. They should be fired up and ready to play.” When i heard that it didn’t sound right. I think the coach, among many other things, SHOULD be part cheerleader, getting his players fired up for a game. It was an odd quote. And Gallant was gone a short time later. JMO
I will respectfully agree to disagree. What we gave up will continue to haunt, and I am not a fan of Tatar, then or now. Don’t hate him, just not a fan.
I think they got caught up in the whole unbelievable nature of where they were at the deadline and management thought, “ we have to do something.”
I believe had they stood pat and done nothing, they would have rolled to the cup and dispatched of SJ rather easily last year, although the events are unrelated.
The chemistry on that first team was unparalleled. I have never seen anything like it in all my years of watching hockey. I believe the chemistry would have carried over to last year.
I think management panicked somewhat and thought they had to do something. And I think that moment in time is when the fairy tale nature of the whole thing began to change; just a bit mind you, but change.
Hindsight is always easy, but I saw no team close to Vegas that year. Not close. Why change it?
And I would really like to have seen Suzuki (he might still have been traded, but maybe not) here and the draft picks would be great to have and use.
I am not ragging on management because they have done so much right, but if I could go back in time and change one thing, that would be it.
And I still prefer Gallant and hope the Flames make a pitch for him. He is my favorite NHL coach in a long while. PD is very good as well and I support him.
Go Golden Knights!
IDK, Tatar doesn’t play at all in the finals if Perron wasn’t hurt. He was just depth at that point. Didn’t play until game 4.
We didn’t trade any players to get him, and he barely played (3rd line mins). So I don’t know know how the finals loss is on the trade.
I’m no fan of the trade, but I understand why it was done. No team leading their conference and in the running for the Presidents trophy stands pat at the deadline. If they did they’d be crucified.
No, but we packaged Tatar and Suzuki for Patches.
Agreed, the Finals loss is not all on the trade. I am not saying that. I am saying that is when the team began to change in my opinion.
And I really miss the craft picks we gave up for Tatar.
I disagree. . .by definition, a team leading its conference, especially a first-year team, does not need to “do something” at the deadline.
That team was damn near perfect.
WOW! Ken has a big 🙂 on his face right now. As you know he makes his living on this site. Every time we CLICK on sinbin or on “leave a reply” he gets money! Good for him. He simply just throws his thoughts (crazy most times) in a pot and stirs & stirs. Ken really doesn’t like living in the present. He likes to criticize the past and even the unknow future. His value to those who follow him is analytics & stats! He’s good at that. The rest is just poppycock to get THE clicks!!!!!
Ummm, its called the internet.
It doesn’t cost you anything, and gives VGK fans a place to discuss the team. What do you care?
Gallant would still be playing Engelland over Whitecloud and Fleury every game over Lehner. and the Vgk would still be getting behind 3-0 in the first period every night while Gallant says it’s “not his job” to fire up the players. that did not sit well with Foley, you can be damn sure of that.
They needed to bring in a hard ass to make tough decisions and
Gallant is not an x’s and o’s type coach. He is not a tactician or strategy guy (game 7 last April proved that) . He is a seat of the pants, just go out and play, be likable to the players, more friend than boss type coach.
Once the players intensity fell way off this season, they needed some honest assessment, some butt kicking, some bag skates, some “brutal” film sessions, and Gallant was certainly not the guy to do that.
Very good assessment Walt! After the firing everyone’s mouths just gaped wide open in disbelief. Then when he was replaced by the hated sharks ex coach anarchy reined in the world of Knights fans. Now, I think the change has been accepted & acknowledged it was the absolute thing we needed! (except by Ken that is).
I liked Gallant then, and I like him now. Seems to be a bit of revisionism going on concerning him. So be it. Just remember that he helped to give you all what was most likely your most memorable and enjoyable sports memory of your lifetime.
I understand the way things are in the world which probably helps explain my cynicism as I age. But today’s team, while I still follow and cheer for it, just seems to have become more “corporate”, for want of a better term, like the rest of the world.
“Just go out and play” has a certain charm and pull for this fan. Maybe it takes me back to my youth. Gallant, the team, the city, the league and the entire sporting world (outside of the hacks of ESPN) could not explain what was happening. I doubt I ever see such again.
Now, it just seems less. Still good, but less. The “bunch of misfits” will probably remain my best sporting memory outside of Lake Placid and hockey in Atlanta in the 70s until I pass. Gallant had much to do with that and I thank him. Had I a team, I would want him as my coach.
God, I feel old. Lol.
Why doesn’t anyone remember that the team tried to extend Gallant, the negotiations fell apart, and he was fired soon afterwards? Both Gallant and DeBoer are good coaches. I don’t think one is better than the other, Gallant’s system has better offense, and DeBoer’s system has better defense.
So you think Flower giving up 4 goals all the time s a good thing? Holden & Whitecloud have given up a ton of goals and they suck. We are not going anywhere near the far brackets with PDB. Stop being delusional if you think we can beat the Bruins in 7. I have been a hockey kid my whole life and a VGK fan but GM traded or gave away a lot for shit picks so he and his buddy will be fired next.