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Golden Knights Spent Season Practicing For The Postseason, Results Showing Practice Makes Perfect

(Photo Credit: SinBin.vegas Photographer Brandon Andreasen)

The 2022-23 Golden Knights entered the season with a chip on their shoulder. After missing the playoffs last year they knew they wanted to prove to the world, and to themselves, that it was a fluke.

They also entered the year with a new head coach, which meant new systems and a new style of play. That manifested itself in new lines and pairs, different focuses in the offensive and defensive zones, and a lot of room for error.

The team started the season red hot winning 13 of 15 but the process was not as pretty as the results. As the season wore on, that process caught up to the Golden Knights and they eventually went on a run of just 36 points in 36 games before the All Star Break.

There were all sorts of different issues ranging from puck management to ineffectiveness in the offensive zone to defensive lapses to special teams woes. If there’s a specific aspect of the game a team can struggle with, the Golden Knights probably did it over the course of this regular season.

At the time, most viewed it as an indictment on the overall strength of the team. They were inconsistent. There were recurring issues from years past as well as new ones from the change in system. And despite the status atop the division, there was reasonable cause for doubt.

What was really happening though was that they were learning. Not only were the players adapting to the Bruce Cassidy systems, but Cassidy was tweaking the systems to fit this version of the Golden Knights. The overall focus never changed, instead, it was small changes to things like the preferred gaps in the neutral zone, routes on the forecheck, or pressure points in the defensive zone. Cassidy knew what worked in Boston, but he was also willing to fine-tune the system when necessary to tailor to this group of players.

This season we’ve had to make adjustments where in the past we kind of stuck to our game and stuck to what works. Bruce was able to get everyone on board with the changes whether it’s how we are playing in the neutral zone or how we’re breaking the puck out and he’s been able to get everyone on board quickly which has helped us play better as a team quickly. -Shea Theodore

Like anything in life, practice makes perfect.

Having adjustments throughout the season kind of got us thinking that way and kept us sharp. -Theodore

The Golden Knights grew used to what was almost a process of calibration. When something went wrong, they learned how to micromanage that portion of the game to fix it.

In the regular season, it often took some time, and usually, it led to different problems down the line as well.

It’s hard to say in the regular season the machine ever truly reached max potential. Cassidy often referred to the team as “imperfect” as just about every night, even when they’d go on extended winning streaks, there was something they knew they needed to correct.

Then, the postseason came, and with a season of practice in calibration in the Golden Knights were ready for whatever was to be thrown at them. They experienced a heavy forecheck in Game 1 against Winnipeg, and they adjusted to thwart it by the 2nd period of Game 2. They struggled against the Edmonton power play, so they adjusted to add more pressure and slowed it down as the series went on. They had to change their game to adapt to the challenges of Dallas’ high-tip prowess, and they did with ease.

Finally, in Game 3, the Panthers found a way to steal a game from the Golden Knights by taking advantage of a 6-on-5 situation to poke home the game-tying goal. In Game 4, Vegas knew if they wanted to win, they’d likely have to overcome that situation again. They made their minor adjustments and when the situation arose, they survived to the final horn.

This version of the Golden Knights has spent the last eight months calibrating, re-calibrating, and re-re-calibrating to be ready for the moment that arrives tonight.

They are ready to prove that they’ve gone from imperfect to perfect and the machine has reached full calibration. They have three chances to display it, and if they do, all of the adjustments and doubts over the course of the year will be forgotten and the perfectly calibrated machine will be remembered forever.

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36 Comments

  1. Vic

    Well done Ken. T Minus 3 and a half hours.

  2. Rashaad

    We got this!

    Great day to be a Vegas Golden Knight fan.

    We are blessed to have the greatest front office in the league. Thank you to them and the ownership.

    • David Thew

      Got that right. Who would have ever thunk it, eh?

      • Rashaad

        Hi David. Less than three hours to go. Can’t wait till 5:00pm and even more excited for 8:00pm after the final buzzer.

  3. Jimmy F.

    Good luck tonight One Dog! Viva Knights!

  4. Rashaad

    To the hockey god. I’ve never cared much for your religious or political posts but was more than happy to just ignore them and move on. Your hockey posts are fantastic.

    I don’t care if you are also Arnold Rothstein or Anand or if you are neither of them. What I am certain of is that you are a big VGK fan and I couldn’t care less if others don’t want you here. You are a good loyal fan and deserving participating member of this forum. You are in this with us and I would be happy to hear from you on what could be the biggest day in franchise history.

    • Emmanuel

      Well this is a first………

    • TS

      Rashaad, I APPLAUD your attitude. As much as Thg has found ways to PISS PEOPLE OFF, he is a great Hockey fan, very knowledgable,, and quite entertaining ( when he’s not skewering the ” others” for their opinions and beliefs). I have gone quite a few rounds with him, and it did NOT go well. But, I have forgiven his ” extracurricular firebombs” he has thrown my way. I know it’s not personal. I’m a big girl, I can take a hit. I don’t think anyone can HATE others if they don’t even KNOW them. ..it’s just the tenor of today’s politics. SUCKS. But A STANLEY CUP CURES ALL! HOCKEY HAS BROUGHT US TOGETHER, NOTHING BETTER IN VEGAS, BABY!!!!!!

      • David Thew

        I just keep it simple and hate everyone equally. Cuts through all the confusion…Lol.

  5. Emmanuel

    I disagree.
    I think they were assembled to be an ideal playoff team from the beginning. All those 40G star/scoring pretty boy/flashy teams like Dallas & Edmonton arent built for the post-season. The only calibration I saw was the trade deadline additions. The two F’s, Blueger & Barbashev were playoff ready. The G acquired, Quick was needed at the time, so i’ll let that pass…..

  6. We all want the same thing – just save your celebration to the final buzzer. History has a way of proving there is many a slip between the cup and the lip. Let’s hope history doesn’t repeat itself this evening. Come out flying Vegas and put this to bed early so there is no getting up off the canvas. (ice). For all the optimistic posters – for the record this is not being negative it’s all about reality. I will be cheering them on like the rest of you and have no interest in them returning to Florida to win & raise the Cup in game six.

  7. knights fan in minny

    get ready to celebrate tonight sin city

  8. B-Rad-Lee

    There is no such thing as luck.
    Luck does not exist.

    There is only preparation meeting opportunity

    – Dwight Dean Barnhill, 1933-1999
    (2 tours in Korea, 5 tours in ‘Nam, 3 Purple Hearts)

  9. TS

    FYI: Nellis Flyover at approx 3:30- ish TODAY!: EYES TO THE SKY!

  10. Sorvino

    One more hour

  11. Jailbird

    Oh shit,one hour to go! To my fellow Knights fans: Buckle up and enjoy tonight. Our dream is close. I’m calm, jittery, confident, anxious and excited all at once. This 6 year journey has been magical and meant a lot in my life. Let’s do it boys! We love ya!

  12. Arnold Rothstein

    Per @SNkylebukauskas
    , Matthew Tkachuk will not play tonight

    (which is probably a good thing for the pussycats!)

    PS ThG is not Anand, and I am sure when he reads posts above he will be praying for you all as down deep he is a good, kind hearted man despite some posts that may lead some to think otherwise.

    • TS

      Arnold, I realize Thg is most definitely NOT Anand. This kind- hearted man you speak of— is there ANY way you could ask/ convince him to show THAT SIDE?? We’d like to get to know THAT Thg!! Peace!!

  13. David Thew

    The Knights are running away with this game. The Knights are on the Panthers like a $20 Fremont Street crack whore is on a pipe. The Cup is screaming VGK’s name at T-Mobile.

  14. knights fan in minny

    i asked this before who gets the cup from stone

  15. TS

    WE AREALL WITNESSING THE MIRACLE ON THE STRIP!!!! O-U-R TEAM!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    • David Thew

      I meant to say, “total dominance”, earlier. Damn spell check. The game wasn’t even close. Knights owned them the second the puck was dropped.

  16. Jailbird

    I say Stone gives it to Marchy ( maybe Hill).

  17. David Thew

    Total demonstration.

  18. Pistol Pete

    Well, where do I begin?

    First and for me, looks like my eternal optimism, viewing the future of the VGK through rose-colored glasses as some have said, was not unfounded after all. My support of ownership and management including trading assets to buy “shiny toys”, it all paid off. And oh yeah, the much maligned $10M guy may just be awarded the Conn Smythe (turns out not but that sure is OK!).

    All the credit goes to every player for their sweat, blood, commitment, and undying belief they could go all the way, to the much-maligned ownership and management, to the many unsung heroes who work for the VGK organization and finally to a loyal fan base, and Adin Hill deserves a special mention, that is for sure.

    As has been widely reported in the media, Bill Foley stated well before operations commenced: “playoffs in three, Cup in six”. The first was fulfilled in the first year and now the second has been fulfilled in year six. In the film “Valiant” he said: “I intend to create a dynasty here in Las Vegas”. Well guess what? That is the next goal. Winning another Cup in the next year or two. Just look at this roster. Arguably the deepest four lines anchored by the best fourth line in the league, the best six man D corp in the league, two competent co-starting goalies in Hill (if they can re-sign him and need go figure out Lehner) and Thompson playing behind the best coached defensive structure in the league. This roster and its success is directly attributable to the shrewd management of George McPhee and Kelly McCrimmon including the absolutely brilliant scuttling of DeBoer in favor of Bruce Cassidy. There are some aging players on the roster, however even for the eldest the window stays open for another two to three years in my opinion . And this postseason did not even require Dorofeyev and Cotter. Do not underestimate the depth of the VGK prospect pool either and the ability to draft over the next few seasons. Go Knights Go!

  19. Rashaad

    Any Sabres fans out there that want to celebrate with us and tell us how Jack Eichel is a cancer?

  20. Sorvino

    In two weeks, we will be talking about what we think they should do with Robin Lehner.

    But for now, it’s party time!

    • DOCDG

      Not just Lehner, we also have Thompson under contract and 3 UFA NHL quality goalies to deal with as well. Goalie controversy anyone? Other than goalies we also have a total of 10 UFA’s and RFA’s to deal with. We will have a lot to talk about this off season.

      But that can wait, it’s time to CELEBRATE!!!!

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