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It’s All About Points Not Image For The Golden Knights

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As of today, the Golden Knights stand one point ahead of the Dallas Stars for the last wildcard spot. Since LA lost last night, Vegas is within striking distance of a top-three Pacific Division postseason slot as well. There are many moving parts but the local club muddied the waters and made up ground during their latest five-game winning streak.

Who are they when they get in there? The Vegas standard has risen so much. They’ve had so much success and they’ve had so many expectations. –David Backes on Jeff Marek Show

While coach Pete DeBoer and his players are taking care of their end, pundits across the league are still having trouble believing in Vegas’ postseason success. Former St. Louis Blues captain David Backes joined Sportsnet’s Jeff Marek to express his concerns about the Golden Knights’ identity after a season marred with injuries.

It’s a team that’s got a lot of great pieces but whether it’s due to injury, and when you’re losing your captain for long stretches, or if you’ve lost character guys in the room. I feel like they missing some direction and identity. I think you’d rather be a team that was undermanned and under skilled with identity than a team that’s got skill and all of the pieced without identity. –Backes on Jeff Marek Show

It’s possible by Game 1 of the postseason the Golden Knights are close(r) to being a healthier team. Captain Mark Stone and sniper Max Pacioretty would add significant boosts to Vegas’ offense and esteem. Both have the ability to take over a game with Stone’s two-way play and Pacioretty’s nasty wrist shot. However, how healthy will they be? And will their lack of action hurt team chemistry? Keep in mind, Stone has never shared the ice with Jack Eichel. Sure, both are incredibly rare talents but all professional athletes need familiarity to maximize success.

Sportsnet’s Jeff Marek presumes Vegas may not rebound this season. Not only due to several devastating injuries but also because of the organization’s intense culture.

It’s tough when faces of the franchise leave. We’ve talked a lot about how Vegas has a ruthless pursuit of the Cup. It’s at all costs. If we can improve the team it doesn’t matter what this guy or that guy has done for the squad. You’re gone. Whether it’s Ryan Reaves, Marc-Andre Fleury is perhaps the best example. Maybe Gerard Gallant, who had the nerve to take the team to the Stanley Cup Final. Nate Schmidt is another great example. All jettisoned. You understand it, this is the business the hockey. –Jeff Marek on Sportsnet 590

At this point into the 2021-22 season, Ryan Reaves and even Marc-Andre Fleury are old news. The results of the current roster have nothing to do with the loss of former faces of the franchise. However, in tense moments, like right now, Fleury’s presence may have eased some pressure. Especially, right now with a playoff qualification on the line. When you ignore how certain players are out of the lineup or gone from the organization, Marek’s argument has some credence.

Let’s put it this way, the Golden Knights are desperately trying to make the postseason without Stone, Pacioretty, and Fleury. Three cornerstones of last season’s semi-final run.

All under the umbrella of we will do anything to with the Stanley Cup. We will do anything to bring in better players to bring us closer to the Stanley Cup. Sometimes we see teams that can withstand key injuries and still succeed and still thrive. Others, if you don’t have that character baked into the pie because players have been jettisoned to serve very specific needs. It’s tough to overcome. Maybe we’re seeing Vegas go through this right now. The Vegas watch continues. –Marek on Sportsnet 590

It’s possible that national pundits are right and the Golden Knights are without an identity but don’t expect the players to comply. Does anyone honestly think Jonathan Marchessault is concerned with his team’s or organization’s image? Is Eichel really worried about finding chemistry with All-Star wingers? And lastly, does Alex Pietrangelo care who’s in net behind him? The answers are all no.

X’s and O’s get you so far but if you don’t know who you are, or love the guy sitting next to you, or your committed to accomplishing a goal together, you really don’t have anything. -David Backes, Sportsnet

Making the playoffs could soften Vegas’ cold image, winning a couple of rounds might answer questions regarding chemistry and team building, but hoisting a Stanley Cup would be like yelling a loud f*@% off to the rest of hockey.

Okay, back to reality, the Golden Knights are still in search of 16 or more points with 11 games to go.

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44 Comments

  1. No, sorry – I don’t effing understand it. Most of us won’t unless and until it pays off with a parade down Las Vegas Blvd. Until then, shove understanding where the sun don’t shine.

  2. I like a team that will do whatever it takes to win.

    So many pro teams can make money without giving winning much of an effort.

    Take risks! Go for it! Life is too short, and perhaps also for the owner.

  3. Nick

    Backes saying he’d rather be on an undermanned and underskilled team with identity than a team with high end talent but lacking identity is hilarious seeing as he never won anything his entire career. The obsession with identity that this sport has is maddening. Its a professional hockey team not an amnesiac its identity is pretty much baked in.

    • THE hockey GOD

      @nick
      every two minutes in America, someone’s identity is stolen.

      Identity is over rated. You know it, I know it, any one with a brain knows it.

    • Sam

      The Sabres identity for the past few years has been the laughing stock of the NHL. Exit #9–enter#89.

      NOBODY IS LAUGHING NOW!

  4. vgk21

    Golden Knights Tweets
    DavidSchoenLVRJ
    David Schoen @DavidSchoenLVRJ
    4m
    Max Pacioretty and Mark Stone were spotted in full gear skating to the locker room after being on the other rink at City National Arena. #VegasBorn
    ======================

    gettin’ worried that the train is leaving without them ?

    • Blitz

      I am not even sure I understand the cap rules enough, post deadline, to know what we can do to bring either guy back in, much less both. I thought I heard something about trading players, but those players can’t play the rest of the season etc. So I guess you could trade someone and lots of draft/prospect capital to free up a few dollars. There is zero good things that can happen moving forward. The moral is it will cost you the future just to take a sniff this year. Best case, Patches, Smith, and Stone stay hurt and the team makes the playoffs without them. Then they can come back w/ amazing timing. Every NHL friend I know will hate the VGK even more.

  5. vgk21

    DavidSchoenLVRJ
    David Schoen @DavidSchoenLVRJ
    13m
    Golden Knights are on the ice for practice Tuesday. Dylan Coghlan is in a yellow 4th line jersey. #VegasBorn
    =================
    that is damn ridiculous. 52 is not a good dman, but he is even worse on the wing. It is pathetic that they can’t even ice a decent 4th line with real forwards.

    the 7 dmen crap continues?

    • Blitz

      I found it ridiculous last year when they were pulling this cogs as a forward crap, and that was when we were in 1st place. Now that we are fighting to even make the playoffs it is down right stupid. They must have little faith in either Marty and/or Mcnabb staying healthy during the game. Otherwise, why not have Cotter or a HSK guy doing what he does every day. Just more stupid deboer shit.

      • Daryl

        Se eral trams in the past have done this. They would take their best 3rd pair defenseman and out him on the 4th line and use that line for defense only. They weren’t out there to score goals. They would even replace other Forwards with better defensive players over offensive players. The Pens did the same thing with Engelland a long time ago. I can’t remember how many games but it was successful as that line didn’t give up a goal. I can’t remember if they ever scored either.

      • THE hockey GOD

        I think you hit it on head when you say “They must have little faith in either Marty and/or Mcnabb staying healthy during the game.” no. 3 is not banging people around like he normally does. No. 52 was starting to show some game, then he got hurt twice in game next to last game (last game he sat on bench for third period). Under these circumstance I don’t have much of an issue playing 7 d men, considering that there d corp is better than their F core at this point in time. Mind as well go with your strength.

  6. THE hockey GOD

    “t’s tough when faces of the franchise leave”

    t’s better when FARCES of franchise leave !!

    • Daryl

      Ever one on the team right now is a farce of the franchise

      You are so stuck on a player that isn’t even around its pathetic

  7. THE hockey GOD

    path forward opens up for NHL prospects

    stuck in Russia

    “FORT LAUDERDALE — Undocumented migrants from Russia and other former Soviet countries were smuggled Sunday into Key West, Fla., authorities said, raising concerns that the war in Ukraine is spurring refugees and others to seek dangerous new routes to the United States. “

    • knights fan in minny

      and joe blunder does not care let everybody in is the democrap way

  8. We are not Toronto here. A money team that charges high end money but haven’t won a damn thing. I loved all the guys we lost, their part of our success. Their have been mistakes, but Foley and the 2 Mac’s have tried everything to bring us a Cup. Not every team, especially teams like Toronto, don’t put forth that effect. It’s really all about Foley, he’s older, he knows he doesn’t have 20 years, he wants this now. Unfortunately, injuries have absolutely devestating this team. but like I said, their diving in front of pucks, fighting for every inch of the ice. When we get healthy, we do have a Cup team, no doubt.

    • THE hockey GOD

      @ mark
      No doubt !
      I like that band.

    • Howard

      BS – a lot more than just injuries that have hurt this team and I’ll review with showing how this mess started, and why VGK front office are the real issue here;

      1. out bid themselves for MAF – by signing an aging tender to $7M per when no one else was even close to offering MAF that, this is called outbidding yourself – beginning of cap hell.

      2. Signing Petro to a nearly $9M per – never sign a want over a need. Petro was absolutely UNNEEDED as we already had Shea, a similar type dman = further setting up cap hell.

      3. Paying Bill Karlsson $6M per and term when he has NEVER PROVEN himself to be anything more than an average 3rd liner. Having 2 years of goal scoring when the majority of his years says he was just average, then paying him that 6m is yet more BAD FRONT OFFICE biz dealings.

      4. Paying Lehner $5M per + term when absolutely no one else would pay that for an oft physically and mentally injured tender, who has never proven to be anything more than a good 1B. By doing this, the bad fo here created a tender problem. They tried to spin it as a ‘luxury’ when in reality, it was VGK FO making a very stupid panic move. We already had MAF – go sign a good back up.

      All of the above moves and more have put VGK in cap hell. So much so that even last year, team frequently dressed an unfull roster, had to double shift a lot which resulted in team being out of gas after beating AVS, losing to a sucky HABS team.

      If these 2 clowns, GMP and KM were running a fortune 500 company, they would have been fired a long time ago.

      Child like management lacks discipline and discretion and clearly do not understand that building a Cup winner takes time and patience. Likely, because team went to final in year one, these children got a taste of ‘almost’ so they sold out the future for the ‘here and now.”

      Typical of what’s wrong with the world today = instant gratification that sacrifices the future.

  9. Galdom

    If Fluery plays poorly against the Predators tonight I won’t shut up about it.

    Go Flower! Lol

    • Daryl

      It won’t matter if he plays great and get a shutout.

      • Galdom

        I think it does matter. Minnesota outshot Nashville 49-33. Fluery had six goals get by him on 33 shots. Would have been nice if Fleury wasn’t a sieve on this night. Oh well.

        • Daryl

          Is there a way to know what a goalies save % is even stre gth compared to PP? I didn’t see the NASH game but they were 3-4 on PP while Wild was 1-6. Wild must have taken a play out of VGK PP book

          • Galdom

            Be careful what you ask for. People get mad at me for bringing up stats that show favourable things about Robin Lehner.

            Robin Lehner save percentage at even strength is .917

            MAF save percentage at even strength is .914

            Robin Lehner save percentage when his team is short handed is .875

            MAF save percentage when his team is short handed is .854.

            MAF save percentage when his team is shorthanded over his entire career has always been one of the worst in the league. Could help explain game seven debacle against San Jose.

            Here are some links.

            https://moneypuck.com/goalies.htm

            nhl.com is a good one as well where you can plug-in filters and check goalies on different situations.

            You asked so there is the link. I won’t debate anything I promise. I don’t even want to anymore. But again, all of the New Age stats that the hockey geeks say are more important than just plain save percentage show Lehner even this year as a far above average goalie. I’ve said 1 million times that even though he looks funny just like Hasek used to look funny he gets the job done but no one will listen and I don’t really care.

          • Daryl

            Thanks… That’s done good info. And I wasn’t going to compare RL to MAF. One thing that it did show is that all the complaints about the defense in front of RL isn’t as bad as some on here yet to make it. When RL gives up goals, it’s always the defenses fault but the numbers show otherwise.

            I also don’t think it’s fair or even possible to compare goalies when one is on a good team and another is on a bad team. Too many intangibles.

            As I’ve said a millions times on here, I don’t think RL is a bad goalie, I think he is an above average goalie. On comparison I’ve made several times is MAF will win you a game by making a huge save late in the game to preserve a win whereas RL still not. Both can make great saves, but you won’t see those great saves late in the game when you really need one

    • the hockey God

      smashville is crushing wild, not good.

      isles so far not doing enuf vs stars

      and goon level in NHL is rising, bruins / wings game>> players refuse to leave ice !
      Don Cherry would be proud !!

    • Gladom,

      Your obsession with MAF is very strange.

      • Galdom

        It’s actually not an obsession with Marc-André Fleury, it’s an obsession with the poor unfair treatment of Robin Lehner. My constant comparison of the two which I’m sure is a little bit much is done to display that they are not all that different from each other. I’ve never come out and said that Lehner is better then Fluery but the idea by some fans that Fluery is great and Lehner is terrible is absolutely ludicrous. They essentially provided the VGK with the exact same performances in their extended playoff runs in the past two years.

        Robin Lehner 2019-20 playoffs…..
        9 wins, 7 lossses, 1.99 GAA, .917 SV%, 4 shutouts

        MAF 2020-21 playoffs…..
        9 wins, 7 losses, 2.04 GAA, .918 SV%, 1 shutout

        The idea by some, not all that Fleury is somehow elite and Lehner is a below average back up is incorrect and laughable and cannot be supported by actual facts. That is my obsession. The team this year would be in the exact same position they are now whether it was a Fleury or Lehner starting. It’s the injuries that have done them in. The unfair treatment of Robin Lehner is a real thing. It’s not my imagination. It’s why he deleted his Twitter account because I am sure that he has been bullied online.

        • So, Robin Lehner doesn’t have a problem with lateral movement? He doesn’t have a problem stopping break-aways (he admits he does). When he goes down to the ice he isn’t like a turtle on a half shell? All the places he has ever been, it was never Robin’s fault that he didn’t stick?

          Give me a break and stop carrying the water for this guy. He is, at times, an excellent goalie. More often than not he’s pedestrian. The best thing I can say about him is that he’d be a fantastic and outstanding backup goalie for about $3 to $3.5 million dollars. He’s definitely not worth $5 million and not for the 4 year contract he signed.

          This is NOT bullying. It’s analysis and why I am not a fan of the move or Robin Lehner. He had his chance to sway me and failed by mid-January.

        • Daryl

          The problem with comparing RL to MAF is that most of us aren’t even talking about MAF. We aren’t comparing the two. And you can’t say how MAF would do this year with VGK compared to VGK with RL because for one, that is a hypothetical and no way to prove it and 2, RL has missed so many games…. which is wasted money

        • VGK Fan

          Gladom,

          My complaint is you only comment on the 3rd all time winning goalie in the history of the NHL when it fits you!

  10. Edmonton will get at least 1 point as they just pushed the Sharks to OT.

  11. Galdom

    Edmonton steals a win. VGK just can’t make up any ground. That five game trip where they got zero points against shitty teams is the end of us. Sad but true.

    • Have to keep winning and hoping until the door is shut. I hear it creaking for sure. Still have a decent chance of getting in as 3rd place or WC, but the window is narrowing.

  12. Galdom

    The closer we get to the end of the season the clearer things become. Although Edmonton has been getting results they don’t look like they have been playing exceptional. I’ve been watching a lot of the Kings games lately because I thought that was going to be our target but they are playing very very well and I don’t see any collapse from them.

    It sure would have been nice to have seen Minnesota beat Nashville tonight. But I would say at this point that Nashville and Dallas are our targets, especially Dalllas. One week ago it seemed like Dallas was the unlikeliest target since they had four games in hand but now they’re up one point on us with just two games in hand and we play Dallas on April 26.

    Dallas is now the team that I will be watching closest on the scoreboard. Dallas plays the leafs on Thursday and the leafs have been looking very strong lately.

  13. Galdom

    Amazing post Howard. My thoughts on each point.

    They probably overpaid Fleury just a tad but it wasn’t crippling as he has for the most part done the job including winning a Vezina last year.

    I don’t think Robin Lehner is over paid but absolutely spot on that they didn’t have to give him a four year term. I agree 100% with you that he is a 1B. He should have been given a maximum two-year term and he needs to be paired with a good back up and Laurent Brossoit is garbage.

    I think Pietrangelo is a great player and not overpaid but they did not need to go after him since they already had Shea Theodore. It’s 1000% true. it’s a shiny toy that they just could not pass on.

    As for the Wild Bill signing I have to admit that I wasn’t against it at the time. A superb number 2 defensive center that could score 25 to 35 goals a year is worth 6-7 million a year. A poor mans Patrice Bergeron. Unfortunately his players declined and he now resembles a third line centre that kills penalties and it can score 10 to 15 goals a year.

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