Golden Knights goal leader Max Pacioretty opened up this week when he joined former NHL’er Ray Ferraro and NHL reporter Darren Dreger on the Ray and Dregs podcast. The forward that recently crossed 600 career points and 800 career games touched on the competitive culture in Vegas, his bromance with Mark Stone, and trying to resolve the Golden Knights salary cap issues.
It’s a pretty volatile league right now and we have been steady. A lot of that has been our depth. We have run into salary cap problems where we couldn’t dress enough players and on some nights even two. Currently, we have a D-man stepping in the forward position. I think all of that adversity and all of those different situations brought us together a little bit closer as a group. I think everyone has felt a little more important about their role on the team. –Max Pacioretty on Ray and Dregs Podcast
When word got out that the Golden Knights organization would have to juggle the lineup in order to be cap compliant, the locker room stepped up. However, it didn’t take long for the players to realize they weren’t qualified.
It was wild because we all thought we were capologists. ‘Why don’t we this and do that? We could’ve played that guy.’ Nobody knew the rule that you have to miss one game and then call up an emergency. We were so out of touch with what the rules were. It was funny at first. Everyone was trying to figure out a solution and it just never came. The fact that everybody has had the right mind set in those situations it’s let our team play differently on some nights and being able to adjust that and being able to win hockey games ultimately while doing so. –Pacioretty on Ray and Dregs Podcast
Maneuvering through murky cap waters was just one example proving Vegas’ dedication towards their future endeavors. It became apparent to Pacioretty how driven the players and front office were when arrived in the summer of 2018.
The 13-year veteran also came to realize how many of the NHL’s top players want to play in Vegas, and the organization was willing to acquire them. The Golden Knights win-first culture is no secret around the league.
I can kind of relate it to my childhood being a Rangers fan. They always brought in a top guy and all of the top players wanted play there. Everybody wants to play here. We talked to Mattias Janmark as soon as he came we were like ‘How do you like it here?’ He said ‘This is the one spot I dreamed of playing in.’ It’s a two-way street where everyone wants to play here and we want to bring on the best players as well. That type of culture makes guys want to hold their roster spot and do whatever they can to do so because you know everybody is champing at the bit to try and play here. –Pacioretty on Ray and Dregs Podcast
The 32-year-old just surpassed 800 career NHL games, and his 183rd for the Golden Knights. Although he wasn’t around for their 2018 Cup run, Pacioretty has been a strong voice in the Vegas locker room since his arrival. However, he still believes his voice pales in comparison to one of the original Golden Knights.
(Marc-Andre Fleury) speaks, you listen. No matter what, because everything he says is the right thing. And he backs it up. This guy is just unbelievable and it’s so nice too see him get rewarded. He means so much more to our team than on the ice. His presence is far beyond that. –Pacioretty on Ray and Dregs Podcast
By now I think we can all recognize how much Marc-Andre Fleury means to the Golden Knights and Pacioretty.
Another player that has become more than just a teammate is the former Canadiens old eastern conference foe. We’ve heard and seen how well Pacioretty and Mark Stone have gelled since they began playing together in Vegas, but we never knew how the two rivals would connect outside the rink.
Off the ice, me and Mark Stone absolutely hated each other with a burning passion before we started playing together. When Ottawa played Montreal it was like ‘alright, me and Stoney will be going at it all game chirping each other.’ As soon as we teamed up here in Vegas we are like brothers. We talk every day, we text each other away from the rink everyday. He’s one of my best friends on the team. It’s just funny how the game works like that. You can hate someone for so long but the reason why you probably hate him is because he’s a lot like you on the ice. –Pacioretty on Ray and Dregs Podcast
The Golden Knights captain may have become a close friend but he’ll always be a thorn in Pacioretty’s side. And the rest of the team.
You should see this guy get around a golf course. Everything this guy does he just wins and he’s the best at. I could see why it would be frustrating playing against him. We had a N64 in the playoffs, he doesn’t play video games and he’s beating everybody in these games. You’re like ‘God why are you so good at everything?’ It’s frustrating for sure. –Pacioretty on Ray and Dregs Podcast
Overall, it was entertaining to hear Pacioretty talk off the cuff and not in a controlled Zoom conference environment. The top-line forward raved about his center Chandler Stephenson and gave an amusing peek inside a locker room full of armchair GMs trying to fix daily cap dilemmas. Ultimately, Max spoke confidently about his teammates and the one silver mission all Golden Knights share.