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Regular Season Caused Undue Stress On Defending Champions

(Photo Credit: SinBin.vegas Photographer Brandon Andreasen)

On Sunday, across the pond, the English Premier League came to an end with Manchester City hoisting the trophy for the fourth consecutive season. They staved off Arsenal by two points, a team they hadn’t played since March. The 38th game of the season came, Man City led the league at the end of it, and thus, they are the champions again.

Competitively, it makes a lot more sense to simply name the champions the team with the best season. But, it’s incredibly anti-climactic, and thus, not very American.

In our sports, there are two seasons. The lengthy regular season that unequivocally separates the good teams from the bad and the short postseason that focuses as much on drama as it does on finding the league’s best team.

In many ways, the playoff system saved this year’s Golden Knights. After racing out to a blazing 11-0-1 start, the defending champions lost more of the final 70 games than they won. They were the 21st-best team in the league from November 5th to April 18th when the regular season came to a close. If the NHL were the English Premier League, VGK’s hopes of repeating as champions would have been down the drain sometime in mid-February rather than the first Sunday in May.

On the flip side, the long regular season eventually ended up being the Golden Knights’ undoing.

It wasn’t automatic we’d get back to the playoffs and we knew that going in. We figured our expectations were much higher than that but it’s not automatic. We had to work harder than we should have or needed to to get back in. We had to expend more energy down the stretch to do that than we would have liked. -Bruce Cassidy

In 2023, Vegas’ playoff spot was essentially locked up in March while it was officially confirmed before the 1st of April with seven games still to play. This year, it took all the way until April 12th to put the “x” next to their name in the standings, and they had just three games left on the schedule.

That’s one thing for sure we could have saved a little stress physically and mentally on us. I don’t think there’s any doubt in the room we were going to get there but we had to push hard. Some of that was injury-related and some of that was play-related. That’s a part that was tough. -Cassidy

That stress went down to Games 1,311 and 1,312 of the NHL regular season. Instead of beating up on the league’s 3rd worst team, the Golden Knights dropped a stinker against the Ducks while the Kings nervously handled the Blackhawks. This left Vegas as the last-place team in the Western Conference playoffs and scheduled a trip to Dallas, who’d had their eyes on the playoffs for weeks.

Probably would have been better served putting ourselves in a better position in the regular season. Never easy coming in as an 8-seed trying to beat all the top teams at the start. If you look at last year we get that top seed and we were able to win in five win in six, get some series over quickly. -Mark Stone

In the end, the Golden Knights were not the best team in 2023-24. They spent six months trying to prove otherwise during the regular season to no avail. The American playoff system gave them a second chance, but the hill created by a fledgling season was just too steep.

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42 Comments

  1. Emmanuel

    The playoffs are way more chancey/random/flukey that fans want to admit.

    I would have no issue with the Champ being the team with the best record against every team in the league with a home/away game against each, but as the article says it would be anti climatic for fans, especially as teams would play out the string. Then theres the revenue issue for owners.

    Tangentially speaking I wonder if we will ever see back-to back champs ever again, the Pens did it and I was shocked how they loaded their roster with the cap at that time being way lower. Eventually they were ‘cap casualtied’.

  2. jeffrey m sutton

    It would be cool if Vegas won the whole thing again someday.

  3. ThG

    i am concerned about that hit Stone took in the Stars series, he was visibly wobbly. That was a nerve being hit where it shouldn’t have been hit. That was ugly. And after that hit, he was never the same. He also wasn’t 100% going into the series. That was pretty obvious.

    • Emmanuel

      If he was damaged goods why wasnt he bumped down to the 3rd or 4th line, especially with solid players riding the bench?

  4. Sajid Ramidi Khanpour

    Today, dear brothers and sisters, I wish to add my voice
    to the cry which rises up with increasing anguish from every part of the world…
    from the one great family which is humanity.
    It is the cry for peace!
    It is a cry which declares with force:
    We want a peaceful world; we want to be men and women of peace …
    and we want in our society, torn apart by divisions and conflict,
    that peace break out!
    There are so many conflicts in this world which cause me great suffering and worry,
    but in these days my heart is deeply wounded by what is happening in Syria
    and by the dramatic developments which are looming.
    I appeal strongly for peace …
    How much suffering, how much devastation,
    how much pain has the use of arms carried in its wake …
    I think of many children who will not see the light of the future!
    With utmost firmness I condemn the use of chemical weapons.
    There is a judgment of God and of history upon our actions which is inescapable!
    Never has the use of violence brought peace in its wake.
    War begets war; violence begets violence.
    What can we do to make peace in the world?
    As Pope John said, it pertains to each individual
    to establish new relationships in human society
    under the mastery and guidance of justice and love.
    All men and women of good will are bound by the task of pursuing peace.
    I make a forceful and urgent call to the entire Catholic Church,
    and also to every Christian of other confessions
    as well as to followers of every religion
    and to those brothers and sister who do not believe:
    Peace is a good which overcomes every barrier, because it belongs to all of humanity.
    I repeat forcefully:
    It is neither a culture of confrontation nor a culture of conflict
    which builds harmony with and between peoples,
    but it is a culture of encounter and a culture of dialogue;
    This is the only way to peace.
    May the plea for peace rise up and touch the hearts of everyone
    so that they may lay down their weapons
    and let themselves be led by the desire for peace.

  5. I really really really didn’t want to face the oilers in the first round for a myriad of reasons, of course hindsight being what it is and what I have seen it might have been for the best.

    We laid what I can only label against the ducks a veritable clunker stinker, which makes zero sense how it could have transpired like that.

    Further, I million percent know the kings didn’t want to face the oilers for the third year running either, and they did everything in their power against chicago to tank that game in the third period, until they basically had no choice BUT to score when they had the goalie pulled AND a power play.

    As an homage to some of our elder posters of which I am one, it’s to bad we could not enter the Wayback Machine of Mr. Peabody to see how the results may have played out with different first round opponents!

  6. Everyone seems to post that Vegas got blown away by Dallas. But for a couple of shots being a little better we could be facing Edmonton now. Say what you may Dallas wasn’t any better than Vegas as proven with series going 7 games. Did Vegas play to their potential in all 7 no and there are a number of reasons that was the case and listing them at this time serves zero value. That said just look how close it was in the end. It could have gone either way, unfortunately, it didn’t turn out in Vegas’s favor. I personally hope Edmonton prevails over Dallas, not certain that will happen, but anything is possible as shown in the Dallas/Vegas series. For the benefit of hockey in general it would help if a Canadian team went all the way. IMHO.

    • Pistol Pete

      hdbiker we agree the Dallas series was very close and Vegas could easily have won. That flies a bit in the face of Ken’s article because it’s not exactly clear VGK was not the best team in 2023-24. Not in the regular season for sure but I agree with McCrimmon it was the best roster ever just not up to speed come the postseason due to too may players lacking reps coming back from injury. The regular season is something of an enigma for me if not mostly injury related. Don’t agree on the Oilers vs. Stars though. I am rooting for Pete DeBoer!

      • Emmanuel

        I dont understand why “the regular season” is brought up. Contending teams radically change their roster at the deadline.

        On paper its the best roster (after the deadline) but as a cohesive/deep unit id go with the Season 4 squad.

      • PP – well Pete I hope the best for Edmonton and could care less fit Pete DeBoer failed yet again. Nothing against him personally but other than he is coaching Dallas and sending them packing is what I would like to see. With hockey, as many things in life, there is many a slip between the cup and the lip and the best team does not always win.

  7. Kfim, I was totally on the fence about including Sherman simply cause it was an invention of Mr. Peabody!

  8. Cheese Louise

    I thought it was as evenly matched as any series so far.
    Also I agree really unimportant now anyway.
    You can tell how close it was by all the articles and videos and comment sections of NHL websites/YouTube channels etc etc
    The entire crybaby fanbase of dallas was moaning about how unfair it was that they worked so hard all year and then had to face VGK in the first round. And most thought there were getting swept when Dallas found b themselves losing first 2 games.

    The Dallas fanbase (hell the entire NHL fanbase really) had me so angry with all the ltir bullshit and the Dallas fans booing Stone everytime he touched the puck. I prayed Avs would take them out and will actively root for Edm to take them out as well. I hope Karma treats there fanbase to no cup for 50 years.

    Also honestly I hope Edmonton wins the cup this year simply cause I’m so sick and tired of all the Canadian fanbase crying that the whole thing is just one big conspiracy against Canadian teams. Bettman is actively putting his thumb on the scales to keep Canada from winning the cup again etc etc etc

    After the initial 11 -0- 1 run up you could CLEARLY see a shift in the effort on our game.
    When Hill got hurt he fell off the face and has NEVER looked right since.
    I REALLY noticed the lack of effort and enthusiasm from our entire team starting at the winter classic. It all went downhill from there.

    I was pretty much committed to us not making the playoffs at all this year and as soon as they did I didn’t have much hope advancing past the first round.

    I was actually very suprised with how we played against Dallas. I had some hope that if we beat them we might actually have a chance at repeating but it wasn’t meant to be and Dallas played better in game 7 and such is hockey

    So my hope for the cup is Edmonton which would NOT have been the case before the Dallas series 1.
    I typically dislike EDM and all the BS hype over mcstupidface but this year I want them to take it to shut Dallas out and shut the retarded Canadian fanbase up with there stupid conspiracy theories.

    • Mike Paine

      THEIR, lady…..not there.

      • Theresa Soles

        Mike, c’mon…nitpicking is strictly verboten, man! CheeseLouise makes really good, observant comments, but you call out her grammar?

    • Emmanuel

      Canadian teams have the worst fanbases in terms of Hockey knowledge. They are convinced no matter how bad their team is they will win the Cup. Also they WWWAAAYYY over rate players, even the scrubs, to the point that when they trade their 10th best F they think they will get a 1st rounder in return. Their just plain bad at talent appraisal.

      • Who made you a judge of the Canadian fan base concerning hockey knowledge. I would venture to say they have been involved in hockey one way or another from birth – can you say the same – I doubt it. In all probably they have forgotten more hockey than you ever or now know.

        • Rashaad

          Hdbiker7851, I am Canadian living in Canada annd unfortunately I think Emmanuel is right. They all definitely overrate their own players. Maybe just because they love them so much. It’s very annoying. I root for all of the Canadian teams to lose because their fan bases make me sick. Especially western Canada. I took so much pleasure in having Vegas knock out Winnipeg and Edmonton last year.

          • Rashad – maybe with those feeling you should consider moving. Given your attitude you probably make them sick as well.

        • Rashaad

          hdbiker7851, asshole, just because Canadian hockey fans have annoying fanbases and overate their players doesn’t mean I need or want to move out of my country. Stupid. Wow, you really are an idiot. There are more important things to life. I guess anybody that disagrees with you needs to move out of the United States. What a tool, lol.

  9. JB

    Hate Florida ….. go Rangers! Hate Edmonton, dislike Dallas, so? Not really rooting for Dallas, more like rooting against Edmonton! 🙂

  10. ThG

    i wouldn’t be surprised if it is Stars vs Cats, both are motivated by revenge and near misses last year. Both teams got a little better in off season.

    AS far as the article is concerned, the coach is just making up excuses. This year PDB clearly out coached a “depleted” Cassidy team. VGK were not mentally or physically prepared. Be it the long season , from last year, aging team, or too many injuries. The franchise needs some fresh blood and some new stars to take them back. But will the FO takes the necessary steps to quickly re tool ? We shall see, they haven’t had lack of will to do so in the past. The problem is they are running out of tools (draft picks, and prospects) to deal at this point in time.

    • ThG

      and I forgot to add, fuck Jihad Joe Biden and anyone who supports this failed piece of shit turning USA into banana republic. Morally and ethically bankrupt, missing a brain and any inner being. Goes to a church that he doesn’t even follow their teachings. Was against abortion, now for it. Was for border control, now against it. Was for segregation in schools, not against it. Has no moral compass, bends like the wind. What next bestiality rights? That guy is pure evil, a flip flap waffler.

      • JB

        Has no moral compass? That’s an interesting comment based on the other guy. A serial lier! 😮

        • ThG

          cohen was called serial liar by federal judge

          take your TDS elsewhere, your lies won’t fly here.

      • TS

        ….and there it is..
        Sigh, Never mind…

    • TS

      STARS VS CATS will be the Final. I don’t gamble, but that’s my Gentlelady’s BET! OMG, THG….we Agree on. Something!

  11. Sajid Ramidi Khanpour

    Can someone help me choose a nice place to move my family in this beautiful country. I live in Minnesota right now and it is a great big shit hole. The air quality is toxic, very polluted which makes it harder to breathe. The life style here sucks oh and the vikings and wild are a bunch of losers. The people here are so shitty. They are so rude and self centered assholes. The weirdo hipsters here really creep me out. This god awful state is so ghetto it’s like a cult of ghetto posers. I myself dislike minnesotans like at least most and i loathe this state as a whole. I can’t wait to move out of this hell hole state.

  12. Sajid Ramidi Khanpour

    The Minnesota air smells like trailer parks and broken dreams.

    • knights fan in minny

      come clean alex you’re not fooling anyone dumb ass nut job

      • TS

        Kfim, as soon as he said Trailer Parks, i knew who it was! I am.SO glad I only have to manage ONE persona!

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