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Starting The Misfits

(Photo Credit: Photographer Brandon Andreasen)

The opening shift of a Stanley Cup Final game is not typically a time to get sentimental with decision-making. The Golden Knights still needed to win one more game to reach the mountaintop, and they knew they were facing a team that had been in a 3-1 hole before and dug themselves out.

For Bruce Cassidy though, he knew the time was right.

To start Game 5, Cassidy went off script of both his forward lines and standard operating procedure and chose to tug on some heartstrings instead.

The starting lineup he selected was Jonathan Marchessault, William Karlsson, Reilly Smith, Shea Theodore, and Brayden McNabb. Five of the six original players from the inaugural season that began Vegas’ love affair with the Golden Knights.

I apologized to Will Carrier, I told him, I’m sorry, I can only start one left winger. -Bruce Cassidy

Cassidy reunited the greatest line in Vegas history and used McNabb and Theodore to start a game for the first time during the entire postseason. It was a risk, but he knew it was one worth taking.

You know what, that was just something I had a gut feeling on. I was walking my dog this morning and I thought, I’m going to start those guys. They deserve it. They laid the foundation here. They put the first building blocks in place. It was something to give them a little juice. So off they went. -Cassidy

What he may have underestimated was the “juice” it would also give Golden Knights fans in the building, at home in Vegas, and around the world.

The first-year team will forever remain in the hearts of every fan that joined the magnificent journey this franchise has taken them on. The Stanley Cup season will be immortalized in a different and maybe even better way moving forward, but nothing can erase what happened in 2017.

Cassidy’s decision to lean into it rather than away forever linked the two teams in a way that didn’t seem possible heading into this year, or even into Tuesday’s game.

What may look like a subtle gesture to a non-VGK fan, was the furthest thing from it for each and every person who has been there since Year 1.

The 2017-18 team did not complete the ultimate dream, but a simple gesture made by a coach five years later has made it feel like they did.

Six years in the making, the story is complete. The Vegas Golden Knights are Stanley Cup champions.



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  1. Jeff

    Brilliant move! I believe as you stated, it made the fan base even more rabid. Gawd what a feeling I got in my stomach seeing those 5 on the ice at faceoff.

  2. Tommy in SC

    We absolutely loved this move and we were really bummed that the TNT broadcast didn’t cut away from the desk to show the player intros. I know it had to have been electric inside T-Mobile in that moment, and we didn’t get a sense of that watching from home.

  3. FG

    I had to laugh at George McPhee’s comment about them and saying something to the fact they were stuck in their own zone the whole time.

  4. VegasCommish

    The finishing touch on a masterpiece of coaching. They never faced elimination. Ultimate sign of respect to those guys who were picked to finish dead last when the 2017-18 season began. They earned the spotlight on a night they will never forget.

    Bruce just needs to start them again and see if we win by six goals!

  5. TS

    Coach Cassidy is a great gift to this team, this town, this sport. He’s not only a brilliant guy, but he’s intuitive. He understands behavior. Emotions. Inspiration. He knows there are many facets of the game, not just X’s and O’s. He’s not afraid to change it up, try new things and lines. I have nothing but praise, respect and gratitude for Coach!!

    • Dylan

      Agreed. He is a Real G. That Cassidy.

    • Bobby

      Well put, you nailed it. Love this forum.

      • TS

        Bobby, thanks! I’ve been a believer of Coach since the day we hired him! To have to wait and wonder who would step in after PDB’S rather sudden firing, then Cassidy let go ( also unexpectedly and quickly), and within 2 weeks we had our NEW coach of Cassidy’s caliber and Pedigree, was almost MEANT TO BE. I liked Gallant,PDB not so much, but Cassidy is truly TOP NOTCH!!

    • Vic

      THG….Hill could have been 1-10. What a performance! Another great YouTube clip is the 35 minute one showing every VGK goal for all four series. Call it the Marchy, Eichel, Stone, Chandler and Hill show.

      By the way, hats off to you sticking with the team when injuries decimated the lineup. Celebrate the greatness and then in a few months it all begins again.

      • THE hockey GOD

        @ Vic I hear ya and love ya man. You are one of the best posters on this site.

        I will take a look at that video.

  6. knights fan in minny

    love it the parade on nhl network will get to see it

  7. Go Bruins! …..wait….

  8. Dylan

    I was really convinced for a good while that Kelly McCrimmon was terrible. Boy, was I wrong. Though I do believe he got quite lucky that Robin Lehner went…full Robin Lehner. Whacking MAF for that Massive Head Case Snake Mishandler was not smart.

    But him and/or McPhee really have made mostly incredible moves. Hopefully they don’t fire Coach No. 3 (in just 6 seasons; all successful) if he, God forbid, falls off the Championship Pace now.

    Maybe the owner will chill a bit now that he has his coveted Cup.

    The lame, lazy hating on the VGK for getting “the hookup” from The BettMan really needs to stop, too. Stupid, silly, revisionist history.

    Congrats, VGK! What a run. What a team.

    Now hopefully they all get shown a bit more respect than they seem to have been shown for the first six seasons. They have a good thing going now. A real good thing.

    Especially with The Snake Farm Salesman Panda out of The Picture.

    That guy doesn’t even get mentioned lol. Why wasn’t he with the team? Hiding out in Sweden so as not to get jailed here, ala TRUMP?

    • knights fan in minny

      just stop angry dem the don will not go to jail keep dreaming all you angry dems need to get a life go worship your idol stumbler bumbler joey

    • James D Pecora

      Is Trump hiding out in Sweden?
      Why not kick Lehner a bit more when he’s down?

  9. Jailbird

    Come come now guys. Don’t ruin the vibe going on here. Plenty of time for you political types to get wound up NEXT June as the elections near, ok. 🙂 Yea, the parade will be on local Chanel’s here, but glad the NHL network will cover it for our out of town fans like minny. I’m still debating going, mainly having to fight traffic and parking and knowing where to go. We’ll see.

    • JB – not exactly the same seeing it on TV – that said, in all probability. you will probably be able to see it and hear it better. It certainly won’t make you any less of an avid fan and in all likelihood save you a lot of grief and aggravation. I know people who were watching on TV and drove down when the game was out of reach to the Plaza, and it was a nightmare. I can only imagine what it will be like on a Saturday night on a weekend – crazy, crazy. It was an outstanding season and playoffs, they deserved to win. Even though we had our differences about how we saw things we were both avid Knights fans. Here’s to next season. Enjoy the summer!

    • knights fan in minny

      you have to go

    • TS

      Wonder how many will be there?? Nightmare in and out of area. I think I’ll watch from home…

  10. Outstanding Move – a very thoughtful idea and states volumes about Cassidy.

  11. Sorvino

    Still on cloud 9

    Would it be safe to assume that there is literally a 0% chance that Robin Lehner will be with the team next year?

    I think what may have sealed it is that he wasn’t present for the handing off of the Stanley Cup.

  12. Sorvino

    If Robin Lehner is bought out this summer the cap hit will be as follows……..

    2023-24 $1,750,000
    2024-25 $1,750,000
    2025-26 $1,750,000
    2026-27 $1,750,000

  13. THE hockey GOD

    RL is history

    100% GONE.

    Adin Hill likely too.

    • Sorvino

      I’m okay with Brossoit and Thompson as a tandem.

      I’m okay with Cotter and Dorofeyev replacing Barbashev in the lineup.

      This team will be awesome next year as well. The greatest front office in the entire league will find another Barbashev at the trade deadline next year.

      • knights fan in minny

        i think hill stays logan and hill are real good friends

        • TS

          HOPE SO..

      • knights fan in minny

        whenthey were talking to jack and barbashev on nhl network after the game it was mentioned that barbers wife likes vegas

  14. JV

    OT, but the first Buyout window starts tomorrow (16th-30th). The team has shed salary. Besides Crazy Snake Man, anybody else you think might be a candidate?

    • THE hockey GOD

      Jonathan Quick UFA $5,800,000
      Laurent Brossoit UFA $2,325,000
      Ivan Barbashev UFA $2,250,000
      Theodor Blueger UFA $2,200,000
      Adin Hill UFA $2,175,000
      Philip Kessel UFA $1,500,000
      Brett Howden RFA $1,500,000
      Nolan Patrick RFA
      Pavel Dorofeyev RFA $925,000
      Connor Corcoran RFA $813,333
      Maxim Marushev RFA $810,000
      Jiri Patera RFA $800,000
      Spencer Foo UFA $750,000
      Brayden Pachal RFA

  15. Jailbird

    My feeling we will find a way to keep Barby. His wife is not going to let him leave Vegas. Now Hill, that’s different. With our goalie depth, we may let him go? It will be fun to see Darvo and Cotter back out their next year!

    • THE hockey GOD

      what is his wife affinity with Vegas ??

      • Tim

        My understanding is she and Petro’s wife are good friends plus she just might like the Vegas life style is that enough to keep him here I hope so?

    • knights fan in minny

      to me hill does not come across that lots of money is a big deal to him but who knows

      • TS

        Minny, I also feel that Hill is a more humble guy. He had a BIG group at the game celebration , which tells me he’s grounded and that family, even the ” team family” here, will be a factor. Vegas has shown their ROAR of appreciation and support for him, and I think that might play into his decision to stay put, if Mgmt can offer him the right ddeal.WE NEED HILL.

        • knights fan in minny

          well said ts the humble part for sure you could see that in interviews

          • TS

            Yes, indeed. Just love the guy..
            He’s more of an asset than LB or LT, or ANY of the others. GOTTA find a way!!

  16. THE hockey GOD

    VGK had the most Canadian players of any team in the league. So much for the diversity and woke broke crap that sports,and Bettman’s NHL , are shoving down our throats 24/7. Ignore the hype.

    • TS

      I’ll take those great Canadian players over a roster of Russkies ANY DAY!

  17. THE hockey GOD

    Conservative men took down Bud Light

    Conservative women took down Target

    This isn’t your grandpa’s Republican Party anymore

    We recognize that Marxism is here and we need to fight like hell or this country is gone

    Get onboard or get run over

  18. Tim

    We’ve been following the Knights since the beginning and one thing for sure if they like someone they will find a way to trade for him or sign him as a free agent. Case in point Barbashev at 27 years old and us trying to get younger I see no reason why they won’t sign him. Besides the obvious guys on the chopping block I would also include Martinez, Lehner, and Marchy that’s 15 million which would give us some breathing room.We can replace Martinez in our system, Lehner has already been replaced by Logan Thompson, and Marchy at 32 he has nowhere to go but down. Along with Quick, Kessel, and Blueger, we lose a lot of guys long in the tooth. Keep everyone else under contract and if need be look for castoffs like Howden and Amadio who turned out to play well with there second chance. Plus see what our prospects have to offer. The key here is getting younger to stay competitive and don’t need to go through a rebuild.

  19. Jailbird

    Do you really think they would get rid of Marchy after this? Not going to happen. I agree on Quick, Kessel, Bluger, Lehner . Will probably resign Hill or LB. As far as misfits go, McNabb could be a target?

    • THE hockey GOD

      JB That poster is a demented old man, off his meds as usual.

    • knights fan in minny

      losing lb would not be so bad petera looked pretty good in a couple of his games

  20. Jailbird

    No, Tim’s not demented, he just has different views sometimes. He’s ok.

  21. Bobby

    Leafs seem to be the team most envious of our VGK success. I like reading the Toronto media articles about them trying to copy the formula. Look for them to try to get a piece of the pie.

    • TS

      Bobby, LET ‘EM TRY! After we brought unmatched quickness to the league in Year 1, many other teams stepped up their game, their speed, and we found the following years more evenly matched to ours. Cassidy brought another new gear, new game plan, new inspiration to the team…and again, the VGK rose above the others, often confounding opponents as they scored a LOT of goals. Cassidy has the winning formula, and now other teams will try to emulate us again. LET ‘EM TRY, I SAY!!!

      to the PEAK

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