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Tag: Dave Prior

Golden Knights “Weren’t Truthful” About Coaching Change

(Photo Credit: Photographer Brandon Andreasen)

Two days after the NHL trade deadline which saw the Golden Knights pull off a blockbuster trade acquiring Robin Lehner, head coach Pete DeBoer, who had been with the organization for just over a month, approached the podium in the media room at City National Arena.

You probably noticed Dave Prior wasn’t out there today. We’ve restructured our goaltending department a little bit here. Mike Rosati, starting tomorrow, will handle the day to day stuff. -DeBoer on February 26th, 2020

Within a matter of 48 hours, the Golden Knights had brought in competition for the face of the franchise, shipped out the supposed heir-apparent who served as the backup for two and a half seasons, and shuffled their goaltending coaches. All with just 17 games left in the regular season and while riding a six-game win streak that would extend to seven that night.

Dave is still part of the organization. It’s not health-related. Dave’s role here has always been bigger than the day to day coaching job and he’s going to base out of Ontario and continue to support us that way. -DeBoer on February 26th, 2020

Prior was among the first group of employees hired by George McPhee back in August of 2016, eight months before Gerard Gallant. He was more than just a goalie coach as DeBoer noted. Given the title “Director of Goaltending,” Prior had his hand in every decision the team made from which goalies to draft to who to sign to even the most fundamental choice of which goalie will start every single game.

Suddenly, the most important man in Golden Knights goaltending was no longer needed in Las Vegas, and instead, would be working 2,000 miles away, from his home in Guelph, Ontario, Canada.

Peculiar under any circumstances, but especially considering the team who had leaned on Prior for three seasons had just acquired a brand new goalie to bolster their chances at winning the Stanley Cup.

However, according to Prior, the statements made by DeBoer on February 26th weren’t entirely accurate.

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Golden Knights Goalie Coach Knew He Could Make Fleury Better, Followed Through

“Dave Prior thought that he can make him an even better goaltender,” and he did. (Photo Credit: Photographer Brandon Andreasen) 

Marc-Andre Fleury was the #1 overall pick in the 2003 NHL Draft. He made his debut in the league at the age of 18. He’s posted 12 straight seasons with a save percentage of .905 or better. He’s been named an All Star three times, the same number of times his named is engraved on the Stanley Cup. All of this is a fancy way of saying, Marc-Andre Fleury is really good, and has been really good for a long time.

That’s why when George McPhee said this, it came as quite the shock.

One of the things that appealed to us about bringing (Fleury) in was Dave Prior thought that he can make him an even better goaltender. He was excited, he really advocated for him in our meetings. And thought that he can make him even better than he’s been. -George McPhee

Prior was right, he could, and did, make Fleury better. Fleury posted career highs in save percentage (.927), goals against (2.24), quality start percentage (67.4%), and GSAA (20.77). In his 14th season, he had the best statistical year of his career, and he’s been even better in the playoffs.

He’s helped, definitely. On the ice, I think he changed a few things for me and it’s been working good. -Marc-Andre Fleury

Of course, he wouldn’t go into anything specifically as he “didn’t want to reveal his secrets.” However, a reoccurring theme that’s come up when Prior’s name has been mentioned to Fleury over the course of the season has been a tweak in his mental approach.

I think he’s somebody that wants me to trust in my ability to do things, it doesn’t matter if I had a day off before, if I had morning skate or not. -Fleury

Allow me to read between the lines of how I took that quote, along with other similar ones this season. It seems as if Prior has tried to get Fleury to focus less on practice time and honing his skills, and more on being ready for the games. No one can ever take away the whimsical nature of Fleury, nor would you want to, but it’s possible he was getting in his own head well before the games were ever even played. Fleury has all the skills to be a tremendous goalie in the league and no matter how he fared in off-day practice or morning skate the day of the game, his confidence should never waver.

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Blue Jackets Sign Backup Goalie To Expansion Friendly Contract

The Columbus Blue Jackets recently announced they signed backup goaltender Joonas Korpisalo to a one-way, two-year contract, and you, Vegas fans, should be rejoicing. Why? Cause starting goaltender Sergei Bobrovsky has a NMC and isn’t going anywhere, which mean the 23-year-old Korpisalo may have just signed the perfect deal for Vegas.

Guaranteed to be a exposed, Korpisalo is really the ideal expansion selection. At 23-years-old (we are going to keep reminding you of this) and with only 45 NHL starts the future is wide-open for the Finnish goalie. Assuming the Golden Knights believe in Korpisalo, he would have two-years to win the starting goaltending job.

Korpisalo, 23, is expected to be a full-time Blue Jacket now – the one-way deal guarantees his salary, no matter if he plays in the NHL or AHL. Also, he would now have to clear waivers to be sent to the minors. The Blue Jackets will have to expose him in the NHL expansion draft later this season, so there’s a chance they could lose him to the new franchise in Las Vegas. – Adam Cairns, Columbus Dispatch

Korpisalo’s backup stats and starts took a dip this season. In 2015-2016, his record was 16-11-4 with a 2.60 GAA. This season he appeared in 17 fewer games and allowed more goals averaging 2.88 goals per game. His AHL stats declined as well. So again, Korpisalo could be considered a gamble, but… he’s also just 23-years-old.

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Golden Knights Hire Two Assistant Coaches

Before George McPhee fills up the bench with players at the Expansion Draft, Gerard Gallant has begun bringing on a few of the people who will stand behind the bench and coach the Golden Knights.

First, the obvious one, Mike Kelly. Kelly who was an assistant with Gallant in Florida, as well as in Saint John in the QMJHL, has been hired to the same position with the Golden Knights. Kelly had been Gallant’s top assistant the three seasons Gerard was with the Panthers and was always expected to have a place in Vegas once Gallant was hired.

I am very excited to be working with Mike again. We enjoyed success in both Florida and Saint John and I am eager to bring that success to the Golden Knights. Mike is a great guy with a wealth of hockey knowledge and I couldn’t be happier with the decision to bring him to Las Vegas. -Gerard Gallant, Head Coach in Press Release

The next assistant hung up his skates to take a shot at coaching. It’s Ryan Craig, who was most recently the captain of the Cleveland Monsters of the AHL. Craig’s playing career spanned 14 years in the NHL and AHL. Prior to going pro, Craig played for the Brandon Wheat Kings for six seasons from 1997-2003. Vegas Assistant GM Kelly McCrimmon drafted Craig in Brandon.

Craig played 71 games this season with the Monsters before deciding to take on the assistant coaching job in Vegas.

He is well-respected in the hockey community and has been a tremendous leader throughout his playing career, both on and off the ice. I am confident that the leadership characteristics he exuded as a player will translate well behind the bench in his new role as an assistant coach. -Gallant in Press Release

Most NHL teams have either two or three assistant coaches in addition to their head coach and goalie coach, so it’s possible one more assistant is added in the coming days. The Golden Knights goalie coach, Dave Prior, was hired eight months before Gallant.

Golden Knights Goalie Coach In Waiting?

The Golden Knights have a “new” goaltending coach, and he’s a familiar name to GM George McPhee. Mike Rosati accepted a position as an amateur goaltending consultant in Vegas… possibly as long ago as August.

According to a newspaper article in Barrie, Ontario, Rosati has been working with Golden Knights goalie coach Dave Prior for quite a while.

Rosati will work under Golden Knights director of goaltending and goalie coach Dave Prior. “We maintained a friendship and relationship over all these years and we always talked about working together one day with an NHL club, so when he got hired by Las Vegas his first phone call was to me to be an assistant,” Rosati added. -Gene Pereira, Barrie Examiner

Rosati was drafted 131st overall in 1988 by the New York Rangers and only played one game in the NHL during his career. It was for the McPhee managed Washington Capitals in 1998 in a game the then starter Olaf Kolzig had to miss due to injury.

Rosati has been the goaltending coach and an assistant coach for the Barrie Colts of the OHL. He also owns a goaltending academy in Canada. He announced via Twitter his position with the Golden Knights the same day the team unveiled their name (November 22nd), but could easily have been on board well before that. The team has yet to announce him as a member of the Golden Knights staff.

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Goalie Coach Hired, It’s Dave Prior, Another Former Caps Coach

The flood of former George McPhee assistants continues in Las Vegas as now the Director of Goaltending and Goaltending Coach position has been given to Dave Prior.

Prior was let go from the Washington Capitals prior to the 2013-14 season. The head coach at the time, Adam Oates, did not see eye to eye on the style of goaltending Prior coached.

Adam did not agree with how I coach, both in my methods and the content of what I coached. My inflexibility was perceived as ignorance or stubbornness, but I perceive it as a much deeper knowledge of the position. . . . I have no regrets. I would do the same thing again because I stand up for what I believe in. –Dave Prior to the Washington Post in April 2014

During his time in Washington, Prior coached goalies Braden Holtby, Michal Neuvirth, Semyon Varlamov, and Olie Kolzig.

Dave Prior

Dave Prior

Olie the Goalie was recruited and eventually hired by Prior and the Capitals to be an assistant coach in 2011. He assumed the role of Head Goaltending Coach when Prior was let go, but only lasted one season before he was fired as well. Kolzig retweeted the news of Prior getting this job in Vegas, so it wouldn’t a shock if the former Vezina and Clancy Trophy winner finds himself a role here as well.

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