On the night of the NHL Awards, George McPhee answered a question of mine in a way he’d never done before. He listened to my poorly phrased but pointed question and said, “that’s a good question.” That’s the moment I knew I was on to something.
Before we get to my question though we need to go back a little bit to a discussion pretty much everyone close to the Golden Knights has had at some point over the course the past year. The “why were the Golden Knights good” discussion.
You’ve been there, debated it with someone, maybe even me. I’m sure you touched on things like “chips on shoulders,” “increase in opportunity,” “character,” or some other way to explain the fact that the Golden Knights did not have the best collection of hockey players in the NHL, yet still managed to come within three wins of lifting the Stanley Cup.
That’s where McPhee comes back in. Earlier in the same press conference in which I asked my “good question,” McPhee said this…
We did go by some people that may have been more talented but we wanted the right personalities, the right people here, and we put a lot into that and it’s an intangible that’s hard to describe but you know it when you see it. It was those intangibles that really carried this team a long way because all the other teams were more talented than we were. -George McPhee
I’m going to make you read that last part one more time.
…All the other teams were more talented than we were. -McPhee
According to their own GM, the Western Conference Champions were the least talented team in the NHL. Take it literally like that or not, the sentiment is still the same, the Golden Knights were not as talented as most, if not all, of their opponents. Yet, they won and won and won and nearly won the whole kit and caboodle.
You made it to the Stanley Cup Final with the least talented team built mostly around “character,” is that a sustainable strategy moving forward, or do you need to go out and add more talent to remain among the best teams in the league?
That was what I was trying to ask, instead, I said this…