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VGK’s Championship Identity Unmatched In Pacific

(Photo Credit: @_jkarsh on Instagram)

Let’s take a look around the Pacific Division. Self-proclaimed contender loses 8-1. California’s brightest was outpowered by Colorado and the Western Conference’s surprise team is 0-2-0 with one goal in 60 minutes. Like years past, the Golden Knights will greatly benefit from their light divisional schedule. Five out of the eight Pacific teams are considered out or borderline playoff rosters.

NHL Power Rankings – Pacific Division Teams

  • Edmonton Oilers (2nd)
  • Vegas Golden Knights (5th)
  • Los Angeles Kings (11th)
  • Seattle Kraken (16th)
  • Vancouver Canucks (18th)
  • Calgary Flames (21st)
  • Anaheim Ducks (27th)
  • San Jose Sharks (32nd)

After their 4-1 opening night victory against the Seattle Kraken, the reigning champions walked into their locker room where they undressed, gave their postgame interviews, and moved on. It was business as usual for the Golden Knights, even after an emotional, jubilant celebration. At the end of the day, Bruce Cassidy complimented his guys for playing a full 60 minutes and the focus turned to San Jose. In an unsurprising fashion, Vegas handled their duties and left Northern California with two more points.

It won’t be that easy for other clubs in the division. The Golden Knights play with an identity, a championship identity, while the other seven are trying to find theirs. Take the Kraken for example. On Tuesday, Seattle left the ice and patted themselves on the back for their effort in a losing cause. Coach Dave Hakstol fluffed off the result and bizarrely tossed it aside because it was opening night.

Transition, execution in and around the net, getting to a couple of more rebounds. It’s early, it’s game one. There will be a number of things I’m sure we’ll want to look at and improve. That’s typical at this time of year. -Dave Hakstol, SEA coach

Prior to Tuesday’s game, Kraken players spoke about the frustration of being eliminated in Game 7 of the second-round playoffs to the Dallas Stars. However, against the Stanley Cup champions, the 32nd franchise looked like they took two steps back into expansion. Without confirming it, the Kraken hinted that Tuesday’s three-goal loss was a “mental victory.” It’s difficult to believe that mindset after showing little heart when teammate Brandon Tanev was sent to the locker room after a clear headshot from Vegas’ Brett Howden. Not one Kraken player made an effort to challenge Howden or retaliate to a dangerous check on a popular player. Some said the 2023 Stanley Cup champions overacted when a LA Kings player leveled Mark Stone in the preseason. That’s showing team identity not finding positives in a lopsided defeat.

Just a half-second late is kind of what it felt like. First game of the year so you try to learn from it and move forward. We’re a fast team and you have got to make them hit you. Make them skate. We did a good job of holding the puck in their zone. -Jared McCann, SEA forward

After two games, Seattle’s identity is uncertain. They can’t score, they’re faint-hearted, not terribly difficult to play against, and lack high-end skill. The Kraken are limited in their own zone, have mediocre goaltending, and aren’t well-coached. Yet, the Golden Knights defeated a relatively content divisional team. It’s early, they say.

In only a handful of games completed this season, the Pacific Division looks extremely shaky. For the Golden Knights to capture another division title they’ll need to simply play to their identity. Balanced, defensive, intelligent, and structured will be enough to succeed in this division. The Golden Knights’ style of handling their side of the puck proved to be too much for most teams, never mind shallow Pacific Division rosters.




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  1. John W

    What a good take. Good job Jason. Since the Seattle game was on the embarrassingly bad ESPN coverage, we didn’t hear much of those Seattle comments.

    I think VGK fans should recognize how much better our coach is, compared to the rest of the guys in the Pacific.

    Next weeks games against Deboer and WPG will really give us a better look if this trend applies to the western conference also!

  2. THE hockey GOD

    only a few good coaches in NHL , Babcock was one of them before he
    screwed up, Panther coach is ok but a bit of scumbag endorsing this style of play.
    Philly has good coach.
    Dallas Deboar is good.
    Carolina coach is OK.
    I don’t know who took over the RANGERS when GG was fired.
    None of Canadian teams’ coaches stand out in my mind.
    LA Kings has a good coach.
    TAMPA has a great Coach.
    Red wings supposed had under study from TB, but that has yet to be seen.

    PS HAMAS, HEZABOLLAH, Aya Toilet HEADS can all F themselves. The “squad” who is desperately trying to spin and marginalize these stooges can F themselves too. And anyone supporting , rallying, or protesting these scumbags can also go F themselves.

    There I said it, took me awhile to cool down, but there it is. Neofascist , nazi , women beating scum bags that they are.

    sez me, and no one can change my mind, no one.

    • Mike Paine

      Hockey-wise you know a lot more than I do. Politically, though, I couldn’t agree with you more! There are at least two of us feeling the same way!

  3. THE hockey GOD

    peace and God Bless Barry Melrose place, may your affliction be a quick heal and suffer in no pain.

  4. THE hockey GOD

    Kraken had an identity going, and then they couldn’t keep some players, a step backwards in some regard.

  5. Ned Ryerson

    Dumbest article I’ve ever read. The two other expected contenders have played one game. ONE!

    • THE hockey GOD


      PS no jobs in NHL for these clowns

      Harvard students are scrambling to take back their pro-Hamas statement in response to the terrorist attacks against Israel — which has so far left more than 1,000 people dead — while CEOs are looking into blacklisting them from future jobs. The statement no longer lists the student groups that signed on the statement, claiming that “For student safety, the names of all original signing organizations have been concealed at this time.”

  6. Jason – for the benefit of other posters who deem some of my comments as negative – I would suggest you are counting the chickens before they hatch. To write and print an article after two games of this nature is just plain stupid. Ther are 80 games to go and anything I repeat anything could change the direction of the VGK. Look what happened last night to Petro – in wrong place at the wrong time. Haven’t heard but he could very well have a concussion. Carrier out first game. We all want Vegas to repeat but let’s not ahead of ourselves.

    • THE hockey GOD

      “negative” is not the term some posters would use


      • Do you have anything positive to say. Apparently Petro isn’t playing tonight – at least that is what someone posted. So l stand on my post with 80 games to play the article by Jason was not the brightest article he has written.

  7. Jailbird

    I’m not much into dissing other coaches. There are some I don’t like, but that doesn’t make them bad coaches. Take Brucie. His no nonsense style might not fit with other teams, but here it fits in nicely with a team full of veterans. Some coaches are more cheerleaders and seem to want to be one of the boys, such as the Florida guy. We are fortunate that Cassidy became available and we had the smarts to grab him!

  8. Jailbird

    Hey Ken, any news on petro?

  9. Sorvino

    Fellow Knights fans here is an update on Pietrangelo as per Jesse Granger of the Athletic.

    Alex Pietrangelo is not on the ice for morning skate after taking the puck up high in San Jose.

    Here’s what the d-pairs look like:


  10. Jailbird

    Thanks for petro update guys. Let him let those stitches heal some.

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