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Who’s To Blame For The Golden Knights Underachieving… Again

(Photo Credit: SinBin.vegas Photographer Brandon Andreasen)

It’s a sad moment for fans when a hockey season abruptly ends like it did last Thursday. Reality sets in when a Cup run is over and the 31st franchise will have to wait another year for a chance at the ultimate prize. Unfortunately, the truth is, this was another wasted season for the Golden Knights. For the second straight year, Vegas faced an inferior opponent and couldn’t find a way to force a game seven. Their leaders, coaches, and framers failed again and almost identically in back-to-back years.

Against Montreal, the Golden Knights outshot the Canadiens 193 to 165 yet had two fewer goals in the Semifinals. Keep in mind the Canadiens were the 15th lowest scoring team in the regular season and Vegas was 3rd highest. The Golden Knights fell down the same hole last postseason against the Dallas Stars. Like Montreal, Dallas was another low scoring team that found a way to outscore the Golden Knights in the conference finals. It was inexcusable in 2020, and even more so in 2021 after the organization retooled in the offseason.

So, who’s to blame?

Players

Let’s begin with the leadership group. Captain Mark Stone has built quite the portfolio in Vegas, however, his stock continues to plummet in the playoffs. For three straight seasons, Stone has provided very little offense for the Golden Knights when they needed him late in a series. Going without a single point in the entire Semifinals was rock bottom for Stone. His failure to produce in the backend of a playoff series was evident again against Minnesota, Colorado, and Montreal.

In all fairness to the captain, he owned up to it.

I can praise (the Canadiens) all I want but ultimately it falls down on myself and the top players on this team. We had some guys that produced night in and night out. As far as myself I got skunked this series. That can’t happen. I’m the captain of this team, the leader of this team, I take a lot of responsibility for what just occurred. -Mark Stone

Another concern was the continuous slow starts for Vegas. In six Semifinal games, the Golden Knights allowed the first goal four times, and were sluggish to begin the 1st period in several other postseason contests. In the final 12 games of the postseason, the Golden Knights trailed at some point in 11 of them.

Is it possible the team leaders for Vegas couldn’t motivate their teammates enough to kick off the game on time? It’s hard to comprehend why, but it’s fair to point fingers at the men with letters; Stone, Reilly Smith and Alex Pietrangelo.

Coaching

It’s unfair to solely blame the players for the team’s slow starts in the playoffs. A big share should be directed at head coach Pete DeBoer. How come Vegas’ bench general couldn’t get his club to wake up earlier in postseason games? Was his message not loud enough, strong enough, or just tuned out? When a contending club like Vegas stumbles that many times out of the gate in the playoffs you have to look at the coach.

Also, DeBoer didn’t do enough to fix one of history’s worst postseason power plays. It failed over and over again and yet there were no major adjustments, corrections, or massive overhauls. Assistant coach Steve Spott was in charge of a listless man-advantage and DeBoer stuck with his ineffective plan throughout the entire postseason (and regular season before it). At some point, the head coach should’ve taken over the power play duties himself. There was no guarantee for success but allowing the status quo seriously impacted the Golden Knights chance at advancing.

Finally, coaching should take some heat for the late return of the goalie rotation in the Semifinals. The Golden Knights were three wins away from the Stanley Cup Final when DeBoer decided to flip flop Marc-Andre Fleury and Robin Lehner. Instead of sticking with Fleury’s success, Vegas’ coach decided to use both like the team was in the middle of a regular season series with the Arizona Coyotes. It’s hard to believe that starting Lehner in Game 4 against Montreal was in DeBoer’s plans before the series began. It’s easy to read between the lines, the decision was made because of Fleury’s costly giveaway in Game 3. For a second straight postseason, DeBoer poorly handled the situation in net. And for the record, none of the blame falls on Fleury or Lehner. Nope, the department that shares the blame with DeBoer for the goalie wheel is the front office.

Management

The Golden Knights front office built a well-rounded, prototypical Stanley Cup contender. Size, skill, and experience. The roster had plenty of forward firepower and a new, Cup-winning, Norris trophy caliber defenseman but ignored the wasted money in net. While many believe the two-goalie system worked, the truth is it didn’t work when the games mattered. Sure, Fleury and Lehner earned the Jennings trophy for the best goalie tandem in the NHL but that was a regular season award. To put it bluntly, the Jennings Trophy is an oversized cereal bowl compared to a Conn Smyth award.

In the postseason, having two goalies severely hurt the Golden Knights… again. While one goalie played, the other sat on the bench unable to contribute. Before the season began the front office accepted that they would be forced to waste $5M or $7M out of their salary cap per game in order to retain both goalies. In the long run, Vegas didn’t have problems in net in the postseason, they had trouble scoring. You know how much a reliable goal scorer(s) would have cost? Yep, $5M-$7M bucks.

The front office added two incredibly valuable Stanley Cup winners Alec Martinez and Alex Pietrangelo, whom were two of the more reliable players in the postseason for Vegas. Management ignored the possibility of an offensive drought in the postseason. The club they built failed to score against Dallas in last season’s Western Conference Final but somehow felt the team needed an upgrade on defense and goaltending. It’s was a confounding decision at the time and it’s even more so in retrospect. It was clear then and it’s clear now, the Golden Knights were missing another scoring option. With more cap space a player or players could have been purchased before the season or at the deadline. If the team hadn’t been saddled with $12M in goaltenders Vegas’ front office could have used that financial wiggle room for more offensive assistance. And let’s face it, scoring goals is what they desperately needed.

It’s disappointing the way the season ended but it’s even more so when the club set such high expectations. Fans were told this was the best Golden Knights team they’ve rooted for since the team’s inaugural season. However, they reached the exact same place they did a year ago and bowed out the exact same way. Similar to VGK teams in the past, sure, but there’s nothing to prove they were indeed better.

Most teams would feel good about reaching the Semifinals but not this club. Vegas is one of a handful of teams that are built to win now. The championship window is wide open for the Golden Knights but if the franchise can’t get out of cap purgatory and fails to address the club’s scoring needs there could be more postseason exits in the future.

They clearly didn’t get the picture on the first go around, let’s hope they’ve figured it out with this second chance.

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99 Comments

  1. Frank

    Simple fact of the matter that the Lehner deal has this club hamstrung and was the wrong decision at the wrong time. We need a legit #1 center and bottom six scoring depth, not better goaltending.

    • Cassandra

      We can also argue at the time the Petro deal didn’t address what this team actually needed and hurt 27 in the process by neutralizing his abilities. I also agree with what you said about the 90 deal.

      • Frank

        Petro deal – not great either. Did not play up to potential in regular season at all. Playoffs – decent in Wild series – much better in Avs/canadiens series…. However, pretty pricey for a defenseman on the wrong side of 30.

      • the hockey God

        no 7 didn’t hurt no 27 in any way shape or form

        no 27 has no one to blame for his play except for himself.

    • Hector

      I totally agree. But can someone tell me why we got DeBoer? How many cups did he win with some excellent Shark teams? Oh I remember, ZERO!

      • Al Dann

        Debore needs To go , he has nothing to offer vegas , vegas has no. Power Play , our passing is a complete mess. Team never in the plus paint. No rebounds, f in all aspects of the game , all controlled and managed by Pete . You should say bye Pete. My high school. Could of played better. Vegas should have better , our best players were our worst players . Send Pete back to Ca. I for one has burned my 4 jerseys .

        • Juice

          Sure you did buddy.

        • Boise Chris

          I agree, but I’m not about to burn my Fleury jersey and I won’t remove my Vegas Golden Knights bumper sticker

        • Kim K

          DeBoer was never a good fit, he does need to go. The rotating goal tenders was a huge insult.

      • jinklu

        Hector, it appears only the idiots in the FO know why we got saddled with PDB after the Sharks fired him and they won’t answer that question. PDB did the same thing in New Jersey. Now he has his 3rd strike by turning the Knights into losers as well.

        • Hector

          Thank you! VGK have the players, but the fall off the rails come playoff time. That’s on PDB and his assistant coaches. But it seems that the fans are going along for the ride. The fans need to learn to boo the team every once in a while to show their displeasure with the team’s poor performance. Other hockey cities do.

  2. George L.

    Lehner was brought in due to panic and not a solid evaluation.

    By the same folks that let Suzuki go

    • Mark P

      I’m not bitter about the Suzuki deal because we picked up Max Pacioretty in that trade and Patches is Waaay better then Suzuki. So we got the better end of the deal there. The VGK problem is we need a top line center and 3rd & 4th line help with guys who can score. You can’t rely on top line scoring alone. Once Montreal’s defense shutdown Pacioretty & Stone. The VGK was finished in this series. With more scorers, that won’t happen!!! In the off-season sign a top line scoring center!!!

      • Dean

        The shame is that Patches likely has 4-5 years left and we are likely going to waste most of that by keeping DeBoer as coach. Suzuki could have been a big part of teams in the later part of the decade once management figures out that DeBoer will never get us the Cup.

      • Ulf

        Patches has never been a playoff performer. With the exception of 2 post seasons he’s averaged 0.55 points per game over his entire career, and he’s 33 in the fall.. Way overrated and Suzuki will grow into a center VGK could have used for years. In about 2 years VGK will bottom out as there are no bonafide prospects.

        • Mark P

          Actually Patches led the Golden Knights in points in the playoffs. He is also the leading scorer each and EVERY YEAR he has been with the VGK. Nick Suzuki will never see 300+ goals like Pacioretty has scored so with at least 4-5 more years of scoring yet to come. Don’t get me wrong Suzuki is a very good player but definitely is not elite scorer like Pacioretty. Vegas didn’t lose because of a lack of production. It was coaching and not being able to adjust to Montreal’s defense. It’s more on the coaching staff then the players.

          • Ulf

            You’re right Patches did well this year,. But you can lead the team in scoring and still be an overrated playoff performer.
            Stats:
            2012-13: 0 points/4 games
            2013-14: 11 points/17 games (0.65 ppg)
            2014-15: 7 points/11 games (0.64 ppg)
            2016-17: 1 point/6 games (0.17 ppg)
            2018-19: 11 points/7 games (1.6 ppg, best year at age 30)
            2019-20: 8 points/16 games (0’.5 ppg)
            2020-21: 11 points/13 games (0.85 ppg, second best year ever at age 32)

            He’s already injured more these days and his type of game does not age well. We have likely seen his peak although he will have some effective years left.

            Agree with you that coaching was the major issue. But players who are supposed to be first line (which patches isn’t suited for) find a way to score in the playoffs.

          • Richard Santomauro

            Mark P is absolutely 100% correct. PDB failed.

            Power play sucked.
            Adaptation sucked.
            Rotation sucked.
            Allowed players to tire out.

            Simply awful.

            Hiring PDB was worse than bringing in Lehner which was also a bad move.

      • the hockey God

        Suzuki completely out played MAX PATCH in the HABS series. Suzuki has four times as many years left in his skates than MAX PATCH and will only get better. While MAX PATCHES will see declining speed and he already is getting injured more and more.

        HE had his chance in two semi finals and so far has not shown up. What will change that in the future ?

        • Mark P

          Once again you didn’t listen to what I said, I’m not arguing who outplayed who in a series. I simply said Suzuki will never measure up to what Pacioretty has accomplished in the NHL PERIOD!!! Suzuki is a very good player but that’s all he’ll ever be is just that, “a very good player”. Max Pacioretty is an elite top line player and an elite goal scorer and his statistics will show you that. When Suzuki gets to 300+ goals and 800+ points, then you can say Suzuki is the better player. Right now it’s Mr. Pacioretty who is much much better. End of story!!!

          • the hockey God

            he more than “measured up” when it counted in the semi finals.

          • Ulf

            Patches has been good but is in no way an elite player. That’s part of the FO’s problem – overrating players and overreacting in making trades.

        • Daryl

          With Patches getting slower maybe he can turn into that mucker player lol

    • Mark P

      Bringing Lehner in was actually a good move. The problem is you can’t tie up $12million in two goalies. Lehner is extremely good. It’s time to let Fleury go. He is 36 years old and you have Logan Thompson waiting in the wings who is a amazing young goaltender. If you free up Fleury’s $7 million and pick up a top line center then you can also re-sign Alec Martinez too and have a nice team for next season. If you keep Lehner & Fleury then we lose Martinez via free agency and have zero money to sign FA’s to improve the team.

      • Richard Santomauro

        I just wonder what sort of deal Martinez will settle for. He’s obviously still got a year or two left on his treads. He’s likely going to want a 3-5 year deal. If that’s the case he’s likely gone.

      • Al Dann

        Are you nuts , get rid of Pete , useless as a coach , he can go also

      • Daryl

        Bringing Lehner in with a plan to move MAF would have been a good move. I still think MAF is the better goalie and will be better for another 2-3 years but Lehner will be better longer because he is younger. The issues, as you said, is having 2 goalies.

      • the hockey God

        @MArk P, smart post Mark. Welcome to the jungle.

    • Mark P

      Plus our coaching has been horrible!!! DeBoer needs to pick it up or go Coach somewhere else!!! Horrible, no adjustments to his power play or anything. Learn how to coach!!!

      • arnold rothstein

        @ Mark P , the PP went downhill at end of season. The coach tried to change it, there was precious little practice time and the way they played on ice showed that they were paid off. Pretty obvious to anyone watching. Either that or they were dead tired. Not coaches fault, this is strictly on the players and playoff schedule that did not allow for practice time.

        arnold the brain
        PS i say they were paid off, but others would say they were dead tired team

        • Daryl

          Maybe the coach was paid off…. since no adjustments were done the entire off season

  3. Steve

    Everybody is forgetting how much we needed a high end right shot defenseman. Last season we had Zach Whitecloud and that’s it that was NHL ready. That’s why we got Pietro. Overpay maybe but he is s stud. We still need another right shot defenseman to balance the pairs. I’m not completely sold on needing more offense. The top guys just need to produce in the playoffs. I don’t buy that 12 million in goalies don’t work. Montreal has 14 million and their in the final. I agree it’s definitely not ideal. We had a good enough team to get to the final but no team can get by Tampa this year. 18 million over the cap is the reason why. That’s 2 superstars. Imagine what could’ve been if we had Draisaitl and McDavid for the playoffs.

  4. Dean

    Despite the fact that the Lehner contract created huge problems with the salary cap, I put most the blame on the coaching staff. You have to believe that the decision to add Lehner was partially made due to input from DeBoer. And a rotation was bad enough in the regular season, going to it in the playoffs was insane. When you only play every other day, you have to ride your #1 guy (Montreal has 2 high paid goalies as well but Price has been in net throughout their run). Add to this the poor power play and lack of traffic in front of the net leading to limited high percentage scoring opportunities…..it’s a recipe for disaster. DeBoer had many good teams in San Jose but was never able to get them the Cup. Their fans were glad when he was gone and their old problem is our problem now. I’m afraid our window of opportunity (which realistically only lasts as long as Fleury on the team and playing well) will expire as well without a a championship due to ineffective leadership on the bench.

    • Al Dann

      Are you nuts , get rid of Pete , useless as a coach , he can go also

    • the hockey God

      @Dean, Kelly the co GMGM made the decision to go with two goalie system, he has made that clear many times. :Last years bubble and this year’s playoff and the coach’s decision to dump the two goalie rotation during the playoffs is strictly on the coach and it indicated he was not a big fan of it. This was strictly a FO decision based upon facts and events.

  5. Richard Santomauro

    So, in response, I will parrot the many reasons that have been put forth the past few days —

    1- Bad Ice, No Muckers
    2- Bunch of Pussies, Not Tough Enough
    3- Lack of a quality Center (all of ours apparently are 3rd or 4th line)
    4- Coach Sucks

    Those are the top reasons thrown about the past few days.

    In my opinion, Lehner should never have been brought in at all. VGK’s record wouldn’t have been much different during the regular season. Maybe we would have slipped to 3rd or even 4th this year? Did all of those wins put VGK into any better of a situation in terms of seeding? From the rear view mirror, hell no! VGK struggled with the Wild despite having home ice. Did home ice matter against the Avs? Apparently not.

    The factors that I think mattered in yet another failure like the last season are:

    1- DeBoer
    2- DeBoer
    3- DeBoer
    4- Front Office
    5- Front Office
    6- Front Office
    7- Fleury’s Buckner moment cost us a game in the semi-final and while it can be excused, blowing a game like that in a 7 game series is a mortal sin that MUST BE LISTED.

    I blame DeBoer for his inability to motivate this team, to prepare this team for playoff hockey and for the absolute absence of any power play whatsoever. DeBoer came out with the same old same old same old same old strategy game after game after game with the mixing up of lines as his sole strategy to try and adapt to playoff hockey. During the regular season teams don’t do as much forechecking at all. In the playoffs the time and space you are used to having shrinks dramatically especially when you are playing playoff caliber teams. Despite what we might think, Montreal is as good as if not better than Minnesota.

    So, our Golden Knights beat up royally on Anaheim, San Jose, LA, and Arizona. Big effing deal. True, they are NHL teams, but they are all still at various stages of rebuilding.

    I blame the FO because we never really needed Lehner. We can debate whether or not it was a good idea with the compressed schedule to keep 2 goalies. In hindsight that looks like a shitty idea, yet everyone was saying how great it was throughout the season. I say we never needed Lehner because the FO simply panicked after Season 2 and was apparently ready to throw out the baby with the bath water.

    In Season 5, it’s time to move on from Lehner, bring in another AHL goalie to replace Dansk and to have Logan Thompson in net when Fleury needs a breather. The problem with CAP space is that VGK definitely needs to find a way to retain the services of Martinez – AND – bring in another top Center man. On my list to free up that space is Lehner, McNabb or Holden (or both), Janmark (depending on who we get), and possibly Reaves (who won’t bring much).

    Lastly, DeBoer has failed the test. Two seasons behind the bench with the same putrid results on offense is simply inexcusable. Time to move on. Will that happen? I doubt it, which means we are in for yet a repeat of Season 3 and 4 next year.

    • Howard

      “On my list to free up that space is Lehner, McNabb or Holden (or both), Janmark (depending on who we get), and possibly Reaves (who won’t bring much).”

      Holden was on waivers twice this year, no takers so you are wrong there. JanMark is an UFA, so he’s not a factor. McNabb will get you zero return. Reaves is a zero.

      Read Granger’s article on The Athletic – at least he’s thinking like a GM and not a fan.

      • sb

        Yep to Holden, twice on waivers, there’s no market for Reaves, Janmark is UFA. Get in return? What is this guy talking about? Trade McNabb? That’s a very, very big hole to fill for $3 million dollars.

      • the hockey God

        spot on Howard, GRanger is almost God like in his reasoning. He is all right.

      • Mark P

        We need to get rid of all the bottom tear players who suck. Let Nosek go, Janmark, Cody Glass etc… trade some of them for a proven CENTER!!! That’s really what the VGK need badly. Once Stephenson got hurt we had ZERO answers for how to replace him. Dummy DeBoer even had Alex Tuch playing center which was hilarious considering Alex Tuch is a right wing and has NO CLUE how to even play Center what so ever!!! Get a center in free agency! That’s what we need. Even bringing back Erik Haula would help tremendously too. He’s a proven center!!! We can dump Nick Holden too. We have young defensemen on the taxi squad who can move up plus guys on Henderson who can move up to back fill the 3rd & 4th lines. The 3rd & 4th lines were very bad in the scoring department. Our 4th line can hit good but otherwise provide NO offense what so ever!! That must be fixed.

        • Richard Santomauro

          Haula’s leg injury is the reason why the FO dumped him. He’s come back from that injury and is playing well. Perron has been playing lights out as well for the Blues. Another thorn in the VGK side has been Bellamare on the Avs.

          I am still pissed off over the firing of GG, and the way the FO handled the players was simply awful.

          I will be watching GG & NYR. I hope he does well there.

    • Al Dann

      Are you nuts , get rid of Pete , useless as a coach , he can go also. Debit is the issue

    • Ulf

      Don’t disagree with the FO overrating players and DeBoer not adapting, but re; no. 7, sure Fleury should have had that but look at the tape and it’s a different story.
      It’s WAY too easy to just blame Fleury alone for that.
      In the final minutes of a one goal playoff game, where in heck were the back checkers? VGK did a very poor job of back checking against MTL all series, but that is the thing that’s inexcusable .
      They let 2 Habs fly right by them and pot one into an open net.
      Hockey is a team game. Fleury bailed them out countless times and VGK were just lazy, entitled, or too tired to play sound defensive hockey late in a game.

  6. Wes Skworzec

    When the Golden Misfits went to the Final in the inaugural season the media was saying McPhee was a genius. Yes the man had success in Washington, but the players that made up that squad were all cast offs. So where did McPhee earn the proclamation of a genius? In fact the first time he did anything as a GM was the Tatar trade with Detroit. He sent a 1st, 2nd, & 3rd round draft pick for Tatar who played the a few regular season games and in our failed post season. Next year off he goes to Montreal with Suzuki for Max Pacioretti with a four year 28M no trade clause contract.

  7. Jeff M.

    DeBoer has to shoulder a ton of blame for his inability (Unwillingness?) to adjust, but neither he nor the players were given a full toolbox. The front office absolutely failed in their responsibility to build a team for the playoffs by being thin at center, lacking dynamic players in the bottom six, and spending too much on defense when that was not a primary need last off-season.

    Take the money from whichever goalie and the money paid to Pietrangelo and you can have the best third line in the league and a number one center.

    It boggles the mind how something so obvious to so many could go unaddressed by the front office.

  8. Wes Skworzec

    In inaugural season the media was saying McPhee was a genius because of the success the team had. Mc Phee did nothing as a GM to impact that roster or that seasons outcome The fact is the first time he did anything as a GM was the Tatar trade with Detroit. He sent a 1st, 2nd, & 3rd round draft pick for Tatar who played the a few regular season games and in our failed post season. Next year off he goes to Montreal with Suzuki for Max Pacioretti with a four year 28M no trade clause contract.

  9. Tim

    First off Jason great job, Richard you have a lot of good points and as much as I love Martinez he’ll be 34 in July and I understand he wants a 3 year 5 million a year deal until he’s 37. I’m sorry Richard were old enough the way it is so as much as I’d hate to say it I’d pass on Martinez. I believe and I think we all do that Lehner is DeBoers guy so my money is on Fleury being moved. Here’s a thought and the team would hate it bring in Tort from Columbus now with him it’s my way or the highway. You will play hard for 60 minutes and he’s a winner but there’s a price to pay.

    • Daryl

      Can you blame Martinez for wanting more? He out played Petra during the regular season and playoffs and look at his salary compared to Petra. I’d be oissed also. I don’t see VGK resigning him.

      • the hockey God

        partially correct, no. 7 clearly out played no 23 in playoffs. So much so that half way through the HABS series no. 7 was leading candidate for Conn Smyth trophy. That is MVP for the playoffs, no. 23 was not even close in the running.

        are you forgetting that it was no 23 who set up WEBB with a perfect pass , turn over, to that HAB player who promptly deposited into the VGK net?

        23 was good in playoffs, not excellent, but no. 7 was a WHOLE LOT better.

        Again I don’t know what you look at when you watch the games, surely you are blinded or have some mental condition that disrupts what your eyes see and what your brain processes.

        • the hockey God

          Smythe, that is

        • Daryl

          Let’s not forget that it was Petra with the To early on in the playoffs that cost VGK a game. Petra didn’t do shit early on. Yes he had a good series against the Habs and did OK again COL but he wasn’t great before That. Who lead the NHL in blocked shots? Martinez did what a Dmen is supposed to do. Petra was brought in for his offense and his ability on the PP. Where was he during the PPs?

          Sometimes I wonder what you watch during games.

          • the hockey God

            as usual you missed this part “So much so that half way through the HABS series no. 7 was leading candidate for Conn Smythe trophy. That is MVP for the playoffs, no. 23 was not even close in the running.”

            **Leading candidate by those NHL experts (including media , retired professionals, players, and coaches, and ex coaches) who know how to watch the playoffs, not some schmuck “fan’ who has a history of not being capable of recognizing the action on the ice and having a brain to process what they are really seeing.

          • Daryl

            Where is the link showing Petra was a leading candidate for anything? It’s funny you mention writers as experts but them trash talk Ken and Jason and say they don’t know anything. You always claim all this “truth” and these “facts” but you never provide a link to anything.

            And now that you started with name calling, I guess you are just upset I keep calling you out on all your BS lies.

            Curious, is Petra a mucker player? I didn’t VGK had any and if he isn’t then how was he doing so well on that really bad ice? Or was it he was paid off to lose? Pauline might be onto something with certain fans lol

    • the hockey God

      I didn’t think it was a good job, I thought it was a terrible article full of bull , mis direction , and complete lack of understanding.

    • Tim – you might be right but how do you know what Martinez actually wants. Besides he was actually the only bright spot on the Vegas team many nights particularly during the play offs. Petro will be 38 when he’s done fleecing Vegas management and Lehner secured is retirement package so who are the smart ones definitely not the FO. Martinez is worth the gamble more so than any others if they can figure out away for him to stay. Then there is the talk about going after another damaged goods center, isn’t one heath issue enough???? I would like to think they could find a home for Lehner but I can’t imagine what team that would be. Reaves probably falls into the same category as Lehner. Tampa Bay figured out a way around the Cap and had fresh players for the play-offs. Whether right or wrong smart management. Spott needs to go surely there is someone who can fix the PP which was a KILLER as I stated all along. Fleury screw-up would have been nothing if the rest of the team showed up every night and put the puck in the net. He bailed them out of more problems than the one he experienced.

  10. Pierre

    Seriously under coached and poorly managed. Pure and simple.

  11. Tiki Owl

    We rode Fleury almost all year when Lehner was unavailable and did just fine, but DeBoer couldn’t wait to put Lehner in and did so in the game not against SJS but against Colorado in what was for the Presidents trophy. Fortunately we didn’t need home ice to get past the Avs but still not a well thought out plan.

  12. the hockey God

    Article is full of misdirection, opinion, and contradictions. The biggest lie in “The front office added two incredibly valuable Stanley Cup winners Alec Martinez and Alex Pietrangelo, whom were two of the more reliable players in the postseason for Vegas.” then author thrashes the two goalie situation which was needed during the rigid covid shortened schedule. Author you can’t shit out of both ends of your mouth.

    “Finally, coaching should take some heat for the late return of the goalie rotation in the Semifinals’ nope that is all on Fleury for fucking up royally. You stay with hot goalie in playoffs, like everyone else does, until the goalie is done. And Fleury was done after game three. This is solely on the player , not the coach. The match up against Montreal was not there. And coaching staff realized it to their credit.

    BS article on calling out coach. This loss is mainly on players, lack of players’ conditioning, bad ice and lack of FO getting muckers who can perform during summer NHL ice follies.
    ,
    Motivation? If players aren’t motivated by being in semi’s and finals, there is nothing a coach can do.

    The author is saying “In the postseason, having two goalies severely hurt the Golden Knights… again. While one goalie played, the other sat on the bench unable to contribute.” and completely ignores the 1) situation helped the VGK get into the semi’s in the first place due to the rigid Covid schedule. Without the two goalies during the regular season it is unlikely that Fleury would have performed as he did in the playoffs. Albeit he was no match up for the HABS, which proved the value of having back up Lehner, who played well in the semi finals wining a game and giving team a chance to win another one. Some will say he blew it in OT, if Fleury was in net that game would never had gotten into OT. So Lehner did contribute. Author is wrong when he says back up goalie did not contribute. He kept VGK in the game, it was players fault for not pulling through the muck.

    The author is one who is “confounded” the author completely missed that fact that the regular season was a tight scheduled coivd tightened schedule. If the author had his druthers he would have gone with a one goalie system. Lost a lot more games during the regular season. Not ended up in second place, likely third. Would have gone into the playoffs with a TIRED FLEURY , and no home ice advantage against the WILD. with a likely first round exit. The author is short sighted in his reasoning and completely missed the WHOLE PICTURE.

    Then author says “Fans were told this was the best Golden Knights team they’ve rooted for since the team’s inaugural season” told by who ? You yahoos in media ?

    “let’s hope they’ve figured it out with this second chance.” this is more than the second chance.

    I could go on and on , the only thing I agree is with salary cap and lack of adding needed muckers to win the cup.

    As far as power play is concerned that was a problem that arose late in season with no time to fix it due to the COVID and playoff rigid schedules. To fix something like that needs practice and there was no practice time available. Another thing missed by the author.

    • Al Dann

      Debore needs To go , he has nothing to offer vegas , vegas has no. Power Play , our passing is a complete mess. Team never in the plus paint. No rebounds, f in all aspects of the game , all controlled and managed by Pete . You should say bye Pete. My high school. Could of played better. Vegas should have better , our best players were our worst players . Send Pete back to Ca. I for one has burned my 4 jerseys .

    • Daryl

      The PP was a problem going back to last year… It got worse this year and there was plenty of time to fix it but the coaches couldn’t do it

      Why were 2 goalies needed? How many games did Lehner miss for one reason or another? When Lehner was in net he didn’t even play a team with a winning record until the COL game. VGK would still have made the playoffs and would have been just fine no matter who their backup goalie was

  13. Faye A Drover

    Until we have a power play and learn how to win more faceoffs, we will end up in the same place year after year.

  14. sb

    The first mistake was Trade Deadline two seasons ago. The NEED then was a back-up goaltender (Ryan Miller for $1 mil) and a 1st line center – that should have been JG Pageau – move Stephenson to Tuch line. Instead, Mgt traded for Lehner, a second #1 goalie. MAF was shaky at .904%SA, but more scoring was the offset. Mistake 2, signed Lehner off-season for $5 mil, the same amount Pageau signed for with Isles. Mistake 3, signing Pietrangelo nearly $9 mil. It’s always great to have that caliber of a D-man, but Vegas could not afford him. The real need was a cheap .905% back-up goaltender and Number 1 center. Now salary cap handcuffed for one more season until Fleury’s contract expires. Don’t be surprised if – Pitts and VGK flip Malken for Fleury, both in their last contract season. Fleury does a farewell tour, Malken gets moved, Fleury comes back to Vegas 2022-23 for final 2 year contract, retires as a Knight. But that doesn’t get Vegas the Cup. Stuck in salary Cap hell with former All-Star D-man.

    • the hockey God

      to sb, monday night QBing and second guessing is wonderful, Isn’t it.

      Let’s muck it up some more !

      the covid schedule is what screwed this team and it’s need for back up goalie. That was main driver. IF not, Fleury would have started a lot more games, or they would have used a no name back up goalie- then team would not have ended up in 2nd place. It was a damned if you do, and a damned if you don’t situation. And with a no name goalie in back up, Fleury would have started a lot more games, and would have been dead tired come playoffs. Another damned if you do, and damned if you don’t situation. The FO hands are tied. The coaches hands are tied due to FO.

      Also, the NHL failed to raise the Salary CAP, and FO was part of that decision, again due to COVID. Onwers/FO did not want to pay more out of their pockets not knowing if their revenue source, the fans, would ever come back. Another damned if you do, and damned if you don’t situation.

      • Daryl

        You call it Monday morning QB yet most of us on here had issues the day it happened, not a year after. And who cares if VGK finished 2nd or 4th ,they still make the playoffs. If PDB overplayed MAF in regular season b/c of no named backup, then that would be on him. No excuse for it, not when over half your games are against losing teams. VGK would have been jsmjst fine with Subs on net

        • the hockey God

          your posts are the epitome of monday QBing and putting words in people posts that are not there in first place.

          • Daryl

            lol if you say so. You are just upset I called you out on your BS

    • Richard Santomauro

      So, what you’re saying is that you get treaded tanks instead of high speed motor bikes on your team because in the late spring and early summer the ice is all mucked up? Is that your strategy? How in the hell does this “mucked up” team even make the playoffs while skating on mostly so-called “good ice” during the regular season?

      AND THE MUCKING TOPIC GOES ON AND ON….

      • the hockey God

        worked for dallas and montreal, see the pattern yet ?

        you just have to get into the playoffs. Montreal was worst team in the playoffs to get in. You don’t need the recipe of being on top. You just need to get in.

        VGK made playoffs playing on mostly good ice because they are a good ice team, playing against teams who are not as good on good ice as they are.

        But in the summer, the NHL ICE FOLLIES takes over. IT is hot outside and it gets hot inside the building (especially with full crowd) , if you haven’t noticed. In north America. And VGK do not play well in those conditions because they don’t have proven players and balance on roster. Unlike the STARS and HABs. Plus their conditioning sucked, they clearly ran out of gas at nearly every position. The bad ice issue causes players to expend more energy.

        Need a good balance of good and bad ice players, like the Tampa Bay Bolts have. The Flyers, though I hated that team, of 70s were a good bad ice team with balance of skilled fast players.

        Of course you can put together an all star fast team like the 70s HABS or 80s Oilers or 90s red wings. Those were special teams with guns and top notch scoring on ALL levels.

        Even red wings had their muckers with McCarty and Constantinof (spelling). So balance is the key. The VGK have no real muckers on their team. They have some players like Carrier and Roy that come close, but not nearly enough. Nosek gets hurt too much, and Reaves has no skills.

        Nearly every D man on Habs is a mucker. Gallagher is a mucker. Perry is a mucker. Staal has tuned into a mucker. The islanders have a few good muckers too. As do the hated Bruins. Vgk needs to pick up a few of these players if their CAP space will allow so.

    • Daryl

      I actually agree with you here

  15. Marshall Minnie

    If the Knights coaching and players don’t develop a successful power play, the will not succeed in post season play.

  16. arnold rothstein

    Jason forgot to mention the MOB, that got to several key members of the roster.

    There is no way these players play so badly against a HAB team that could barely
    put on skate on at a time during the regular season.

    The stench remains, maybe Jason was the go between for the mob and players.

    Someone is driving a nice Ferari around with their “bonus”.

    Arnold The BRAIN

  17. knights fan in minny

    logan thompson needs nhl games next year

    • Richard Santomauro

      Logan Thompson is the real NHL deal from what I have seen of him. Big, lightning fast glove, great moves. He’s definitely a keeper. The only problem is the VGK front office will likely hang him out as trade bait to get an aging Center.

  18. Stephanie

    Orrrrr why didn’t they just do what Tampa did for their cap issues ? They have players that CAN score .its pretty obvious they have no creative ,various,brilliant offensive plans to maybe HELP these guys ? I still think and its just an opinion is all , that a motivational speaker brought in a few times over the season might truly help .I mean if you can’t do it and its not your thing .you gotta do something right ? Nothing to lose and everything to possibly gain. Good article Jason

    • Mike StG

      Stephanie, here is what Tampa did:
      Used LTIR relief (Gaborik & Nilsson) plus held out Kucherov on LTIR until end of season to be able to exceed the cap by over $18 million dollars. Their end of season cap (not factoring LTIR in) was +99M. Using that they were able to roster $18M worth of additional players that otherwise they wouldn’t have been able to keep. After season end there is no cap maximum. Let’s see – take Johnson, Killorn, Savard, Cirelli off their squad and are they still as dominant? Technically they were in compliance but it was a clever way to gain a massive advantage.

    • the hockey God

      it was a terrible article, completely ignored the improbable success of this franchise that no other franchise has EVER come close to achieving.

      plus do you realize it took over 7 years for Tampa BAY to put together this team , to win STanley CUp?

      and next year, after ALL THIS SUCCESS the NHL BETTMAN socialist BS rules will force them to break it up.

      that is not democracy, liberty, freedom to succeed, it is pure socialistic crapola

  19. Mike StG

    Yeah, there’s blame that is deserved and it should be pointedly expressed, so here goes:

    I blame them all for doing what no other true expansion franchise has ever done in its first 4 seasons. Win the division and went to the Cup final in their 1st year, twice to conference finals, all 4 years made playoffs. They’re TOTALLY at fault for all of that. Good luck next year team!! The oddsmakers have you and Avs at 5-1 to win the cup. Make us proud. 🙂

  20. knights fan in minny

    congrats to flower on winning the vezina thats the kind of keeper to show thompson the ropes

  21. Al Bundy of Hockey

    McCrimmon named GM – May 2, 2019
    DeBoers named Coach – January 15, 2020

    DeBoers complete failure to adjust game plan to Habs “trap” (neutral zone turnovers leading to zero forecheck, if you’ve ever played against a trap, your coach is instrumental in tweaking your play so you don’t look like an idiot)

    DeBoers complete failure to adjust the powerplay (time tested hockey 101 solution – just work puck low to high, shots with traffic)

    DeBoers lack of commitment to team defense – countless odd man rushes every game with San Jose and VGK

    DeBoers total disconnect with player selection for games, line combinations and ice time. Kolesar as a top line center vs Habs (lmfao)

    • the hockey God

      welcome to jungle bundy, you realize that PBD had his top line center injured ? And he used five different centers on top line ? Brown, Tuch, Roy, Nosek, and Kolesar ?
      You were watching weren’t you ? Because your misinformation will be called out each time.

      It was the players who failed to execute, the coach was coaching them, but they did not listen. Or were too tired and out of gas to execute. And when they did adjust, the HABS re adjusted. you failed to point that out too. It a game within a game within a game. You also failed to mention that the game three flub sucked the wind out of their sails. Game three is a must win in vast majority of the semi and finals series. That loss was too much to over come. And that was not the coach’s fault.

      • Daryl

        Yep, sucked the wind right out of the team, the team that came back and won the very next game. VGK lost the series because of MAF and bad ice, the coach had nothing to do with it hahaha

      • Al Bundy of Hockey

        What misinformation? Kolesar was an example of the player selection disconnect. If you’re going to try and call out misinformation, let’s call out your lack of hockey knowledge. How much do you know about the trap? Apparently not much. Played in it? Against it? Read about it? Zero coaching solution was implemented…completely evident. Game 3 didn’t swing the series and it is not the most statistically significant predictor of series success. Game 5 is. VGK stole game 4 anyway to even it up.

        The Habs SYSTEM frustrated VGK as it’s designed to do…that is at the coaching level. VGK players needed better marching orders.

        • Daryl

          How dare you question thg?

        • Howard

          Al Bundy of Hockey is mucho correcto 🙂 Habs trap is rather easy to deal with, and one way u don’d deal with it is to SKATE into it and try to force forward line passes. Correct way is either cross ice (Tampa did that a lot in game 1) and/or back pass which VGK finally started to do in the 3rd period of the last game – too little too late.

          Have to also know when and where to attack that in the ozone. VGK didn’t and this lead to a lot of odd man rushes – what trap hockey is designed to do. It’s rather basic and PDB for some reason either didn’t properly convey this to his players or never told them.

          • Al Bundy of Hockey

            Thx Howard…I’ll add to your point of it being easy to deal with…that’s kinda the reason it’s not used by every team in the league.

  22. FJ

    Bottom line:

    Flower is good enough to win the Vezina.

    He’s just not good enough to start in the playoffs for Pete DeBoer

  23. FJ

    Flower is good enough to win the Vezina.

    He’s just not good enough to start an elimination playoff game for Pete DeBoer.

    • Howard

      I think you guys are reading the MAF situation wrong here. It wasn’t a matter of MAF not being “good enough” for PDB to play him instead of Lehner twice but rather, a situation where MAF has been known in his career to shit the bed in Montreal, and showed as such in game 3.

      Basically, the idea of going with Lehner was only going to be at Bell Center to take pressure off of MAF = specific situational coaching.

      • Daryl

        I somewhat agree… But he should have sat the game before. MAF said he was getting tired yet PDB kept on the ice one more game, IMO a game too long

  24. Richard Santomauro

    DeBoer sucks.

    Yeah, I just said it.

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