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Who Are The Vegas Golden Knights and Are They in Serious Trouble?

August 4, 2022, 11:25 AM ET [40 Comments]
Eklund
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In a recent interview on a podcast called the “Raw Knuckles Podcast with Chris Nilan and Tim Stapleton,” Max Pacioretty talked about what is was like to play in Vegas for the past few years.

He talked of a very odd situation where the team plays with essentially no outside pressures and therefore very little accountability. Of course Pacioretty ended up in Vegas after several years captaining the Montreal Canadiens, a team whose every shift is dissected in every way…

Max’s words were pretty biting, but they aren’t the first a their kind I have heard coming out of the city of Vegas from hockey people. The general feeling is that ever since McPhee and Gallant were at the helm this team there is really no true pressure to find the level they had once shocked the world with as an expansion phenom.

The Knights took the hockey world by storm by assembling a group of players who all worked hard and could play the game fast and without fear. Of course they also had an incredible goalie behind them in Marc Andre Fleury, who was not only incredible in net, but very much a spiritual advisor to the team.

The expansion Knights weren’t a fancy group of high paid UFA signings. They had all been cast off by other hockey teams and that kind of inspiration to prove others wrongs was perfect for Gallant’s vision.

And then, for some reason, that all changed. The players who once made the Knights so special were quietly replaced by big name players on big contracts and even Fleury was cast aside..

It is very much a cautionary tale of what wins and what doesn’t win in hockey. The current team is unquestionably filled with more top end guys and its hard to find fault with Stone, Pietrangelo, or Eichel….but they aren’t as good as they were before those guys came to town. How could this be?

The answer is really simple, but often ignored.…Hockey is about talent, for sure, but nothing can stop emotion and desire. Combining talent with emotion and desire is up to the staff around the team. Often that means keeping on some players that might no make “logical sense on paper.” The Knights under McCrimmon have yet to figure out the need for chemistry. The need to motivate. The importance of rewarding players who might mean more to you than they would to anyone else.

It is for this reason that they have gone from a place almost every NHL player would love to play, to just another team…

What say you?
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