Photo: Ethan Miller, Getty images Agence France-Presse
The keeper of the Golden Knights, Marc-Andre Fleury stops a shot by Lars Eller, Washington Capitals, while Jon Merrill, Golden Knights, defends the net for his team.
Las Vegas is a city synonymous with the tap-to-eye, where the chance is all-important. But this does not apply at all to the team of the national hockey League has made its debut in October.
The Golden Knights Vegas have confounded all the experts by 2017 — several rivals, too — and made several records for a club to expansion, to the point of being the highlight of the year in the NHL.
Thanks to a historic beginning for a training after an enlargement of the executives, the men of Gerard Gallant still have not stumbled, to the point of trôner at the top of the Western conference with 23 wins and 48 points after 34 games.
They have a coach who was combative during his career as a player, and this is what he requires behind the bench. They attack you, they are hungry and they are good.
Terry Crisp, associated four-team expansion as player, head coach and analyst since 1967
No development team has not won as many games as quickly in the history of the NHL. The Golden Knights also became the first course to win its first three games, and eight of the first nine matches of his history. During the first two months of the calendar, they have experienced two sequences of five wins.
By way of comparison, the Washington Capitals (1974-1975) and the Ottawa Senators (1992-1993) have amassed, whole, 18 victories in their first campaign in the NHL, 164 parties !
“I believe in our team every night. I think we’re a good hockey team. We are working hard and battalions with force, ” said Gallant few moments after a triumph 4-3 against the mighty Tampa Bay Lightning, December 19.
“Can we maintain this pace ? Yes, I think so and the players have confidence to achieve this. We face opponents very tough and we would like head. Again, everything revolves around the trust that displayed our players. They want to work hard and make sure to play with energy match after match. For us, it is the key. “
Rules that are favourable
The Golden Knights have managed it all by claiming players abandoned by all the other teams in the NHL — which had also been the case of their predecessors, but of much higher quality in the pool available for training expansion of the past. As the New York Islanders in 1972, winners of only 12 parties on 78 in their inaugural season.
It must be said that the rules surrounding the repêchages expansion have changed a lot over the decades, points out Bill Torrey, the first director-general of the existence of the Islanders.
“There is no similarity between our expansion draft and one of the Golden Knights, slice Torrey, the builder of the dynasty of the Islanders of the early 1980s. The Golden Knights have won legitimate NHL players, while we had three. All the others were of the calibre of the minor leagues. “
Favored by a system far more fair, the Golden Knights have put the hand on a guard’s premier Marc-Andre Fleury, but also on attackers of quality in James Neal, David Perron and Jonathan Marchessault.
A high level coaching
The general manager, George McPhee, has also maneuvered behind the scenes before the expansion draft to add respectable players or possible choices in the draft.
“In Gerard Gallant, they put the hand on a great coach. I know it well, because we’ve had here. Also, the Golden Knights have had about a year to prepare for their draft and build their organization. With the Panthers, we had five months, and with the Islanders, about six months, ” said Torrey, now a special advisor with the Florida Panthers, of which he was president at the time of their arrival in the NHL in 1993.
The performance of the Golden Knights are all the more remarkable that they were quickly made in the face of adversity. They have had to call four guards different to their first ten games following successive wounds Fleury, Malcolm, Subban and Oscar Dansk.
Terry Crisp, who has been associated with four teams of expansion as player, head coach and analyst since 1967, is totally impressed by what he sees.
“When you paid $ 500 million for a concession of hockey, as they had to do it, it is normal to want a respectable team. It is true that they have had advantages that other clubs [expansion] have not had, but they enjoyed it. They know what they are doing. They have a coach who was combative during his career as a player, and this is what he requires behind the bench. They attack you, they are hungry and they are good. “