November Can Equal Opportunity, Or Doom For Golden Knights

November Can Equal Opportunity, Or Doom For Golden Knights

FACT: The Vegas Golden Knights have essentially mirrored their record from last season, when they were 11-6-1 by this time.

Unfortunately, everything is backwards in a mirror, and this team currently stands at 7-11-1.

The fans that ride games out through their “gut-feeling” wonder where the magic went. The more “analytical” fans wonder why a roster that was touted as an improvement on last year’s “Golden Misfits” squad has a record that makes thinking even a month into the future a risky proposition.

To be fair, some of the magic is gone — that is undeniable.

Coach Gallant claims the team doesn’t have enough fire.

Max Pacioretty says the team lacks a killer instinct.

And, for those analytical fans — leading scorer Jonathan Marchessault sees the team missing a second effort.

It’s quite the contrast when juxtaposed with last year’s near miraculous season.

Such is the ebb and flow of the sport of hockey — where luck matters more than any other sport. “Puck luck” is the difference between getting a sure one-timer goal cleanly on your stick tape just before burying it in the back of the net, and that same pass being a jumping puck that’s rolling on edge just before it dribbles to the goalie because it couldn’t be shot properly.

The Golden Knights are definitely getting the short end of the stick when it comes to puck luck, and it’s been obvious to the most casual of fans. Games that would have been blowouts last season — where Vegas outplays their opponent for the majority of the game — have not just turned into narrow victories, but outright losses. No OT consolation points to pile up, nothing. Just disappointment and a lot of confused fans.

On paper, this team is a better lineup than it was last year. While that’s something to celebrate, it’s not something that shows up on the score sheet, or more importantly the wins column on it’s own, especially when the players comprising the (admittedly alleged) improvement aren’t playing.

The crown jewel of the defense hasn’t climbed over the boards all season due to suspension.

The intelligent, instinctual and talented veteran Center that Max Pacioretty has lacked his whole career has been out since October 9. To add salt to the wound, Paul Stastny’s ETA back to the lineup becomes even cloudier as time goes on.

The aforementioned Max Pacioretty even missed time nearly right away, but you may not be able to tell the difference since he’s returned. He’s made his way back to the lineup just as ice cold as he previously left it.

Erik Haula went down on an injury that looked nothing short of horrendous. And while his remaining with the team seems like reason for optimism, we likely won’t know the extent of the injury until later this week. If the actual play didn’t make you wince, the time he’s likely going to out surely will.

All in all, the Vegas Golden Knights Roster 2.0 has yet to play together for a single second of gametime. No luck and missing weapons will take any team out of contention — and quickly.

In truth, if the team ever does get the opportunity to ice a fully healthy team even once this season, it may be too late.

The next few weeks feature several highly vital games, many of which are against divisional foes. (Every game with the exception of two are against the woeful Pacific Division.)

Not only does that mean a great opportunity to make up ground in the divisional standings, but it also means the vast majority of the away games scattered amongst the remaining games for the rest of the month will be played pretty close to home. (The team does play in Chicago in the latter end of the month.)

So, what does it all mean? Should fans be optimistic, or worried?

The answer is … yes.

The next few weeks will very likely decide the entire season’s direction — for better or worse.

From here, every game matters — regardless of who’s injured or otherwise out — and that whoever is on the ice will need to find ways to win, even if it’s situation by situation. Out hustling and out working the opposition will be the name of the game, as the Golden Knights struggle to find the chemistry, speed and flow that they had last year. It won’t necessarily be as pretty, but if victories can be eeked out in the meantime of healing and getting starters back, it’ll make all the difference in the world.
In other words, a lot rides on the ability of the coaching staff to scheme something for the players available — even if it doesn’t look like the “typical” Golden Knights offense (a term reluctantly used considering the young age of the franchise.)

One thing consistent with this year’s Vegas Golden Knights? Inconsistency. While part of that is to be expected considering the details, it transforms games in November into circumstantial importance.

Buckle up, folks. It’s going to be an interesting ride.

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Jenny Pattison
Jenny Pattison
2 years ago

Wow!! Very impressive article! It left me with the feeling of doom. But at the same time I had a feeling if hopefulness! Maybe with all the bad luck we seem to be having there is still a glow from The Cup that is shining thru!!!

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November 2018