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Cassidy Shut Down Country Club, Golden Knights Won Cup



Vegas Golden Knights, Bruce Cassidy

Max Pacioretty had some interesting comments about the Vegas Golden Knights after being traded to the Carolina Hurricanes in 2022. A relaxed atmosphere, less accountability, and a country-club atmosphere are just some of the ways Pacioretty explained his experience with the Golden Knights to the Raw Knuckles Podcast.

“I even mentioned that at the end of the year,” Pacioretty said. “I didn’t say this specifically. I didn’t want this to be like playing in Montreal, but I told them, ‘No one is really holding us accountable.’ If we had a bad year like this, the city would be half on fire. Here we are showing up to the rink, and it’s 80 degrees, and it’s sunny, and we’re getting our car washed, getting our organic food, and playing golf. I was kind of like, ‘We’ve got to police this thing better amongst each other.’ I don’t want to say it was a country club, but you have no one from the outside holding you accountable.”

Pacioretty’s comments were on the mind of Golden Knights coach Bruce Cassidy upon his arrival in Vegas.

“There was a couple of things that when I got hired that were brought to my attention by the GM (Kelly McCrimmon) and some players about how they were getting a little away from. I think when Pacioretty left he had a comment something about it being a little bit of a country club. I guess the way I took it they needed tightening up a little bit in their play and practice habits.” Cassidy to the Murphy’s Hockey Law Podcast

Cassidy went on to mention that the Golden Knights players were a very professional group and they would be held to a standard away from the puck.

Jack Eichel met Cassidy in Cape Cod prior to the 2022-23 season and the two discussed what they wanted from one another. Cassidy’s focus was on Eichel becoming a two-way player and used Patrice Bergeron and David Krejci as an example.

“I used Bergeron and Krejci as examples of two-way players that put up really good offensive numbers, were good leaders the way they played the game, and played a 200-foot game. That was my expectation of (Eichel).”

This is an example of great leadership. Eichel has a certain stigma about him, at least outside of Vegas. Cassidy set expectations for Eichel while being receptive to what Eichel wanted out of Cassidy. This is the type of structure that Eichel lacked in Buffalo.

Cassidy learned from his experience as the Bruins coach. There was a poor narrative surrounding Cassidy on how he handled younger players. Cassidy would call players out during press conferences for poor play. It seemed strange that a coach would get fired after having six straight seasons making the playoffs with one Stanley Cup Final appearance. It is clear that things were not clicking well enough behind the scenes with Cassidy and the players.

There never seemed to be any turmoil with Cassidy in Vegas. The locker room always felt very controlled after a loss. The players of course were happy after a win but not over the top. After a loss the mentality was about getting back to work the next day.

Cassidy’s post game press conferences had the same vibe as the locker room. Always in control of his words and deliberate, Cassidy gave a fair and honest evaluation of the game. He would never show frustration or anger over a loss. After a victory Cassidy was complimenting of the performance, but always left the door open for improvement.

Cassidy shut down the country club which is exactly what the players wanted.

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