We have seen three versions of the Vegas Golden Knights this week.
The grumpy: The mood in the locker room after Monday’s victory over the Montreal Canadiens and practice throughout the week was strange. Players were far from content. Keep in mind this was during a streak of nine straight games with at least a point. The Golden Knights were not playing anywhere close to their “Golden Standard.” “I wouldn’t say we are playing very good hockey, we’re finding ways to win right now.” Keegan Kolesar after Thursday’s skate. “We can be a lot better after the last couple of games.
Coach Bruce Cassidy was a bit grumpy after Monday’s victory. He cut off a reporter mid-question when asked about the team being outshot after the first period. Full disclosure, I was the reporter he cut off and Cassidy apologized after the interaction. Cassidy is nothing but a class act, but he was far from content after Monday’s victory.
The giddy: Thursday’s victory over the Winnipeg Jets was the reward for a couple of days of good practices. “Obviously Bruce is a big believer in getting out there and practicing stuff.” Jonathan Marchessault on the team’s work ethic. “We had a little bit of skill work two days ago. It was good, I liked it.”
The players were cracking jokes in the post-game pressers. Marchessault’s 3:47 media scrum was more like an open-mic night at a comedy show. “Bruce asked me for a hat and I saw it was a Stanley Cup-winning hat. I bet you don’t have any of those.” Marchessault drew a chuckle from the reporters. “He’s just mad because he can’t really stop me in practice. My goalie’s confidence is not that great in practice. But it’s good during games.” Marchessault on friendly locker room chirps among the team.
Cassidy was in the moment as well after Thursday’s victory. Coach was asked about what gets bragged about more; a Marchessault hat trick or Logan Thompson assist. Cassidy added a Paul Cotter one-on-one move to the list of answers which got a chuckle out of the reporters.
The unimpressed: “It was not a 7-0 game in my estimation. I think we were the better team, but it was not a 7-0 game.” Cassidy after Saturday’s victory over the Colorado Avalanche. We need to be clear for a second. The Golden Knights just crushed one of the Stanley Cup favorites in their best game of the season. Cassidy was happy about the team’s effort, but he stayed very flat and borderline unimpressed after the victory. This is not a knock on Cassidy by any means. He is doing a good job at staying in the moment and keeping an eye on the big picture.
“We got contributions everywhere.” Jack Eichel when asked about the lopsided victory over the Avalanche. Eichel went on to credit the special teams, Adin Hill, and the lines for clicking. “It’s a good team effort against a good team.” Eichel continued in an unimpressed manner.
The mood of the players and Cassidy after Saturday’s game is where the “so what” portion of this article’s headline comes into play. “So what” was not meant to come across as a negative. It is just the opposite. The team was happy about knocking off the Avalanche 7-0 and is becoming the business of the “Golden Standard.“