The Vegas Golden Knights and Seattle Kraken competed in their first Winter Classic on New Year’s Day. The Kraken defeated the Golden Knights 3-0. It was a rough showing for the Golden Knights, but there were a few positive moments to take from the loss. Here are the pluses and minuses for the Golden Knights in the Winter Classic.
+ Jack Eichel
Eichel did what he could to make it a game for the Golden Knights. If he converts his breakaway or that shot does not hit the crossbar, we could be talking about a different outcome.
+ The Game Was Always Within Reach
Joey Daccord and the Kraken deserve all the credit for winning the game. Mark Stone hit a post on a deflection plus Eichel’s high-danger chances noted above. If just one of those three chances lights the lamp, things could have changed. The Golden Knights were not good in this game by any means. But there was a path to stealing one or two points.
– Logan Thompson’s Struggles Continue
Thompson was beaten by a slapshot from the top of the right circle. The puck was on edge when shot, but it is a save Thompson should have had. The Kraken’s third goal looks bad no matter how you slice it. Paul Cotter made a nice defensive play to break a pass up on the defensive blue line. Cotter coughs the puck up to Yanni Gourde who loses control of the puck 10 feet from Thompson. Thompson swiped at the slow-moving puck and missed it. Gourde slammed home the rebound.
Golden Knights fans are getting restless over the goaltending situation, and rightfully so.
– Where Was the Urgency?
The Golden Knights were in preseason mode. It looked like they were just going through the motions at times. There were moments in the first and second periods when the Golden Knights found their game. Those moments were few and far between. The Golden Knights failed to shift out of first gear.
– Giving Up Early Goals
All three of the Kraken’s goals came under five minutes into each period. There is never a great time to give up a goal. But doing so early in a period can be very deflating and make it harder to climb back into the game.
– Sir Mix-a-Lot and Heart?!
The Kraken has the best goal song in the NHL; “Lithium” by Nirvana. Goaltender Chris Driedger has pictures of Pearl Jam’s Eddie Vedder and Nirvana’s Kurt Cobain on it. It looks amazing! The musical entertainment was Sir Mix-a-Lot and Heart, who are well past their prime.
Surely the NHL can do better than glorified carnival acts for next year’s Winter Classic.
Sir Mix-a-Lot was performing as the Golden Knights emerged from the dugout. Remember when Ivan Drago watched James Brown perform, “Living in America” before his fight with Apollo Creed? Replace Drago with the Golden Knights and James Brown with Sir Mix-a-Lot.
Jerry Cantrell, Pearl Jam, or Foo Fighters would have been better options. There would have been many better options than Heart and Sir Mix-a-Lot.
– NHL for Featuring the Kraken and Golden Knights in the Winter Classic
This will not be a popular take, but please follow along. The television ratings for the Winter Classic have not been great in the recent past. Featuring two franchises that most of North America despises may not make for a good business decision by the NHL.
+ Kraken and Golden Knights Played in the Winter Classic
How amazing is this? In 2016, the Golden Knights did not have a name and the Kraken did not exist. Fast forward to 2023, the Golden Knights won the Stanley Cup and the Kraken were two goals from making it to the Western Conference Final. It is amazing watching these two teams accomplish what they do, and in a short time frame. The bar has been set for future NHL expansion teams.
– The Golden Knights Played More Games Than Any Team, Who Cares!
“We played the most hockey in the league, especially going as far as we did last year.” Mark Stone after Monday’s loss. Coach Bruce Cassidy has said this a number of times at various press conferences as well. The Golden Knights have played 38 games which ties four other franchises. The Kraken are one of those four other teams who have played 38 games this year and looked pretty good on Monday.
Yes, it is reality that no team has played more games than the Golden Knights through New Year’s Day. But why does it need to be said over and over in press conferences?