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Golden Knights Analysis

Golden Knights Coach: ‘(We need) To Be A Lot Better Monday’



Bruce Cassidy, Vegas Golden Knights

Blunt. Pointed. Direct.

Vegas Golden Knights coach Bruce Cassidy didn’t mince words in explaining why his team lost Game 3 of their playoff series 3-2 Saturday in overtime to the Dallas Stars.

“We just didn’t have that level we needed tonight to win the playoff hockey game,” Cassidy said.

He wasn’t done discussing his team’s fails. “The start was unacceptable,” he said.

The Stars out-shot Vegas 18-7 in the first period and claimed a 1-0 lead. The Stars had 33 shots on goal after two periods. They led 2-0 by the 5:25 mark on the second period before the Golden Knights found a higher competitive level.

“They obviously had a level of urgency that we weren’t able to match,” Cassidy said. “Sometimes that happens.  You have a successful road trip. Win a couple. You come home and you think maybe it’s going to be easy.”

Cassidy accepted some of the blame. “We should be farther along than that,” Cassidy said. “So I have to prepare the guys better. Clearly.”

This a veteran Vegas team, the defending Stanley Cup champions. Cassidy is the perfect coach for a team like this because he doesn’t play mind games. Cassidy communicates clearly and honestly. He doesn’t come across like a scolding parent. He explains the problems and asks players to address the issues.  Cassidy is far more interested in inspiring better performances than exacting a pound of flesh. He is more of a teacher than a principal.

Need For Urgency

“(The Stars) executed better than we did,” Cassidy said. “You can see it in overtime. They had more jump, more urgency.”

This is an experienced team that gave up the winning goal to Wyatt Johnston who was in elementary school when some of them joined the NHL.

“He still can’t get in the casino and play cards – he’s not old enough. It’s unbelievable,”said Stars coach Pete DeBoer.

He didn’t like his team’s defensive pinches. The Stars didn’t do a good job of keeping pucks alive.

It wasn’t all negative with Cassidy. It never is. He talked about Logan Thompson (43 saves) keeping them Vegas in the game and how they played at a higher level when the game was 2-2.

Cassidy provides truth to his players in a way that doesn’t sound as if they are being taken to the woodshed. He will talk to them about what they need to do to win Game 4 on Monday. It is a simple truth.

“We are going to need to be a lot better on Monday,” Cassidy said.