Alas, another season has come and gone and Canucks fans are left once again without their team ready to take them to the dance. So what are you to do? Fear not! As we are the helpful and caring types, we have begun our annual campaign to find homes for Canucks fans who don’t want hockey to be over. Remember, your loyalty is nothing trivial, so make them tell you why you should pledge your allegiance in the quest for hockey’s ultimate prize.
I wanted to make the case for Nucks fans to pledge their fickle allegiance for a few extra weeks of no-rules hockey. Not just because I feel a moral obligation as a Nucks fans for our former Swiss pizza-delivery guy spoiling a certain Vegas SCF win last year, but for family reasons.
It’s my sister’s fault. She was never a hockey fan. Until they started the Stolen Knights in her adopted home town (lived in Vegas for over a decade - makes her a local). She was a hockey freak last year. However, she’s a little more disgruntled this year. She assumed, as did all her friends, that every new franchise in the NHL came with the Stanley Cup.
Explained to her that many new expansion teams have to wait 50+ years to win a Cup.
She said that’s stupid.
Why spend half a billion on a franchise and $375M on an arena in a desert if there’s no immediate fan gratification? Vegas gets one more attempt at the Cup or she’s moving onto another spectator sport. Suggested some obscure Korean e-Sport with only 1 or 2 (million) competitors.
Since my sister is rooting for Vegas (for now), why not all us miscreants at NucksMisconduct too?
Question #1: With the Golden Knights Cup drought extending over a year, what do you believe is the key to winning it all for your long-suffering fans? (Bonus sympathy points if you exploit the Cup drought angle)
The key to winning is actually a formula, speed + discipline + history = victory. The Golden Knights need to have a concoction of things that combine together in Lord Stanley’s cauldron to give them the potion of champions.
First, Vegas has to have a need for speed. Looking at Game 3 against the San Jose Sharks, Vegas came out gunning for the Sharks and Martin Jones. They were so hot that they scored within the first minute of the period each and every period of the game. That momentum can get the team hyped up and ready to attack for the rest of the period, the rest of the game. Speed keeps the other team on their toes. Any pace change, and there is an opportunity for the other team to get their burst of momentum and possibly challenge Vegas’ dominance.
Next, the players need to exercise discipline. This means avoiding penalties and transitions. Game 1 against San Jose was laden with penalties against Vegas, while San Jose saw a minor once or twice. Sloppy puck-handling and being slow right out of the tunnel led to many transitions in the game. The first period alone saw eight giveaways by Vegas...EIGHT. The team needs to think of every game as if it’s Game 7 of the Stanley Cup Final and stay on their toes. This isn’t regular season. The Cup itself isn’t clinched. There’s no room for coasting anymore.
Finally, there is the history factor. This team has repeatedly made history since their inception. They broke the records for most wins and most points by an expansion team in their inaugural season. All expectations for this expansion team were completely destroyed. It’s a reason why they have such an enormous fan base. Up came this team that no one wanted, no one really believed in, and they made it to the Stanley Cup Final in their inaugural season while crushing previously held records along the way. The fans had a chance to be a part of history, the players were making history. They are hungry to continue making history, want to quench their thirst and quell their Cup drought (as short-lived as it is). That desire could just propel them to a championship.
Question #2: How easy will it be to sweep the Sharks this year? (If not easy, please explain why Stone won’t get 30 goals on Jones - NOTE: question was asked before the Sharks ruined my setup)
It isn’t going to be easy to sweep the Sharks at all. Vegas already lost a game due to sloppy puck-handling and massive penalties, so there’s no possibility for a sweep. Is it possible they could clear the rest of the series? Very much so. The entire second line is on fire right now. Six goals in one game, with one hat trick? It gives fans a lot of hope that Game 4 and 5 will be the same way. Vegas does need to keep the defensemen on guard, though. Those Sharks have quite a bite on them (I’m looking at you, Joe Thornton).
Question #3: Some Vegas pundits say the secret to the post season castle is playing Vegas-style hockey. The ferocious Vegas puck-hounding, relentless forechecking, smart tape-to-tape passing style is something the Nucks fans have dreaded all season, but actually admire. So... will Vegas be the most fun team to watch (even in and outside Florida)?
Vegas absolutely is going to be the most fun team to watch. Have you seen Mark Stone’s celebrations? The guy acts like every goal is the first one he’s ever scored! When the team has that winning equation (see answer to Question 1 above), their puck-handling is magnificent. They’re quick, analytical, and set up beautiful shots. Let’s not forget about our enforcer Ryan Reaves and his pal William Carrier. Their hits help get the puck to our forwards, and provide the opportunity for a good scrum or two (looking at you, Evander Kane). If you’re watching hockey for the sheer enjoyment of the game and the technical beauty of it, Vegas is absolutely the way go.
Bonus: Other than the Golden Knights graciously loosing a single game to the Canucks, what factors make Vegas the best bet for Nucks fans hopes and surrogate tears? (Should we be concerned about the 1 win, 4 losses in the final 5 games or was that just some desert hockey sandbagging?)
Nucks fans should pull for the Golden Knights to take the Stanley Cup this year for one sole purpose, I think: the history factor. Imagine if they were already cheering for Mark Stone before Game 3. They would have been a part of witnessing his first career hat trick and the first postseason hat trick for the Vegas Golden Knights. That’s pretty impressive. People say, “I was there when Mario Lemieux got his first Stanley Cup,” or “I watched the retirement ceremony for Wayne Gretsky.” These were big moments in hockey history. Imagine being able to say, “I watched the Vegas Golden Knights win their first Stanley Cup only two years after they were founded.” You would get to be a part of hockey history, and how incredible would that be?
There is no reason to be concerned about the single win, four losses in the last five games of the regular season. Vegas clinched the playoff spot. They needed to focus on resting up and preparing for the fight against the Sharks. If Games 2 and 3 is anything to go off of, they got the rest they needed. This team is steaming toward the Cup, looking for another appearance in the Final at least. All eyes will be on Vegas here shortly. Why not tune in your televisions now?
There it is. 5,000 reasons to pony up your tuckered Nucks cheering hands to bet on black. Or gold.
My sister says it would be fun to watch a Vegas Strip Cup parade (Can you imagine? Lions! Tigers! Tassels!)
Support my sister and the Knights of the Sparkling Table!
Thanks to Crystal Hollibaugh, a writer for Knights On Ice, for taking my silly questions far too seriously.
Vegas. Soon-to-be-new-vacation-home of the Stanley Cup! (Also: It’s not staying in Vegas - it’s just a feel-good tourist 6 month moment)