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2 Minutes with Gawlik – Weekly VGK Update – Vol 2

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Welcome to “Two Minutes with Gawlik, Volume 2” where I will get you caught with the last week’s results and news for the Vegas Golden Knights.  An interesting week to say the least!

 

2 Minutes with Gawlik
Photo Credit: Sportsnet

Tuesday, January 26th vs St. Louis:  Hours before the game, reports emerged that the VGK coaching staff of Pete DeBoer, Steve Spott, Ryan Craig, and Ryan McGill would not be on the bench for this game due to one of them testing positive for COVID-19. VGK General Manager, Kelly McCrimmon took the place of DeBoerHenderson Silver Knights coach, Manny Viveiros along with assistants, Jamie Heward and Joel Ward completed the VGK coaching staff for Tuesday’s game. Players learned of all this as they arrived at T-Mobile Arena just hours prior to game time.

VGK got off to a quick start on a goal by Alex Tuch, however, the Blues would score the next three goals to take a 3-1 lead going to the first intermission. The teams would swap goals in the second period. VGK was able to send the game to overtime on yet another third-period comeback against the Blues. Unfortunately, VGK would lose this one in a shootout. Max Pacioretty had the scoring touch as he netted his seventh career hat-trick.

Thursday, January 28th VS St. Louis:  It was announced that this one would be postponed due to Alex Pietrangelo testing positive for COVID. No make-up date has been announced.

VGK’s “away” games in Arizona against the San Jose Sharks tonight and Wednesday have also been postponed. This is a blow to VGK as these games would have basically been home games. Many fans from Southern Nevada were planning a short road trip to support the team.

 

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Photo Credit: NY Times

I want to go back to the January 26th game against the Blues for a moment. Professional athletes are all about their daily routine. Whether it be practice, off days, or game days. It is all about the routine. Two quick examples, those that arrive early to T-Mobile Arena for VGK warmups know that Brayden McNabb rams himself into the board just to the side of the goal roughly five minutes into warmups of every game.

Pro-tip, do not try and push yourself into the boards as he does this. I tried that once and ended up almost in the second row, ouch! I had a brief moment with McNabb at “A Knight To Remember” during season two and asked him why he does that each game, I got a polite smile as he stated. “It is my routine.” New York Rangers goalie, Henrik Lundqvist, is very precise in his pre-game warmups. Check this out,  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1kzlPz4qez0. Simply put, players have their routines and stick to them.

I do not know what it is like for the Golden Knights when they arrive at T-Mobile Arena on game days.  I would imagine that somewhere near game, time the coaching staff meets with the players to discuss strategy. The time leading up to that may be spent conversing with teammates, stretching, light snacks, or last-minute video sessions.

On Tuesday all of that was interrupted. Players did not know of the coaching situation until they basically arrived for the game. Everything was thrown off. Credit the players for being professionals and playing a solid game. VGK was one post away from winning that game in regulation. Robin Lehner and Peitrangelo had rough games, but that was no fault to the coaching situation. Bad games will happen over the season for all players. This was a solid performance by VGK facing tough conditions.

 

The Golden Knights will go over a week without playing a game after starting the season 5-1-1.  VGK was finally hitting their stride in a season that did not feature any exhibition games.  Can the Golden Knights get right back into it, or will they struggle in Friday’s and Sunday’s games against the Kings?

 

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Photo Credit: Knights on Ice

Thirteen forwards and five defensemen need to stop. It throws off the rhythm for all the players on the ice. It would appear the only way to get Cody Glass on the ice is to send Nicolas Hauge to the taxi squad. Keegan Kolesar has looked great on the third line with Tuch and Nicolas Roy. I would argue that Kolesar has looked better on that line than Glass has. But Glass needs to play at the NHL level to develop. This is a tough situation for VGK as Glass and Kolesar seem to have bright futures. Do they move one of them or continue the roster shuffle?

Brayden McNabb landed on injured reserve after Tuesday’s game. In the short-term Glass can finally take the ice in a traditional twelve forwards / six defensemen format. Nick Holden was promoted from the taxi-squad as well. Now we will get a chance to see how Glass has progressed since his injury.

Where is the energy? 2021 version of the “Meat Grinders” line of Tomas Nosek, Ryan Reaves, and William Carrier has looked more like a dull cheese grater. Maybe it has to do with the lack of fans in the arenas? I am not saying that line four is playing any differently, or maybe I am?  It is hard to tell without any fans in the arenas. T-Mobile Arena comes alive just before Reaves punishes a player in the corner for the opposing team. After the hit, the fans jump to their feet with excitement. It is not the same without fans.

 

The Henderson Silver Knights kicked off their inaugural campaign with one and two-thirds of an exhibition game against the San Jose Barracuda.

 

2 Minutes with Gawlik
Photo Credit: Hockey Blog in Canada

HSK won the first game 7-3 and was leading the second game 1-0. Unfortunately, the third period was not played due to “COVID-19” protocols. Reports surfaced that there was a positive COVID test from a member of the San Jose side.

In what continues to be a “full circle” type of career for Deryk Engelland, he served as the coach for HSK over the weekend. What an amazing ride he has had, and it is nice to see him active within the organization.

As expected, VGK and now HSK, are experiencing the un-expected in the 2020/21 campaign. With forty-nine regular-season games to go, the unexpected will continue to occur throughout the season. Let us continue to hope that the players, staff, and fans can continue to enjoy the season safely.

 

 

2 Minutes with Gawlik is Franchise Sports Media’s weekly VGK update. Chris Gawlik gives Golden Knights fans a quick trip around the rink with the latest VGK news, notes and opinoins. Comeback every Monday at 10:30 AM for your Golden Knights fix!

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-Chris Gawlik – Franchise Sports Media

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