Golden Knights' Miraculous Season Comes To Sudden, Sad End


(AP Photo/Ross D. Franklin)

Members of the Vegas Golden Knights watch the Stanley Cup ceremony after the Capitals defeated the Golden Knights 4-3 in Game 5 of the NHL hockey Stanley Cup Finals Thursday, June 7, 2018, in Las Vegas.

After breaking nearly every record for an expansion team, the Vegas Golden Knights' inaugural season came to an end Thursday night.

They lost, 4-3, to the Washington Capitals in Game 5 of the Stanley Cup Finals at the T-Mobile Arena.

And despite the heartbreak that comes with being so close to and yet finishing so far from a championship, Las Vegas' first professional sports team had a debut season nobody will soon forget.


On how the season ended:

Yeah, did it kind of stink that they went down after five games and they lost four straight after they took the first game 6-4 at home. And you could argue that they gave away Game 2 […] you gotta tip the cap to all the guys that played, the coaching staff, Bill Foley, everybody else and say, "That is a lifetime of memories right there."

What was the turning point for the Capitals?

For me, it was Game 2, when [the Golden Knights'] Alex Tuch took a bad penalty in their own zone with a scoring opportunity and then he just somehow, some way did not go top shelf with just a couple of minutes to go and they trailed 3-2 and it was an open net for the most part. The Capitals' goalie, Braden Holtby, scrambled back to the net and due to physics, his stick was right on the ground and Tuch put it right on his stick.

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And it so improbably went off of Holtby's stick and that was the last opportunity -- and from that point on, it was never really the same series.

How did the Capitals get into Fleury's head?

Whatever they did it worked, because Marc-Andre Fleury wasn't great. You're going to have a lot of locals that hear that and they're going to disagree with me because they're too invested in this team to think that he could play poorly, but he did.

He did not have his A game in this series. I know he didn't get a lot of help […] but Marc-Andre Fleury did not come close to bringing his A game.

On the future of the franchise:

They are set up well with room to move in the salary cap. Some of the moves they could make, with free agents and a lot of the picks they have set up in the near future -- they could be a force for years to come. But also, it is extremely difficult to make deep runs in the NHL playoffs year after year after year. And to sustain that level of success, just doesn't happen.

What about the future of the fans?

I was totally turned off by what happened [Thursday] night. That was a bad sign. Forty percent of the T-Mobile arena was red -- Capitals fans -- especially the lower bowl.

That was tough to watch. I was appalled by it.

I can't believe season ticket holders. They've been through as much as they have since the beginning of the season and they said, "Yeah, we're down and out three games to one. We're not going to come back here, I'll sell you my ticket and you can go to the game." I thought that was disgusting.

On whether there should be a parade:

No, not for a second-place team. I think it sets a bad precedent.

I'm not about participation trophies. But I'm all for a huge celebration. I would absolutely do that. I wouldn't want to do a parade though. Shutdown streets then we're talking taxpayers money -- no thanks.

Sportsbooks were worried that if the Knights won the Cup they would lose millions. Are there happy bookmakers this morning?

Surprise, surprise -- the books won again.

Here's what everybody in that world would tell you: "It was such a great story. We were rooting for them. The damage they would do to us we were totally okay with because of what they meant to the city."

But the estimates were between $5 and $10 million of what they would have lost in future tickets if they had won the entire thing. So you can split the difference -- it would have been a $7.5 million wrecking ball to the sportsbooks. I think that is a fair number.


Mitch Moss, VSIN

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