Golden Knights Jack Eichel
Photo Credit: Stephen R Sylvanie/USA Today Sports

FSM Essential Recap: The Gold Standard – Golden Knights – 2023 Stanley Cup Champions

Franchise Sports Media

Vegas Golden Knights (51-22-9) – Stanley Cup Champions

 

The Gold Standard, the Vegas Golden Knights, win their first-ever Stanley Cup Championship in year six. 

The Golden Knights won their first Stanley Cup. 

Golden Knights owner Bill Foley
Photo Credit: Stephen R Sylvanie/USA Today Sports

In November 2016, Vegas Golden Knights owner Bill Foley stated the goal was to win a championship within six years. The Golden Knights almost completed that task in their first inaugural year but fell short in 2018. But Foley fulfilled his goal; the Golden Knights won their first-ever Stanley Cup in their sixth year.

What looked like what started as impossible during the offseason ended with surprise and success.

The Golden Knights winning the Stanley Cup defied the odds against them not only during the offseason but during the season as well.

The first step on the right track started after the season when Vegas missed the playoffs for the first time in their franchise history, which led to the firing of head coach Pete DeBoer.

Vegas seemed lackluster and lost its edge in some terms and needed it back. Hiring the right coach was the first step in the right direction the Golden Knights needed. The front office turned their attention to Bruce Cassidy, who formerly coached the Boston Bruins, someone who has the offensive IQ that Vegas needed badly. He was the right choice.

With the coaching position filled, another position in jeopardy was goaltending. During the offseason, starting goaltender Robin Lehner needed hip surgery, which resulted in him missing the entire upcoming season. Logan Thompson was the one to step up. The Golden Knights also called up Adin Hill, who had previously played for the San Jose Sharks.

 

Golden Knights Bruce Cassidy
Photo Credit: KTNV

Despite the mishaps of awkward front office decisions over the past couple of years and injuries, the Golden Knights had one thing on their mind… prove everyone wrong. After all, even team captain Mark Stone said the team has a “Chip on the shoulder,” and they have every right to.

From the start of the season, the Golden Knights pretty much made everything look easy. Despite the backlash from the media, Jack Eichel, who was acquired last season, was a good pick. His getting hurt last season delayed that realization for most outlets in the valley.

Eichel, along with the rest of the team, proved everyone wrong. Securing the Pacific Division title for the third time and the number 1 seed in the Western Conference was a phenomenal task for a team with so much turnover after last season.

This team’s chemistry was in tack as well. Everyone played a specific part on the team. The fourth line of William Carrier, Keegan Kolesar, and Nicolas Roy overwhelmed opponents. As for Jack Eichel, he proved the naysayers wrong as he led the team with 66 points. Jonathan Marchessault was the team-leading scorer with 28 goals, and Chandler Stephenson led the team in assists with 49.

One of the most significant contributors was Logan Thompson, who played exceptionally well, averaging a .915 % save percentage and a 21-13-3 record as a starter. Thompson’s stats and great play through the season helped earn him a spot in the All-Star game.

The Golden Knights won their first Stanley Cup in their sixth year of existence. 

The Golden Knights winning the Cup was the goal, especially for Bill Foley, but winning the Stanley Cup for the city of Las Vegas hits deeper.

The Golden Knights were one of the NHL’s best teams all season.

Golden Knights vs Panthers Adin Hill
Photo Credit: John Locher/AP

With the Golden Knights ending the season with 111 points, first in the Western Conference and Pacific division champions, their job was not finished as they were on there to achieve the ultimate goal… winning the Stanley Cup. 

The Golden Knights, throughout the regular season, showed the critics and the league that they could not be dealt with in the playoffs, and that started in the first-round dismantling of the Winnipeg Jets in five games.

The Golden Knights showed how disciplined they were by not sinking into pressure, especially with injuries. Vegas suffered a considerable amount of injuries throughout the season but remained calm in a sense, especially when they lost Logan Thompson before the start of the playoffs.

Backup goaltender Laurent Brossoit who was required from the AHL Henderson Silver Knights, kept everything in motion and helped them roll over the Jets in the first round and even get past the Edmonton Oilers in the second round. But another injury in the goaltender position again reared its ugly head, and Adin Hill was next in line for the spot.

The Golden Knights remained disciplined and focused and found themselves in the Western Conference Final against the Dallas Stars (a rematch from the 2020 West Final). Dallas, at certain times, had Vegas at the wall, but the team never lost focus. A team effort was needed, and Vegas delivered to beat the Stars and win the Western Conference for the second time in franchise history.

The Golden Knights were looking to make history.

Vegas was now back in the same position they were in back in 2018; the Stanley Cup Final.

The Golden Knights are the fastest team to win a Stanley Cup in NHL history. 

Golden Knights vs Panthers Golden Knights celebrate winning the Stanley Cup
Photo Credit: Abbie Parr/AP

The team knew this opportunity’s importance, but it was mainly the six original Golden Knight players, Jonathan Marchessault, William Karlsson, Reilly Smith, Shae Theodore, Brayden McNabb, and William Carrier, that set the stage.

The last time they were in the Stanley Cup Final, they fell short to the Washington Capitals, but this time everything looked promising for Vegas. With the right coach that changed the team chemistry, they knew they couldn’t let this “Golden opportunity” could not slip away.

The Golden Knights went up against the Eastern Conference champion Florida Panthers, a physical team that earned and fought its way into the playoffs. But the physicality and sheer playing style of the Panthers did not faze Vegas at all. Jonathan Marchessault, throughout the playoffs and including in the Stanley Cup Final, made a difference leading the team in scoring with 13 goals. Jack Eichel, throughout his playoff debut, showed up for the occasion playing well on both offense and defense.

Even the goaltending issues that started back in the offseason were not an issue in this series, as Adin Hill shut down Panthers’ scoring. In Game Five in front of a home Vegas crowd at T-Mobile Arena, the Golden Knights knew what was in front of them in a series-clinching game and did not hesitate to seize that moment.

Seven different players scored along with Mark Stone getting a hat trick was all Vegas needed to put the Florida Panthers away 9-3 in a final score. The final conquest realized the story was finished, and the Vegas Golden Knights, in their sixth year, were now the Stanley Cup champions, a goal Bill Foley imagined was no longer a desert mirage.

With all the players hoisting Lord Stanley’s Cup and the rain of pink flamingoes thrown on the ice from the Golden Knights fans, they realized something special had finally happened.

 

Golden Knights vs Panthers Stanley Cup champion picture
Photo Credit: John Locher/AP

Winning the toughest trophy of all sports was something the city of Las Vegas needed. Dating back to the October 1, 2017, shooting that took 60 lives, the team that was brand new to the city comforted the community, and the whole city rallied behind them. The comfort from the Golden Knights helped the city heal and showed the meaning of Vegas Strong.

The Vegas Golden Knights winning their first-ever Stanley Cup has a flashback dating back to 1990 when the UNLV Men’s college basketball team won the National Championship when the city rallied behind the team. Along with UNLV and the Las Vegas Aces winning their championship last season, the Golden Knights have added their piece of success to the city of Las Vegas as well.

What looked like a season with doubts turned into a season with success for the Vegas Golden Knights, a championship for the city, and a prophecy fulfilled; history was indeed made in the City of Las Vegas.

The Golden Knights are the 2023 Stanley Cup Champions.

Franchise Sports Media wishes to congratulate the Vegas Golden Knights on winning the Stanley Cup! 

 

– Jonathan Randall – Franchise Sports Media

Follow Jonathan on Twitter @JonnyQuest_91 

and on Instagram @jonny._91  

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