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The Mass Media

The Mass Media

Will the Golden Knights Last?

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Will the Golden Knights Last?

When the NHL’s 2017 expansion to Las Vegas was announced, many questioned the viability of the move. After all, the NHL’s first expansion to the desert wasn’t going so well. The Arizona Coyotes, the first NHL expansion into the desert, has ranked in the bottom three of attendance in the NHL for the last seven years, despite often having playoff teams. The NHL had high hopes for the Coyotes franchise after relocating the Winnipeg Jets franchise there in 1996, but the team has continued to find itself facing relocation rumors almost every year. It is for this reason that many have questioned the decision to put another hockey team in the Southwest desert.
However, after the first three games in the franchise’s history, the Golden Knights sit at 3-0-0 and are averaging three goals per game. Right now, the Knights are being carried by winger James Neal, and former Stanley Cup winning goaltender Marc-Andre Fleury. Through three games, Neal has scored five goals, and has been credited with the game-winning goal in each of those three games. And that’s not even to mention the herculean efforts of goaltender Marc-Andre Fleury. Through Fleury’s first three games of the season he is 3-0, with a 1.32 GAA and .963 Save Pct., while making 103 saves on 107 shots.
After those two players, the roster still has a little bit of talent, but is lacking in star-power. The blue line has some very solid players in Deryk Engelland, Jason Garrison, Luca Sbisa, and Nate Schmidt, but no game-changing talents on defense. As for the forwards, it is much of the same. After Neal, the Golden Knights’ best offensive players consist of Jonathan Marchessault, Cody Eakin, David Perron, and Reilly Smith. These are all great supporting players, but the Golden Knights just don’t have the stars to make anyone believe that they will be competing for a Stanley Cup this year.
The real question for this Golden Knights team is not whether they will win now, but whether they will have a chance to be successful in the years to come. Nothing will derail a franchise quicker than poor fan support, but that didn’t seem to be a problem for the Las Vegas franchise last night. In their first home game ever, and just over a week removed from the horrific shooting at a concert on the Vegas strip, over 18,000 people packed the sold-out T-Mobile Arena on Oct. 10. After an emotional pre-game ceremony honoring the victims of the shooting, the mood quickly shifted to the incredible major professional sports franchise in Las Vegas.
Just from the emotion and passion in the Vegas crowd, the team looks like it could thrive. It could of course be just the perfect storm of searching for community and a way to grieve, while the Knights just got to town. This could just be a one-off occurrence, but the tragic events in Vegas leading up to an emotional premiere for the Golden Knights may have shown the city the important role a sports team can play in a city’s morale and identity. Something tells me the Vegas fans won’t squander this opportunity, and the Golden Knights will be here to stay.