The early success of the Vegas Golden Knights has been one of the more intriguing storylines of the 2017-18 NHL campaign thus far, and the expansion team has caught the attention of hockey analyst Jeremy Roenick as well.
Roenick, who is in Las Vegas for a golf tournament, did his weekly radio hit on Buffalo’s WGR 550 on Wednesday morning.
“Let me tell you this: I am here in Vegas and watched the game last night from front to back,” began Roenick, referencing Tuesday evening’s 4-2 Golden Knights win over the Chicago Blackhawks. “I was more than impressed. And I’m not shocked anymore, but now I’m more than impressed watching this team play because not only do they play with incredible speed, they play with incredible tenacity, desire and very smart. They move the puck around and make the right decisions with the puck at a high rate of speed as well as any team in the league that I’ve seen so far.”
“You talk about the AHL Coyotes,” continued Roenick, referencing a comment made a few minutes earlier by one of the show’s hosts about how people were raving about John Tavares’ hat trick against ‘the AHL Coyotes’ on Tuesday night. “I make this comparison only because of what I watch with Vegas. Arizona has a fast team. They have talented players. But most of them are dumb as a box of rocks. There’s no hockey IQ in them whatsoever right now with what they do with the puck or how they play or how they support each other. Whereas Vegas is totally the opposite. They work for each other. They put the puck in the right areas. They’re puck-hungry. And they’re getting different people to step up in different nights.
“And you can’t tell me that the expansion Vegas Golden Knights have that much more talent than the Arizona Coyotes – it’s the way they play and the way they prepare and how they pay attention to detail. They are very impressive to watch.”
The Golden Knights are second in the Pacific Division and Western Conference, trailing only the 7-1-1 Los Angeles Kings.
WE JUST BEAT THE BLACKHAWKS AND ARE 7-1-0! brb we're going to buy some lottery tickets.
— Vegas Golden Knights (@GoldenKnights) October 25, 2017
“The thing is here, watching the game on television on their air here – every commercial and every intermission they have these interviews with these players,” noted Roenick. “And every single one of them, to a T, said, ‘We have a chip on our shoulder. We all have something to prove because we all got left unprotected. And we all kind of got embarrassed. And we’re sitting out there.’
“And every single time you see it, they say it. And they’re playing like it.
“And I’ll tell you, this Leipsic kid is so talented. This Tuch kid is so fast and talented. And now you’ve got a goaltender that’s a young, energetic, big goaltender in net – that’s the third goaltender because of injury – comes out and plays and just stymies the Chicago Blackhawks last night.
“I mean, the energy here in Vegas – I was sitting here in a bar last night with my buddy watching the game. There was two guys sitting right next to me and I just overheard them talking. Both of them grew up here. They said, ‘I never thought there would be a professional team in here, let alone a hockey team being the first professional sports team here. And I don’t like hockey. I don’t know hockey. But I love hockey now because of this Vegas team.’
“And he said, ‘I’m in. I am 100 percent dedicated to this team.’
“And this is a guy who doesn’t know hockey from a hole in the wall. And that’s the kind of energy that this team is playing with and giving n the city. It’s really fun to watch.”
The Golden Knights are 7-1-0 through their first eight contests and will wrap up their triumphant seven-game homestand on Friday against the Colorado Avalanche.
Source: WGR 550