Golden Knights players, GM familiar with Stanley Cup Final foe

Updated May 24, 2018 - 6:13 pm

Nate Schmidt remains close with several of his former teammates on the Washington Capitals.

But the Golden Knights defenseman is putting his friendships on hold until summertime.

“Hey, for the next two weeks, it’s a bunch of bad guys over there,” Schmidt said Thursday. “A bunch of guys I don’t like at all.”

Schmidt facing his former team is one of several intriguing storylines surrounding the Stanley Cup Final between the expansion Knights and Capitals, who are making their first appearance in the final since 1998.

It’s a scenario that left the normally chatty Schmidt searching for words.

“That’s a pretty incredible situation, given everything that’s happened through last year’s playoffs into this year, the expansion draft, everything. I don’t know how to really describe how I feel about it,” Schmidt said. “This is Vegas. You could probably make a prop bet, but I don’t know what the odds would have been on that. Would have been pretty incredible.”

Washington advanced after defeating host Tampa Bay 4-0 in Game 7 on Wednesday behind two goals from Andre Burakovsky and a 29-save effort from goaltender Braden Holtby, who is riding a scoreless streak of 159 minutes, 27 seconds.

Game 1 of the Stanley Cup Final is at 5 p.m. Monday at T-Mobile Arena.

“They’re playing real good hockey, playing real competitive,” Knights coach Gerard Gallant said. “They’re a little bit like us. It doesn’t matter whether they’re playing at home or on the road, they’re playing the same game. They’re working hard. They got some big superstars on their team, but they’re going to be a good team. It should be a great series.”

Schmidt spent his first four seasons in the NHL with the Capitals but could never crack their top four on the blue line.

He assumed the role of No. 1 defenseman for the Knights after being selected in the expansion draft and is expected to match up often against a Capitals’ top line that features Alex Ovechkin, center Evgeny Kuznetsov and bruising winger Tom Wilson.

Ovechkin led the NHL in goals during the regular season with 49, while Kuznetsov — he of the famed flapping-bird goal celebration — has a league-best 24 postseason points, including 11 goals.

“They’ve bought in. They’re playing as a team, and they’re willing to do anything to win,” Knights forward James Neal said. “They’re physical, they can score goals, they’ve got skill. Nothing I don’t think we’ve seen before. We played a very similar team in Winnipeg. That being said, we’re going to have to be hard on their top guys like we have in the series before.”

The Knights went 2-0 against Washington in the regular season, winning 3-0 on Dec. 23 at T-Mobile Arena and 4-3 in Washington on Feb. 4.

Marc-Andre Fleury was in net for both victories and also has a long history facing the Capitals during his time with Pittsburgh.

Fleury eliminated Washington in Game 7s in 2009 and 2017 en route to the Stanley Cup and, ironically, stands in the Capitals’ path once again.

“I thought I was done with them for a little bit,” Fleury joked. “We’ll be fine. It’s a fun building to play in, too, in Washington. Obviously, they have a great team, and it’s going to be a great challenge. We’ve just got to get it going.”

Knights general manager George McPhee spent 17 seasons as Washington’s GM. Of the 25 players to appear for the Capitals this postseason, 14 were drafted under McPhee’s watch.

McPhee and current Capitals general manager Brian MacLellan grew up together in Guelph, Ontario, and were teammates at Bowling Green. MacLellan was hired by McPhee in Washington and served as assistant GM for seven seasons before being named GM when McPhee was fired in 2014.

“He’s a misfit, too, just like us,” Schmidt said of McPhee. “I think that as much as you, at the beginning of the season, you reveled in the idea that you were given away or traded away, I think it’s kind of morphed into a sense of belonging to this group. I think he’s in the same boat. Maybe going into the building will be a little bit different for him, but I think other than that, it will be status quo as usual.”

More Golden Knights: Follow all of our Golden Knights coverage online at reviewjournal.com/GoldenKnights and @HockeyinVegas on Twitter.

Contact David Schoen at dschoen@reviewjournal.com or 702-387-5203. Follow @DavidSchoenLVRJ on Twitter.

ad-high_impact_4
Golden Knights Videos
Golden Edge: Eakin Scores Winning Goal During Final Road Trip Game
Golden Knights beat reporter David Schoen goes over the Knights final game of the road trip against the Philadelphia Flyers
Would the NFL be accepted abroad?
Review-Journal columnist Ed Graney takes to the streets of London, England, ahead of the Oakland Raiders facing the Seattle Seahawks to find out if the NFL is accepted, if the game is understood and what its fan base is like outside of the United States.
Golden Edge: Phil Kessel Has Hat Trick in Win Over Knights
The Pittsburgh Penguins defeat the Las Vegas Golden Knights 4-2. Ben Gotz and David Schoen report from Pittsburgh.
Golden Edge: Knights Lose First Stanley Cup Rematch
The Golden Knights lose 5-2 against the Washington Capitals and fall to 1-3 on the season. David Schoen and Ben Gotz report from Washington.
Golden Edge: Mailbag — October 9, 2018
Adam Hill is joined by Ben Gotz via skype from Washington, D.C. to answer questions submitted from Golden Knights fans.
Gallant on Washington Capitals rematch
Golden Knights Coach Gerard Gallant plays down the connection between Wednesday's game against the Washington Capitals and the Stanley Cup Final results last season.
VGS themed games from AGS at G2E Global Gaming Expo
A Golden Knights-themed slot machine was on display Tuesday at the G2E Global Gaming Expo as AGS showed two products that came out of a 3-year contract with the Knights. A video roulette game featuring a Knights helmet and an enormous slot machine were on the floor along with Knights cheerleaders, the Drumbots and Chance, the Knights' mascot. (Mat Luschek/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Golden Edge: Knights Fall to Sabres 4-2
The Sabres defeat the Golden Knights 4-2 with 3 goals in the second period. Ben Gotz and David Schoen report from Buffalo.
Golden Edge: Knights Beat Wild In Shootout
Ben Gotz and David Schoen go over the Knights comeback win against the Minnesota Wild. The Knights won 2-1 in a shootout against the Minnesota Wild. (October 7, 2018)
Golden Edge: Knights Fall In Season Opener
Elaine Wilson, Adam Hill, Ben Gotz and David Schoen go over the Golden Knights 5-2 loss to the Philadelphia Flyers in their season opener. (Videographer: Heidi Fang, Edited By: Nathan Asselin)
Golden Knights React To Season Opener Loss
Golden Knights react to their 5-2 loss against the Philadelphia Flyers.
Gold Carpet Before Golden Knights Season Opener
John Katsilometes is on the gold carpet before the Golden Knights season opener.
Golden Knights talk after practice
Marc-Andre Fleury, Max Pacioretty and Cody Eakin in the locker room on Wed. October 3, 2018.
Golden Edge: Last Practice Before Season Opener
Adam Hill and David Schoen at City National Arena during the Golden Knights' morning skate and media day before the opener Thursday against the Philadelphia Flyers.
Media Day: Gerard Gallant and George McPhee Presser
Head coach Gerard Gallant and GM George McPhee talk about Alex Tuch, Cody Eakin, Nate Schmidt, and the start of season number two for the franchise.
Golden Edge: Mailbag — October 2, 2018
Ben Gotz and Adam Hill answer questions submitted from Golden Knights fans.
Vegas Golden Knights show support at blood drive
Members of the Vegas Golden Knights NHL team showed up for a community blood drive on the first anniversary of the Las Vegas shooting, Oct. 1, 2018. (Mat Luschek/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Golden Edge: Knights Beat Kings 2-0
Adam Hill and David Schoen report from T-Mobile Arena after the Knights beat the Kings 2-0.
Golden Edge: Shea Theodore Returns to Practice
Adam Hill, Ben Gotz, and David Schoen are at the Golden Knight's practice where Shea Thedore is suited back up for the first time this season.
Golden Edge: Mailbag — September 25, 2018
Ben Gotz and Adam Hill answer questions submitted from Golden Knights fans.
Golden Edge: Knights Lose 5-3, but re-sign Shea Theodore
Bryan Salmond is in studio while Ben Gotz, Adam Hill and David Schoen report from T-Mobile Arena on the Knights preseason game vs. the Colorado Avalanche.
Golden Edge: Knights Lose 5-3 but Re-Sign Shea Theodore
Bryan Salmond is in studio and Ben Gotz, Adam Hill, and David Schoen report from T-Mobile arena on the Knights preseason game vs the Colorado Avalanche.
Golden Edge: Knights Rally To Win During Shootout
Golden Knights beat reporter David Schoen goes over the Golden Knights shootout win against the San Jose Sharks.
Golden Edge: Knights Win Third Preseason Game
Golden Edge host Bryan Salmond and Golden Knights beat reporter David Schoen go over the Knights 7-2 win over the L.A. Kings.
Nevada Task Force One Cheers Golden Knights
Nevada Task Force One Cheers Golden Knights
Golden Edge: Vegas Fans Show their Love at Fan Fest
Bryan Salmond is on the red carpet at the downtown Las Vegas Events Center as the 2018-2019 Golden Knights show up for Fan Fest.
Golden Edge: Knights Back From Colorado
Golden Knights reporters Adam Hill and Ben Gotz talk about Knights preseason training camp and how Max Pacioretty is fitting in with the Knights.
Golden Edge: Mailbag — September 17, 2018
Ben Gotz answers questions submitted from Golden Knights fans.
Golden Edge: Knights Win First Preseason Game
Golden Edge host Bryan Salmond, David Schoen, Ben Gotz and Adam hill recap the Golden Knights first preseason game win against the Arizona Coyotes.
Golden Edge: First Practice
Adam Hill and David Schoen discuss the first day of practice for the Golden Knights.
Golden Knights Presser Max Pacioretty
Max Pacioretty speaks about his first impressions coming to the Vegas Golden Knights.
Golden Edge: Mailbag
Ben Gotz answers questions submitted from Golden Knights' fans about recent roster changes.
Golden Edge: Golden Knights Rookies Faceoff Against The Sharks Good
Golden Edge host Bryan Salmond breaks down the 5-4 loss the Golden Knights rookies had against the San Jose Sharks.
Lucas Elvenes is ranked as one of the Golden Knights' top prospects
Lucas Elvenes is ranked as one of the Golden Knights' top prospects after a breakout season in Sweden. He slid to the fifth round in the 2017 draft after being projected to be selected much higher. “I wasn’t happy about being a fifth-rounder. But it was good for me, too, because I didn’t have so much pressure when I came here," Elvenes said. Elvenes posted five goals and 16 points in 28 games while playing in the top league in Sweden. The Knights signed Elvenes to a three-year, entry-level contract in June.
Golden Knights rookie camp - Day 2
The Golden Knights held their second day of rookie camp at City Arena in Las Vegas. Bizuayehu Tesfaye/Las Vegas Review-Journal @bizutesfaye
Golden Edge: Deryk Engelland Rides With Kurt Busch
Golden Edge host Bryan Salmond heads to city national arena and the Las Vegas Motor Speedway to see Kurt Busch attempt to learn how to play hockey, and Deryk Engelland hop in a race car.
William Karlsson and the Golden Knights are headed to arbitration
Of all the salary arbitration cases in the NHL this summer, none is more compelling than the one involving William Karlsson and the Golden Knights. Karlsson is seeking $6.5 million annually in arbitration. The Knights countered with an offer of $3.5 million annually. Karlsson's arbitration hearing is scheduled for Saturday in Toronto. During the hearing, the player and team present evidence. The arbitrator then has 48 hours to render a decision, and the team decides on a one- or two-year contract. Karlsson’s agent and the Knights can continue to negotiate a new contract prior to the hearing.
TOP NEWS
News Headlines
Add Event
Home Front Page Footer Listing
Circular
You May Like

You May Like