weather icon Clear

Misfit group of Golden Knights continues improbable start

Updated November 24, 2017 - 10:06 pm

It usually goes like this: About an hour before each game, Golden Knights coach Gerard Gallant meets with media to preview the opposing team.

He is asked about how his side will deal with and contain those leading players sure to be a handful on the ice, how it will combat, on a given night, names such as Connor McDavid or Jack Eichel or John Tavares or Patrick Kane or Joe Thornton or whoever the superstar of the moment happens to be for the other guys.

The opposing coach also talks to the media.

I can only imagine his answer when questioned about who worries him most on the Knights.

Um, everyone?

“We are a group of misfits who all came to this organization hungry,” said center Pierre-Edouard Bellemare. “What is happening is bigger than hockey right now. It’s all about the town, and it has been like this since the beginning.

“It doesn’t matter who is going to score the goal, make the pass, block the shot. We don’t care about any of that. The only thing that matters, at the end of the day, is getting those two points.”

They did so again Friday on an afternoon when the Knights were anything but their best, losing all of a three-goal lead before making San Jose their latest T-Mobile Arena victim in a 5-4 overtime win.

The Knights, first place in the Pacific Division, are 9-1 at home.

Who is most responsible?

Um, everyone?

It actually makes sense in a season during which nobody can comprehend how an expansion team has become one of the great stories in sports. The theory is when you collect a group of players that, for various reasons, other teams were willing to lose, things such as character and a craving to prove others wrong can create success.

Here’s an even better part: It’s not as if the Knights are stealing wins or relying on some sort of hockey voodoo to win.

There’s no witchcraft involved.

They led San Jose 4-1 and weren’t even playing well, tired legs and being on the wrong side of the puck more than not, far from the near flawless effort in a victory Wednesday at Anaheim.

The Knights played well in overtime, but were hardly great in the preceding three periods.

But good teams — and it’s fairly evident this is one — discover ways to overcome shoddy stretches.

Good teams respond.

“It’s always different guys jumping in and helping, everyone playing hard for the guy sitting next to him on the bench,” Bellemare said. “This is a different situation. The organizations we were all with, whether it was a good or bad situation, decided not to protect us.

“The (Knights) went through a hell of a lot to create a team and take the best 23 guys. It wasn’t about who was going to be the best player. It was about connecting us all together, and with that comes loyalty from us and the desire to fight for the organization every night. This doesn’t feel like a start. It feels like we have been here a long time.”

How else can you explain the Knights having already played five goalies and yet having 29 points through 21 games?

Or five players having 18 or more points and eight others at least 10?

Or a guy such as center William Karlsson, whom his teammates insist isn’t the fastest skater and doesn’t have the most powerful of shots, having already scored three more goals (12) than his career high?

Most people don’t realize the misfit toys were never saved in the original “Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer” television movie. But then people across the country went nuts and inundated NBC with nasty letters, and the network shot a different ending to the classic Christmas tale.

As for the misfit Knights, well, Santa Claus himself was in the stands Friday.

His magic wasn’t needed.

Saint Nick was relegated to just another amazed spectator to the Knights’ winning at home.

“We’re one of those blue-collar teams that works hard and different guys are scoring,” Gallant said. “Everybody chips in, and that’s the only way we’ll be successful. For us to get those two points was big for the guys. They could have given up, but they didn’t. The guys are battling, and we’re playing together as a team.

“When we picked our team in the expansion draft, we got a lot of character people and hard-working guys. They’re a meat-and-potatoes type of crew. I hope it continues, because I really like our team. We compete and find ways to win.”

There’s a reason for that.

Um, yeah, pretty much everyone.

Contact columnist Ed Graney at egraney@reviewjournal.com or 702-383-4618. He can be heard on “The Press Box,” ESPN Radio 100.9 FM and 1100 AM, from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. Monday through Friday. Follow @edgraney on Twitter.

Don't miss the big stories. Like us on Facebook.
Golden Knights Videos
Golden Knights Zamboni Lessons 101 - Video
The Golden Knights preseason tips off on Sunday, Sept. 15 and you know what that mean, it's time to roll out the zamboni! Have you ever wondered what it takes to be a zamboni operator for the Golden Knights? Golden Edge host Cassie Soto finds out!
Allegiant Unveils Golden Knights Plane - Video
Allegiant air officially unveils its new Golden Knights airbus that will take to the skies soon.
Golden Knights Rookie Camp: 3 Takeaways - Video
Vegas Golden Knights rookies took to the ice on Friday morning for practice at City National Arena. While the rookies mainly participated in drills, it was good to see the prospects get ice time. Golden Knights beat writers David Schoen and Ben Gotz discuss their three takeaways from the practice.
Golden Knights Host Charity Golf Classic - Video
The Golden Knights held its 2019 Charity Golf Classic on Wednesday at TPC Summerlin. Before teeing off, Golden Knights players Ryan Reaves, Jonathan Marchassault and Alex Tuch said who they thought were the worst and best golfers on their team.
Ryan Reaves performs wedding ceremony
Reverand Reavo makes his debut for one time only at the Chapel of Flowers for a get married by Ryan Reaves contest.
Vegas Golden Knights President Kerry Bubolz on the Golden Edge Podcast
Review-Journal reporters Ben Gotz and David Schoen talk with Golden Knights president Kerry Bubolz about his experiences with LeBron James, the team's new initiatives, a possible MLS expansion team and more.
George McPhee Conference Call on Nikita Gusev trade - VIDEO
Golden Knights President of Operations George McPhee answers questions on a conference call about the teams most recent trade of Nikita Gusev to the New Jersey Devils.
Vegas Golden Knight's Deryk Engelland Happy to Re-Sign - Video
Vegas Golden Knights defenseman Deryk Engelland is happy to stay in Las Vegas after signing a one-year deal with the team.
Golden Aces hold Tryouts For 2019-2020 Season - Video
The Golden Aces hold tryouts for the 2019-2020 season for the Golden Knights.
Golden Knight's owner Bill Foley's House for sale in The Ridges - Real Estate Millions
Vegas Golden Knights, Fleury Make Day for Critically Ill Teenager in ESPN “My Wish” - Video
A 13-year-old Las Vegas boy who has faced Hodgkin’s lymphoma is treated to a special day by the NHL’s Vegas Golden Knights in a new ESPN “My Wish” Series feature debuting Wednesday, July 17, on SportsCenter. In the feature, Doron Coldwell spends a day with the team and even gets an opportunity to replace his favorite player, three-time Stanley Cup winner Marc-Andre Fleury, in the net.
Golden Knights Sell "Battle Worn Armor" To Season Ticket Holders - Video
The Golden Knights sell their "battle worn" apparel throughout both of the teams seasons including pucks, sticks, helmets and skates.
Summerlin 4th of July Parade - VIDEO
On July 4th Summerlin will be hosting the 25th annual Summerlin Council Patriotic Parade, an event that has grown massively over the years
Golden Knights McPhee talks on the first day of NHL free agency - VIDEO
Golden Knights incoming president of operations George McPhee addresses the media as free agency starts.
Golden Knights Trade Colin Miller as Development Camp ends - VIDEO
George McPhee speaks to the media following the end of the Golden Knights development camp.
Golden Knights Development Camp Day 4 - VIDEO
Nic Hague stands out at day 4 of Golden Knights development camp.
Golden Knights Hold First Scrimmage of Development Camp - Video
The first of three scrimmages was held at the 2019 Golden Knights Development Camp. Golden Edge host Cassie Soto and Golden Knights beat writers Adam Hill and David Schoen discuss what stood out to them.
Golden Knights George McPhee Discusses Erik Haula Trade - Video
A day after it was announced that Erik Haula had been traded to the Carolina Hurricanes, incoming President of Hockey Operations George McPhee spoke to the media discussing the move.
Golden Knights Trade Erik Haula - Video
The Golden Knights have traded Erik Haula to the Carolina Hurricanes in exchange for prospect Nicolas Roy. Golden Edge host Cassie Soto and Golden Knights beat writer Adam Hill discuss the trade.
Golden Knights Coaches Looking for Veterans to Step Up in Development Camp - Video
Day two of the 2019 Golden Knights Development Camp is in the books. Director of Player Development Wil Nichol says his staff is looking for the veterans of the camp to step up and be leaders to the younger guys, while at the same time doing their best to impress the coaching staff.
Golden Knights Draft Player with Strong Hockey Bloodlines - Video
The Golden Knights drafted Mason Primeau in the 5th round of the 2019 NHL Draft. Primeau is no stranger to professional hockey, both his dad (Wayne Primeau) and his uncle (Keith Primeau) played in the NHL.
Golden Knights Kelly McCrimmon Talks Development Camp - VIDEO
Golden Knights general manager Kelly McCrimmon talks about what he expects from everyone at development camp on their first day.
Golden Knights Dylan Coghlan On Veteran Experience - VIDEO
Golden Knights defenseman Dylan Coghlan talks about his veteran experience playing in Chicago and development camp.
Golden Knights President George McPhee talks about Williams Karlsson's 8 year deal
George McPhee presser highlights June 25, 2019.
Golden Knights Center William Karlsson speaks to media about 8 year contract
William Karlsson presser highlights June 25, 2019.
Golden Knights Development Camp at Catholic Charities of Southern Nevada
For the third consecutive year, Vegas Golden Knights Development Camp participants participated in a special community event at Catholic Charities of Southern Nevada in Las Vegas. (Bizuayehu Tesfaye/Las Vegas Review-Journal) @bizutesfaye
2019 NHL Awards Highlight Video
The 2019 NHL Awards took place at the Mandalay Bay Events Center in Las Vegas on Wednesday night. Though Vegas Golden Knights forward Mark Stone came close to winning the best defensive forward trophy, St. Louis Blues center Ryan O' Reilly took home the coveted Frank Selke Trophy. Jason Zucker, who was raised in Las Vegas and plays for the Minnesota Wild, accepted the King Clancy Memorial Trophy for leadership and humanitarianism. Tampa Bay Lightning's Nikita Kucherov took home the NHL's MVP Award. (Heidi Fang / Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Gary Bettman discusses NHL rule changes - VIDEO
NHL commissioner Gary Bettman addressed the media after Wednesday’s Board of Governor’s meeting.
Golden Knights' Mark Stone up for Selke Trophy
Golden Knights right wing Mark Stone is a finalist for the Selke Trophy. The award goes to the best defensive forward in the NHL. Stone led the league in takeaways last season with 122. His competition is St. Louis Blues center Ryan O'Reilly... And Boston Bruins center Patrice Bergeron. Stone will find out if he wins Wednesday at the NHL Awards.
Vegas Golden Knights announce preseason schedule
The Golden Knights announced their preseason schedule Tuesday, as well as the date of their rookie camp and training camp.
Mark Stone and Stanley Cup visit MGM Grand
Mark Stone took photos and signed autographs for Golden Knights fans at the MGM Grand on Sunday. The Stanley Cup also made its way into the MGM Grand Main Lobby. The most revered trophy in hockey is on display to celebrate the upcoming 2019 NHL awards at the Mandalay Bay Center on June 19th. (Nathan Asselin/Las Vegas Review-Journal)