The Vegas Golden Knights continue to do things right across the NHL, this time in the eyes of the players.
T-Mobile Arena was voted the best atmosphere in the league in the annual poll conducted by the NHLPA involving 500 players. The Golden Knights’ home received 42.5 percent of the votes. Second place at 21.2 percent was Bell Centre in Montreal.
“Everyone in this building, in this organization and even this city, take pride in what they do to help the team,” said Golden Knights forward Max Pacioretty. “It’s just not even close. I had people from Montreal out last game, and they were blown away.
“You can’t really talk about it. It doesn’t do it justice. I’ve tried many times before to express how great it is, but when I look at it, the phrase I’ve been using is, ‘the fans are more in love with the team then they are with the sport.’ I think it leaves for a genuine crowd rooting for their favorite team and it leaves for a really emotional game.”
Pacioretty was acquired by the Golden Knights in a trade with the Canadiens this past offseason. Prior to that, Pacioretty called T-Mobile Arena “the best road game I’ve ever played in.” That came off the heels of Vegas defeating Montreal 6-3.
“For any team to come in here and say that they get momentum from it, just look at this team’s home record over the last two years,” Pacioretty said. “That will kind of go against their argument. We have a clear advantage being at home, playing in front of our fans. Once they turn that music up full blast, we know who they’re cheering for.”
The Golden Knights have turned T-Mobile Arena into a secondary nightclub on game nights. Even for pregame warmups, the music is turned to the max. The bass is so emphatic it’s almost reminiscent of dinosaurs coming to make their mark at Jurassic Park. Papers are flying off press row, computers have fallen off. It’s certainly a time to behold.
The on-ice spectacle once warmups are finished have also taken a step above the call of duty. From the golden knight pulling the sword out of the stone, to the on-ice graphics from last year’s Stanley Cup Playoffs, the Golden Knights have set the bar for how to appeal the masses.
“It’s obvious. The atmosphere, the music, the in-game entertainment. Everything you’d expect Vegas to be, that’s what it is,” said Vegas center Paul Stastny. “When you play other teams and they try to play the same warmup songs, you realize it’s about 100 decibels lower.”
Other poll superlatives
- Marc-Andre Fleury was voted the fourth best goaltender in the league receiving 6.5 percent of the votes. Montreal goaltender Carey Price was the clear-cut favorite at 29.9 percent, followed by Nashville netminder and reigning Vezina winner Pekka Rinne (17.3) and possibly this year’s Vezina winner, Tampa Bay goaltender Andrei Vasilevskiy (17.1).
- Ryan Reaves was voted the third-best trash talker and third likeliest to become a TV analyst when his career is done. Reaves finished with 5.5 percent in the smack talk category behind Boston forward Brad Marchand (who was also voted the worst trash talker), and Kings defenseman Drew Doughty. Nashville defenseman P.K. Subban was voted likeliest to enter the TV world.
- William Karlsson was given the third-best hair in the league behind San Jose defenseman Erik Karlsson (no shock) and Rangers goaltender Henrik Lundqvist. He beat out Brent Burns and William Nylander. Not bad for the Selke contender.
Other notes from practice on Wednesday
- Fleury is still day-to-day with a lower-body injury, Golden Knights coach Gerard Gallant said afterward. It’s not yet determined if he will be available tomorrow against the Jets. Barring any last-minute changes, Malcolm Subban will likely start against Winnipeg. Gallant said he’s not concerned with Fleury in the long-term.
- Pierre-Edouard Bellemare is also day-to-day, but with an undisclosed injury. Valentin Zykov took some reps on the fourth line along with Tomas Nosek. Brandon Pirri was on the third line with Cody Eakin and Alex Tuch.