Maybe admitting to this makes me a bad sports-knower, but until starting this post I had forgotten every single member of the Vegas Golden Knights not named Marc-Andre Fleury. (I do remember that they’re going to be downright awful in their inaugural season, which is fine, that’s what expansion teams are supposed to be, but it’s also a good reason not to devote too much brainspace to the current roster.)
But novelty has value, and last night was the first home game for the Golden Knights, a preseason game against the Kings. The first chance for Las Vegas fans to get a look at their new team on the ice. (The crowd of 17,101 was not a sellout, in case you want to read anything into that.) The first chance to see those home uniforms in action. (I really like the gray, but the striping feels a little busy.) The first of many chances for the Knights to trudge back to their dressing room after a loss.
The Kings won 3-2 in overtime on a Brooks Laich goal, but the outcome is not really the thing here. Let’s look at hockey in Vegas! Here’s Cody Eakin finishing a one-timer from David Perron:
Here’s Will Carrier punching home a loose puck after a chaotic shift:
So what did we learn from home game No. 1?
- The Knights’ best player on the ice was 21-year-old right wing Alex Tuch, a 2014 first-round pick with six NHL games to his name before being traded to Vegas by Minnesota. Tuch wasn’t a gimme for a roster spot; with an impressive preseason, he’s probably going to be a top-six forward.
- The fan chant is apparently going to be “Go Knights go.” I’ve heard better, and I’ve heard worse.
- In general, the crowd definitely seemed into it, and cheered at the right moments; they knew their hockey.
- There are some guys you know on this team. Though the odds are decent I’ve already named in this post three of the four you’ve heard of. (The fourth, James Neal, has missed camp recovering from hand surgery, but took part in his first practice Tuesday.)
It feels like a fool’s errand to have any strong opinions about this team or these fans or this franchise for the next, oh, three years. I will say that I can think of worse things to do with an evening if you’re vacationing in Vegas than go to a game. I can also think of better things. So we’ll see.