By ALAN SNEL
It began with a straight-to-the-heart Opening Night ceremony and then four goals in the first nine minutes of that inaugural home game and the Golden Knights haven’t looked back this home season.
The rookie NHL club composed of players from other squads has played like a team with a cause practically every home game. Thursday night, it was a gut-wrenching 2-1 win over the defending Stanley Cup champion Pittsburgh Penguins for former Pens goalie Marc-Andre Fleury.
And today, the team played for its coach, Gerard Gallant, after his former team — the Florida Panthers — unceremoniously fired Gallant a little more than a year ago after a loss to the Carolina Hurricanes in Raleigh, North Carolina. There was an initial report showing Gallant piling into a taxi after the game after an awkward scene of Panthers players boarding the post-game bus while Gallant had his bags and was waiting at the curb.
The business world is filled with firings and former workers who enjoy exacting a victory against their former employers.
Though, a source told me the Florida Panthers did not leave Gallant at the curb after the team fired him last season. The team management ordered a limo for Gallant to take the just-vanquished coach to the airport, the source said. But the problem was the limo driver couldn’t find Gallant as he circled the arena. So, Gallant grabbed a taxi, and off he went — but not before journalists snapped those attention-grabbing taxi-boarding photos that went viral.
Golden Knight defenseman Nate Schmidt discussed how the team’s players are aware of the extra motivation associated with playing against former teams:
For the record, Gallant said the Panthers game was just “another game for me.”
OK, whatever you say Turk.
The Golden Knights can do no wrong off the ice and this time the team is scoring an easy marketing and PR image win by helping the Animal Foundation kick off the adoption process of the 164 Pomeranian dogs that were abandoned in a U-haul truck south of Las Vegas near the California border a few weeks ago.
The team promoted Monday’s 11 a.m. Pomeranian adoption event at City National Arena during today’s game. Check out the Jumbotron images.
The Golden Knights’ in-game entertainment continues to impress the out-of-town media. The Golden Knights drummers score high points this time.
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