Before the Washington Capitals and Vegas Golden Knights took the ice for the Stanley Cup Finals, the fans we’re treated to a show at T-Mobile Arena. This pregame scene has been a hit all postseason long and it was amped for Game 1. First a video was shown on the video boards above center ice with clips and sound bites of pundits dismissing the idea of an NHL expansion team playing in a city in the middle of a desert in southern Nevada. Clearly it has and their hometown team is in the Finals in their inaugural year.
On a platform just above the upper deck behind the goal lined some drummers as the crowd began to chant “Go Knights Go”. Behind them was a castle where an onlooker shoots a bow and arrow at all the teams in the playoff picture shown on the ice. One by one vanish with only two teams left. Those teams are the Capitals and Golden Knights.
A group of crusaders enters the ice waving Capitals flags skating to boos from the Vegas crowd. As the main one heads toward center ice out comes the crowd’s hero, the Golden Knight.
One of those in the group goes arial, and one by one the crusaders get taken out by boulders from a trebuchet. Then came a duel as their protagonist uses his sword to knock the flag from his hands, knocks the “antagonist” to the ground and lets out a roar.
Vegas sure knows how to put on a show! 🤩 pic.twitter.com/v2uGfgJ7r8
— NHL on NBC (@NHLonNBCSports) May 29, 2018
The lights dim black and the onlooker from the castle starts waving his arms to fire up the crowd. Then the drummers come back and a big helmet lowers down to the ice right by the tunnel where the Golden Knights come out. Out comes the teams. The Stanley Cup Finals is about to begin.
This may seem like a hostile environment for any road team. Heck entering tonight’s game visiting teams are 6-1 inside T-Mobile Arena. For the Capitals however, they should feel right at home. They come off the heels of a 4-0 shutout on the road of Game 7 of the Eastern Conference Finals back in Tampa Bay. Away from Capital One Arena, they’re 8-2 on the road in the playoffs.
When Barry Trotz spoke at media day on Sunday afternoon, he gave his take on uniqueness of Vegas as a hockey town. Trotz himself was a part of an expansion team having coached the Nashville Predators for 15 seasons before coming to Washington.
“What I love about Vegas, there’s no city on planet earth like Vegas and they did it Vegas’ way. Like we did when I was in Nashville, we did it the Nashville way,” said Trotz. “We didn’t try to be New York or anything like that. I commend the league, the ownership and all that to do it the Vegas way. It’s entertainment. It’s fun.”
With that show over, the main show is now underway. Enjoy the game!
By Michael Marzzacco