Once considered the most intimidating places to play for opposing NHL teams, the big question lately is what has happened to the mystique at the “Fortress”? What we’re talking about is home ice advantage and it seems to have been lost over the past couple of seasons for the Vegas Golden Knights! They’ve lost two out of the last three games on home ice…which a few seasons ago was unheard of!
Remember that inaugural season of 2017-18 when the VGK would stride out on the ice just for warmups, T-Mobile would erupt, the music was loud! They hadn’t even dropped the puck and opposing teams were already getting a sample of what was to come throughout the game.
Once they dropped the puck, standing room only crowds cheering at the top of their lungs, making noise and singing along to the music…the “Fortress” was alive from the moment you stepped into the arena. There was a positive vibe, you could feel the energy and the mindset was losing wasn’t even an option.
That first season the Vegas Golden Knights only lost 10 games on home ice…10 games! Played 82 regular season games, ended up breezing through the NHL playoffs winning the Western Conference and facing off against the Washington Capitals for the Stanley Cup that year. Although the VGK lost in 5 games, every game played at home that first season, right through the playoffs was like a rock concert on ice!
So what has happened to the mystic of the Fortress…since that inaugural season, the losses at home have gone up and that energy that the team once thrived on has slowly dwindled. The following season the VGK lost 11 games on home ice and the next season it was up to 12 losses on home ice. Last season the home losses mounted up and the “misfits” lost 15 games at T-Mobile and you could definitely tell the energy that lit up the home crowd was changing.
Now it might not seem like much to talk about, but you have to admit that going to a VGK has changed over the years from their first season in the league. When it meant more to be seen at the games than anything else…has the excitement of our own home team worn off? Keep in mind that the bar was set pretty high after that first season…meaning, what expansion team wins their division, conference, then goes on to play for Lord Stanley’s Cup? It just NEVER happens!
So if you’re a fan, think about it for minute and see how you would explain the loss of the VGK magic when it comes to playing on home ice at the “FORTRESS”!
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