The Vegas Golden Knights can't be accused of failing to put on a show.
The effort and production value that goes into the team's pregame festivities are beyond reproach, and those performances have certainly included some memorable moments.
Vegas introduced their new, on-ice pregame intro tonight, featuring a Knight fighting a virtual Kraken 🦑
— Front Office Sports (@FOS) October 13, 2021
The campy, over-the-top spectacle has had its high points, but it's produced as many misses as hits over the years, leading to parodies from other teams.
— Jesse Granger (@JesseGranger_) October 31, 2018
Saturday's show prior to Game 1 of the Stanley Cup Final was in the miss category — at least for those who demand their fight choreography be rooted in internal logic. Allowing it to go unremarked upon and deep dived into would be nothing short of journalistic malpractice.
Here is the clip in question:
— Hockey Daily 365 l NHL Highlights (@HockeyDaily365) June 4, 2023
The story being told here is a simple one.
A fighter — who seems to be modeled after a Nazgûl from Lord of the Rings — invades the Golden Knights' barn to take on our protagonist, the Golden Knight. He claims our hero is outnumbered and lets off an evil laugh.
It's standard stuff. There's nothing to quibble with in the setup.
The Golden Knight then declares he has a united realm behind him and a couple of drummers begin to descend from the roof. Drummers on harnesses is a cool idea, but it's a bit unclear what they represent in the fantasy universe we're building here, but OK, sure.
This is where things start to go sideways.
Our ringwraith from the Sunshine State and the Golden Knight start a sword fight at center ice while the drummers ascend a little bit for unclear reasons. Meanwhile, the four baddies trailing the primary antagonist stand around and wave flags.
As far as winning fights go, this is a bad strategy. The whole thesis of this invasion was supposed to be that these Florida Panthers warriors had the numerical advantage. At this point they simply refuse to put it to use.
After a stalemate in the primary sword fight, the drummers reveal that they are, in fact, sorcerers, by obliterating two invaders, who respond to having fireballs hurled at them by standing and calmly waving flags.
It should be noted that while their compatriots are dying relatively gruesome deaths, the other two invaders do nothing but wave their flags.
To his credit, the invading leader decides it would be wise to take out these unbelievably powerful drummer wizards and tells his other two cronies to "go get 'em."
That ends up being a massive tactical blunder because it leads to their instant deaths.
At this point, it's getting hard to take our primary antagonist seriously. This general clearly has no idea what to do with his footsoldiers, and he's lucky the almighty percussionists haven't just singed him to a crisp.
The invader's credibility continues to wane when he calls on "unlimited power," which only momentarily stuns the Golden Knight's backup soldiers, who are clearly outshining the main characters at this point.
To his credit, our hero finally does something at this point and manages to disarm the opposing general.
Before he can strike the final blow and truly recapture the spotlight, he's upstaged once again — this time by a dragon.
The whole baffling sequence leaves any reasonable observers with questions that include, but are not limited to:
If Vegas had a dragon the whole time, why didn't the defenders open with their trump card?
Did the invader really have a plan? Why didn't he arm his soldiers with anything other than flags?
How come "unlimited power" is only enough to stun two guys for a couple of seconds?
Why didn't the drummer wizards target the guy who was actually a threat and put a prompt stop to everything?
Was the Golden Knight necessary at all? All he seemed to do was hold up his opponent while everyone else did the work.
At the end of all of these shenanigans the Vegas Golden Knights won Game 1, but that victory rings a little hollow in wake of their failure to put together a compelling pregame story.
It's not that difficult to craft a tale centered around the Golden Knight that includes a villain who makes logical moves and seems to present a credible threat.
Until the Golden Knights figure out how to do that, they'll have to settle for massive on-ice success and a possible Stanley Cup championship.