Hockey is on hiatus and, if the regular season doesn’t return, then that will put an unfair Asterisk next to Max Pacioretty‘s year for the Vegas Golden Knights.
We are in week three of no sports and there is no clear sign as to when Vegas Golden Knights hockey may be able to return.
At this rate, the NHL and the rest of the major sports are being dictated to by COVID-19, which is showing no signs of slowing down.
With the health of everyone the main priority, and rightly so, sports will continue to take a backseat until this current health crisis begins to subside.
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As a result, there is a very real danger that the 2019-20 NHL season is cancelled completely which would be the worst case scenario.
But, even if hockey does return it is likely that the regular season is abandoned and teams jump straight into the postseason.
Should that latter scenario take place, then many players will face the prospect of not being able to finish what they started in terms of making history.
You know who we are talking about.
There are the obvious candidates, including Edmonton Oilers star Leon Draisaitl, who is currently sitting on 110 points (43 goals, 67 assists) and was on pace to wrap up the Hart Trophy.
Then there is Washington Capitals defenseman John Carlson, who carved out an incredible regular season.
With 75 points (15 goals, 60 assists) in 69 games, the elite blueliner could have threatened the 100-point plateau while he already has one hand on the Norris Trophy.
Now, of course, both players will still more than likely walk away with some hardware come the end of the season, but both players along with countless others will be frustrated if they don’t get the chance to round off their incredible years.
And you can put Vegas Golden Knights forward Max Pacioretty into that category.
Already boasting a hell of a resume, the veteran has been a consistent force in a year full of ups and downs for the Golden Knights.
While others have lurched from one extreme to the other, Pacioretty has been a model of consistency for Vegas and he was becoming the franchise player the Golden Knights had committed an average annual value of $7,000,000 for four years to back in September of 2018.
A staple of an explosive top-six forward unit, Pacioretty was leading the Golden Knights in points with 66 (32 goals, 34 assists) in 71 games prior to the NHL pressing the pause button on the regular season.
He also leads the Knights in goals (32), power play goals (8), power play points (19) and shots (307).
Furthermore, Pacioretty was averaging 17:55 minutes of total ice time per night with 90 hits, 35 blocked shots and 32 takeaways, in addition to an impressive CF% of 59.0 to go along with a oZS% rating of 56.0.
Plus, in a year full of personal highs, Pacioretty also reached the 30-goal plateau for the sixth-time in his career, while he also was named to his first-ever NHL All-Star Game, attending the 2020 festivities in St. Louis with his family.
There is also the eye test to consider, too, and Pacioretty brings max effort (excuse the pun) to the table every single game.
He leads by example on and off the ice and he would be right in the mix to wear the ‘C’ on his chest should the Golden Knights ever decide to name a Captain.
Then there is Pacioretty’s ability to come up clutch which, in my reckoning anyway, is a hallmark of a true great player.
And the 31-year-old delivered the goods for the Golden Knights when the pressure was really on more than once in 2019-20.
Perhaps the most memorable moment, however, came against the Nashville Predators on Nov. 27, the night before Thanksgiving.
And boy did it.
It was the shining example of a player built for the big moment stepping up to the plate for his team when it mattered the most, displaying ice in his veins in order to get the job done, while that heroic goal served as a catalyst for a 13-4-2 run.
And that has been the tale of Pacioretty’s year, a star player on the roster fulfilling his role perfectly and doing what is required of him on a nightly basis.
Therefore, it will be somewhat of a crime should Pacioretty not get the chance to equal and then surpass his previous career-high of 67 points, with the forward currently sitting on 66 on the year.
If the regular season is abandoned in favor of jumping straight into the playoffs, the official record for 2019-20 will show that Pacioretty fell just short in his bid to carve out his best-ever season in the NHL.
But, we will know different and it is important that, should the worst-case scenario happen and hockey doesn’t return, then we don’t allow the coronavirus to take away from what was a historical year for Max Pacioretty.
A year the forward really proved his value and importance to the Vegas Golden Knights.