Wednesday "Knight" wisdom about the Stanley Cup Final

The Stanley Cup Final kicks off on Saturday with the Florida Panthers and Edmonton Oilers. What makes it appealing for Vegas Golden Knights fans?
US President Joe Biden hosts the Stanley Cup champion Vegas Golden Knights
US President Joe Biden hosts the Stanley Cup champion Vegas Golden Knights / Anadolu/GettyImages

There's an old expression that's told like this. It reflects the changing times and how things change with fundamental patterns sticking around.

"The more things change, the more they stay the same."

In an ever-changing world, some things remain static. For example, the Florida Panthers made the Stanley Cup Final again. This was a season after losing to the Vegas Golden Knights in the final round, 4-1. Behind the stellar play of Sergei Bobrovsky and Matthew Tkachuk, the Panthers won the Eastern Conference once again.

But what about the thing that changed? Well, Florida isn't having a rematch with the Golden Knights in the Stanley Cup playoffs. Instead, their opponent will be the Edmonton Oilers, led by none other than Connor McDavid and Leon Draisaitl. Meanwhile, Vegas didn't even make it past the first round, losing to the Dallas Stars in seven games. How drastically things can change in a year.

Still, congratulations to both teams on an incredible journey to fighting for one of the best trophies in sports. It's not easy to make the championship round in any sport. Sometimes, it takes a good bounce or player to get to that respective round.

The Vegas Golden Knights know the feeling, for they defeated both foes in last year's playoffs. Even though Vegas isn't playing in this year's Stanley Cup Final, there are still some interesting aspects involving the 2023 champions.

The Vegas Golden Knights defeated both teams in this year's Stanley Cup Final last postseason

As mentioned earlier, Vegas defeated both teams in this year's Stanley Cup Final matchup last season. The Golden Knights defeated the Edmonton Oilers in the second round, 4-2. Plenty of newsworthy storylines made this a compelling series in the Stanley Cup playoffs.

That includes Alex Pietrangelo's slash on Leon Draisaitl and Evander Kane's antagonizing ways. The Oilers came into the series with the best power play in the NHL, bolstered by McDavid and Draisaitl. Although the duo accounted for 67% of Edmonton's power play goals, the Vegas Golden Knights persevered and advanced to the Western Conference Final.

As for the Panthers, last season's Stanley Cup Final was much easier for Vegas. They defeated Florida soundly and took home their first title in franchise history. There were plenty of notable moments, including Adin Hill's jaw-dropping save in the first game to Vegas closing out the series with a bang.

The former Golden Knights in the Stanley Cup Final

There is also some representation for the former Vegas Golden Knights in the Stanley Cup Final this season. Edmonton has a couple of players who have a connection with the franchise. First, there's Mattias Janmark, who played two seasons with Vegas (2020-22).

Then there's Calvin Pickard, known for being the first pick in the 2017 NHL Expansion Draft. He's the backup in Edmonton who's ready to go if Stuart Skinner goes awry. But there's another Florida Panther with some history with Vegas (no, it's not Tobias Bjornfot).

It's actually Nick Cousins (yes, that Nick Cousins). He's a center who was on the receiving end of that dramatic Adin Hill stick save in game one. He briefly played for Vegas in 2019-20, coming in from a trade from the Montreal Canadiens. He only had a goal and two assists, playing seven games before COVID-19 struck.

While this Stanley Cup Final won't have the Vegas Golden Knights in it, the team's impact can still be felt. It doesn't matter if it's the teams or the players involved. The team has made an impact on the NHL landscape, which will continue for years to come.