You can excuse Vegas Golden Knights head coach Gerard Gallant if he wasn’t in the best of moods last night. After all, his team had just dropped Game 3 of the Stanley Cup Final to the Washington Capitals and now find themselves behind 2-1 in the best of seven championship series.
Following the game Gallant met with reporters to break down where things went wrong and to also lay out his plans for tomorrow’s pivotal Game 4. In particular reporters were interested in Gallant’s use of defenseman Shea Theodore, who struggled mightily last night and ended up seeing his ice time plummet from 22:04 in Game 2 to just 18:21 in Game 3.
You may recall Theodore’s blunder that led to Devante Smith-Pelly’s goal, which essentially sealed the game for the Caps:
This was even uglier…
Well, Gallant was asked about Theodore’s play specifically and the head coach was ready to take anyone to task for their criticism of his young defenseman. Just check out this exchange, courtesy of TSN’s Frank Seravalli:
The best part of this entire quite comes at the end:
“He plays the game like everybody else. He made a couple mistakes that ended up in the back of our net. A lot of guys make mistakes in hockey games and they don’t end up in the back of the net. Shea is a 22 year old kid who I love. He’s a great player. He’s going to be a star in this league.”
How’s THAT for sticking up for your players!? It’s clear to see why Vegas has had so much success this season, it’s because they have a coach who’ll go through a wall for them.
Here’s hoping Theodore and the Golden Knights can find their footing in Game 4 and make a series of this thing. For what it's worth, the 22 year old defenseman has been solid for Vegas this postseason, putting up three goals and nine points in 18 games. The native of Langley, British Columbia put up six goals and 29 points in 61 regular season games this season.