Now a member of the Carolina Hurricanes, Max Pacioretty has played in very different hockey markets throughout his career. After spending the first decade of his career in the pressure cooker that is Montreal, Pacioretty had to adjust to a much more lax environment with the Vegas Golden Knights.
In 2018, the Canadiens traded Pacioretty to the Golden Knights in a blockbuster trade. In an interview with the Raw punches podcast, Pacioretty said he immediately realized he was in a very different environment.
“There was a relief when I got there, but then I was like, ‘Okay, I gotta roll this thing up and hold myself to a higher level,'” Pacioretty said.
Pacioretty also noted that the more relaxed atmosphere in Las Vegas seemed to have an effect on the whole organization. As a result, the veteran forward said there was less “accountability” within the Golden Knights franchise.
“There are upsides to everything,” Pacioretty said. “When I got there it was a bit weird that there was no accountability. I’m not talking about the team, I’m talking about everyone. You couldn’t feel the pressure coming from someone else, from the coach or from I had a terrible game, and everyone comes up to say hello. I’m like, ‘Okay, that’s a little weird.’ Normally we walk next to each other and stare at the mat.”
The Golden Knights entered the 2021-22 season as one of the Stanley Cup favorites, but a series of injuries led to a frustrating season and the team missed the playoffs entirely. Pacioretty said while the scrutiny in Montreal might be a bit over the top, the Golden Knights could benefit more.
“I even mentioned that at the end of the year,” Pacioretty said. “I didn’t say that specifically. I didn’t want it to be like playing in Montreal, but I said to them, ‘Nobody really holds us accountable.’ If we had a bad year like this, the city would be half on fire. Here we show up at the ice rink, and it’s 80 degrees, and it’s sunny, and we get our car washed, we buy our food organic, and playing golf. I was kind of like, ‘We need to control this stuff better between us.’ I don’t mean it was a country club, but you don’t have anyone outside holding you accountable.”
Pacioretty himself got injured last season and only played 39 games but still managed to score 19 goals while collecting 18 assists. In July, Vegas traded Pacioretty to the Hurricanes for the paltry return of future considerations.