October 3, 2022

Now a member of the Carolina Hurricanes, Max Pacioretty has played in some 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 relaxed environment with the Vegas Golden Knights.

In 2018, the Canadiens dealt Pacioretty to the Golden Knights in a blockbuster trade. In an interview with Rough joints podcastPacioretty said he immediately realized he was in a very different environment.

“It was a relief when I got there, but then I found myself saying, ‘OK, I’ve got to put myself on a higher level,'” Pacioretty said.

Pacioretty also noted that the more relaxed atmosphere in Las Vegas seemed to have an effect throughout the organization. As a result, the veteran forward said there was less “accountability” in the Golden Knights franchise.

“There are good sides to everything,” Pacioretty said. “When I first got there, it was kind of weird that there was no accountability. I’m not talking about the team, I’m talking about everybody. You couldn’t feel the pressure from anybody else, from the coach or from management. I had an awful game and everybody comes hey. I’m like, ‘Okay, this is a little weird.’ Normally, we walk next to each other and look at the carpet.”

The Golden Knights entered the 2021-22 season as one of the Stanley Cup favorites, but a rash of injuries led to a disappointing season and the team missed the playoffs entirely. Pacioretty said that while the scrutiny in Montreal might be a little too much, the Golden Knights could benefit more from it.

“I even brought it up at the end of the year,” Pacioretty said. “I didn’t say that specifically. I didn’t want it to be like I was playing in Montreal, but I told them, ‘Nobody’s really holding us accountable.’ If we had a bad year like this, the city would be half on fire. Here we are showing up at the rink , it’s 80 degrees, it’s sunny, and we’re washing our car, getting our organic food, and I’m playing golf. I was like, “We’ve got to police this thing better among ourselves.” I don’t want to say it was a country club, but you have no one outside to hold you accountable.”

Pacioretty himself dealt with injury last season and only played in 39 games, but managed to score 19 goals while dishing out 18 assists. In July, Vegas traded Pacioretty to the Hurricanes for underperforming forward estimates.

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