The Winnipeg Jets season ended Thursday night after getting knocked out of the playoffs by the Vegas Golden Knights and ESPN offered up a hilarious excuse for the early exit.
With the Jets trailing the Golden Knights 4-0 in the second period, ESPN’s broadcast featuring play-by-play voice Mike Monaco and analyst Cassie Campbell-Pascall returned from a commercial break and mentioned the sights in the crowd, including an Elvis impersonator and the team’s dancers.
Did Vegas figure out a way to boost their home ice advantage? pic.twitter.com/5T19sv090l
— Awful Announcing (@awfulannouncing) April 28, 2023
“The dancers, that during warmup, they’re only behind the Winnipeg side,” Monaco said.
“I just find that hilarious,” Campbell-Pascall chimed in. “I didn’t realize that it was just the away team that was getting distracted. I guess you’ll have to explain that one, Mike. But then you look at Vegas and there’s no dancers. Every little bit to get home ice advantage.”
The broadcast then aired video from the scene in pregame warm-ups, which featured Vegas dancers conveniently placed behind Winnipeg’s net.
“There’s no question what those dancers are trying to do,” Campbell-Pascall concluded. “Those dancers are not in the Vegas zone. So, it might have worked here. It’s 4-0.”
Teams have been accused, and even caught, in noise-piping scandals to boost their home advantage, but the Vegas Golden Knights being suspected of conveniently placing dancers to distract the opposition for a home ice advantage is next level. If true, this is like a real life example of Shane Falco and his Washington Sentinels getting an assist from their cheerleaders, whose suggestive dances effectively distracted the opposition in The Replacements.
The Golden Knights went on to beat Winnipeg 4-1 Thursday night, winning the series in five games. It’s hard to say how much of an impact the dancers actually had on Winnipeg, considering the Golden Knights were already heavily favored in the series as the top seed in the NHL’s Western Conference, but ESPN sounded convinced.