While the Golden Knights continue preparations for fan-less hockey in the “Phase 4 Secure Zone,” the Silver Knights have their focus set sorting out the 9,000+ fans with season ticket deposits.
Fans who committed $50 per seat towards a refundable season ticket deposit are being invited to Orleans Arena early next week to convert those deposits into seats.
Seats start at just $10 per game with the most expensive tickets reaching $99 and the average landing around $30 for season ticket holders.
The Orleans Arena and the Silver Knights are taking heavy COVID-19 related precautions with the seat selection process. Everyone entering the arena must fill out a waiver assuming risk. Only one person is allowed to enter per ticket account and the process is spread out over multiple days to limit the risk number of people there at any time. Masks are required and temperature checks will be conducted upon check-in.
The Silver Knights were expected to begin their inaugural campaign at Orleans Arena in the AHL’s 2020-21 season scheduled to begin in October. However, all dates remain up in the air as we continue to deal with the pandemic.
That being said, the simple fact that the Silver Knights are moving forward with seat selection is a good sign there is hope the 20-21 season will happen with fans in the seats.
NHL players don’t need any extra motivation when competing for the Stanley Cup. The childhood dream of skating a lap with the Cup is enough for professional hockey players. However, there’s one thing that comes first.
With the release of the NHL’s new protocol agreement, it was clear the players were concerned about being away from their families. Within league rules, not only will families be taken care of back home, but if the chips fall right, they’ll be joining their husbands, boyfriends, and dads in Edmonton for the Western Conference and Stanley Cup Finals.
Player families are not permitted in the Phase 4 Secure Zone until the Conference Finals and the Stanley Cup Final , at which time the Players will be permitted to invite their immediate family members to stay in the Phase 4 Secure Zone. Immediate family members include a Player’s spouse or partner, and his children. -NHL Phase 4 Protocols
When the players began discussing the return to play plan, it was uncertain if families would be allowed inside the bubble. Vegas is one of the older clubs in the league, so it had to be a major burden for the many fathers on the team. Marc-Andre Fleury, Jonathan Marchessault, Ryan Reaves, and Deryk Engelland all have young children. Tomas Nosek and William Carrier have infants at home. Max Pacioretty has four sons, and a daughter on the way. It’s hard to be away from loved ones for an extended time, but if the Golden Knights play well they won’t have to.
Can a family reunion act as extra motivation for the Golden Knights, or any team for that matter? I believe it can. It’s an added incentive that could generate a mental boost after playing two exhausting playoff series. Lets face it, the only way for players to see their families sooner is if they failed to make it out of the first two rounds. And if that were the case, there’s a chance they’d be no fun to be around for a week or two. Or however long it takes to get over a series loss.
Another indication showing the players’ apprehension was the NHL’s policy to assist the families back home.
The league blocked players from playing in the 2018 games citing an unwillingness to put the NHL season on halt for upwards of two months. Russia’s KHL took 33 days off for an Olympic break in 2018, Sweden’s SHL took 14, and leagues in Germany, Switzerland, and the Czech Republic took nearly three weeks each. The last three times NHL players have gone to the Olympics the league took a two-week break.
So, with the prospect of being without the Golden Knights for two weeks in the middle of the 2021-22 season, we’ll have to hope a few Golden Knights make Olympic rosters. Here’s a look at which ones have the best chance.
It’s hard to believe a roster with the option to select Mark Stone would be without him, but it is actually possible. He should be a lock as the best defensive winger in the NHL and nearly a point per game producer with size and an incredible stick, but the list of Canadian forwards is vast and depending on the type of team they are going for, there’s a legitimate argument to leave him off.
In the end, not selecting Stone would be a mistake Team Canada will probably not make.
William Karlsson – Sweden
Sweden is surprisingly a bit weak when it comes to the center position. By 2022, there’s going to be an argument to be made for Karlsson as the best Swedish center available. Nicklas Backstrom will be 34-years-old, so it’ll be between Karlsson and Mika Zibanejad. Karlsson will probably find himself down the lineup a bit due to his defensive prowess, but with the wingers Team Sweden boasts, every line is going to be potent.
Assuming health, Karlsson will be headed to Beijing.
Any time the Golden Knights lead the league in a statistic, it’s worth noting (usually with a tweet). When they lead the entire NHL by a 2:1 margin in that stat, it’s worth a full article.
Despite playing the most games in the league (tied with seven other teams), the Golden Knights allowed the fewest empty-net goals of any team. Vegas conceded into a goalie-less net just three times during the entire 2019-20 season. Columbus came in 2nd with six and then a group of nine teams finished with nine or fewer.
There were just two teams with a Goals For Percentage above 50% with their net empty, Vegas and the New York Islanders. The Golden Knights came in with five goals for and just the three against for 62.5% while the Islanders had eight for and seven against for 53.3%. Every other team in the league conceded more goals than they scored with their net empty.
Vegas did finish with the second to lowest total time without their goalie (ahead of Boston), but when the stats are adjusted for time, it remains incredibly impressive for the Golden Knights.
Vegas ranked first in goals against per 60 with 5.65 while the next closest team, Carolina, came in at 9.25. Only four teams were under 10.0.
They also finished in the top five in Shots For/60, Corsi For/60, Scoring Chances For/60, and High Danger Chances For/60 and the top 10 in Goals For/60. This all indicates that not only were the Golden Knights terrific at keeping the puck out of their own empty net, they were also putting massive amounts of pressure on the opposing goalie and chased down crucial 6-on-5 goals on five separate occasions.
You probably remember most of the Golden Knights’ handiwork with the net empty too. The most memorable goal is Max Pacioretty’s 0.3 seconds remaining equalizer in Nashville which started a four-game winning streak. There was also Nick Holden’s game-tier at Chicago, and Vegas scored twice with their net empty in one game this season, a game in Montreal. Pacioretty and Reilly Smith tallied in the final two minutes to help earn a much-needed point at the Bell Centre.
So, when the games finally get back underway and the Golden Knights trail late, don’t give up, they’ve got a better chance than anyone in the league to tie it back up.
Vegas will have the ability to set up shop in Alberta and stay for the entirety of the postseason, or however long they last. That shouldn’t be an advantage considering the oddities surrounding this format, but the raw numbers suggest staying west could benefit the Golden Knights.
Overall, the Golden Knights proved for a third straight season that they were a Western Conference challenger. Unsurprisingly, when on the road, they’re at their best when playing inside Pacific Division buildings.
The numbers really skew against the Golden Knights when you take into account who they were playing. Most of the wins were against the below-average Eastern conference teams as seven of the nine losses came at the hands of East playoff teams.
For months, since the idea of hub cities was brought to the forefront, Vegas was widely considered the best option for the league. Every major reporter, be it national or local, declared Las Vegas to be the city with the best accommodations to deliver on the utopian bubble-world the NHL was seeking.
The problem is, the NHL doesn’t actually believe in their own irrational idea and the image of Las Vegas is getting unnecessarily slammed worldwide because of it.
The plan the NHL has laid out is to bring 12 teams from each conference to one central location in order to play out the 2020 Stanley Cup Playoffs and crown a team a champion. (Really, they just want the money that goes along with the event, but we’ll let that go for now.) Each “hub city” will house all 12 teams through the first two playoff rounds and then presumably the winners from one site will travel to the other to wrap up the conference finals and Stanley Cup Final.
The idea sounds amazing. Lock everyone in a specific area, test them all at the beginning to ensure everyone is healthy and COVID-19 free, and then have them all live there so no one is at risk of contracting the virus. Since there were to be no fans in the arenas anyway, playing every game at a neutral site is also a great way to limit travel, testing, and staff to tend to the games.
Here’s the issue and why it’s unnecessarily dragged Vegas through the mud. If the concept of the bubble actually worked, the surrounding areas wouldn’t make any difference. Once the bubble is “sealed” even if every person in the city in which its located gets infected, everyone inside the bubble is safe. Literally, the reason the term “bubble” is used.
But, if it is indeed true that Las Vegas is no longer being considered due to a spike in cases in the city, which has been written or said by pretty much everyone despite no official word on of it, then the league has proven they do not believe in their own concept. Instead, what they believe is that people will slip out of the bubble, others will slip in, and when it happens they want to limit the possibility of a bubble defector or bubble invaders contracting the virus. (Actually, they want to create the perception that they did everything in their power to avoid the inevitable from happening so they aren’t liable when it does, but we’ll let that go for now.)
So, in their fear of defectors and intruders, they’ve gone above and beyond to weed out cities that appear to have higher numbers of positive tests. Somehow, Vegas became one of those cities on the outs, despite being the only city on the NHL’s list to have actually held sporting events since the shutdown. The UFC has been holding events in Las Vegas since late May and has hosted 110 fighters over five different fight cards without a single case of Coronavirus to an athlete. The NHL though, believes there are too many cases and are instead creating both bubbles in Canada.
This unequivocally proves that the concept of the bubble is viewed as untrustworthy by the league. In a utopian world, there would be no defectors nor intruders and a negative test at the beginning would carry through the entirety of the playoffs as everyone is locked safely and soundly inside the bubble.
But utopia doesn’t exist and unfortunately, Las Vegas is paying for the half-baked idea that was concocted in the name of safety in the first place. (Actually, the hub city idea was likely pitched and ultimately accepted because it is financially much more viable than traveling and testing in buildings that won’t be making money off gate revenue, but we’ll let that go for now.)
When it comes to Coronavirus, people’s opinions are like fingerprints. Everyone has them, but no two are the same.
For some, they act like the virus doesn’t exist, carrying on about their everyday life without a care in the world (for themselves or others). While others treat it like contracting the virus means certain death for all. Most fall somewhere in between but everyone’s opinion shapes their decision making and due to the lack of hard facts available, it’s impossible to truly challenge anyone’s actions.
With the NHL set to unveil their plans for Phase 3 and 4 of the return to play plan, we’re going to have to brace for the range of opinions, and actions, that will come with it from players.
Since the announcement of the playoff format and the opening of voluntary training camps as Phase 2, hockey is been the quietest sport regarding those challenging the sport’s return.
In the NBA and WNBA, it feels like every day another player announces he or she is dropping out and will not head to the bubble. MLB finally came to an agreement on how their season will resume and with it has come a rash of their players saying they’re out. Golf, tennis, and soccer have all seen it to a degree too. The NHL may very well be next.
Hockey has a much different culture than most other North American sports. It’s very team-oriented and players will go to great lengths to keep the spotlight off themselves.
I haven’t heard anything (about players opting out) and I’ve been on a couple calls and that hasn’t really been a thing. I think there’s a lot of discussion about what would happen. Obviously there are health risks for sure so it’s something you’ve got to be careful with and I think the NHL, especially our staff, has done an outstanding job of following the protocols and making sure everyone’s safe. -Brayden McNabb
However, the virus has a powerful impact on the actions of athletes, especially when it comes to their families.
The NHL’s concept is still in an abstract form with the idea of “hub cities” hosting the games. Once the league confirms specific details about living accommodations, testing protocols, family involvement, and everything else that goes along with creating a virus-free bubble, players may speak up and likely act upon those words as well.
One player said a majority of the players do not want to return to play this summer. Estimated 75%. Though they’re concerned with financial pitfalls of that decision, they’re more concerned about risking contracting the virus/serious injury before cramming in the 2021 season 2/
In the shortened 2019-20 regular season the Golden Knights led the NHL with 34.5 shots on goal per game. In fact, since they entered the league Vegas has averaged the second-most shots per game over that three-season span.
Vegas led the entire NHL in 19-20 with 28 victories when they won the SOG battle. That’s 71% of their total wins for the season. The Golden Knights went 28-12-7 (.670), and are now 92-43-13 (.665) in franchise history when they’ve outshot other teams. Compare that to their 11-12-1 (.479) record this year when they were outshot and 35-37-9 (.488) all-time.
In 22 games as Golden Knights coach, DeBoer’s club outscored opponents 19 times, and went a stellar 13-4-2.
The bulk of the shots come mostly from the Golden Knights top-six forwards. Max Pacioretty led the team averaging 4.32 shots per game, followed by Jonathan Marchessault. Shea Theodore and Alex Tuch do their part as well, both creating several scoring chances per night. When DeBoer gets all of his weapons firing on net, opposing goaltenders have to play at their best, or else it’ll likely be a long night.
VGK Shot Leaders
Max Pacioretty: 4.32 S/GP Jonathan Marchessault: 3.56 S/GP Shea Theodore: 3.08 S/GP Mark Stone: 2.58 S/GP Reilly Smith: 2.38 S/GP Alex Tuch: 2.33 S/GP William Karlsson: 2.19 S/GP
By now you’ve probably heard about yesterday’s Draft Lottery in which a mystery team to be decided later won the 1st overall pick in the 2020 NHL Draft. Of course, because the Golden Knights don’t suck, they had no chance at winning last night’s lottery and because they were one of the eight best teams in the league at the pause, they also have no shot at becoming the mystery team.
The NHL’s first live event in more than 100 days was conducted without the Golden Knights, and Vegas fans should be proud that it was.
Many Vegas fans probably don’t even remember the only time the Golden Knights were actually involved in the Draft Lottery, so I figured today was a good day to take a trip down memory lane to reminisce about the days when Stanley Cup hope was more a joke than a realistic feeling. (It’ll also remind you of why you never want your team’s fate to rest on the lottery.)
The date was April 29th, 2017. Six months after the Golden Knights got their name and two months before they picked their players at the Expansion Draft. (The team had signed Gerard Gallant two weeks prior and they were a week away from signing Vadim Shipachyov)
Historically, expansion teams are awarded the 1st overall pick in the Entry Draft to go along with their selections in the Expansion Draft. However, since the NHL believed the rules of that Expansion Draft were the best they’d ever had, the decision was made to give Vegas a high place in the lottery as opposed to an automatic top pick.
The rules stated that Vegas would have the same odds as the team that finished with the 3rd worst points percentage in the 2016-17 season. That team ended up being the Arizona Coyotes. Both teams were given a 10.3% chance to win the 1st overall pick and about a 30% chance to land in the top three.
Here were the Golden Knights exact odds in that lottery.
The lottery was slated to take place between a pair of playoff games at around 5PM Vegas time. All of the participating GMs flew to Toronto to be there for the unveiling of the 2017 Draft order. Vegas’ GM, however, got stuck in Washington DC after his flight was delayed due to weather. (That was probably foreshadowing of what was to come when the order was read.)
Due to travel complications, George McPhee will be unable to attend the 2017 NHL Draft Lottery in person. In his place will be Tom Poraszka.