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Praise Be To Foley, Vegas Golden Knights Hockey Website

Golden Knights Goalie Coach In Waiting?

The Golden Knights have a “new” goaltending coach, and he’s a familiar name to GM George McPhee. Mike Rosati accepted a position as an amateur goaltending consultant in Vegas… possibly as long ago as August.

According to a newspaper article in Barrie, Ontario, Rosati has been working with Golden Knights goalie coach Dave Prior for quite a while.

Rosati will work under Golden Knights director of goaltending and goalie coach Dave Prior. “We maintained a friendship and relationship over all these years and we always talked about working together one day with an NHL club, so when he got hired by Las Vegas his first phone call was to me to be an assistant,” Rosati added. -Gene Pereira, Barrie Examiner

Rosati was drafted 131st overall in 1988 by the New York Rangers and only played one game in the NHL during his career. It was for the McPhee managed Washington Capitals in 1998 in a game the then starter Olaf Kolzig had to miss due to injury.

Rosati has been the goaltending coach and an assistant coach for the Barrie Colts of the OHL. He also owns a goaltending academy in Canada. He announced via Twitter his position with the Golden Knights the same day the team unveiled their name (November 22nd), but could easily have been on board well before that. The team has yet to announce him as a member of the Golden Knights staff.

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Root Sports Rocky Mountain Announced As TV Home For Golden Knights

If you are in your car you already know to flip the station to Fox Sports 1340/98.9 to hear the Golden Knights, well now we know where to tune your TV to catch the games as well. AT&T Sports Networks, using their Root Sports or ROOT SPORTS as they like to call it (we are not obliging to the caps locks name) brand and the Golden Knights have agreed to a multi year deal to become the official exclusive home of the Vegas Golden Knights.

Under the agreement, ROOT SPORTS Rocky Mountain will be the exclusive television rightsholder for Golden Knights regional telecasts of regular-season games, beginning with the 2017-18 NHL season, for the length of the agreement. The network will have the opportunity to carry preseason and playoff games as well. All games will be produced in high definition and contain a pregame show and postgame show, subject to live event conflicts. -Press Release

Root Sports is channel 683 on DirecTV and 5414 on Dish Network. It is currently not offered by either local cable provider, Cox or CenturyLink Prism.

Cox provides news, sports and entertainment content that appeals to a wide range of audiences. At this time, we have not been contacted by Root Sports, but we review new additions to our channel lineup on an ongoing basis. -Official Statement from Cox Communications

Being available across all providers in the Las Vegas valley was a major priority for the organization in choosing their television partner. While it is alarming that the deals are not in place at the moment and I’m sure any Dodgers fans reading this are having deja vu, it’s too early to panic about Cox and Prism not offering the channels.

Root Sports is offered on Comcast cable in Denver, Pittsburgh, Houston, Salt Lake City, Seattle, and Portland. Verizon FiOS in Pittsburgh. Coastal Link, En-Touch, and Consolidated Communications in Houston. AT&T Sports Networks is owned by DirecTV.

Root Sports Rocky Mountain is currently the home for the Colorado Rockies and the Utah Jazz. Their website says they will have live coverage of 150 Rockies games and “at least 75” Jazz games. We do not have information yet on how they plan on addressing the conflicts between the teams.

This is a landmark agreement for our organization, Golden Knights fans in Nevada and Golden Knights fans all across the Rocky Mountain region. The investment by ROOT SPORTS in cutting edge technology and their background televising the sport of hockey will ensure an enjoyable viewing experience during every Golden Knights game. -The Creator

In addition to the pre and post game shows mentioned Root Sports will also provide “other hockey-related programming with unique access to the team and its players.” How this interacts (or doesn’t) with Behind the Vegas Ice is yet to be seen. The show on Cox is scheduled to run through the first month of the season.

A press conference is scheduled for this afternoon.

Buyouts: Expansion Draft Antidote For NMCs

The list of players with No Movement Clauses (NMCs) is 66 deep according to a league memo sent out in November. On that list there are names such as Sidney Crosby, Patrick Kane, and Carey Price. Those guys, along with about 50 others were going to be protected anyway, so the automatic protection rule for the Expansion Draft is no concern for their respective GM’s. But names like Kevin Bieksa, Scott Hartnell, Francois Beauchemin, Ryan Callahan, Jason Pominville, Dan Girardi, and Dion Phaneuf may be a bit of a different story.

In a perfect world for GMs in Anaheim, Columbus, Colorado, Tampa Bay, Minnesota, New York, and Ottawa, each of these players would simply waive their NMC giving the team the freedom it needs to protect the best nine or 11 players possible, whether it includes those guys or not. It doesn’t work that way though.

No Movement Clauses were put into contracts for a reason. Usually, as the name suggests, so the player won’t have to worry about moving. We are always here to tell people how amazing Vegas is, but in this case, it would be best if players with NMCs think this place is some ****hole in the desert. Mandatory protection is the friend of George McPhee and the enemy of every GM with a player holding an NMC who may have otherwise wanted to expose him.

Unfortunately for Vegas, there’s a work around. It’s called a buyout. NHL franchises can essentially terminate the contract of a player by buying them out for 2/3 of the remaining salary. There are a bunch of rules about buyouts, if you are interested, you can read here, but for the sake of this story, and the Expansion Draft they’re irrelevant.

One name on the list jumps off the page as a possible buyout candidate and he currently resides in Colorado.

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Deleted Tweet May Have Just Revealed ECHL Affiliate

Just a few days after the Golden Knights announced the Chicago Wolves as their primary AHL affiliate, a tweet may have spilled the beans on Vegas’ plans for the ECHL.

The tweet was deleted shortly after it was posted and the story linked in the tweet is no longer on MyQCMallards.net.

It was premature, we do not have anything to announce a this time regarding our ECHL affiliation. -Eric Tosi, VP of Communications

The Quad City Mallards are an ECHL franchise located in Moline, Illinois. They have been the ECHL affiliate for the Minnesota Wild/Iowa Wild since 2013.

Phil Axtell has been serving as the team’s head coach since January 25th, 2017 when Terry Ruskowski was relieved of his duties. On April 27th it was announced via the team website Axtell will to retain the job heading into the 2017-18 season.

The Mallards were eliminated from the ECHL playoffs on April 22nd losing to the Fort Wayne Komets.

There is no information available on the length of the Wild’s agreement with the Mallards which means we are unsure if this will be a primary affiliation or if the Golden Knights will share with Minnesota. Vegas is not expected to have many players at the ECHL level in 2017-18 so it’s more likely to be an “association” (like the Blues to the Wolves) than a primary affiliate.

The team would not give any indication as to when they plan on making their ECHL plans official.

**UPDATE**

Through the glory of Twitter we have learned a few pieces of info pertinent to this story. First, according to TheSinBin.net (amazing name btw), the Wild’s contract with the Mallards ended at the conclusion of this season. Also, according to @HFnewsjunkie the ECHL no longer allows true dual-affiliations.

May Not Be A Golden Knight Yet (Or Possibly Ever), But We Like Tyler Wong

While it’s technically not an NHL contract, our man Reid Duke has a teammate. The Chicago Wolves announced the signing of 21-year-old forward Tyler Wong to a standard AHL contract.

The right-handed forward is coming off a monster year in the WHL, scoring 109 points in 69 games. The Lethbridge Hurricane split the league lead with 51 goals in the regular season. Wong also has AHL experience playing three games for the Toronto Marlies.

Wong’s speed and tenacity in puck drills throughout the week culminated in a two-goal performance… He’s the type of high-character, hard-working player the Leafs like; seeing whether he builds on his tryout opportunity makes him one to watch. -Kristen Shilton, TSN Maple Leafs Reporter

Before we get excited, let’s be realistic. First off, Wong signed an AHL contract with the Wolves, not the Golden Knights. Though he’ll be playing on the Golden Knights affiliate, he’s not under Vegas’ control contractually, and does not count as one of the 50 contracts Vegas may have. Any team can scoop up Wong at any moment if they please. However, George McPhee and the Golden Knights staff will get a chance to coach him throughout this season.

A stingy, competitive two-way forward that has the skill to consistently create offense and the defensive awareness to limit the opposition’s time and space. Excellent vision and creativity. Strong on the puck and quick to get on the backcheck. Very active defensively and doesn’t give up his own end to dominate offensively. Many smaller players play on the perimiter, but Wong isn’t afraid of going to the hard areas and battling for possession. A true all-around player with the drive to compete and win. –Eliteprospects.com

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Don’t Get Too Excited About Stephane Da Costa

Since the signing of Vadim Shipachyov the Golden Knights have been rumored for just about every international player considering coming over to the NHL. The new name everyone is all excited about is Stephane Da Costa. Some of you might remember Da Costa from the sporadic 47 games he played with Ottawa over four seasons. Pathetically, I’ll admit I only remember the 27-year-old by the violent hit he took from Dion Cuthbert-Phaneuf.

The native Parisian and former Merrimack college standout signed as an undrafted free agent in March of 2011. Da Costa made his NHL debut a couple weeks later. However, he never found success with the Senators, which is why he eventually landed in the KHL. During his time in Ottawa, several red flags were revealed. One in particular that put him in the Ottawa doghouse.

He couldn’t even play in the league two years ago… he wasn’t strong enough. He wasn’t fit enough. His game wasn’t competitive enough to play in the league. –Paul MacLean, Senators Head Coach 10/01/13

From past reports, Da Costa’s reputation took a hit. He skipped rookie camp and showed up out of shape in 2011. Not a great sign for an undrafted free agent. Ottawa definitely believed in Da Costa’s potential but ultimately became frustrated and moved on.

Factors that can’t be overlooked are his determination to improve his weaknesses and his willingness to commit to the journey that landed him an NHL opportunity. –Hockeysfuture.com

The Golden Knights need to sign players, but also have to be creative in doing so. Shipachyov was a great example of that. He was a player that’s never played in the NHL, has been thriving in the KHL for years now, and the upside is through the roof. The Golden Knights jumped on him first and now, his age, skill and value will ultimately help the new franchise. Da Costa on the other hand, may be trending upwards in the World Championships but he’s projected to become just a role player on the Vegas roster.

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Chicago Wolves, Golden Knights And The AHL FAQ

Rather than try to write an article that answers all the questions about the Golden Knights, Chicago Wolves, and their affiliation, I figured we should take out a step. Let’s just ask the questions, and then I’ll answer them. It’s the AHL FAQ, who knows maybe it’ll become a thing.

What is the AHL?

The American Hockey League is the premier minor league for the NHL.

Throughout the season, AHL players will be promoted (“recalled”) to the partner NHL club for a number of reasons. If an NHL player is injured, the team may recall a player from the AHL to temporarily take his place. They can then be sent back down to the minors (“assigned”) for a variety of reasons as well, including when an injured NHL player returns to full health. Every NHL team has its own affiliate in the AHL, from where more than 88 percent of active NHL players are graduates. -Golden Knights Press Release

Who are the Chicago Wolves?  

An AHL team that was previously part of the now folded International Hockey League (IHL). The Wolves were founded in 1994 and joined the AHL in 2001. They’ve won multiple Calder Cups (the AHL’s championship), but it’s the minor leagues, so who really cares.

What is the agreement between the Wolves and Golden Knights?

The Wolves will become the official primary AHL affiliate for the Golden Knights. The Golden Knights will be able to send players to the Chicago Wolves at any point during the NHL/AHL season and will also be able to recall them to the NHL at any point.

Who controls hockey decisions?

Under the current deal the Golden Knights will manage all aspects involving hockey     operations, such as personnel decisions, ice-time, and the hiring and firing of coaches.

Is this how the AHL usually works?

Normally, yes, but in the history of the Chicago Wolves, no. Their owner, Don Levin has always preferred to have control over hockey operations to ensure his organization had the best chance to win. Historically, that’s caused friction with the affiliating NHL club because their focus is usually on development rather than winning. Levin says his trust in George McPhee is why he was willing to relinquish all hockey decision making to the Golden Knights.

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Chicago Wolves Announced As Golden Knights AHL Affiliate

Brace yourself SinBinners, what we’ve been reporting since January is now official and it’s time for the local and national media types to report it like it’s breaking news. The Golden Knights will have the Chicago Wolves as their AHL affiliate for the 2017-18 season.

American Hockey League affiliates play a significant role in the success of all NHL clubs and are we are proud to have the Chicago Wolves as our first in team history. I would like to thank Don Levin, Wendell Young and the rest of the Wolves organization for their commitment to the game and helping young hockey players grow to reach their full potential as professionals. Chicago is without question one of the strongest, most passionate hockey communities in North America. This is a relationship that we truly believe will be mutually beneficial. -George McPhee in Press Release

McPhee has said he expects between six and eight players under Golden Knights control to be playing at the AHL level at any given point. Chicago’s central location in the country and two airports allow the team to quickly and easily get players from the AHL to the NHL, the primary concern for the Golden Knights next season.

In a conference call with season ticket holders in March McPhee detailed the type of relationship Vegas will have with the Wolves.

The deal that we are going to do is going to be an exclusive deal, we are the primary affiliate, and we are going to go into a market that has a good hockey history and the team has done well. We will supply our players, we may get some players from another club but the way that the deal would be structured is the affiliation is between us and the minor league club and we will decide what players come from the other clubs, if any. We have full authority in all hockey matters and we will have final say on what decisions that are made. -McPhee

There are no details on the exact length of the contract, other than being described as “multi-year,” but rest assured, Vegas is in the market to move their affiliate closer to home as soon as possible. 

Did Ben Bishop Just Reveal McPhee’s Strategy?

Ben Bishop, the stud goalie who started the season in Tampa Bay, was traded to Los Angeles in February, then had his negotiating rights traded to Dallas and eventually signed a long term deal with Stars, said in an interview that Vegas is thinking of going “younger and in a different direction.”

I think there was some talk of it from what I understood I didn’t think it was an option. I’m obviously not sure what they are going to do. From what I head they were kind of thinking maybe younger and in a different direction. -Ben Bishop in interview with Hockey Central at Noon

Alright, there’s a lot of questions on this one, and at the moment, I don’t have any of the answers, but let’s try to flush this out as best we can here.

Let’s start with the obvious. How does he know this? And… why does he know this?

Follow the timeline, Bishop entered this season on an expiring contract (set to become a UFA). Then, he goes to LA to close out the year. After the season ends, his right are traded to Dallas, because only the team holding his rights can negotiate with him, where he signed, nearly two months before July 1st, when he would have actually hit the open market.

George McPhee never had a chance to talk to him. He couldn’t even say his name without it being tampering, still can’t. Yet Bishop just spilled an interesting note about what the Golden Knights are thinking of doing for the future.

Who told him this? And could he possibly be right?

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McPhee Ready To Hire Assistants When Gallant Returns At End Of the Month

The next step in the hockey operations process is filling out the Golden Knights coaching staff. Most NHL teams have between three and five coaches in addition to their head coach. The Golden Knights currently have Gerard Gallant as the boss, prior to his signing, the team added Dave Prior as a goalie coach and Wil Nichol as the Director of Player Development.

Now it’s time for Gallant to add a few assistants of his own, and according to George McPhee it won’t be long before he does so.

He’s over at the World Championships with Team Canada at the moment, look forward seeing him at the end of the month and filling out his staff. –George McPhee in interview with TSN 690

The leading candidate for a position is Mike Kelly, Gallant’s former top assistant with both the Florida Panthers and Saint John Sea Dogs.

Dave Barr and Scott Allen were also assistants with the Panthers when Gallant was released. Barr was retained to run the power play for interim head coach Tom Rowe, but was fired when Rowe was demoted in April. Both are possibilities to resurface with the Golden Knights.

Mike Kitchen (Blackhawks), Newell Brown (Coyotes), Doug Lidster (Canucks), Perry Pearn (Canucks), and James Patrick (Stars) are among some of the assistants that were fired from their positions at the conclusion of the season.

It wouldn’t be surprising if the Golden Knights coaching staff wasn’t completely filled until after the Expansion Draft, but McPhee sounds like he’s ready to start bringing coaches on board as soon as Gallant returns from Germany/France and the IIHF Worlds.

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