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3rd Line Desperately Needs A Shakeup

The Golden Knights 3rd line this season has been an absolute disaster.

And that’s putting it politely.

Six games with Pirri-Eakin-Glass. Four games with Pirri-Stastny-Zykov. Three games with Zykov-Eakin-Glass. Three games with Nosek-Eakin-Glass. One game with Pirri-Eakin-Stone.

That’s 17 games, and those 3rd lines amassed a total of one goal. A single goal scored by Cody Glass against the Calgary Flames, which if this were soccer, would have been an own goal credited to Mark Giordano.

Individually, it doesn’t look much better.

(Photo Credit: SinBin.vegas Photographer Brandon Andreasen)

Cody Glass – 18 games, 3 goals, 7 points*
Tomas Nosek – 17 games, 3 goals, 4 points**
Cody Eakin – 14 games, 0 goals, 3 points
Brandon Pirri – 10 games, 0 goals, 1 point
Valentin Zykov – 7 games, 0 goals, 2 points

*Glass played four games on the 2nd line. He scored one goal and had two assists in those games
**All three of Nosek’s goals were scored shorthanded or with the 4th line

But they aren’t supposed to be an offensive line. Right? That’s the bill of goods that’s been sold since the Golden Knights installed Eakin as the 3rd line center midway through the 2017-18 season.

Well, they aren’t good defensively either.

Eakin ranks as one of the 15 worst forwards with at least 100 minutes played this season with a 41.3% Corsi. He’s the 21st worst skater in the NHL at shot percentage at 40.8%, and he ranks in at least the 200th worst of 292 NHL forwards in goals against per 60, expected goals against per 60, and scoring chances against per 60. He’s been less than stellar in the faceoff circle winning at just a 46.4% clip, the worst of any Golden Knight with at least 100 draws. He has a -7 +/- rating, the worst of any Golden Knight. He’s one of four VGK skaters with a 0.0 defensive point shares number (the other three are Tuch, Roy and Bischoff who have played a combined 10 games). And, he’s registered just three takeaways, the least of any player with at least eight games played.

Pirri is right there with Eakin in all of the advanced stat numbers with a Corsi of 42.2%, shot percentage of 36.4%, and an expected goals for percentage of 41.8%. He’s been on the ice for just two goals while allowing five, and that’s including his 28:16 of power play time. He’s a -3, and has a -0.2 point share number which means if you simply subtracted Pirri and Eakin from the roster completely stats say they’d be almost half a point better in the standings.

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DETROIT RED WINGS 3 VEGAS GOLDEN KNIGHTS 2 (9-7-3 21 PTS)

The Golden Knights last stop on their road trip was in Motown for an afternoon faceoff against the Red Wings. Jonathan Marchessault put Vegas ahead 1-0 at the 16:27 mark of the 1st period. With under a minute remaining Detroit was able to tie it up 1-1 on the power play.

In the 2nd period Max Pacioretty continued his hot streak scoring a goal in four out of the last five games. Vegas played strong defensively and kept Detroit off the board in the middle frame. Pacioretty’s goal made it 2-1 Vegas after 40 minutes of action.

The Red Wings tied it up 2-2 midway through the 3rd period. Detroit would keep Vegas’ offense stagnant and would burn the visiting team with :30 seconds remaining in regulation. The Golden Knights lost a 3-2 heartbreaker in Detroit.

Vegas’ record drops to 9-7-3 and went 1-2-1 on their four-game road trip. The Golden Knights will get back on track Tuesday night against the Chicago Blackhawks. Game time is scheduled for 7P at the T-Mobile Arena. (Recap by Jason)


Upcoming stories from the Vegas Golden Knights at Detroit Red Wings at Little Caesars Arena

  • It’s gone on long enough, changes can’t wait any longer for the 3rd line

Ken’s Three VGK Stars
*** Jonathan Marchessault
** Nate Schmidt
* Max Pacioretty

Carp: Jonny Greco’s Contributions To Golden Knights Etched In Stone

**Southern Nevada Sports Hall of Famer, Steve Carp’s returns to SinBin.vegas for the 2019-20 season. His weekly column publishes every Sunday during the Golden Knights season and is brought to you by the Jimmerson Law Firm.**

Where to begin?

(Photo Credit: SinBin.vegas Photographer Brandon Andreasen)

The music. The cheerleaders. The mascots. The pregame and between periods videos. The skits on the ice. The arena hosts and hostess.

The in-game experience at T-Mobile Arena is unmatched in the NHL. I know. I’ve been in every rink and I can tell you for a fact nothing rivals the emotional feeling and the energy that comes once you step inside The Fortress.

Of course, I’m pretty much preaching to the choir here. But the man responsible for most, if not all of it, has decided to move on.

You may recognize the name. A few of you can even place the face. But the handiwork of Jonny Greco is known to all of you because he made sure you were part of it all.

Whether it was the third period exhortation for everyone to yell and clap during an ice maintenance, or singing “Sweet Golden Knights” and “Home Means Nevada” between periods, or having celebrities and fans alike crank up the siren to begin each period, Greco made sure you were and remained engaged, regardless of the score.

And whether you love everything about attending a Golden Knights game or only a small portion of it, you have Greco to thank.

This is from the press release put out by the team back on April 7, 2017 announcing Greco’s hiring:

Las Vegas is the entertainment capital of the world. We recognize and embrace the expectations that come along with playing our games here from a performance perspective. Jonny possesses a unique background that spans multiple professional teams, leagues and sports entertainment entities. His creative vision will help us produce exceptional in-game presentation and entertainment, which will create memorable and enjoyable experiences for our fans. –Kerry Bubolz, Golden Knights president

So when word got out Friday that Greco was leaving the Strip for Broadway (He has reportedly taken a job with Madison Square Garden), it was an end of an era of sorts. But the stamp he las left on the franchise is indelible.

Thinks about this: When was the last time a network, any network, decided to show the pregame show on the air?

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WASHINGTON CAPITALS 5 VEGAS GOLDEN KNIGHTS 2 (9-6-3 21 PTS)

The Golden Knights put themselves in an early hole giving up a goal to Evgeny Kuznetsov :58 seconds into the game. The Capitals scored again five minutes later. Vegas would grind back and get within one on Max Pacioretty’s fifth of the year.

Washington would take a 3-1 lead early in the 2nd period but again Vegas would continue to chip away. Reilly Smith would make it 3-2 on a Golden Knights power play with his team leading 10th goal of the year.

The Golden Knights would begin the 3rd on the power play but couldn’t score a game tying goal. The Capitals would take another two goal lead with a power play goal by Nick Backstrom. Vegas would kill a 5-on-3 but couldn’t creep back. Washington would get a late empty netter to win 5-2.

Vegas’ record drops to (9-6-3) and sit with 21 points. The Golden Knights get right back to it tomorrow afternoon in Detroit. Faceoff against the Red Wings is scheduled for 2PM. (Recap by Jason)


Upcoming stories from the Vegas Golden Knights at Washington Capitals at Capital One Arena

  • Steve Carp’s Sunday column on the Jonny Greco’s departure. (Plus, his 5 favorite in-arena moments in VGK history.)

Ken’s Three VGK Stars
*** Reilly Smith
** Brayden McNabb
* Max Pacioretty

Vegas Point Streak Overshadowed by OT Losses

(Photo Credit: SinBin.vegas Photographer Brandon Andreasen)

For the most part, fans only care about wins and losses, but they must remember an NHL season is a marathon, not a race. I know, blah, blah, blah.

Over the past five games, the Golden Knights have won just two of them. Many fans are up in arms screaming about blown leads, consistency, and scoring issues, but they should be happy with that stretch as their team earned at least one point in five straight games. Look at it as a competitive team finding a way to earn a point, even in a losing effort. Last night in Toronto was a perfect example of a well-earned point.

Somehow the Golden Knights found themselves in a 1-1 tie at the end of regulation against one of the better offensively skilled clubs in the league. With their backup goaltender in net, let’s face it the odds were stacked against them. Vegas held a team that averages 3.35 goals per game to one score in 60 minutes. Even more notable was the Golden Knights penalty killers allowed only one goal in six power play opportunities. That lone Leafs goal was scored 48 minutes into the game. The Golden Knights defensive plan, on purpose or not, worked and earned them a point.

A loss isn’t a loss in the NHL. Overtime losses are half a win, and that’s how I’m looking at the Toronto game. Same goes for Vegas’ overtime losses against Montreal and Winnipeg even though those are understandably tougher pills to swallow. Sure you can look at Vegas’ three OTL’s as late-game failures or you can see it as a step closer to a playoff berth.

This season, the Golden Knights have earned an average of 1.23 points per game. That’s a pace that would give Vegas 102 points by the end of the regular season. Remember, no team with at least 100 points has missed the playoffs. Over the past five games of “inconsistent” play, they’ve racked up seven points, which is good for 115 over an 82 game season.

Everyone, including the head coach, knows the Golden Knights have more to give, yet here they sit right in the thick of the playoff chase early in the season. Their PDO is 97.9, which is the 5th worst in the NHL. (For those new to PDO, read this.) They’ve scored seven fewer goals than the “expected goal” rates show and yet they’ve overcome it. The other teams with negative actual goal vs expected goal rates have all struggled mightily (SJS, DET, NJD, LAK). And, they have the league’s 4th worst shooting percentage at even-strength at just 6.47%. The last two years that number was 7.75% and 8.38%.

Put all of that together, and it all points to the same thing. The best has yet to come for the Golden Knights.

Of course, we can’t sit here and celebrate overtime losses for the whole season because eventually, they will have to start earning two points a night rather than one. But as long as they keep pace, an occasional OTL isn’t the end of the world. In fact, it’s getting them closer to the century mark.

It might sound too simple, and something you’d hear from a coach, but it’s true. Good teams find a way to earn a point. Actually, I’m pretty sure we’ve heard a coach say that.

TORONTO MAPLE LEAFS 2 VEGAS GOLDEN KNIGHTS 1 (9-5-3 21 PTS) – OT

The Golden Knights were forced to start the game in their defensive zone but the team stepped up defensively. Under heavy attack for most of the period, Vegas and Malcolm Subban kept Toronto out of the net and the opening 20 minutes ended in a scoreless tie.

Vegas came out sin the 2nd period, combining for 14 shots on net. The Golden Knights penalty killing units continued to shine, shutting down Toronto’s power play and even-strengthened offense. After two periods the game remained 0-0.

The Golden Knights finally opened the scoring with a goal by Max Pacioretty 4:08 into the 3rd period. The Maple Leafs would tie the game on their sixth power play opportunity. After three periods of play the game would need to be settled in overtime. Jon Tavares would win it late in 2–1 OT for Toronto.

Vegas drops their record to (9-5-3). The team continues their road trip on Saturday will against the Washington Capitals. Puck drop is scheduled for 4PM PT. (Recap by Jason)


Upcoming stories from the Vegas Golden Knights at Toronto Maple Leafs at Scotiabank Arena

  • Can we stop with the “Golden Knights aren’t that good” stuff?

Ken’s Three VGK Stars
*** Shea Theodore
** Max Pacioretty
* Malcolm Subban

Explaining The Salary Cap Benefit Of Sending Nic Hague And Nic Roy To The AHL

(Photo Credit: SinBin.vegas Photographer Brandon Andreasen)

Well, it happened again. Following a night in which both Nic Hague and Nic Roy played in a win against Columbus, they were optioned to the AHL. This morning, they were called right back up and one or both may play tonight against Toronto.

Being shuttled back and forth between the AHL and NHL isn’t new for the Nics. It has happened to Roy three times and Hague twice. They are sent down with the idea of eventually bringing them back up and sometimes it all happens within a day or two.

When it happens, you’ll see dopes like the guys at SinBin.vegas tweet something like this…

It’s about cap space we say.

Reminds me of one of my favorite lines in Seinfeld history when Kramer says “they just write it off.” He has no idea what writing it off means or how it helps businesses, but it sounds smart, so he says it.

They are accruing cap space, all the teams are doing it!

But how? Why? Are you sure?

If you nailed down most, they’ll eventually crack like Kramer and say “I don’t know, but they do it.” And the conversation would end there because let’s be honest, does anyone really care how or why it happens?

But, since you are still reading, you must be someone that cares. So, I’m here today to explain it. (After I spent most of my night last night reading through the CBA and having my buddy Hart from PuckPedia.com further explain it to me.)

The NHL has what they call an “upper limit” or a maximum amount of money a team can spend on their team salaries. This is often referred to as the salary cap. The idea behind it is to make it so that no team can go out and buy the best players and pay their way to a dynasty. There’s a crazy calculation to figure out what the cap will be each year, but that’s for another day. This year the upper limit is $81.5 million.

So, every day at 5PM EST, the league takes a look at every roster in the NHL, calculates the total amount of salary they have on their roster and makes sure it’s at or under $81.5 million. But, it’s not always as easy as simple addition. Instead, they use what’s called an “averaged amount” based on the player’s contract and the length of time he’s been on the NHL roster.

If a player makes $1 million and he’s been on the roster for every day of the season, he counts for $1 million against the cap. However, if that player was off the roster at any point, his cap figure comes down. Here, let me show you an example.

The league season is 186 days long. It runs from October 2nd to April 4th. Thus, every player’s salary is calculated over 186 days. To make the numbers round, let’s use a player that makes $1.86 million. Every day of his contract is worth $10,000 against the cap. $10,000*186 = $1.86 million.

Say this player is on the roster on opening night. The league calculates it as if he’s going to be on the roster for the rest of the year, so his cap hit is $1.86 million. If he’s on the roster every day for the next 40, his cap hit never changes, it’s always $1.86 million.

But, if he’s sent to the minors for one day, his cap hit is now reduced by $10,000 ($1.86 million divided by 186). When he comes back his cap hit is now $1.85 million.

Every day he’s not on the NHL roster, his cap hit decreases by $10,000. Send him down for 10, you save $100,000. Send him away for 30, you save $300,000.

Got it? Ok, let’s move away from this mythical player and get back to the Nics, Hague and Roy.

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SinBin.vegas Podcast #175: Questions And Refs

We start out chatting about the missed icing call and then head into a wide range of VGK topics from our Twitter Q&A. Hosted by Ken Boehlke and Jason Pothier.

  • The NHL is not actively trying to find the best refs in the world to ref their games
  • How good (or bad) is the Pacific Division?
  • Nic Roy’s ceiling
  • Home vs road record
  • VGK’s biggest hole

And much more…

We are on iTunesStitcher, Spotify, and Google Play. Subscribe now!

VEGAS GOLDEN KNIGHTS 2 COLUMBUS BLUE JACKETS 1 (9-5-2 20 PTS)

Vegas began their four-game road trip in Columbus looking for their first regulation win since October 27th. The Golden Knights played strong defensively in front of goaltender Marc-Andre Fleury in the 1st period. Fleury stopped all nine shots by the Blue Jackets and Reilly Smith scored a late goal to give his team a 1-0 lead after the opening 20 minutes.

Columbus would tie it up 5:37 into the second period but the lead wouldn’t last long. Smith would add his second of the game on a nice shorthanded setup by William Karlsson. Fleury continued his strong play between the pipes and Vegas would again take a one goal edge leading 2-1 after two periods in the books.

Columbus came out attacking in the 3rd but Fleury and the defense would keep the Blue Jackets scoreless for the entire period. Vegas picked up two points with a final of 2-1 in Columbus.

Vegas improves their record to (9-5-2) and break their two-game skid. The team will head to Toronto for a matchup against the Maple Leafs on Thursday night. Puck drop is scheduled for 4PM PT. (Recap by Jason)


Upcoming stories from the Vegas Golden Knights at Columbus Blue Jackets at Nationwide Arena

  • Betting trends all pointed to a win over Columbus (possible)

Ken’s Three VGK Stars
*** Jon Merrill
** William Karlsson
* Reilly Smith

Overtime Woes Growing Concern For VGK

This guy can’t bail you out every time. (Photo Credit: SinBin.vegas Photographer Brandon Andreasen)

The Golden Knights have played in nine regular-season overtime periods since they last scored an OT goal. They are 0 for 4 finding the back of the net in OT this year and went five straight without scoring in overtime to close out the 2018-19 regular season.

Add it all up, and Vegas has played 29:29 of overtime hockey since they last walked off the ice an overtime winner. They’ve gone an acceptable 4-5 in those games, winning all four in shootout, but their inability to score in 3-on-3 overtime is concerning.

The four OT games this year have totaled 13:48 of play. Vegas spent 1:38 of that time playing on the power play against Chicago yet still didn’t score.

In the nine games over the last two seasons, Vegas allowed the game-winning goal within the first :30 of OT on three separate occasions, including most recently against Montreal last week.

Since Mark Stone has been a member of the Golden Knights, they’ve not scored a single overtime goal despite playing in six OT games.

No matter how you slice it, it’s bad. It cost Vegas a few points last year, it’s cost them a couple already this year, and if it’s not corrected, it’ll cost them even more as the season progresses.

I wanted to see if I could identify some of the symptoms to the Golden Knights overtime issues, so I went back and watched all four OT games Vegas has played this season. In two, neither team scored and the Golden Knights won in shootout. In the other two, defensive breakdowns led directly to opposition goals in which the goalies had no chance. Obviously, those need to be avoided, but it’s been more than just the final moment that has been the problem for Vegas. There are two substantial issues they’ve had to this point. One when they have the puck, one when they don’t.

First, there have been way too many careless giveaways in overtime. In four overtime games, Vegas has given the puck away five times prior to creating a scoring chance on that possession. Stone, Theodore, Smith, Karlsson, and Marchessault have each had one and not a single one of them was even trying to make a play to lead directly to a goal.

In OT, the name of the game is possession. If you have the puck, you have a great chance to win. So, giving it away is a cardinal sin. It’s one thing to try and make a great play to set up a chance, but that’s not what’s been happening for Vegas. Instead, it’s simple giveaways, usually trying to keep the puck in the zone rather than taking it out and resetting. Here are two examples.

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