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Win Two Tickets To Game 1 Round 2 From Adam S. Kutner And Associates

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Adam is featured on the Zamboni at T-Mobile Arena and often gives away rides on during intermission. We’ll have more on that as they make that available to the SinBinners.

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William Karlsson Named Finalist For Lady Byng Trophy; Snubbed For Selke (Fleury Not A Vezina Finalist Either)

Lady Byng, of course, but not even a Selke finalist? C’mon people, open your eyes. (Photo Credit: Photographer Brandon Andreasen)

Award season is nearly upon us and over the course of the next week, we’ll learn the finalists for each of the individual awards. Today, the finalists were released for the Lady Byng Memorial Trophy and Vegas Golden Knights forward William Karlsson was among the three named.

The Lady Byng is awarded to the “player adjudged to have exhibited the best type of sportsmanship and gentlemanly conduct combined with a high standard of playing ability.” It’s voted on by the Professional Hockey Writers Association. Usually the trophy is given to the best offensive player who took the least penalty minutes. That’s no different this year as Aleksander Barkov (14 PIM) and Ryan O’Reilly (2 PIM) were named as finalists with Karlsson (12 PIM).

Karlsson should win the award when it’s handed out at the Hard Rock Hotel in Las Vegas at the NHL Awards Show on June 20th.

But with the positive news comes some negative news on the awards front. Despite posting some of the best numbers of any goalie in the NHL, Marc-Andre Fleury has not been named a finalist for the Vezina Trophy (best goaltender). The main knock on Fleury was that he missed a large portion of the season and only logged 47 games. However, Fleury had a better goals against average (2.24) and a better save percentage (.927) than any of the three finalists. Connor Hellebuyck, Andrei Vasilevskiy, and Pekka Rinne are the finalists.

The bigger snub, however, is William Karlsson in the Selke Award for best defensive forward. Karlsson was not listed among the three finalists and when the ballots are made public we will see that Karlsson is not even among the top five on many ballots, including voters from Las Vegas. We’ve already talked about Karlsson’s 12 PIM, but when you throw in his +49 rating, the fact that he and his linemates played against the opposition’s top line every game, and Karlsson’s ability on the penalty kill, and it’s hard to believe anyone would leave him off their list.

The Athletic’s Charlie O’Connor wrote an extended story making the case for Sean Couturier to win the Selke. In doing so, he proved the incredible year Karlsson had as well. It’s an incredibly in-depth article, but it does a tremendous job of going beyond the standard stats to show the candidacies of each of the top Selke finalists.

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Doubters Starting To Doubt Golden Knights Again Heading Into Round 2

What’s that Taylor Swift line? (Photo Credit: Photographer Brandon Andreasen)

Can the Vegas Golden Knights win the Stanley Cup?
That’s a reach. -Pierre McGuire, TSN

McGuire has been a believer in Vegas since their first game. He’s consistently praised The Creator and the Golden Knights management for quickly building a winning environment, but now he fears the end is soon.

I don’t think they can win the Cup but I think they can get to the Western Conference Final. -McGuire

As more teams get eliminated it becomes harder and harder for analysts to pick Vegas to advance. It’s not a knock from McGuire because he still expects them to make the conference final.

Boy they’re good. One of the reasons why they’re so good, the improved play, and I can’t believe I’m saying this… the improved play of Marc-Andre Fleury. -McGuire

And it’s not just McGuire. Former goalie Jamie McLennan has questions about Vegas moving forward as well. Noodles still isn’t sure if the Golden Knights have a game breaker.

They don’t have a stand-alone star. Marc-Andre Fleury, I guess would be that guy… I don’t see anybody else. -Jamie McLennan, TSN

Read More Podcast #108: Swept LA

Back from LA where the Golden Knights completed the first round sweep against the Kings, we look back on that series and look forward a bit to the next one against San Jose. Hosted by Ken Boehlke and Jason Pothier.

  • How dominant were the Golden Knights really?
  • Karlsson isn’t on the Selke finalist list
  • A look back at the deals for Tatar and Reaves
  • What if the Kings had won an early game
  • Jason’s anger towards local radio

And much more…

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

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Round Two Start Date Remains A Mystery

The 24th, 25th, and 26th all make sense. (Photo Credit: Photographer Brandon Andreasen)

For the first time since the NHL went to seven game series in the first round, two teams scheduled to match up with each other swept their first round series. Vegas swept Los Angeles concluding their series on April 17th while the Sharks dispatched Anaheim wrapping up on April 18th.

The NHL schedule has round one set to come to an end on April 25th with four potential Game 7’s scheduled. Three are Eastern Conference series and the fourth is Minnesota and Winnipeg.

Thus, the following day, Thursday, April 26th, appears to be the most likely date for the Golden Knights to play the first game of the second round at T-Mobile Arena. However, there is precedent to move it up.

In 2016 the Predators/Ducks series went to Game 7 at Honda Center in Anaheim. Meanwhile, in the Eastern Conference, the Islanders had won in six and the Lightning in five. The NHL scheduled New York/Tampa Bay the same day as the Game 7 in Anaheim and actually dropped the puck on Game 1 in Tampa before Game 7 in Anaheim. Thus, the NHL has shown a willingness to begin a second round before the complete conclusion of the first round. However, over the past eight seasons, this is the only instance of this occurring.

Let’s throw in one more wrinkle too. Tuesday, April 24th currently has a pair of potential Game 7’s on the schedule, Nashville/Colorado and Pittsburgh/Philadelphia. Both top seeds lead the series 3-1 heading home for a Game 5. In the event both series are wrapped up in five or six, that would leave the 24th idle. It’s not unheard of for the league to have an off day, but they’d probably prefer to avoid it if possible.

Enter Vegas and San Jose. Both teams are looking at at least five full off days and would certainly prefer extra days rest in between games rather than before the series begins. T-Mobile Arena is wide open throughout the entirety of round two, but the SAP Center is a different story. The Sharks building has events on May 4th, 7th, 8th, 10th, 12th, and 13th. Plus, the San Jose Barracuda, who also use SAP Center are in the playoffs and would likely need to eat (that’s a pun) up a few days as well. An earlier start to the series gives the league more flexibility to work around SAP Center’s cramped calendar.

So what does it all mean? Well, we haven’t the slightest clue. All we can say is that the series can reasonably start on April 24th, 25th, or 26th. The 26th still seems the most likely, but we are far from as confident about this one as we were the start dates of round one.

Business-Like Attitude After Sweep Proves VGK Aren’t Like Everyone Else

The Golden Knights had just swept the Kings, their division rival, in the first round of the playoffs. They dominated a majority of the play, gave up just 3 goals in 14 periods, and trailed for less than 34 of the 275 minutes of play in the series.

I expected I’d be walking into a jubilant locker room full of laughter, smiles, and high fives. That was not the Golden Knights locker room after Game 4 of their sweep.

Still a few more games before it’s a good story. -Marc-Andre Fleury

It was cool and collected. I’m just already getting ready, starting to forget about this series, trying to get ready for the next one. See who we play and go from there. -Erik Haula

They’ve never been here before, but they had never been anywhere before, and that’s never stopped them. (Photo Credit: Photographer Brandon Andreasen)

This isn’t new for a winning Golden Knights locker room though. Outside of the very first game in franchise history in Dallas, the Vegas locker room doesn’t get too high after wins. Whether it was beating Tampa Bay to move into first place in the NHL, knocking off the Penguins for Fleury or a somewhat meaningless 7-3 win over Calgary, the demeanor in the room remained the same.

When they clinched the playoff berth, it was almost as if they thought it should have happened a while ago. When they won the division, they kind of had this look of, “well yeah, we’ve been ahead by 10 points all year.” When they won Game 1, and 2, and 3, the same, but I thought it might be a bit different having finished the series and knowing they’ve got a plenty of time to revel in this one before they have to move on. It wasn’t the case.

Why would you be satisfied? We don’t have the Stanley Cup. We didn’t start the playoffs thinking, alright if we make the second round we are happy about it. We’re excited because we just won a series and we’re probably going to get one more day to relax the bodies, but in two days from now it’s back to business. -Pierre-Edouard Bellemare

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Sweep Success Moving Forward

Not this team is afraid to make history. (Photo Credit: Photographer Brandon Andreasen)

In 1986 the NHL changed their postseason format adding two games to opening playoff rounds, making it a best-of-seven series. Since then, there have been 30 first-round sweeps… 31, including last night’s Golden Knights sweep of the LA Kings.

Only four (‘01-COL, ‘00- NJ, ‘99-DAL, ‘94-NYR) of the thirty teams went on to win the Stanley Cup. Not the highest percentage (13%), but winning the first-round in four has proven to be an early indication of further success.

Looking back over the past ten years, teams that swept their first-round series had extended success in the postseason.

10 First-Round sweeps

  • 3 Stanley Cup Runner-ups
  • 3 Conference Championship Runner-ups
  • 4 Teams lost in Second-Round
  • 0 Stanley Cup Champions

The full breakdown of every sweep teams success is below, and as you’ll see, many clubs got very close to winning it all. Teams that close out their series in four games will have a better chance of going deeper. However, it has been 17 years since the last time a first-round sweeper hoisted the Cup.

Interesting enough, over that same ten-year span four NHL teams (‘17- PIT, ‘16- PIT, ‘13- CHI, ‘12- LAK) won the Stanley Cup winning their opening round series in five games, the gentleman’s sweep.

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The Golden Knights got off to a miserable start spending a majority of the 1st period struggling to break out of their own end. They did have one good chance that was actually blocked by Erik Haula in front of the Kings net. However, neither team scored in the 1st so Vegas survived. The Golden Knights came out a bit better to begin the 2nd and ended up scoring the first goal of the game on a great transition that led to a cross-ice wide open shot for Brayden McNabb. Vegas scratched and clawed it’s way to the finish and swept the first playoff series in franchise history. The Golden Knights are moving on to the Second Round!

Upcoming stories from the Vegas Golden Knights vs. Los Angeles Kings in Game 4 of Round 1 of the Stanley Cup Playoffs at Staples Center.

  • The story continues.
  • The impact of teams sweeping in the first round on the rest of their playoff runs
  • How did the Golden Knights locker room react to winning in the 1st round?

Three Stars
*** Brayden McNabb
** Jonathan Quick
* Marc-Andre Fleury


Inside A Dejected LA Kings Locker Room In A 3-0 Hole

The Kings finally took a lead in the series, but they couldn’t hold on, and when they lost it, they LOST it. (Photo Credit: Photographer Brandon Andreasen)

The home locker room at Staples Center following Game 3 seemed dark and depressed. Most losing locker rooms are, but this was different. Inside the Kings room after Sunday’s 3-2 loss, I got the feeling they knew their chance to get back into the series was blown.

I think we created a lot of chances and maybe should’ve gotten a couple more goals in net. That’s how it is and it’s just tough right now -Adrian Kempe, LAK Forward

The talented 21-year-old forward was open to chat about the positives from Game 3. In a losing effort, it didn’t matter much to Kempe.

We had some good chances that we maybe should’ve scored on in the second and third periods. We’re going to go home and look at ourselves and come back tomorrow. -Kempe

For the third straight game, LA’s Captain Anze Kopitar sat in front of his locker stall looking tired, frustrated and searching for answers.

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Nate Schmidt And Erik Haula: A Love Story Made For The Golden Knights

As the gathered media waited in the locker room inside Staples Center each Golden Knights player came in one at a time. Fleury walked through wearing a pair of Euro style tight jeans, Neal appeared in fancy sneakers, and Bellemare walked in wearing spandex that were a little too short for comfort. Then, in walked Nate Schmidt. Like always he was wearing a giant smile and laughing at anyone who wanted to laugh with him. He was also wearing sandals, but they didn’t match, the left foot was his own sandal marked with a little sticker with the number 88 on it, on the other foot was a sandal he “stole” because he couldn’t find his. It was that of his best friend on the team, Erik Haula, and it was an image that couldn’t have been more perfect for the story I was there to write.

There are many strong pairs of friends on this team. Alex Tuch and Shea Theodore live together, and Jonathan Marchessault and David Perron hit it off before training camp and became even closer on 1 October, but there’s not a friendship quite like Haula and Schmidt.

Erik Haula moved from Finland to the U.S. when he was 16. He attended high school in Faribault, Minnesota before going on to college at the University of Minnesota. While there, his roommate was Nate Schmidt.

Haula wound up on the Minnesota Wild while Schmidt ended up in Washington D.C. to begin their NHL careers, but that didn’t mean they didn’t keep in touch.

We had played in college, we played on softball teams together in the Summer, we’d work out in the same gym… although he’d show up a little later than I did. -Nate Schmidt

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