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SinBin.vegas Podcast #56: Open House Reax

After spending an the day in its entirety at T-Mobile Arena at the 24 hour open house, the guys are back in the studio talking all things VGK. Hosted by Ken Boehlke and Jason Pothier.

  • Racist joke on local hip hop station in Vegas.
  • The successes of the open house.
  • Getting fans of other teams to learn to love to Golden Knights.
  • Significance of the final payment.
  • Who’s fault is it?
  • Signing college free agents. Looking for a splash or a role player?

And much more…

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A Look At The Best Available KHL Free Agents

Over the past few years Kontinental Hockey League free agents have become effective for clubs like Chicago, Montreal and Toronto. Think of names like Alexander Radulov, Artemi Panarin, or Nikita Zaitsev. The KHL is a very deep league with budding talent waiting to hit North America. For the players looking for contracts, the questions will be about money, ice time and team direction. Players like Radulov made great money back in Russia, but he wanted to be in the league with the world’s best. With that in mind, let’s take a look at a few KHL free agents that are looking to make the jump this offseason.

Vadim Shipachyov

The 29-year-old center toyed around with the NHL last offseason but ended up signing an extension with his team SKA Saint Petersburg. Shipachyov posted a monster regular season with 26 goals and 76 points in 50 games. SKA benefited most as they ended the season with only 8 regulation losses. Shipachyov plays on a team full of NHL stars and veterans, which include Ilya Kovalchuk, Pavel Datsyuk and Slava Voynov. NHL teams showed interest last year but the Russian decided to stay home. This summer it’ll be tough to turn down the multiple offerings he’ll get from North America teams. Hockey analyst Rob Vollman came up with a hockey league conversion rating for the world’s different leagues. One KHL point converts to .80 NHL points. Using that equation Shipachyov is a potential 70 point NHL player. That’s one attractive free agent. The only thing that’ll keep him out of Las Vegas is the multiple contracts he’ll have offered. If teams believe he can produce like Radulov, expect Shipachyov to be looking for $5-6 million a year. Might be a bit rich for the Golden Knights in a year in which they aren’t expected to do much.

Vladimir Tkachev

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Practice Facility Tour Pictures

The Vegas Golden Knights Practice Facility in Downtown Summerlin just across from Red Rock Casino is set to open in the middle of August. Senior VP and facility project manager Murray Craven took me through the site on February 23rd. Here are all of the pictures.

First Floor Blueprint (click the images below to zoom in)

 

Second Floor Blueprint (click the images below to zoom in)

Finished product drawing

Team entrance, looking into players lounge

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A Look At The Best Available College Free Agents

It’s rare that a top prospect goes undrafted in the amateur draft. There are seven rounds, 30 players selected (31 now) which is plenty to restock all of the NHL rosters and their AHL and ECHL affiliates.  However, many college free agent players have become impactful NHL’ers over the past. Adam Oates, Ed Belfour, Dan Boyle, Tyler Bozak, Conor Sheary and Torey Krug were all NCAA free agents. You can call it great or poor scouting but either way there’s value with some NCAA’s nomads.

March 1st is the date teams can dive into the college free agent market and sign any player that has gone undrafted after three years of eligibility. Vegas will be able to join the party whenever that final payment clears, which appears now to be closer to the 6th than the 1st. It shouldn’t make a big difference in the case of college free agents because every one of the Original 30 have passed on these players at least once, probably two or three times.

The other way players can become free agents is if they fail to come to terms with a team that selected them. Jimmy Vesey and Kevin Hayes were both players that were drafted but couldn’t come to terms with their original teams. Both players signed with the Rangers and are a major part of their core. Can GM George McPhee sign a March prospect that others passed on? Here are this year’s top prospects who remain free agents.

Josh Healey

TSN’s Bob McKenzie wrote about the Ohio State Buckeye a few weeks back that contained one of the coolest scouting reports.

Hits too hard for college hockey. His game will be better suited to pro. -NHL Scout

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Final Payment Won’t Be Made By Trade Deadline, No Deals For VGK

On an interview on KXNT Radio with Alan Stock (and me), The Creator confirmed that the final payment, which allows the team “full entry” into the league will not clear in time for the trade deadline on March 1st.

We won’t make it before the trade deadline. The documentation is unbelievable. I have documentation with the league on a franchise agreement. I have documentation on a loan we are taking out with CitiBank. I’ve got my personal stuff, which all has to get in and get approved. If you saw the stack of documents you’d say it’s not a pretty picture. -The Creator

What it means is the Vegas Golden Knights cannot be officially active at this trade deadline. Deals can be agreed to in principal but cannot be signed off on by the league.

George is having informal calls informal talks with various GMs. Other teams want to do more than we want to do. They want to lock up some of their players for the playoff run and after the playoff run. We aren’t going to get ahead of ourselves. George is going to make good deals. George is a deal maker especially in hockey. If we give up the right to draft a good player we are going to get something good for it. -The Creator

The next question is whether or not the payment will clear in time for George McPhee to attend the GM meetings beginning on March 6th.

In the end, the significance of this will always be unknown. Would deals have actually gotten done? Would McPhee have been willing to sign the dotted line on not selecting a player with four months still to go before the Expansion Draft? We’ll never know.

This also delays the ability to sign college free agents and undrafted players.

Well we just feel the sooner the better. We’d like to start doing some business. We’re ready to go and it’s important for us to be involved. It’s important for us to be at the table at the GM’s meetings because there are important decisions regarding the league and all of hockey in general are being made there and Las Vegas should be heard. –George McPhee to Puck Daddy on February 9th

But the fact of the matter is now we know for sure, the 2017 trade deadline will not involve the Vegas Golden Knights.

 

24 Hour Open House At T-Mobile Arena: Pictures and Observations

The Golden Knights have opened up their home as part of a 24-hour open house at T-Mobile Arena from 8AM this morning to 8AM tomorrow. I wrote this post last week explaining the whole thing, and I don’t really feel like explaining it again, so instead here’s a bunch of pictures and my thoughts on the event.

Observations

  • Early returns on attendance have been pretty strong. For the first few hours there’s been somewhere between 500-1000 people in the building at any point and there’s been a steady line the entire time at the “ticket information” table.
  • The ice is NOT laid despite what my friend from Channel 8 thinks who told me he expected the ice to be much more white. #NailedIt
  • They have a blow-up castle type thing to shoot pucks in, cornhole/beanbag games decked out with Golden Knights logos, both goals are in place, they have VGK Jenga (seriously, there’s a picture below), and the head equipment manager has sticks, helmets, and pads to try on.
  • There are white pieces of paper on seats throughout the arena which have information on season tickets for that seat. By rough count, there are probably about 100 of those.
  • Split season ticket information is available for the first time on 11-game and 22-game packages. The price list is in a picture below.
  • They weren’t kidding, they are literally giving away two seats to the home opener once an hour. You do not have to be present to win.
  • A very loud gong is hit every time someone purchases tickets.
  • Behind The Vegas Ice episodes are being played on the jumbotron. You better believe I filmed “the scene” on the big screen.
  • Attendance picked up significantly through the early night. I’m guessing about 1500 or so as a max in the building at one time.
  • They turned on the Blackhawks/Wild game on the big screen, with sound. I also heard that Duluth Trading Company underwear commercial about eight times on the T-Mobile sound system. Lucky them.
  • I was in the arena all the way from about 10PM until 4AM. There were people on the floor playing the games throughout the entire time. Most were recently off the late shift at the casinos or restaurants. However there were a bundle of people who were here earlier in the day and came back cause they thought it would be fun.
  • Multiple tickets were sold between the hours of midnight and 5AM.
  • I’m not going to make it the whole 24 hours. I arrived at 7AM on Tuesday and I will be leaving the arena at 6:30 AM on Wednesday. 23 and half ain’t too bad.
  • All in all, this should be viewed as a highly successful event, and I’ll have much more on it tomorrow about what we learned. At least 8,000 people were through the building during the 24 hours and the final number is likely to be pushing 9,000. Pretty darn good to come in and see a building that’s been open for 10 months.

Pictures

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Six To Eight Teams Have Already Called Vegas To Talk Trades

We are just over a week away from the NHL Trade Deadline and it appears the Golden Knights and George McPhee are already the talk of the town. As mentioned previously on SinBin.vegas the Expansion Draft is causing teams to hesitate a bit on pulling off deals, but one thing they haven’t waited to do is to reach out to Vegas.

We’ve been taking calls from teams already that are interested in doing something to bolster their team for the playoffs, but they’ve also got us to worry about and they don’t want to go and add some players that they are going to lose right away to us. -Geroge McPhee, GM

That nugget was dropped on a recent interview with Tyler Bischoff and Jim Bola on the Coaches Corner. (Interview starts at 25:30)

They’re interested in talking to us about some sort of deal. What can they give us to lay off of certain people and our answer so far is, we’re not sure yet. It’s got to be something good, it’s gotta be better than the player we are looking at. You want that player now we’ll take something for the future and it’s got to be pretty darn good. -McPhee

The question that now needs to be answered is whether McPhee and his crack staff will know exactly what they’re willing to take before the clock strikes noon on March 1st.

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Golden Knights Causing Conservative Approach At Deadline

As we’ve realized throughout this entire process, expansion is confusing. This week TSN/ESPN’s Pierre Lebrun broke open a future scenario involving the Golden Knights and the Blue Jackets. On TSN Montreal, LeBrun reported Columbus is internally debating on how to protect themselves against expansion. He gives a theoretical sequence of events.

Take the Columbus Blue Jackets. Let’s just pretend they trade for Matt Duchene (again, this is purely to make a point, folks) in exchange for Prospect X, Player X and Draft Pick X. Then, obviously, they would want to protect Duchene as one of their seven forwards for the expansion draft. That means a guy such as William Karlsson or Josh Anderson gets exposed. So that means the cost of the Duchene trade becomes what was traded for him, plus Anderson or Karlsson (who would go to Vegas). For a young team such as the Blue Jackets, that’s what they are thinking about. Which is why a rental player makes more sense for a team like that; a pending unrestricted free agent doesn’t affect protection plans for the expansion draft. –Pierre LeBrun, TSN/ESPN

Just the threat of the Golden Knights have GMs second-guessing moves that could impact their postseason. Some teams cannot afford to take on a contracted player. There’s an excellent piece from friend of the site, James Mirtle, on this same topic, but it’s behind a paywall now, so we can’t grab quotes.

It’s unique, because it’s not an issue of money but limited space to protect players. Like LeBrun said, if teams are giving up three assets for a deadline player, it could end up being four. Teams are working tirelessly at player protection lists and some have no room as it is.

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Open And Honest, At Least That’s The Plan

When it comes to all sports, some organizations are known for hiding the facts. Okay fine, every team does it in some form like inflating attendance numbers or puff pieces following tough losses, but some are just flat out tone deaf. The most recent obvious example is the Boston Bruins firing Claude Julien during the Patriots Super Bowl parade. We talked to The Creator about the importance of being open with his fan base. We didn’t ask him about the Bruins situation specifically, but we asked about fan communication.

We’re going to be fan friendly. We’re going to be careful about it. We’re going to be a community oriented team, that’s what we have to be. -The Creator

Fans aren’t dumb, they see through all the poppycock. It’s up to the owner to make sure fans aren’t fed nonsense.

Thus far there have been a few missteps when it comes to being forthcoming, such as the reasoning behind the team name and the trademark situation to point out a couple. But overall, and especially in terms of The Creator himself, the team has been incredibly open and honest to this point… maybe even to a fault.

That’s what the fan base wants. Actually, that’s what a fan base like Las Vegas needs. Covering up negative information gets unearthed in the amount of time it takes someone to type 140 characters, or however many characters are in Ken’s mean fingers at any given moment. But more importantly, those moments are the ones fans take with them.

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SinBin.vegas Podcast #55: Marc Savard

Ken and Jason jump back in the studio and are joined by special guest, Comedy Hypnotist Marc Savard. The guys talk hypnosis, hockey, Vegas, and a lot more. Hosted by Ken Boehlke and Jason Pothier.

  • Explaining what Marc does.
  • Marc’s incredible story of using hypnosis to heal from his terrible car crash.
  • Saku Koivu’s Maserati.
  • Selling hockey to fans in Vegas.
  • Ownership’s effect on the Golden Knights’ long term success.
  • Peter Pocklington’s reunion in Edmonton. Here’s the story Marc was referencing.

And much more…

**We want to send a huge thank you to Marc Savard for joining us. Go see Marc at the V Theatre at Planet Hollywood. The show is even better than this podcast.**

 

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