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Unnecessary Preseason Game 1 Thoughts

If you’re looking for obvious notes from yesterday’s 9-4 victory including Hat-Trick Tyler Wong and Tallying Tomas Hyka, then move right along. If you’re looking for Ken predicting the future, click here or here.Tallying Tomas Hyka? But if you are looking for some hard-hitting, in-depth, analysis of the most important game in Golden Knights history, you’ve come to the right place.

Who needs a Captain?

George McPhee suggested last week the organization leans towards three alternate captains. That sorta came true Sunday, as two veterans were awarded the A. 32-year-old Clayton Stoner, and 23-year-old Griffin Reinhart played the role of VGK’s early preseason generals. Likely just a case of “somebody had to do it,” more than anything, but it definitely further cements the case that there won’t be a C on any Golden Knights jersey come October 6th.

The Kid’s Table

When the Golden Knights released their roster for Vancouver, I immediately felt bad for Stoner and Reinhart. McPhee and Gerard Gallant both mentioned Saturday, the preseason game would mainly feature young, system players. Stoner and Reinhart are veterans fighting for NHL spots. I’m sure the trip to Vancouver felt like a demotion. Possibly, the Golden Knight’s were ‘showcasing’ the defensemen for other teams, but even that feels like a stretch on the word showcase. In reality though, it means they are at the bottom of the VGK defensive log-jam totem pole.

Shea-H-L?

The Golden Knights’ prized defenseman played a major role in Vancouver. Shea Theodore led the Golden Knights with six shots and 23:12 TOI. The “Dilemma” continues to create headaches for the front office. But if you’re nit-picking, Theodore did spend four minutes in the sin bin. His third-period delay of game penalty put Vancouver on a two-man advantage. Canucks prospect Brock Boeser, took advantage and registered his second tally of the game.

Like I said, these are minor issues stiffs like me pay attention too. I have to remind myself, preseason means absolutely nothing. Bummer, 9-4 would look nice if it did matter. Plus, I can get used to hat-tricks.

SAN JOSE SHARKS 4 VEGAS GOLDEN KNIGHTS 3 (1-1) – 2 OT

The Golden Knights had a bit of an up and down first before finally breaking through late in the 1st. Directly out of the gate in the 2nd William Karlsson scored his second goal of the game to give the Golden Knights a 2-0 lead. However, a slew of penalties led to a ton of 5-on-4 and 4-on-4 play in the 2nd. San Jose took complete advantage of it and scored three straight. The Golden Knights killed a big penalty to start the 3rd which eventually led to a massive game tying goal by Nate Schmidt. Vegas had a chance late with a power play but the game headed to OT. Jonathan Marchessault appeared to win the game in the 1st OT, but the goal was called back due to goalie interference. In the 2nd OT, the Sharks drew two penalties and scored on the latter. The series is now tied and heads to San Jose on Monday.

Upcoming stories from the Vegas Golden Knights vs. San Jose Sharks in Game 2 of Round 2 of the Stanley Cup Playoffs at T-Mobile Arena.

  • Did the Sharks execute their game or did the Golden Knights give one up by losing their composure?
  • Stay at 5-on-5 and Vegas will win the series. It’s really that simple.
  • A closer look at the goalie interference. Sorry, but they may have just gotten it right.

Three Stars
*** Brent Burns
** William Karlsson
* Logan Couture

After the game Ken did a Periscope to get out all his thoughts about the game. (Link below) We are going to do a lengthier podcast on Monday while we drive to San Jose for Games 3 and 4. That’ll be posted before the game Monday.

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GOLDEN KNIGHTS SIGN DERYK ENGELLAND (D) TO 1 YEAR EXTENSION WORTH $1.5M

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Quick Thoughts – Vegas Golden Knights vs. Colorado Avalanche 9/19/17

  • Even more impressive than the three goals in the first eight minutes was the play of Oscar Dansk after coming in to begin the 3rd period. Dansk made 18 saves without allowing a goal and made a few special ones in a row during a power play.  -Ken
    • Note: After reviewing the game Dansk actually entered with 8:59 left in the second while VGK were on a power play. Official stats from the game are incorrect. He allowed the one goal the Golden Knights gave up. Nonetheless, one 5 on 3 goal doesn’t change the fact that he was still excellent between the pipes.
  • The VGK Alternate Captains on Tuesday night were; Deryk Engelland, Jason Garrison, and Reilly Smith. Each logged heavy minutes and made significant contributions in both zones. Garrison was very active offensively, collecting two assists in the first period. Smith added an assist and led the offense with 17:23 TOI. Early in the third period, Captain Concierge Engelland broke up an aggressive Avs attack. With under ten minutes to go, Engelland made a crucial neutral zone stop, allowing for a much-needed shift change. -Jason
  • Vadim Shipachyov really struggled on face-offs. He was thrown out of many draws (which is a much bigger deal now with the new stupid delay of game penalty) and the ones he did take were not pretty. Shipachyov lost six face-offs, mostly against Nathan MacKinnon before he finally got one. He finished 2-7 in the circle. -Ken
  • The Golden Knights have committed 19 penalties in two preseason games. That’s almost two full periods with a man in the box. On Tuesday, the officials called six slashing penalties. The Golden Knights committed four slashing minors in Colorado, and one in Vancouver. We’ve been warned about a crackdown after a few dangerous incidents last season, looks like they are going a bit overboard with it to make a point in the preseason. -Jason
  • Alex Tuch stood out passing the puck. He assisted on the first goal with an excellent pass to Brad Hunt from below the goal line. There were multiple other examples of Tuch’s passing throughout the game as well. Couple that with his willingness to shoot and his physicality and he absolutely looked like he belonged on the NHL roster. -Ken
  • During the second intermission report, an Avalanche TV analyst suggested the NHL needs more personality. He thinks, the league should allow players the chance to customize their equipment. Of course, it would look cool, but wouldn’t it distract the players on the ice? It’s much easier to separate goaltenders. Plus, it’s better to add flair to an otherwise boring mask. Adding more personal art will confuse players, coaches, refs, and fans. Watch, instead the league will add sponsor patches and call it personality. -Jason
  • There were a total of 14 power plays during the game which led to every Golden Knight except Tomas Hyka to get time on both the power play and the penalty kill. While it’s great to get chances a man up, a man down, and in this game multiple times two men up or down, Gallant would probably prefer more 5v5 time to evaluate his players. -Ken

“Just A Matter Of Me Not Playing A Game In A Long Time”

Clayton Stoner at training camp at City National Arena. (Photo Credit: SinBin.vegas Photographer Brandon Andreasen)

Instantly after seeing the roster for the first preseason game, our eyes went straight to the outlier on the list, Clayton Stoner. On a roster full of young players either headed back to juniors or to the AHL, the 32-year old, eight year veteran of the NHL stuck out like a sore thumb. Our thought was that it spelled bad news for Stoner’s future with the Golden Knights. But, what do we know, we are just some bloggers with a website that couldn’t even afford a .com domain. So, instead of playing “ask the 8-ball,” we went right to the source to see what he thought about his inclusion in the first preseason game.

I think it was just a matter of me not playing a game in a long time. I was hurt since November 15th last year. It was one of those things that they mentioned they wanted to get me in a game early and get on the ice. And get that game feeling back. -Clayton Stoner

The former Duck played 14 games last season, due to an abdominal procedure he had on November 17th. It’s no wonder Stoner was eager to compete on Sunday.

Right now I feel very good. I’m just trying to stay healthy. I’m not as young as I was, but injuries are something that are preventable. I spent a lot of time last season, and the offseason rehabbing. I feel, like I’m in a strong place right now with my body. I feel good. -Stoner

The only bummer to Sunday’s victory was that Stoner couldn’t keep his A-stitched jersey. To his knowledge, it doesn’t exist anymore.

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Final Thoughts From Frozen Fury XVII

The Colorado Avalanche reached double digits in shots midway through the third period but most of the Kings fans in attendance seemed to reach that mark way before game time.

I knew the fan in front of me had a few too many when he started a “let’s go Raiders” chant.  He left the game wearing a beer because his female companion finally had enough. The more I looked around the more I felt as if that chant was appropriate. (And to think they are going to end this series)

In two years, when our community piles into the Cox Las Vegas Arena, my personal guess, we need to understand that our team will need us loud and proud, but let’s also remember that no other city will be under the microscope as much as our city will be so let’s always remember to bring our class and perhaps keep our “shots” to single digits.

Kelly McCrimmon’s Answers In Recent Interviews Indicate A Lack Of Panic

(Photo Credit: SinBin.vegas Photographer Brandon Andreasen)

For the 2nd year in a row, the Golden Knights entered November 27th with exactly one point per game in the standings. In 2018-19 they racked up 25 points in 25 games while 2019-20 has seen them tally 26 points in 26 games.

Last year was full of excuses including Nate Schmidt’s 20 game suspension, injuries to Cody Eakin (3 games), Alex Tuch (8 games), Paul Stastny (happened in Game 3), and Erik Haula (happened in Game 15). This year feels a little different, though there have been some similarities. Schmidt missed 12 (13 if you include the one he got hurt in), Tuch 17, Eakin 4, and Malcolm Subban 9.

As players worked their way in and out of the lineup each season, consistency was the main issue. Some nights they’d play well, others they wouldn’t, and there’s really no guessing which night would be which.

Last year’s team turned it around right about this time. They won five straight and won 10 of 13 from Games 23 to 35. That likely led the front office to back off and be patient with their second-year team. This year, that stretch has yet to come and there’s starting to be a sense of panic among the fan base. Upstairs though, that’s not the case… at least not yet.

Kelly McCrimmon hasn’t spoken to the media much this year, but when he has his message has been the opposite of his team’s play, consistent.

Well, I think we’ve been a little inconsistent. We’ve had stretches where we’ve played pretty well but haven’t been able to sustain it the way we’d like. As a result we’re in a clump of teams that are trying to find their way here a little bit. We expect we’ll get better as we move along but we’ve been inconsistent. –Kelly McCrimmon to Oilers NOW on 11/22/19

We’ve liked a lot of things about our team. I think the one area where we’d like to be better is just our consistency hasn’t quite been to the level we’d like it to be. When I look around the League, there’s probably a few teams that share similar thoughts. –McCrimmon to NHL.com on 11/11/19

Both interviews came directly before rough patches as Vegas lost five straight following the NHL.com one and are currently on a two-game drought following the Oilers NOW interview, but the message has remained steady. In fact, it wasn’t just that question that elicited nearly identical responses in both interviews.

We’re like a lot of teams, there are all different ways we can improve our team in terms of personnel but when you are a cap team your hands are a little bit tied with respect to that. I think personnel-wise we’re pretty comfortable with our team and like every other team we’ll evaluate opportunities that might present themselves along the way and if there’s something that makes sense that we think can improve our team we’ll definitely look at it. –McCrimmon to Oilers NOW on 11/22/19

Well, we’re a cap team, so that dictates a little bit what we can do or we will do. But I think like a lot of teams, you watch, you observe. You know there are areas where you can get better, and you see how the year plays out. –McCrimmon to NHL.com on 11/11/19

He also had matching comments on the Pacific division, including sharing the exact same story in both interviews, and another one in between.

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Golden Knights Rumored To Be “Looking For A Mobile D”

(Photo Credit: SinBin.vegas Photographer Brandon Andreasen)

Since the start of the regular season, the Golden Knights have been playing a numbers game with the salary cap. They’ve shuttled players like Nic Roy, Nic Hague, Cody Glass, Jimmy Schuldt, and Jake Bischoff between the NHL and AHL in an attempt to accrue usable cap space come trade deadline day. Thus far, they’ve sent Roy down four times, Hague three, and Glass, Schuldt, and Bischoff each once. In doing so, they’ve lessened the cap hits of all five waiver exempt rookies.

They are doing this for one reason, and one reason only, so they are in a position to make a trade and acquire a player that will help them win the Stanley Cup. Whether that trade happens today, or next week, or seconds before noon on February 24th, that’s why they are playing this game.

Which should obviously spark everyone reading this to ask the exact same question.

“Who are they looking to trade for?”

No one besides a select few inside the walls of City National Arena actually know, but over the course of the next four months there will be context clues along the way.

The first of those comes to us compliments of Sportsnet.ca’s superstar reporter Elliotte Friedman.

Nate Schmidt is back after a 13-game absence, and the Golden Knights badly missed him. Does Vegas feel the need to add mobility on the blue line? Opponents do think it is one of their few weaknesses. –Friedman in 31 thoughts on 11/5/19

He left it there in the written article but went on to elaborate a bit on his weekly podcast with Jeff Marek, also named 31 Thoughts.

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Gary Bettman Remains Bullish On Vegas, Golden Knights

**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.**

Among the 18,188 in attendance Tuesday night at T-Mobile Arena for the Golden Knights-Nashville game was the general manager of the Seattle NHL franchise.

I assume Ron Francis was taking careful notes, both from what he was watching on the ice and what he was seeing inside The Fortress.

He would be wise to do both.

Also in attendance Tuesday, and nearly as conspicuous, was the NHL commissioner.

Yes, Gary Bettman was in the house and he kept a low profile, lest he get the crap booed out of him by the Medieval Maniacs who may never forgive him for the performance of his officials in Game 7 of the opening round of the Stanley Cup Playoffs last April.

Do Knights fans have long memories? Hell yes they do.

(Photo Credit: SinBin.vegas Photographer Brandon Andreasen)

What was Bettman doing in Las Vegas? He was a speaker at a symposium on sports betting at the Global Gaming Expo Wednesday morning at the Sands Expo and Convention Center. He was in good spirits and rightly so, given nobody booed him and no one asked him about officiating or concussions and CTE.

He was asked about the success of the Golden Knights and what it has meant for the NHL in the team’s brief existence. He was quick with his responses, praising Bill Foley for the job he and his organization have done (Sorry Ken, Bettman did not refer to Foley as “The Creator”).

I asked him if Francis should be paying close attention to what goes on here at T-Mobile.

Seattle is its own market. I think the experience inside T-Mobile Arena is consciousness-raising. But we all know what works in Las Vegas doesn’t necessarily work elsewhere. Seattle is going to have the same opportunities in the Expansion Draft and everything is on schedule and we expect Seattle will be another fantastic NHL experience. -Bettman

For Bettman and the NHL, the growth of sports betting throughout the U.S. is an opportunity to help develop new fans and give existing hockey fans more options to connect to the game. It’s a far cry from 20 years ago when then-Mayor Oscar Goodman paid Bettman a visit in his mid-Manhattan office in an attempt to secure a franchise for Las Vegas and got the cold shoulder.

But timing is everything. The building of a first-class arena, the growth of the area’s population and rising media market and an owner who was willing to put up half a billion bucks all helped change Bettman’s mind. He became an advocate for Las Vegas and had he not backed Foley’s bid, Las Vegas might’ve been Quebec City on the outside looking in.

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Carp: A Day For Reflection On A Team And A City And Their Mutual Love For Each Other

**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.**

I was driving home following Sunday’s preseason finale at T-Mobile Arena and I passed by the United Blood Services facility on West Charleston. I actually pass by it often on my way to my job as editor at Gaming Today. And every time I do, my thoughts circle back to October 3, 2017.

Why October 3rd?

It was less than 24 hours following the massacre across from Mandalay Bay where the Route 91 Harvest Festival become a killing zone. A deranged gunman let loose a barrage of death and destruction, cutting short the lives of 58 people he didn’t even know while wounding hundreds of others and changing the collective psyche Las Vegas forever.

I was one of the last to leave T-Mobile Arena following the Golden Knights’ final preseason game against San Jose. I left about 10 minutes before the shooting started. I’ve talked in the past about that evening, how my phone kept pinging with texts, ringing with calls, family and friends asking if everything was O.K. Watching the grim news unfold on the 11 p.m. news and knowing even though I covered hockey, my life was about to change.

Which brings me to October 3rd.

The Knights practiced at City National Arena that morning. As you can imagine, it was a somber atmosphere. As the players were on the ice, team management and staff were hard at work, trying to figure out how best the Knights could assist in the community while at the same time, having to quickly pivot from what they planned to do for the pregame ceremony for the October 10th home opener vs. Arizona. Remember, the Knights were scheduled to open on the road that Friday at Dallas, then travel to Arizona the next night.

As the players practiced, people were lining up at blood facilities all over Southern Nevada. At the United Blood Services on Charleston, the line snaked out the door and around the building as people waited hours to donate.

Most of the Knights players visited the blood bank. Many were at Metropolitan Police headquarters to meet with the police and other first responders who had performed so bravely hours before, preventing the death toll from climbing even higher. Still others went to the Family Assistance Center at the Las Vegas Convention Center to try and console families who were dealing with the loss or the injury of loved ones.

Remember, save for Deryk Engelland, none of the players and coaches had lived in Las Vegas. This was still a new place. Many were still trying to figure out how to get around the city. Sure, they knew how to get to practice and to the arena for games. They knew how to get to the Strip. But I’ll bet none of them knew where United Blood Services was. Or where Metro headquarters was. Or even the Convention Center. So for the players, this was surreal.

Remember, 10 Golden Knights got caught up in this the night before as they were at the Cosmopolitan having a team postgame dinner when the hotel was locked down along with everything else on the Strip. They had no idea what was really going on.

But by the morning of October 3rd, everyone knew. And to a man, they quickly did what they could to comfort the community which had already embraced them as its team, which had already invested, both financially and emotionally in them. Giving back? That was the easy thing to do. But to do it tastefully and respectfully? That was the tricky part.

The team was noticeably visible. And it cemented the bond between the city and its new hockey team. Las Vegas was going to need time to heal, time to get through this, and the Golden Knights made sure they would be with the city every step of the way.

And that is why this city loves the Golden Knights.

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