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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.

Engelland, Golden Knights Join Team #JinxesAreForLosers By Picking Up Campbell Bowl

The winner of the NHL’s Western Conference Finals is awarded the Clarence S. Campbell Bowl. There’s a long standing tradition in which players and teams refuse to touch the trophy because the only trophy a winner touches is the Stanley Cup.

I didn’t touch it. I’m a rookie, I follow what they say. If they tell me to touch it, I’ll touch it. If they tell me not to touch it, I won’t touch it. -Alex Tuch

It’s a supersition that’s been followed for many years, and according to some, has jinxed many a team, but the Golden Knights were not afraid.

After winning Game 5, 2-1, and clinching the Western Conference Championship, Deryk Engelland skated over to the trophy, immedeatley put his fingers on the handle, and eventually lifted it and brought it back to his teammates.

We decided as a group to take it because we went through the experience togehter. (Fleury) has been the backbone to our team, so more or less it came down to what he wanted to do. -Deryk Engelland

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The Golden Knights Have Never Faced Real Adversity, Because They Stop It Before Comes

He’s basically a superhero. Going around saving doubters from doubting. (Photo Credit: SinBin.vegas Photographer Brandon Andreasen)

All season long there’s been a running narrative that the Golden Knights are strong at overcoming adversity. The storyline dates back to the Fleury injury and has stuck with the team throughout the season, despite the fact it’s never actually been true.

The Vegas Golden Knights had never experienced real hockey adversity. Sure, they lost their goalie, and then his backup, and then his backup, early in the year and battled through a stretch with Max Lagace in the net, but at no time during it was anything expected of them. There wasn’t real adversity there because there wasn’t any expectation. They’ve never had a truly bad stretch of hockey, they’ve never lost more than three games in a row, and once they rose to 1st place in the division they never lost it. Simply put, they’ve had what may look like hardships, but they’ve never really had a true hardship, one that could legitimately destroy their perfect season.

That was until Game 3. Coming off a crushing loss in Game 2 due to a disallowed goal, the Golden Knights went into the 3rd period in control, leading 3-1. They gave up one, but it looked like the clock was going to run out on the Sharks.

It didn’t.

San Jose scored, tied the game, came back from a two-goal deficit, again, and the Golden Knights season was hanging in the balance. Then it got worse. They were gifted a pair of power plays to begin overtime, and couldn’t score. They had a great chance from James Neal that clanked off the bar. Then they gave up the best chance of the game, and Marc-Andre Fleury (without even really seeing the puck) saved it with his glove.

The potential to lose this game, and control in the series, that was real adversity. But they are the Golden Knights, and how they deal with it is to turn to William Karlsson and let him do his thing, and once again, save them from serious adversity.

I mean, sure, it’s tough, but it’s still a tie game, there’s still a chance to step up in overtime. -William Karlsson

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Not Ready To Reminisce, Not Yet At Least

The Vegas Golden Knights are headed to the Stanley Cup Playoffs.

Those are the words I wrote in a tweet on Monday night as the clock ticked down towards zero. Against all odds, those words were about to become a reality in the very first year in Golden Knight history.

I remember when Vegas Wants Hockey was an idea that was laughable to most of North America. I remember the launching of the ticket drive and Gary Bettman standing in front of the media with a sheepish “how the heck is this actually happening” look on his face. I remember the number reaching 10,000 and all you could hear were haters crowing about how Winnipeg did it faster, and I remember the owners’ meetings afterward where the word “expansion” was not even on the agenda. Then I remember when it was.

I really remember June 22, 2016, November 22nd, 2016, and June 21st, 2017. I even remember the little things like the day The Creator’s final payment cleared and the team was officially a member of the NHL, seeing Bill Daly hold up a card with the Golden Knights logo on it during the lottery, the signings of Reid Duke, Vadim Shipachyov, and Tomas Hyka before the Expansion Draft even occurred, and hearing the words “Vegas is on the clock.”

Yep, this really happened on September 17th, 2017.

I remember Development Camp, informal practices, and the time I had to watch the first period of the first preseason game on an iPhone because DirecTV couldn’t figure out that ATT SportsNet Rocky Mountain was now a local channel to Vegas.

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Guest Post: Buyers Or Sellers

With the trade deadline exactly a week away, we get the latest Guest Post from local Las Vegan and fantasy sports guru John Di Bari.

Heading into their inaugural NHL season nobody really knew what to expect from the league’s newest franchise. The consensus was to temper expectations as expansion teams are historically somewhere between horrific on the low-end to mediocre on the high-side. However, once the rules for the expansion draft were put in place and fans and writers started digging through rosters and contracts and began to do their own mock expansion drafts, many started to realize that maybe the new kid on the block might be able to put together a respectable product in year one. Nobody was realistically thinking playoffs, or even a record well above .500. However, that was fine as most expected GM George McPhee to draft a bunch of skill players with a year or two remaining on their contacts with the expectation that he’d be trying to sell as many of them as possible at the trade deadline to acquire additional draft picks and young players.

It would be so much easier if McPhee would just tell us what he’s going to do. (Photo Credit: SinBin.vegas Photographer Brandon Andreasen)

Then, the damndest thing happened: The Golden Knights started winning. A lot. As of this writing, the Golden Knights sit atop the entire NHL with a comfortable 10-point lead in the Pacific Division. They lead the West in goals scored and goal differential and have the league’s best home record at 22-4-2 58 games into the season. As a fan and season ticket holder, this is a great thing. It’s well documented at this point, but is still worth noting that most of the early winning was done while losing their top 3  goaltenders. The team has been fun to watch, they find different ways to win each night, and barring an otherwise epic collapse, they seem to be a lock for the playoffs. Some current projections have the probability of them making the playoffs at 100% as they sit 14 points ahead of the West’s second wild-card with 24 games to play.

On the surface, that all sounds well and good, but is it? For a single season, the answer is obviously yes, but as a brand new expansion franchise that is supposed to be building towards sustained future success and develop their farm system, the waters get a little muddied. What about the plan to move these expiring contracts and stockpile more picks and youngsters? One would assume that McPhee will want to push forward with the plan and move some of the players who have contracts set to expire at the end of the year. It’s better to get something for them rather than allowing them to walk away for free after what would essentially be a 1-year rental. On the other hand, one would also assume that owner Bill Foley will want to push for the playoffs and start to recoup some of his 500-million-dollar investment. At the end of the day, it will probably be some combination of the two strategies, and since Foley signs the checks in the building, I’ve got to think that if he wants to push for the playoffs, McPhee will have to go along with the boss. In a recent interview with Duke basketball head coach Mike Krzyzewski, Foley made it sound like he was definitely looking to add pieces at the deadline and push for a deep playoff run.

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