SinBin.vegas

Praise Be To Foley, Vegas Golden Knights Hockey Website

Author: Steve Carp

With Haula Out, Eakin Gets Bigger Role

**Steve Carp’s twice-weekly column publishes every Wednesday and Sunday during the Golden Knights season.**

Everyone was hoping the news on Erik Haula’s injury suffered last week in Toronto would be good. Or, at the least, optimistic.

But it appears the Golden Knights are going to be without their second-line center for the foreseeable future. We may hear something prior to tonight’s game with Anaheim as to exactly what the prognosis is going forward.

Whether the Knights call up someone from the AHL’s Chicago Wolves, make a trade or stand pat, it doesn’t impact Cody Eakin. He has been moved up from the third line to Haula’s spot and he even found himself on the first line Sunday in Boston, skating with Jonathan Marchessault and Alex Tuch.

Gerard Gallant said afterward it was basically a one-off, that he was trying to get his team going. So expect to see Eakin centering for Tuch and Max Pacioretty against the Ducks as the Knights look to turn things around on this short two-game homestand at T-Mobile Arena.

There haven’t been many bright spots through the first 18 games for Vegas. Tuch and Marchessault have been the team’s top two players. But after that, you can make a case for Eakin as the next best performer.

In 15 games, he’s fourth on the team in scoring with five goals and three assists. He’s been an important part of the team’s penalty killing unit. He’s winning 48 percent of his face-offs and he’s averaging 14:21 in time on ice. His shooting percentage is 29.4 percent though he has only taken 17 shots.

He has also been doing this while playing with numerous linemates. With injuries and slumps, Gallant has had to move things around. But Eakin has performed with whoever Gallant has flanked him with.

He appears to be stronger on his skates. His forechecking has been more effective. He’s not turning the puck over as much. And playing with Tuch seems to have helped perk up his offensive stats.

I always found Eakin to be somewhat underappreciated. He’s a quiet guy who doesn’t draw a lot of attention to himself. He works hard, tries to make every shift a good one and seems to be a good teammate.

Yet, I remember reading and hearing talk during training camp that Eakin was expendable, that maybe he doesn’t make the opening night roster, that he’s not that good a player.

I’m not hearing that now.

Look, I’m not nominating Eakin for the Hockey Hall of Fame. What I’m saying is you should appreciate his contributions, especially during a trying time for the franchise, one that remains fraught with uncertainty as Haula joins Paul Stastny on injured reserve.

**Steve Carp is the author of “Vegas Born — The remarkable story of the Golden Knights.” Follow him on Twitter @stevecarp56. All of Steve Carp’s work here on SinBin.vegas is presented to you by the Jimmerson Law Firm. For over twenty-five years, the Jimmerson Law Firm has been widely recognized as one of Las Vegas’s preeminent full-service law firms. Specializing in high stakes business, civil and family litigation, the Jimmerson Law Firm has an unparalleled track record of winning when it matters most. To reach the Jimmerson Law Firm, call (702) 388-7171 and tell them SinBin.vegas sent you.**

Expectations Should Be High For Nate’s Return

**Steve Carp’s twice-weekly column publishes every Wednesday and Sunday during the Golden Knights season.**

Nate Schmidt’s return to the Golden Knights’ lineup is exactly a week away. Suffice to say, he has been missed more than anyone ever realized.

I’m not going to get into the 20-game suspension the NHL meted out to the defenseman after testing positive for a banned substance prior to the season. We’re never going to learn the real circumstances as to what happened or what the substance was.

But if NHL Players Association executive director Don Fehr is smart, he’ll demand that transparency be built into the next Collective Bargaining Agreement. It will benefit the players to not have to hide behind a bunch of legalities when and if someone gets popped.

It would have been nice if Schmidt could have come clean and told the world exactly what happened. But what’s done is done. And as we look ahead to next Sunday and beyond, Schmidt’s return is not only welcome, it is critical to the team’s breaking out of its early-season morass and get itself into contention in the Pacific Division.

You all know the numbers. Schmidt leads the team in time on ice. He will help give Vegas’ anemic power play a boost. He’ll help make the penalty killing unit stronger as part of the second unit (Deryk Engelland and Brayden McNabb are the top D pair on the PK).

Then there are the intangibles that come with having Nate on the ice. He usually is skating against the opposition’s top forward and does a very good job of limiting the opponent’s chances. He will help the Knights’ transition from defense to offense because he is such a good passer and he sees the ice so well. He also will join the rush and support the attack.

I’m sure his teammates will be glad to have him back. He was warmly received in Ottawa the other day as he practiced with the team. He probably regaled the boys with stories of his time in Austria and how he helped the Vienna Capitals maintain their grip on the top spot in the Austrian League by his presence on the ice at the Caps’ practices.

That’s all well and good. But now is the time to step in, produce and lift up the Golden Knights. They sure could have used him Saturday at the Bell Centre. To cough up leads of 2-0 and 4-3 and lose to Tomas Tatar and the Montreal Canadiens 5-4 and come away with zero points should have left the players angry.

The Knights wrap up the four-game road trip tonight in Boston. They’re two games below .500 (7-9-1) with 15 points. When you’re swimming upstream and you have a chance to get to .500 and you let it get away, it’s the kind of night that come the off-season, you’ll look back on it and say, “How the hell did we let that one get away from us?”

And while you can say the Knights didn’t have Schmidt, Engelland, Paul Stastny and Erik Haula Saturday in Montreal, the fact is they had control of this game and there are no excuses.

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Man Down; What Now?

**Steve Carp’s twice-weekly column publishes every Wednesday and Sunday during the Golden Knights season.**

At first glance, it looked like a typical hockey play.

Erik Haula had just released the puck and Patrick Marleau was finishing his check on the Golden Knights’ center just over five minutes into the third period of what would be a 3-1 Toronto Maple Leafs win. But Haula landed awkwardly, clutching his right knee.

Obviously, this was serious.

Haula was stretchered off the ice at the Scotiabank Centre and it’s likely he’s going to be out for a while. Gerard Gallant said he’ll know more today, but even he admitted after the game it didn’t look good.

So what do the Knights do?

They can call someone up from Chicago of the AHL. They can play one of the current members of the 23-man roster, Ryan Carpenter perhaps. Or maybe general manager George McPhee works the phones and trades for someone. That would likely depend on the length of time Haula is out.

Paul Stastny is still a few weeks from returning to the lineup. Max Pacioretty returned to the ice Tuesday after he missed four games. He actually looked O.K. playing on the line with Haula and Alex Tuch.

I’m tempted to call that trio “The Jinx Line.” Tuch was out at the start of the season with an injury. Then Pacioretty missed some time. Now, it’s Haula’s turn.

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The Foreword

**Steve Carp’s twice-weekly column publishes every Wednesday and Sunday during the Golden Knights season.**

First of all, let me say I appreciate having a forum to continue to write about the Golden Knights and the NHL. Many thanks to Ken Boehlke and Jason Pothier for giving me the opportunity to connect with the followers of SinBin.vegas. And a very special thanks to the Jimmerson Law Firm for sponsoring my column.

You will be hearing from me twice a week — on Wednesday and on Sunday. I will also be on the SinBin podcasts and will participate in other events and promotions with Ken and Jason.

Many of you are wondering what happened to me last summer. I won’t get into the exact details as to why I left the Review-Journal in early July. Let’s just say after 19 years of marriage it was time for both of us to move on.

I had pursued other opportunities, both here in Las Vegas and beyond. Ultimately, I accepted a position last month to be senior editor at GamingToday, which has been around for more than 40 years and am glad to be part of the publication’s new chapter.

Yes, GT deals with hockey, but from a betting perspective. And since I don’t bet on hockey, you won’t see my byline when it comes to wagering on the NHL or the Golden Knights. However, here at SinBin, you will get my observations on the Golden Knights and the NHL.

It will be unfiltered. It will be unbiased. It will be fair.

When the team is deserving of praise, I will be first over the boards to acknowledge it. When they are deserving of criticism, I will deal with that as well.

For those not familiar with my background, here’s the Cliffs Notes version: I grew up in Brooklyn, New York as a Rangers fan. I played roller hockey, switched to ice hockey, captained my high school team and played two years of club hockey at Manhattan College before I left to pursue my Journalism degree at San Jose State.

I have been a New York Islanders fan since their inception in 1972 and my heart belongs to the orange and blue. (No, I wasn’t devastated when John Tavares left in July, though it would have been nice to see him in a Golden Knights sweater.)

In other words, hockey has been part of me for as long as I can remember. And while you don’t have to have played the game to know the game, it doesn’t hurt to have experienced what the Knights do daily, albeit on a far lower level. I remember talking to Nate Schmidt about hockey sticks prior to last Christmas and how I used an all-wood stick throughout my career and how breaking in a pair of new skates required a lot of pain and suffering. When you’ve played, you can relate. Riding a bus. Carrying your gear. The one-of-a-kind stench that comes from sweaty equipment. You never forget.

Not once last year did a Golden Knights player, coach or executive say to me, “You don’t know what the hell you’re talking about!” though I admittedly came close a couple of times with James Neal. And though I hadn’t played in a hockey game that counted in more than 40 years, I was proud of that. Once hockey gets in your blood, it stays there forever.

So now that you know something about me, let me explain why I decided to write a book on the Golden Knights.

Back in January as the team was having unparalleled success on the ice and in the stands playing to above capacity at T-Mobile Arena, I realized what a great story was emerging. Obviously, none of us had any idea how things would turn out, but I came to the realization that the Knights’ story could make for a great book.

I canvassed a couple of my colleagues at the paper and other media members throughout the league and they spoke with one voice — “You have to write that book.”

I had been covering the story from the start and was around the team every day. I asked owner Bill Foley what he thought and he seemed receptive to the idea. Eventually, I would ask him to do the Foreword to the book (more on that later).

My leaving the R-J allowed me time to think, to write, to review the journey of the franchise, shop for a publisher and still have it come out in time for the 2018-19 NHL season.

Normally, it would have been next to impossible to deliver. But thanks to today’s options, an author can go a nontraditional route to get published. I had sent the manuscript to booklocker.com, a company out of St. Petersburg, Florida, and it was accepted. It is a “Publish On Demand” process which means when you order the book, and I hope you will, they receive your order online, print your book and ship it to you the next day. Or if you prefer to get it quicker, there is an ebook version where with a click of a button, the file gets downloaded to your computer, tablet, Kindle, phone, etc. and you’re in business. (The link to buy it is at the end of this column)

There have been three books written on the Golden Knights. The R-J and Sun came out with theirs after the Stanley Cup Final and both are photo-driven supported by copy from stories by reporters from their respective papers. A third book was written by Joe Pane, which I have not yet read. And the Knights are planning to come out with their own book — a high-end, glossy stock book in November.

So why buy my book, “Vegas Born?”

For starters, it is the most comprehensive work on the franchise. It is 284 pages and it goes back to the very beginning when the Maloof brothers approached NHL commissioner Gary Bettman about trying to bring a team to Las Vegas and Bettman introduced them to Bill Foley.

This book also chronicles the entire inaugural season. Every game is mentioned with details and quotes from those games. It also provides insights into the players, coaches, and staff along with how the franchise and the city bonded in the aftermath of the October 1 shootings.

It’s a balanced, unbiased look at the team, written in the same fashion as when I covered the Knights at the R-J. I believe it is worth your time and money and I really think you’ll enjoy it.

I also hope you will enjoy my work in the coming weeks and months for SinBin. Ken and Jason truly love this sport, this team, and this city and I’m glad to be joining them in providing information and insight into the Golden Knights.

The Foreword that never got published

Earlier, I had mentioned that Bill Foley was going to write the Foreword to “Vegas Born.” I have known the man Ken and Jason lovingly call “The Creator” for four years and I thought the best way to start a book about the birth of a franchise was to begin with words from its “heavenly father.” (You like that one Ken?)

Due to a series of circumstances and timing issues beyond anyone’s control, the forward did not make it into the print version of the book. However, luckily, I have a new forum to share Foley’s words, and I couldn’t think of a better way to launch my column on SinBin.vegas than with an original work from the man who brought hockey to Las Vegas, Bill Foley.

Here is the Foreword to “Vegas Born” in its entirety:

When I began pursuing an NHL franchise for the City of Las Vegas in 2014, it was an uncertain journey. There was no guarantee from anyone, and it was going to entail a lot of hard work on the part of a lot of people.

Las Vegas had no major league sports franchises at the time. The city had played host to major sports events over the decades, from the National Finals Rodeo to NASCAR auto races to world championship fights in boxing and mixed martial arts. It had also hosted NHL hockey, NBA basketball and Major League Baseball. But I always believed this was a city that would support something worthwhile, especially when it came to something the people could claim to be their own. And after carefully evaluating the market over a period of time, I decided to move forward with my pursuit of bringing major league pro sports to Las Vegas.

It was going to take time, a lot of money, and even more patience, the latter of which I usually don’t have great quantities of. But as I began the process, I learned that being patient was worth more than the actual money that would be spent on the endeavor.

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