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Praise Be To Foley, Vegas Golden Knights Hockey Website

Author: Jason Pothier Page 1 of 35

Could VGKs Lack of Defensive Scoring Be A Future Problem?

Stop worrying about 3rd line scoring, start worrying about blue line scoring. (Photo Credit: SinBin.vegas Photographer Brandon Andreasen)

It’s no secret, the Golden Knights are getting very little offense from there defense. Overall, the low production from their blue line could be a concern going forward. Sure, power play specialist Colin Miller appears ready to return to the lineup but even with him it may not be enough.

I think sometimes we’re complicated things too much. My job and Millsey’s and Schmitty’s, the guys that are back there, we have to do a better job controlling it. Instead of setting up a play and try and seam it, we just have to get pucks through. -Shea Theodore

At first glance, 97 combined points from the Golden Knights defense doesn’t look that bad, but when you look around the league it’s a very low total.

Points from Vegas defenseman in 2018-19

Theodore 21 Points (5 Goals, 16 Assists)
Miller 17 Points (2 Goals, 15 Assists)
Schmidt 16 Points (4 Goals, 12 Assists)
Holden 13 Points (3 Goals, 10 Assists)
McNabb 12 Points (1 Goal, 11 Assists)
Hunt 7 Points (2 Goals, 5 Assists)
Engelland 6 Points (1 Goals, 5 Assists)
Merrill 5 Points (1 Goal, 4 Assists)
97 Total Points from VGK defenseman
19 Goals, 78 Assists

In just the Pacific Division alone, defensemen are putting up Norris trophy type numbers.

Top 5 Defensemen in Points

Brent Burns SJ: 52 Points(9 Goals, 43 Assists)
Mark Giordano CAL: 48 Points(9 Goals, 38 Assists)
Morgan Reilly TOR: 47 Points(13 Goals, 34 Assists)
Erik Karlsson SJ: 43 Points(3 Goals, 40 Assists)
John Carlson WAS: 43 Points(6 Goals, 37 Assists)

Up in San Jose, Brent Burns and Erik Karlsson’s combined offense is roughly the same as the entire Vegas defensive unit. Calgary’s captain Mark Giordano has been heavily involved all season, and on pace for a career-high offensively. When you go through the rest of the contenders in the Western Conference, Vegas has the lowest threat from the blue line.

San Jose: 143 Points (Goals, Assists)
Nashville: 125 (Goals, Assists)
Calgary: 116 Points (Goals, Assists)
Winnipeg: 104 Points (Goals, Assists)

San Jose and Nashville are loaded with blue line scoring, what’s new right? Predators have even been down one of their weapons PK Subban to injury. Like Vegas with Miller, Winnipeg’s blue line lumber, Dustin Byfuglien has also played limited games this season. So, you have to wonder if the Jets are searching for defensive help for the postseason.

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William Karlsson Embraces Being A Role Model To Kids In Las Vegas

I grew in the era of high-profile, wealthy athletes proudly stating “I am not a role model” to their young fans.

For those of you that don’t remember, NBA legend Charles Barkley starred in a semi-controversial Nike ad in the 90’s. While the message by Barkley was actually quite important, kids like myself had no clue what Sir Charles was expressing. We just assumed he didn’t care about us or the game and was only in it for the money.

But times have changed since Barkley played. Social media and other outlets have made it easier for players to interact with fans. Some grasp it, and some don’t, but either way, players have much more access getting their message out to fans.

One guy that understands the responsibility of being a local role model is Golden Knights center, William Karlsson.

(Photo Credit: SinBin.vegas Photographer Brandon Andreasen)

There are little kids watching and looking up to you, and you want to make a good example for those kids. Overall, in life you just try and be the best person you can be. And if that’s what being a good role model is, then I hope I am. -William Karlsson

Karlsson and I chatted a few weeks back about striving to become a good example for kids on and off the ice. In his point of view, it’s critical for the 26-year center to represent himself and the city of Las Vegas with class.

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Fleury, Reaves And Schmidt Have Plenty Of Laughs At Their Expense On Spittin’ Chiclets

(Photo Credit: SinBin.vegas Photographer Brandon Andreasen)

It was a good old-fashioned Vegas roast on the latest episode of the Spittin’ Chiclets podcast. Host Rear Admiral and former NHL’ers Ryan Whitney and Paul “BizNasty” Bissonette welcomed Golden Knights star’s Marc-Andre Fleury, Nate Schmidt and Ryan Reaves to an evening at the Friars Club.

Coming right off the faceoff, the trio wasted no time bagging on Vegas’ early struggles, and Nate Schmidt’s suspension.

What happened early in the year? -Bissonette

Couldn’t tell you about the first twenty. -Schmidt

Schmitty let us down, you know. -Fleury

Oh, c’mon! -Schmidt

After Fleury cracked up the room with his playful knock on his teammate, the gang asked Schmidt to get into his little stint in Vienna.

I would practice, I’d get bag skated everyday by this Finnish coach. He would come out with no stick, no gloves and put his hands behind his back and just skate up and down the ice. Fifteen laps was their pregame skate one day. I got back to the bench and looked up in the stands at the GM and go, ‘where am I?’ I’m going to be in the best shape of my life when I go back.” -Schmidt

Bag skating is a term players use when coaches are riding them hard in practice. It might be before or after practice, and it could be a variation of laps, goal line to goal line sprints, or suicide laps. Which are even exhausting to think about.

I was bag skating everyday. Five, six times a week. They take their skating a little more seriously. They skate, and skate, and skate. -Schmidt

Schmidt was asked if he traveled with the Vienna Capitals, his adopted club. The never bashful defenseman, although ashamed, openly admitted to some sweet star treatment in Europe.

I went on the road with them one game. The only problem was, this is terrible, the GM and I flew to this place and the rest of team bussed it. It was a nine hour bus ride from Zurich… I was rested. -Schmidt

The Golden Knights defenseman added that training in Vienna was…

Once, in a lifetime experience -Schmidt

Hopefully. -Bissonette

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Fleury Feels For Backup Goaltenders In Youth Leagues

Before Christmas, a college hockey showcase took place at the City National Arena featuring dozens of hopefuls looking to be recruited by NCAA hockey programs. I spoke with several college coaches, and not many of them were there to scout goaltenders. Mostly centers and defenseman. I asked why such low interest in goaltending, and one coach told me that all of the good goaltenders in the country have already committed or is currently playing in college. So the odds of finding a goaltender at a college showcase is very low.

What was interesting was this coach went on to explain he tries to sway youth players away from playing goaltender. And he’s looking out for their best interest.

Haha, yeah I’ve heard that. Different goalies and coaches tell their sons to play out in the ice and score some goals. -Marc Andre Fleury

I asked the former #1 Overall Pick, a 425 NHL game winner, three-time Stanley Cup champion, future Hall of Famer… oh heck, I asked the goalie with a million accolades Marc-Andre Fleury about youth goaltending.

If you’re the number one or one of the older guys a lot of the times they play more. Otherwise you sit on the bench. You don’t improve because you’re not playing. -Fleury

Think about it, in a game only one goalie plays for a team. There’s only two per dressing room. On every NHL roster you’ll notice nineteen positional players and only two goaltenders. So essentially, there are only 62 NHL goaltending jobs in the world. Keep in mind there are roughly 600 other players in the NHL. Pretty tough to make the show with such limited number of netminding jobs.

“The parents pay for a season and the kid sits on the bench all season. It stinks. So I can definitely see that point of view.”-Fleury

Subban looks lonely on the VGK bench, imagine how it feels for the backup on a bantam team.

Like Fleury mentioned, if a young goaltender isn’t playing then he’s sitting on the bench not improving. Possibly missing out on future opportunities on the ice. A young, less skilled forward or defenseman will get the ice time to work on their craft, a backup goalie does not. Which is why youth and college coaches suggest kids try all positions to see which really fits best. Not all young goalies can be the consensus number one goaltender in the world at age seventeen like Fleury was.

“My mom always thought it was a little stressful watching me playing goalie growing up. People yelling when they scored on me. I just had the most fun out there.”-Marc Andre Fleury

At the youth level the cost of goalie pads are more expensive than other positions. Competition is tight so ice time is limited. Scholarships don’t come easy for goaltenders, leaving parents footing the tuition bill. And if a young goaltender ends up getting drafted, there are less than 100 NHL positions too look forward to. The odds are certainly stacked against them.

So, I guess the moral here is tell your future NHL’er that it’s best to start off as one of the other nineteen positions. I don’t know, tell them chicks dig centers, and d-men are the best skaters on the team. This way they can look ahead to playing in high school, college and possibly further. Unless, of course your child is the next Marc-Andre Fleury. In that case email Dave Prior.

Ex-VGK Players Miss Vegas More Than You’d Expect

(Photo Credit: SinBin.vegas Photographer Brandon Andreasen)

Players will move on from the Vegas Golden Knights each offseason. It’s just a part of hockey. The crumby business side of things. But one roster, one group of misfits, that became the 2017-18 Western Conference championship team will never move on from Las Vegas or the hearts of Golden Knights fans.

This past week, former Vegas players Luca Sbisa and Tomas Tatar made their first appearances back to Vegas since their painful Game 5 loss in the Stanley Cup finals.

It’s funny, this building is wild, it’s crazy. It felt like a playoff game again. -Luca Sbisa, Islanders defenseman

After their brief return to their old place of business the two players were all smiles happy to bump into their old teammates, coaches, trainers, and heck even us.

A lot of memories. A lot of relationships that I keep in touch with. I love those guys over there, but it’s always fun to play against them. -Sbisa

With limited action this season, the former Knight normally isn’t requested by the media after a game. But when I requested him, he came out with a warm smile on his face. Glad to have the old gang of misfit reporters, like myself, to chat and reminisce about last season.

It’s different. I’ve never stepped foot in this dressing room. Obviously, I was used to the other side. Definitely nice when we touched down here, I felt like I was just going to drive to home. Instead I went to the hotel. -Sbisa

Like the entire 2017-18 roster, Sbisa is proud of his accomplishments with the Golden Knights. The d-man was a steady player when healthy, and an outstanding person off the ice.

It’s hard to be mad about whatever happened here, it was just a great run and we all enjoyed it. – Tomas Tatar, Canadiens forward

Like Sbisa, Montreal forward Tomas Tatar spoke highly of his experience in Vegas, although short, and called it one of the best moments of his career.

It’s always nice to be back. As soon as we landed it reminded me of a lot of good things. Like you said that run that we had, even though I came late, it’s a memorable thing and that other locker room is a great group of guys. I miss them that’s for sure. They were really nice to me and you just give a little extra effort when you are playing your old team and I enjoyed it. -Tatar

One former teammate that welcomed Tatar and Sbisa with open ice hits was the big and lovable Ryan Reaves. Both players had brief tie-ups with #75 in their separate games against Vegas. Perhaps just a few love taps.

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Stastny’s Calming Veteran Play

(Photo Credit: SinBin.vegas Photographer Brandon Andreasen)

Some will call it a small sample size but in his short return, center Paul Stastny has been everything we expected, and maybe even more.

In his three games back from injury, Statsny’s presence has added another layer of calmness on the ice. His approach to slow down the game has helped his linemates to be in the right position for success. Sure, we saw him briefly to start the season, but the team was working through chemistry issues when then the veteran was injured in game three. On Sunday morning, in game 35, Stastny led the second line and his team to an overtime victory.

We made a couple mistakes, but I think once we talked about it and kind of corrected it, then I think we started playing more free and supporting each other and getting the puck more. -Paul Stastny

In New York, Stastny showed great awareness, making great defensive and neutral zone plays to advance the puck. Most notably, Alex Tuch’s nasty stall-shot OT winner, assisted by Stastny. The veteran center scored his first VGK goal on a gorgeous pass by Max Pacioretty earlier in the game. The trio had five combined points to lead the offense at Madison Square Garden.

Averaging 6’2, and weighing in at a combined 621 lbs. the Golden Knights second line, when healthy, is a handful.

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16-2-0 When Scoring At Least Three Goals

3 goals = 2 points (Photo by Brandon Andreasen)

There’s a common saying in hockey that says, “you can’t win in the NHL if you don’t score three times.” Obviously it’s not entirely true as you technically can win 1-0 or 2-1, however, the point of the sentiment is that if a team can’t score three goals consistently, they have little to no chance to be successful.

To start the year, the Golden Knights scored three or more just twice in the first 10 games and a measly eight times in the first 20. They also won only eight of those first 20 games. Since Game 20, when Nate Schmidt returned from suspension, Vegas has tallied three or more nine times in 13 games.

Rather than saying you can’t win if you don’t score three, Golden Knights fans should be thinking the team can’t lose if they score three. With the win in Brooklyn over the Islanders, Vegas pushed its record to 16-2-0 when scoring three or more goals.

One of the biggest reasons for the return to getting to three has been the production the Golden Knights have gotten from all four lines. It’s not just up to the 1st line or the 2nd line to contribute multiple goals a game, instead, the 3rd has had a goal scorer in each of the last three games and in 11 of the last 12 a goal has been scored from someone outside of the top six.

16-2-0 means winning 88% of the time. For Vegas, three is the total of goals the team aims for nightly. Call it Vegas’ lucky number.

Vegas Offensive Stats:
• 98 Total Goals (11th)
• 2.97 Goals For Per Game (17th)
• 18 Wins (6th)
• 37 Points (12th

One of the best ways for the Golden Knights to get to three goals is to score a power play goal. In their last 10 games, they’ve scored a PP goal in eight of them and won all eight; the two they didn’t score, they lost. Over the course of the year, the Golden Knights are 14-5-0 when they score a power play goal.

The offense has picked up significantly with the return of Nate to the lineup. They are now scoring at a 3.77 goals per game clip where during Schmidt’s suspension that number was just 2.50.

It’s not all that abnormal in the NHL, but for the Golden Knights, it’s very simple. Score three, add two to their record.

2nd Period “Magic”

(Photo Credit: SinBin.vegas Photographer Brandon Andreasen)

Last night the Golden Knights scored twice in the second period giving them a two-goal lead, and eventually the win. The complete opposite of what occurred on Saturday in LA.

The win was very important. You don’t want to have a losing streak going, so to bounce back after a loss is huge and we’ll take this to New York. -William Karlsson

This season, Vegas has played so-so in second periods. After Sunday’s victory against Dallas, the Golden Knights moved to -6 in the 2nd (33 goals for, 39 goals against). It’s their worst period as they are +1 in the 1st, +8 in the 3rd, and +2 in overtime, but what’s more important is how often the results of the game mirror the 2nd period score.

Overall, the Golden Knights have been outscored 12 times this season in the second period. Their record is 2-10-0 in those games. Not good right?

But when Vegas outscores opponents in the 2nd period, their record is 12-1-0, and are unblemished at 12-0-0 when they lead heading into the second intermission.

It’s somewhat of a stark contrast from a year ago when the first goal was seemingly the most important number. This year, when the Golden Knights score first, they are just 11-6-1, while a year ago they went 34-5-2. However, they’ve actually been able to overcome the early deficit about the same as they did a year ago. This year they’ve gone 6-8-0 (0.429 Points %) when allowing the first goal as opposed to 17-19-5 (0.476 Points %)

It’s not by a lack of effort, the Golden Knights have outshot opponents 362 to 328 in the second period. Including, last night’s 12-7 edge over the Stars.

So it’s pretty clear scoring in the 2nd is essential to the Golden Knights future success. Which is why outscoring Dallas last night in the second period was a positive sign for Vegas. Especially, coming off a 5-1 clunker in LA, where the Kings scored two second period goals in their victory. At this point in the season, 2nd period success has directly translated into Golden Knights wins or loses.

It’s pretty simple, if Vegas wins the battle of the 2nd period they win the game (12-0-0). And when they lose the 2nd period, chances are they’ll lose the game (2-10). That’s real 2nd period magic.


Opponents Outscore VGK in Second Period (2-10-0)

10/04 vs Philadelphia (Loss)
Vegas allows three second period goals

10/08 @ Buffalo (Loss)
Sabres score three second period goals

10/11 @ Pittsburgh (Loss)
Penguins score three second period goals

10/26 vs Tampa (Loss)
Tampa scored one second period goal

10/30 @ Nashville (Loss)
Nashville scored two second period goals

11/01 @ St. Louis (Loss)
Blues score three second period goals
Vegas scored one second period goal

11/10 vs Montreal (Loss)
Canadiens scored three second period goals
Vegas scored one second period goals

11/16 vs St. Louis (Loss)
Blues scored three second period goals

11/19 @ Calgary (Loss)
Calgary scored two second period goals

12/04 vs Washington (Win)
Washington scored one second period goal

12/06 vs Chicago (Win)
Hawks scored two second period goals

12/08 @ LA (Loss)
Kings scored two second period goals

VGK Outscores Opponents in Second Period (12-1-0)

10/16 vs Buffalo (Win)
Vegas scored one second period goal

10/20 vs Anaheim (Win)
Vegas scored one second period goal

10/28 vs Ottawa (Win)
Vegas scored two second period goals
Ottawa score one second period goal

11/03 vs Carolina (Win)
Vegas scored one second period goal

11/14 vs Anaheim(Win)
Vegas scored three second period goals

11/18 vs Edmonton(Win)
Vegas scored three second period goals

11/21 @ Arizona (Win-OT)
Vegas scored two second period goals

11/23 vs Calgary (Win)
Vegas scored one second period goal

11/24 vs San Jose (Win)
Vegas scored one second period goal

11/27 @ Chicago (Win)
Vegas scored three second period goals
Hawks scored two second period goals

11/29 @ Vancouver (Win)
Vegas scored one second period goal

12/01 @ Edmonton (Loss)
Vegas scored one second period goal

12/09 vs Dallas (Win)
Vegas scored one second period goals

Pothier: Stastny Should Return To Second Line Immediately

It still may be a couple weeks, but it’s starting to look like Stastny is getting ready to return. (Photo Credit: SinBin.vegas Photographer Brandon Andreasen)

With the promising news we uncovered yesterday about Paul Stastny, the question that seems to be on everyone’s mind is the same. When he comes back, where does reigning Jack Adams award winning coach Gerard Gallant place him in the lineup when he’s ready to come back?

It’s an age-old question in sports, should a player lose his position because of an injury? Keeping in mind how well his replacement is playing, in most cases, the answer is no.

Injured center Paul Stastny was signed in the offseason to anchor a brand new second line, yet they haven’t played one shift together. Alex Tuch was to graduate to the top-six and play alongside Americans Stastny and Max Pacioretty. The three could’ve been dubbed the “Freedom” line, but unfortunately, injuries got in the way.

The Golden Knights stand at 29 points, and in the middle of the mess that is known as the Pacific Division. Since Stastny’s injury in Game 3 of the season, the team has played roughly .500 (13-12–1) hockey without him. However, the second line has been extremely effective as of late. Since bumping third line center Cody Eakin up in early November due to Erik Haula’s lower-body injury, the Eakin-Tuch-Pacioretty line has 35 points. The second line was arguably one of the biggest factors in Vegas’ late November five-game win streak.

Tough to break-up, I get it.

Eakin’s strong play brings us back to the organization’s vision for this season. He was expected to center the third line again, and make it more consistent than it was last season. That was GM George McPhee’s plan. And so was upgrading their second line center with a talented veteran like Stastny. Injuries essentially delayed the offseason remodel.

Bottom line is, Stastny is valued by this team as their second line center. They paid him as such, and made a high-risk move trading for Pacioretty to compliment his play. The connecting moves were projected to juice up team offense, and still could once Stastny is cleared to play. This was the team’s vision. They told us.

We wanted to try improve our team. That’s why we signed Paul Stastny as a free agent. Why trading for Max Pacioretty was really important for us. -Kelly McCrimmon, Assistant GM, on 11/19/18

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The Second Line That Saved Christmas

It took a little while to get going, but Alex Tuch, Max Pacioretty, and Cody Eakin are on fire now. (Photo Credit: SinBin.vegas Photographer Brandon Andreasen)

When the holiday season began, Vegas Golden Knights fans didn’t have much to be thankful for, or so it seemed.

On Halloween, things were starting to get scary. Vegas was 5-6-1, with only 11 points and five spots out of the playoffs. Early season trends were beginning to look like the worst could come true. Remember the panic on November 1st?

NHL teams four or more points out of a playoff spot by 11/01, have roughly an 18% chance of making the postseason. Since 2005-06, 47 of 58 teams that were 4+ points out of the postseason spot by November 1st, missed the playoffs. That’s a whopping 82% of teams that their fate was determined by the beginning of November. –SinBin.vegas article on 11/05/18

And then came the East Coast trip that brutalized the Golden Knights. Vegas lost three of four on the road and came back home in seventh place in the division. Ken was losing his mind, many fans were on board with him, and legitimate concern was starting to creep in that maybe this team just isn’t that good.

Things looked bleak. Up until the second line began to warm up.

November 14: Vegas 5-0 vs Anaheim

  • Second line w/ 6 points (3 goals, 3 assists)
  • Eakin: Even-strength goal, Shorthanded goal
  • Tuch scores 1st Period Game-winning PP goal
  • Pacioretty assists Tuch’s GWG

November 18: Vegas 6-3 at Edmonton

  • Second line w/ 3 points (2 goals, 1 Assist)
  • Eakin scored shorthanded goal
  • Pacioretty with second period Go-ahead goal
  • Tuch assists Pacioretty’s Go-ahead goal

November 19: Vegas 3-2 @ Arizona

  • Second line w/ 4 points (2 goals, 2 assists)
  • Pacioretty scored 2nd Period Go-ahead goal, and OT winner
  • Tuch and Eakin assist Pacioretty’s Go-ahead goal

November 23: Vegas 2-0 vs. Calgary

  • Second line w/ 4 points (1 goal, 3 assists)
  • Tuch scored 1st Period Game-wining goal
  • Eakin and Pacioretty assist on Tuch’s GWG

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