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Praise Be To Foley, Vegas Golden Knights Hockey Website

Author: Jason Pothier (Page 2 of 15)

Alexander Ovechkin Coming To Vegas… NOT

They did it again, they made him get out of his worn-out lazyboy. Its time again for everyone’s least-favorite uncle, Uncle Sour. Just like his frustration from the Claude Julien and Daryl Sutter to Vegas reactions, the overreaction of a possible Alex Ovechkin to the Golden Knights trade is getting silly. I ask one simple question, does it make sense for Vegas or Washington?

That’s a team (Vegas) that can take anybody. But what are they going to give. That’s the problem, they have nothing to give. If ownership is ready for that, there’s your chance. Here’s your chance and it’s not coming every year. –Renaud Lavoie, Sportsnet

Lavoie suggests the Golden Knights are a open for other team’s trash. The idea of an expansion team taking “anybody” is bad business, especially for the future development of the franchise. The team is blessed with a fresh cap, why would they want to instantly weigh it down with a contract like Ovechkin’s? Lavoie also mentioned Vegas would have nothing to trade back. Which is another reason this deal won’t happen. The organization has plenty to offer but it’s not mortgaging the future for a 31-year-old winger. The former Caps GM was brought to Las Vegas to build a wining franchise long term, not a three-year fading All-Star team.

What other GM in the NHL will be given the leeway to build a roster like McPhee? He knows this and will be patient building a wining franchise. Sending future first-round picks to the Capitals for their HoF sniper is goes against the strategy he’s been preaching since he first got here. Possibly, in a few years when McPhee’s sitting on a potential playoff team Ovechkin could make sense. By then, his contract length will be much more manageable and the price tag on Ovi will have gone way down.

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Doubting Any Ilya Kovalchuk To Vegas Rumors

After signing Vadim Shipachyov, GM George McPhee went on to confirm the team was also considering KHL player Evengi Dadonov and now the SKA rumor train continues with the news of Ilya Kovalchuk’s desired return to the NHL.

What does this mean for Vegas? Well he’s a KHL teammate of Shipachyov and he’s a former NHL All-Star. The former New Jersey Devil captain scored a career total of 328 goals and had 816 points in 816 games. Very good numbers for an 11-year period. If the Golden Knights were able to attain Kovalchuk, expect a very dangerous Vegas top line. But what’s the price?

We’re told to expect significant interest in Kovalchuk, who turned 34 this month, from teams that came up a goal-scorer or two shy of competing for the Cup. -Larry Brooks, NY Post

Now obviously Kovalchuk is going to want multi years, or else he’s not coming back. That’s the whole point here – it’s his last shot at a multi-year deal. I’ve got to think despite his age that you’re looking at between $5-6.5 million per year. -Pierre Lebrun, TSN Toronto

McPhee just signed Shipachyov, a 30 year-old center, to a two-year $9M deal. It’s possible they could jump up to $5M per season for Kovalchuk, but that won’t be enough for him to play for an expansion team. From all reports, the former number one overall pick wants to contend for a Stanley Cup. Vegas may be forced to pay the veteran forward more than his bottom price. At that point, the Golden Knights might decide to move on. But wait, there’s even more to the story.

Thus, if the Golden Knights even want to consider Kovalchuk, they’ve got to go through the Devils to do it.

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Vadim Shipachyov YouTube Highlight Reel

The excitement of the Golden Knights new player is still fresh in fans minds. Vadim Shipachyov is creating a massive buzz in Las Vegas. Of course, he has no idea what’s going on in his new city because he’s too busy playing hockey. The second Golden Knights player in franchise history is currently padding his stats at the IIHF World Championships in Germany and France. Since, the paint is still dry for Vegas fans, let’s take a look at some of Shippy’s play at World Championships. Number #87 was the second assist man on Artemi Panarin’s PP goal.

Second IIHF WC highlight is Evengi Dadonov on a one-timer. Shipachyov has the initial pass behind the net.

Like I said, the Russians padded their stats yesterday embarrassing Italy 10-1. Ok, now let’s watch some actual highlights. Maybe some ones where he does something rather than just move the puck around and get credit for it.

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The New Golden Knight Is No Joke; Shippy’s Got Star Written All Over Him

Vegas, we’ve got player number two. Well really, #87. Vegas fans by now know Vadim Shipachyov’s KHL stats, skate size, and wife’s name. As Reid Duke is starting to realize, some Golden Knight fans have become proud stalkers.

At $9M for two years, the KHL champion, who we are now fondly calling Shippy, will be expected to score, facilitate, and protect the puck. All while getting accustomed to a new country and a new style of hockey.

At 30-years-old, the SKA St. Petersburg center will get a chance to breakout in Las Vegas like fellow Russians Artemi Panarin and Alexander Radulov did recently in Chicago and Montreal.

In February, we highlighted Rob Vollman’s analysis of Shipachyov’s KHL to NHL conversion statistics.

A Look At The Best Available KHL Free Agents

(Yeah, that’s right, Shippy’s name was on SinBin.vegas in February. Suck it Granger!) (Disclaimer: We really like Jesse Granger.)

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Six Mock Drafts, Six Different Players At Pick Number Six

Before we all give up on this year’s draft after that nightmare of a lottery, let’s take a step back and relax. Vegas is still selecting a top ten player. Arizona got screwed and dropped to seventh and look at their optimism.

It might be best for everyone in Vegas to take the Chayka, “oh well, at least this draft kind of sucks” approach, then our expectations won’t be set too high. The Golden Knights organization feels very comfortable with their choice of players at number six.

We scout, we do our work, we do our evaluations. We’ve had the benefit of being an expansion team, we’ve known for some time that we’ll draft in the top six picks. So we have a pool of players that are candidates for our pick. -Kelly McKrimmon, Golden Knights Assistant GM

The hockey world has been down on June’s draft but team execs like McKrimmon feel differently. Maybe the AGM is selling the pick to Vegas fans or he’s not and he’s actually going to be right. With that in mind, let’s look at latest mock drafts and the prospects each one has moving to Summerlin.

NHL.com
VGK selects RW Owen Tippett (Canada – OHL)

With their first draft pick the Golden Knights select the Mississauga (OHL) player some scouts believe is the best goal scorer in the draft. Tippett (6-0, 200) has an NHL-caliber shot and scored 44 goals this season, fifth-most in the OHL. With his outstanding shot and excellent skating ability, scouts have compared him to Pittsburgh Penguins forward Phil Kessel. -Adam Kimmelman, NHL.com

Craig Button TSN:
VGK selects C Michael Rasmussen (Canada – WHL)

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Adam McQuaid Says He Doesn’t Want To Be Drafted By George McPhee

We knew it was coming eventually, but now that it’s here, it hurts just as badly as we thought it might. Boston Bruins defenseman Adam McQuaid openly admitted he is not looking forward to June’s expansion draft, and it’s taking everything in me to not want to hate him for it.

It’s totally out of my control, but hopefully, it’s not the case. Adam McQuaid

McQuaid spoke with WEEI in Boston’s Big Bad Blog about the possibility of being selected by the Vegas Golden Knights in the Expansion Draft. Ty Anderson of WEEI asked the eight-year veteran a few questions and you could tell June 21st wasn’t circled on McQuaid’s calendar.

The reality of the situation is they’re picking somebody from every team, so, I hope that’s not the case for me. I’ve won back here and I’ve always said how much I love it back here and I can’t imagine playing for another team. -McQuaid

I reached out to Big Bad Blog’s Ty Anderson and asked him about Darth Quaider’s comments. Here’s part of our conversation we had via text.

It’s somewhat assumed that the Bruins will lose one of Kevan Miller, Colin Miller, or McQuaid to the draft because they don’t really have many impact forwards unprotected, so I just asked him about the possibility of that happening. -Ty Anderson, WEEI Boston

As Anderson mentions in his article, McQuaid’s contract is very manageable at 2years, $2.75M and has the ability to guide a young team. George McPhee constantly talks about players character and strong veteran leadership. McQuaid fits that bill to a tee. The Golden Knights would be thankful to bring in a 30 year-old, right-handed, Cup winning defenseman for under $3M a season. In a way, McQuaid is kind of the perfect fit for Las Vegas. So I pestered Anderson more about McQuaid’s apprehension to play for the Golden Knights.

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Mike Kitchen, VGK Assistant Extraordinaire?

As it stands right now the Vegas Golden Knights are a fully functioning NHL franchise, if you just ignore their roster of one. Vegas is now preparing for the 2017-18 season just like the 22 other teams no longer vying for the Cup. With the head coach Gerard Gallant comfortably in the Zamboni seat, it’s time to add his staff of assistants. The organization will want to add two or three coaches to help direct special teams. Mike Kelly (the other guy in the taxi pictures), Gallant’s assistant in Florida and with the Saint John Sea Dogs, is the leading candidate to become one of those assistants, but there are still other seats to be filled.

In the NHL the assistant coach should be a good source of communication for the head coach and players. A hockey scout explained an assistant coach as the Tom Hagen of the team. The consigliere should always protect the head of the family and be trusted by the soldiers. Consider Gallant as the team Godfather and the soldiers as the players. The assistant coach will communicate the message. The Golden Knights will bring in a coach that should lead by example, communicate clearly and continuously work to improve the club. If that doesn’t describe Hagen, I don’t know what does. He politely told Tessio he couldn’t ‘get him off the hook’ and then sent him off to be killed. Okay, back to assistant coaching, here’s one potential individual who is currently in the sports pages.

Former St. Louis Blues head coach and assistant to Joel Quenneville, Mike Kitchen, was let go yesterday in somewhat of a surprising move.

Sources said Bowman likely fired Kitchen to reassert authority over personnel and send everyone, including Quenneville, a message going into next season. Bowman’s decision to fire Kitchen was also likely a move in self-preservation to pacify a demand for change coming. –Chris Hine, Chicago Tribune

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“Dirty” Players Who Could End Up As Golden Knights

The NHL postseason is emotional for players and fans alike. Players are so charged up and are giving everything they have. Off the ice, rabid fans are losing their voices in packed NHL arenas. The intensity is so high players are throwing their bodies around at full speed, which is why you see occasional dangerous and sometimes nasty hits. In the playoffs these incidents get amplified because of the possible impact. Nazem Kadri’s low check on Alex Ovechkin was the perfect example.

Many, including myself thought the hit was strategic and unjust. Watching it over and over left me furious with Kadri’s obvious motive.

So what do we do if players with a tainted reputation end up in Las Vegas? How can we root for dirty players that potentially suit up for the Golden Knights? Some players made mistakes and have cleaned up their acts and others continue to cheapshot. Let’s be glad Matt Cooke is out of the league.

Matt Calvert

Calvert’s name has made multiple mock drafts, including Fox Sports earlier this month.

If you didn’t know Calvert before the playoffs, I’m sure you do now.

His late attack on Tom Kuhnhackl was clearly malicious and deserved the suspension. Emotions got the better of him, but overall he’s not a repeat offender. Calvert is a decent NHL player and Vegas fans shouldn’t find it difficult to root for.

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Gallant’s The Right Man Today, But Will He Still Be In Four Years?

The Vegas Golden Knights got it right on their first coaching hire. GM George McPhee described Gerard Gallant as an honest man and a good leader. The Creator looked like a proud Papa approving who his GM brought home to dinner (I’ll go along with the analogy, but I still think Ken is weird). Yesterday’s introductory press conference was another big moment for the franchise. Gallant’s hiring is a sign in the right direction, but that certainly doesn’t mean there’s room for concern.

My main apprehension with Gallant’s hiring is his strong emphasis on player size. Of course, every team needs to play physical, intimidating hockey but to what extent?

I think it’s harder to build a team that plays a power game the way you built L.A. and the way Boston was. It’s almost easier based on today’s players to build a team that plays faster, that can attack faster offensively but also can attack defensively. -Kevin Weeks, NHL Network

Pittsburgh is the clear example of a team built for today’s pace of game. The Penguins are one of the smallest and least physical teams and yet won the Stanley cup on speed and pressure. And it’s not just the reigning champs. Other teams are evolving to match the speed and pressure of top NHL teams. LA fired Daryl Sutter and his dedication to big, physical play to adopt a more balanced roster. Heck, Florida sent Gallant packing (literally) from Florida for this very reason.

Gallant mentioned multiple times yesterday that size was important to the style of play he coaches.

We wanted to develop a team and build a team that was fast, could move the puck quickly, pressure the puck in all three zones. Gerard and I talked about it. He said he wanted a little bit more size, and we just decided to go in a different direction. Were we on the same page every day of the week? No … philosophy was different. -Tom Rowe, Florida Panthers

If you look at NHL teams average height and weight, you’ll notice it doesn’t necessarily win games. Especially, this season. Scroll through friend of the site and spectacular columnist James Mirtle’s size chart. You’ll notice some of the biggest teams spit the bit this season. Colorado, Winnipeg, Los Angeles, Dallas and Buffalo were all in the top five in either weight or height. Playoff teams Pittsburgh, Chicago, Montreal, Ottawa and Boston are all in the bottom percentile of the league in both body measurements. 

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Stop It! Darryl Sutter Isn’t Coming To Vegas

Well, I guess we must go through this again. The same darn conversations followed Claude Julien’s release in Boston. Now, it’s Darryl Sutter, a two-time Stanley Cup winning coach getting the axe in LA. The writing was on the wall for Sutter and now another strong candidate is open to talk with George McPhee. Before we speculate Sutter’s direction, let’s just cut the cord now. Darryl Sutter will not be the head coach of the Vegas Golden Knights.

I feel like I’m that negative uncle you see a few times a year and he’s always just a complete asshat. You know, when you introduce the girl of your dreams and Uncle Sour comments out loud that the last girlfriend was hotter. That’s how I feel. I’m here to deflate people’s excitement, and it sucks, but every once in a while Uncle Sour’s pessimistic brain says something that sticks with you. Let’s hope this is that.

The first and most important reason the Golden Knights won’t hire Sutter is the price tag. The Kings paid the Cup winning coach $3M a year. His starting price is already too pricey for The Creator. With the abundance of jobs and the Babcock trickle-down effect, Sutter could easily make upwards of $4M a season. He will not be offered that much in Las Vegas.

“That’s probably a lot for us. I’ll tell you what we really want. George McPhee’s going to make the call. My call is going to be, is this a guy I can work with feel comfortable with. All the people we have in this organization keep their egos in check they are about winning hockey games or making a successful business. -The Creator on 2/10/17

That’s not enough? You could call Sutter a late bloomer of some sorts. His last five and a half seasons behind the bench were much more successful than his previous 12. Sutter finally tasted the celebration champagne and he’s not ready to rinse his flute. The Golden Knights will not be in position to make a run until Sutter is past 60 years-old. I’m not trying to age-shame anybody but let’s face it, not many coaches over the age of 60 go on to win the Cup. And just stop right now screaming the name Scotty Bowman into your phone as you read this. It’s Scotty effing Bowman for crying out loud, the man is a God D*** legend, and even for him winning at 68 years-old is an amazing story. Badger Bob Johnson was the only other coach to win the cup after 60 in the past 50 years. My point is Sutter won’t wait until he’s collecting Social Security to compete again. Here’s a text Sutter sent last year to Sportsnet’s Elliot Friedman before he signed his extension with LA. He doesn’t sound like a coach looking to develop a franchise. 

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