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Praise Be To Foley, Vegas Golden Knights Hockey Website

Author: Jason Pothier (Page 2 of 34)

Daniel Carr: “I’m Here To Prove I’m An NHL Player”

Carr is in a group with Lindberg, Carrier, Carpenter, Hyka, Pirri, McKenzkie, and others all competing for one or two roster spots. (Photo Credit: SinBin.vegas Photographer Brandon Andreasen)

Some in Montreal found it puzzling why the Canadiens let RFA Daniel Carr fall into the free agency market. It didn’t take long for Golden Knights GM George McPhee to sign the left-handed forward to a one-year, one-way contract worth $750,000.

I’m here to prove I’m an NHL player. I’m going to play my game and play it to the point where you don’t really give them the choice. -Daniel Carr

Carr is fully aware of the offensive logjam in Vegas. Realistically, he’s fighting for a bottom six spot with a group of about eight other forwards. Carr does have a few things working for him. He has 94 NHL games under his belt and he has the ability to boost some much-needed offense on the bottom two lines.

The way this team plays… it just makes hockey fun. It’s like ‘okay everybody, go out there, and make plays.’ It’s just fun. The system just lets you go play. It’s kinda like letting your hockey senses take over and just go out there. It makes the game easy, and it’s just fun. -Carr

Carr had early successful in Montreal, and when I say early, I mean it. In his first NHL career game, the 26-year-old scored his first goal on his first shift. However, over time Habs coach Claude Julien juggled his lines so often that Carr was a healthy scratch for many games last season.

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Paul Stastny: Diehard Tennis Fan

This dude loves tennis more than you love hockey. (Photo Credit: SinBin.vegas Photographer Brandon Andreasen)

If you’re a tennis fan or not, the Serena Williams/US Open controversy was hard to miss. We’ve seen this scenario play out countless times in professional sports. It’s the classic story of a competitive, superhuman athlete vs. the villainous, sketchy game officials. Bozo’s like me, blindly support the player. As was in the case with Serena’s violation meltdown last week.

Since nobody I knew was willing to talk about a messy tennis match, I decided to strike up a conversation with the Golden Knights biggest tennis fan.

They’re both to blame, but in a championship game, I don’t care you let it slide. I don’t think she got screwed, but at the same time the ref shouldn’t be known. -Paul Stastny

My argument to Golden Knights newest center, was the chair umpire never should’ve called the violation to begin with. Especially, in a final match. Here’s the rule, if you actually care.

In my eyes, the finals chair ump broke multiple unwritten rules. Therefore, I let Serena completely off the hook. ESPN’s Chris Fowler described the chair ump as a stickler… he overstepped and picked a weird time to give a coaching violation.

Stastny, the more reasonable tennis fan wasn’t willing to give the Open umpire the share of the blame.

She was berating him over and over again. I understand, she’s emotional down a game, down a set. All the pressure is on her to win her twenty-fourth slam… She called him a thief and was also telling him he wasn’t going to officiate again. She threaten him more than once and she did for five straight minutes. -Stastny

Well, the 12-year NHL veteran does make a good point.

As a ref in a championship game you gotta tell her, call me out but one more outburst and I’m taking a game from you. -Stastny

Finally, Stastny came around and admitted that officials ruin everything. Okay, now I’m making things up. In all seriousness, it was fun to talk to a professional athlete about being a fan. Stastny told us his love of tennis came from his mother and his NHL Hall of Fame father Peter Stastny. Both were tennis enthusiasts and passed it along to their son. That and hockey.

Stastny is a good NHL center, and a great guy but…

Are you a Roger fan?

Oh yeah. C’mon. -Stastny

We’ll let it slide I guess.

**We were able to get most of my chat with Stastny about tennis recorded, but Ken decided to walk away towards the end to go ask Pacioretty about bed sheets. Here it is, you can just hear the excitement in his voice when I opened the door to talk tennis.**

 

February 17th, The Day Max Pacioretty Decided He Wanted To Be A Golden Knight

The final score didn’t get in the way of a night Pacioretty has since called “one of the most memorable” of his career. (Photo Credit: SinBin.vegas Photographer Brandon Andreasen)

The French-Canadian media had packed up and shuffled out of the visiting team’s locker room after a 6-3 Golden Knights victory. There were only a few of us (local media) leftover when Montreal captain Max Pacioretty stood by his stall looking to chat. A few questions and three and a half minutes later, I knew I had a few gems.

That quote ended up creating a bit of a storm back east as some Habs fans took offense to Pacioretty’s comments. The next day, sports talk radio hosts in Montreal were trying to calm down unreasonable fans. Realistically, the veteran NHL’er was being a good team ambassador praising the newest franchise.

Everyone around the league that I’ve talked to that has already played here said the same thing and I just said, ‘oh yeah that’s great,’ but when you experience it for yourself, that was a treat to play and I wish we played them more than once a year. They do such a good job with the entertainment in this building. It was really a lot of fun except for the result.-Pacioretty 2/17/18

After another lopsided Montreal loss, I was shocked how open Pacioretty was, and I believed every word. It wasn’t lip-service. He really did enjoy playing at the T-Mobile Arena. The music, the in-arena entertainment, the Las Vegas pageantry, Pacioretty loved it all. For one February night in Las Vegas, in the midst of a tumultuous season, the 29-year-old had fun just playing hockey.

Until I saw it with my own eyes, I didn’t really believe it. I’m not sure exactly what I said something along the lines of it was one of the most amazing hockey experiences of my life.  -Pacioretty

After that postgame exchange, I got the feeling Pacioretty would consider playing for the 31st franchise. On Wednesday, he essentially confirmed that.

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What Exactly Happened That Forced The Canadiens To Trade Their Captain To The Golden Knights

(Photo Credit: SinBin.vegas Photographer Brandon Andreasen)

Max Pacioretty is a bonafide star in the NHL. He’s scored 30 goals five times, been named an All Star three times, won the Masterton Award, and was named the captain of one of the most historic franchises in the NHL. When you dig even deeper into the stats you see that he’s a legitimate two-way winger who instantly makes the Golden Knights better both offensively and defensively.

So, the question you have to be asking is, why would the Canadiens ever let a guy like this go? To answer it, let’s hop into the SinBin.vegas time machine! (Don’t be scared, it’s really just us listing a timeline of events from newest to oldest.)

September 9, 2018
Vegas trades Tomas Tatar, Nick Suzuki and a 2019 second-round draft pick for Max Pacioretty

September 7, 2018
Pacioretty tells TSN Montreal that he has never asked to be traded and talks about Vegas

Everyone saw what Vegas did last year as a team… They were building a foundation from the ground up. They didn’t have any plans to make the Stanley Cup finals, and no expectations to do so either. Look what they were able to achieve. – Pacioretty on 9/7/18

I have to do my best to just completely block it out. Completely ignore the noise. -Pacioretty 9/7/18

September 5, 2018
Sportsnet’s Eric Engels reports Pacioretty will not talk contract negotiations with the Montreal Canadiens during the season

August 30, 2018
Pacioretty’s former teammate Lars Eller comes to his friend’s defense on twitter

August 28, 2018
Pacioretty tells reporters contract extension talks have ended and he’s concerned for his future in Montreal

July 30, 2018
Montreal Gazette reports Canadiens we’re having problems finding market value for Pacioretty

The problem for Bergevin is he’s been trying to trade Pacioretty for months and so far it hasn’t worked. So the other 30 general managers know Bergevin is desperate because it’s almost unimaginable that the Habs captain will start the year with Montreal. The other GMs can offer less than market value for him, knowing full well that Bergevin doesn’t have much room to maneuver. What I’m hearing from very reliable sources is that Canadiens management has been unhappy with Pacioretty for a while. -Brendan Kelly, Montreal Gazette

July 10, 2018
The Athletic reports Montreal will not offer Pacioretty a contract extension

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A “Seasoned” Wong Is Ready To Prove He Can Take The Next Step

Another preseason hat trick would go a long way to proving his point. (Photo Credit: SinBin.vegas Photographer Brandon Andreasen)

Forward Tyler Wong is currently in the middle of his second rookie camp with the Golden Knights after spending last season in the AHL with the Chicago Wolves.

It’s a very hard league to play in. A lot of guys say that the jump from juniors to the American league is the hardest in hockey. -Tyler Wong

21-year-old Wong is right about the tough transition from major junior leagues to the AHL. A TSN study shows the percentages of late round draft picks to go from juniors to the AHL to the NHL is very low. A 7th round draft pick has less than a 10% chance of skating on NHL ice. For Wong the odds are even longer. He went undrafted.

There are a lot of older players that make your life hard. There’s lots of guys with kids, they’re fighting for their livelihood. Being a 21-year-old trying to jump right in there is eye-opening. -Wong

I would consider myself a helicopter Dad, and I’d probably be a helicopter GM as well. The AHL has progressed drastically over the years but like Wong mentioned, older journeymen type players are fighting for ice time or even a spot with the team. Sometimes that means literal fighting, but I also equate it to heavy (dirty?) hits, banging along the boards, and overly physical play. That makes me nervous for highly invested prospects. However, the AHL is the definitely right league for a player like Wong to develop and beat the odds.

You have to find a whole nother level that you have to sacrifice and compete in order to be a contributing player. It was a learning year. I had to battle to stay in the lineup. I had to battle for everything I got. -Wong

And that’s what Wong plans on doing in camp, battle, and convince the team he’s not only a pro player but an NHL player.

The biggest thing for me is to show them I’ve progressed since last year and continue to progress into an NHL player. That’s my goal. I played a year in the American Hockey League, and I want to show Mr. Gallant, and Mr. McPhee, and all the people up stairs that a year as a pro seasoned me. I know what it’s going to take to make the next step to the NHL from the AHL. -Wong

While his stats weren’t great last season with the Wolves (54 Games, 3 Goals, 4 Assists, -11) the Alberta native is confident there’s plenty of room for improvement.

I’m not going to quit. I’m going to keep fighting for every inch. That’s what I’m going to do here in camp and in the season. Wherever I end up I’ll keep fighting. -Wong

He may not be one of the Golden Knights coveted prospects but Wong is out to prove he can be.

Schmidt’s Suspension Huge Here; Elsewhere? Not So Much

Have a feeling this picture is going to see some major use until November 18th. (Photo Credit: SinBin.vegas Photographer Brandon Andreasen)

It was supposed to be an easy assignment. Go through the newswire, finding out what other NHL cities were saying about Nate Schmidt’s 20 game suspension. It’s big news to Golden Knights fans, and the expectation was there would be hot takes coming from everywhere else as well? After all, it’s the first PED suspension since 2016, and it’s a case that pushes the league’s banned substance policy to the edge.

Three and a half hours of searching harder than 11-year-old me searched for plastic eggs with nickels in them on Easter, I only found four outlets discussing Schmidt’s suspension or the league’s substance policy.

What stood out to me was Nate Schmidt said he only used supplements supplied by the team. The majority of the players do take some sort of supplement. Their diets are so sophisticated and the training is so sophisticated. – TSN’s Dave Poulin

The former NHL center was stunned to find out the tainted supplements Schmidt took came from the team. Suggesting any blame shouldn’t be placed on the player.

I see him (Schmidt) as somebody with a great deal of character. And as somebody that’ll bounce back from that. -Eric Duhatschek, The Athletic

While I could keep going, I simply can’t bury the lead any further. The real story is the lack of coverage. Schmidt’s suspension is a troubling issue for the Golden Knights and the NHL. The team and the player adamantly denied any knowledge of performance-enhancing supplements but the league maintained its zero policy stance. No matter how little the trace was, it seems to me, there is real disconnect with the league.

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Luca Sbisa Could Be The Perfect Stop Gap

He was good enough to get a start in the biggest game of the year, he’s certainly good enough to plug a hole. (Photo Credit: SinBin.vegas Photographer Brandon Andreasen)

Luckily, it’s only a quarter of the regular season that top defenseman Nate Schmidt will miss action. But, while that story continues to unfold, Vegas’ other top defender Shea Theodore also remains unsigned and the possibility of a holdout is real.

With one defenseman guaranteed to miss a large chunk of time and another sitting in contract purgatory, what are George McPhee’s options? He can ride it out with organizational depth like the team did last season when Marc-Andre Fleury was injured. The GM could make a move for a defenseman, and not necessarily Erik Karlsson. Maybe, McPhee will wait it out and hope a desirable defenseman will pop up through waivers. Or, he can reach out to an available old chum.

It’s hard for the other team to match lines. A lot of teams only have one superstar line and then it kinda goes down a bit, but for us, on any given day we have lines that can step up and chip in any which way. -Luca Sbisa

In 30 regular season games, Luca Sbisa averaged 19:31 TOI, and averaged 2:22 shorthanded minutes per game. Many of those games he was paired with Schmidt and drawing the opposing teams best players. Although Sbisa was injured for much of the 2017-18 regular season, he added defensive impact when he hit the ice. Some credit the Swiss defenseman for helping Schmidt convert to Vegas’ top d-man. Also, the veteran Sbisa was a strong, protective teammate that held a presence on the ice.

With Schmidt’s guaranteed 20 game absence, signing Sbisa could be a move Jack Adams winner Gerard Gallant would appreciate. The 28-year-old UFA was heavily used early on in 2017-18, and after returning from injury, the coach used him in the lineup, including the Stanley Cup Final. At this time, Gallant could use a familiar veteran like Sbisa to help right the defensive ship. The former Golden Knight knows the organization, system, players, and city. Most importantly the coaching staff is comfortable playing Sbisa.

Depending on Sbisa’s demands, the Golden Knights should be able to re-sign the left-handed defenseman to a deal comparable to what Jon Merrill and Deryk Engelland make per season. This late in the game they might even be able to get him on a one-year deal.

It could be well worth the low money risk for a recognizable insurance policy like Sbisa. Not only will he fill the burden of Schmidt’s suspension, Sbisa would also secure a roster spot in preparation for Theodore’s possible holdout. He’s not a replacement for either but Sbisa could effectively fill important minutes for twenty or more games.

Splitting Up The Second Line

Last week on the SinBin.vegas podcast, the Golden Knights second line combination scenarios were a big focus. As it currently stands, it appears the Golden Knights have seven forwards that can fill top the six roles. Of course, messing with the top line of William Karlsson, Jonathan Marchessault, and Reilly Smith is foolish, so that leaves Erik Haula, Paul Stastny, Alex Tuch and Tomas Tatar to fill three spots.

10 more goals from Tuch changes the entire outlook of the changed VGK made in the offseason. (Photo Credit: SinBin.vegas Photographer Brandon Andreasen)

Unless, as we discussed, Jack Adams winner Gerard Gallant chooses a more balanced attack by splitting the four into pairs of two rather than a full line and a leftover. That would leave an open spot on both the second and third lines. Possibly, the distribution of points would create more offense throughout the entire lineup while not sacrificing the offensive talents of one of these four by sticking them on a defensive-minded line.

Let’s put it to the test statistically. To do so, we’ll start by comparing possible combinations of 2nd lines using three of the four available players and compare it to that of the line of David Perron, James Neal, and Haula.

The Perron, Neal, and Haula line produced 70 goals, 95 assists, and 165 points while posting a combined 2.8 defensive point shares.

We used last year’s stats to come up with combined line totals for each of the four potential lines. Each line is named by which player is missing, so “w/o Haula” means a line of Tuch, Tatar, and Stastny.

LineGoalsAssistsPointsDPS
w/o Haula51731244
w/o Tatar60851344.4
w/o Tuch65771313.9
w/o Stastny64621153.3

Before you go scrolling back and forth trying to figure out the difference between each line and that of Perron, Neal, and Haula, we did the math for you.

LineGoalsAssistsPointsDPS
w/o Haula-19-22-411.2
w/o Tatar-10-10-311.6
w/o Tuch-5-18-341.1
w/o Stastny-6-33-500.5

Unsurprisingly, the numbers come up way short offensively. Defensively, however, any of the four options would be better. The biggest concern though is the play of the leftover player. Could Tuch, Haula, Tatar, or Stastny thrive on a line with players like Cody Eakin, Ryan Carpenter, Daniel Carr, or Tomas Hyka? That’s yet to be seen, but it’s also why the idea of splitting the four high-end forwards came up.

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McPhee Spending Time In Russia With Eyes On Vladimir Tkachyov

Apparently, Golden Knights GM George McPhee likes to spend his summer vacation in Russia.

According to NHL.com’s Igor Eronko, Vegas’ head honcho was in Russia to check in on prospect Nikita Gusev, and meet with at least one other KHL’er.

First off, let’s identify the right Vladimir Tkachyov. Vegas has interest in the 24-year-old left-handed center, not the 22-year-old right-handed forward. The older Tkachyov is bigger, listed at 6’0″, 200 lbs and is a successful two-way KHL player.

KHL Statistics
•2013-14: 52 Games, 1 Goal, 9 Pts, (0.17 PPG)
•2014-15: 30 Games, 6 G, 9 Pts, (0.30 PPG)
•2015-16: 48 Games, 12 G, 20Pts, (0.42 PPG)
•2016-17: 58 Games, 15 G, 32 Pts, (0.55 PPG)
•2017-18: 53 Games, 22 G, 36 Pts, (0.68 PPG)

Tkachyov has improved offensively every season in the KHL, and plays in all situations. In 2017-18, the center averaged 16:41 per game, scored seven power-play goals, and logged penalty kill minutes. Add in a 55% career faceoff win percentage, and Tkachyov fits nicely on an NHL team’s third or fourth line. Possibly the Golden Knights.

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Season Heard Round The World

If you’re a sports fan, you know about Bobby Thomson’s “Shot Heard ‘Round the World”… okay millennials, here’s the video.

Across the country, morning newspapers led with Thomson’s historic moment. Which brings us to this widely known column printed the day after the series-clinching dinger. It’s been called the “greatest lede ever written.” It was penned in 1951, but it might as well have been written in 2018.

Now it is done. Now the story ends. And there is no way to tell it. The art of fiction is dead. Reality has strangled invention. Only the utterly impossible, the inexpressibly fantastic, can ever be plausible again.- Red Smith, NY Herald Tribune, October 4, 1951

Right there. That’s the perfect description of the Golden Knights inaugural season. Perfectly crafted in three sentences.

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