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Praise Be To Foley, Vegas Golden Knights Hockey Website

Author: Jason Pothier (Page 2 of 19)

Schmidt Drops Mighty Ducks Reference

On Saturday night Nate Schmidt slid one by Coyotes goaltender Anttii Raanta. Then, he tried to slide one by us.

It was kind of a Luis Mendoza moment. I was going too fast for my own good. You have to slam on the breaks or else. -Nate Schmidt

Only two games in and #88 is breaking out Mighty Duck references. When describing his game-tying goal, the animated Schmidt compared himself to the speed-skating Mendoza that couldn’t slow down.

I just wanted to make sure I got it on net. I was just trying to whack the thing and hope to God that it went in. -Nate Schmidt

The Golden Knights defenseman didn’t give himself enough credit for Saturday night’s equalizer. Schmidt had to slow up his speed, control the puck, and sneak it past Raanta. But if he wants to continue using movie references to explain actual gameplay, we’ll be okay with that.

The question is, what hockey movie will Schmidt reference next? Goon? The Cutting Edge? My guess is Mystery, Alaska.

Gallant Pulling All The Right Strings

Defenseman Nate Schmidt may have tied the game with his late third-period goal, but let’s give Gerard Gallant the assist. With 2:18 left in the game, and the puck frozen in Arizona’s zone, the Golden Knights coach called a timeout and pulled his goalie. About a minute later, the lovable Schmidt scored on a rebound to tie it up. Gallant would never take credit, but his instinct to pull Marc-Andre Fleury “early” was the right decision.

I’d do it every time. You got to face that in their zone. You want to make sure you get the six on five down there. Some people think its early, I don’t think it’s early. -Gallant

Two minutes left in the game, may not seem early to some, but just a decade ago NHL coaches on average pulled their goaltenders with 1:15 left. Gallant’s decision to go for it was a combination of an offensive zone faceoff, time remaining, and confidence in his players.

If you’re down one goal and you feel good about your team, the way they’re playing. You win the face off in their zone, why wait because you might not get that chance again. I figured let’s go for it, and it worked tonight. -Gallant

Schmidt and James Neal (again) were the stars on the stat sheet, but Gallant’s decision deserves to be noted. His late-game coaching adjustments have worked out well two nights in a row. So, raise you’re brunch Bellini’s to the Golden Knights head coach. Wait, what am I talking about? SinBinners don’t eat Sunday brunch. Raise your happy hour IPA instead, and keep the party going.

Welcome To The Regular Season Where Hitting Is Actually Allowed

We’ve been told that the Golden Knights aren’t a particularly physical team. Coach Gerard Gallant probably never expected the game to go the way it did (big hits, 46 shots faced, 0/7 PP) and still leave with a 2–1 victory.

I thought the first period was physical. There was some big hits. You expect that in the first game, everybody is excited to play. I thought in the first period, there were some star players that were hitting guys more so than the third or fourth line players. Some of the big guys were banging bodies and it settled down a bit. I thought it was a great hockey team. -Gerard Gallant

Early in the game, the Stars were flying around, landing heavy hits on the visiting Golden Knights. Dallas forward Alexander Radulov, and defenseman Marc Methot (remember him?) delivered multiple crushing hits in the first period. After twenty minutes, Dallas had the edge in hits 11 to 6. By the second period, Golden Knights players seemed to have had enough and stepped up physically. By the end of the game, the style Dallas started the game off with had faded. Along with their lead.

No this was normal. Anytime you play this team, that’s the way it is. They’re a physical team. The west is tough. It’s like that with LA, Anaheim, Dallas, Winnipeg. These are all heavy teams. – James Neal

Video Courtesy of AT&T SportsNet Rocky Mountain

Neal took a few hits, and gave a few himself. Sure the sniper played rough, but his impact offensively is what neutralized the Stars physicality. The Golden Knights weren’t intimated by anything Methot, Radulov and that secousse Antoine Roussel handed out. In fact, Dallas’ overly-aggressive play put them in the penalty box for almost 20 minutes. Coach’s call that, a momentum killer.

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Golden Knights Name Six, Yes Six, Alternate Captains

Screw it, let’s just make em all alternates. (Photo Credit: SinBin.vegas Photographer Brandon Andreasen)

I know it’s unique, but then again everything about the NHL in Las Vegas is unique. The Golden Knights announced yesterday, that they’ll be going with a leadership core of six players. Normally, a team will award one Captain and two Alternate Captains. Vegas will have three home Alternate Captains and three different road Alternate Captains. The six leaders are; Deryk Engelland, Jason Garrison, James Neal, David Perron, Luca Sbisa, and Reilly Smith.

It’s pretty cool. It’s pretty exciting. You don’t need a letter on your jersey to be a leader. It’s an opportunity to do everything right on and off the ice and be a professional. I’m excited to to be part of that group. -David Perron

It’s definitely an honor. We have a great group of guys here . All of those other guys named will put a great leadership group together. Helps the young guys and guide this team. -James Neal

Getting picked for that is special but at the same time, there a lot of good quality guys, with some character on this team. -Luca Sbisa

It’s a great honor to wear it, but the guys in this room, there is a lot more leaders than just the guys that have the A’s on. Everyone in this room leads in their own little, certain ways. Which brings us closer and tighter as a group. -Deryk Engelland

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0 For 16 On The Power Play

At Friday’s practice, the Golden Knights spent a majority of their time working on the power play, specifically five on four. Obviously, we thought it was because Vegas was unsuccessful on their last 16 PP chances, but when asked, head coach Gerard Gallant disagreed.

It was planned, three or four days ago. So it wasn’t because we were 0 for 7 last night. -Gerard Gallant

The key word after Thursday’s preseason loss to Colorado was “simplify.”

We have to find our niche and simplify and have that five on five mentality. Sometimes when you’re unfamiliar you have to simplify and shoot the puck instead of making the extra pass.- Cody Eakin

Gallant agrees.

We tried to make the fancy plays, the crossing plays, and we weren’t shooting the puck. The last two or three power plays we started getting some point shots through and getting some rebounds. When you do that and establish a point shot, some of those seams open up later on. But it was slow, we weren’t attacking a lot on the power play. -Gallant

Gallant mentioned making the fancy play, or the extra, unnecessary pass. Eakin used the word cute to describe the same thing. And, Reilly Smith used another synonym.

In preseason you want to work on it, and try and make pretty plays. You do have to practice good habits, and sometimes just get the puck to he net and get those ugly goals. You’re not always going to have pretty ones. -Reilly Smith

This didn’t happen on the power play. (Photo Credit: SinBin.vegas Photographer Brandon Andreasen)

So let’s sum this up. Cute + Fancy + Pretty = 0 for 16.

Simple + Ugly = Goals

While, it’s only preseason, and man-advantages are opportunities for teams to work on things, going scoreless on 16 straight power plays is a bad trend heading into the regular season.

Only in hockey can words like cute, fancy, or pretty imply something bad. Weirdos.

Cody Eakin Staking Claim To Mr. Reliable Role

Just how reliable is Golden Knights center Cody Eakin? Is winning 79% of his faceoffs reliable enough for you?

Cody is a veteran player and I think that he can do very well for us. He’s definitely going to be one of our top center men for us in the faceoff circle. He’s an important player and we just want to give him confidence and keep going in this game. -Gerard Gallant

Bet you Eakin won this one too. (Photo Credit: SinBin.vegas Photographer Brandon Andreasen)

I could argue he was the biggest takeaway, and maybe even the best player on the ice, from last night’s 4-2 loss. Eakin saw a total of 20:06 minutes on the ice, and 9:12 of that was on special teams.

Last night, Eakin’s impact was felt in both zones. Offensively, the center was +1 with a beautiful assist on the Theodore goal and played 6:12 of PP. Defensively, Eakin led the team with three takeaways, and played 3:00 on the Enough Said Call Ed penalty kill.

I don’t think Cody played a lot of power play time in Dallas, but he’s going to get some of that with us. He’s definitely going to be one of our top four guys going out on the penalty kill all the time. -Gallant

It’s clear Gallant considers Eakin a player he can rely on. He sent out #21 for twenty-four shifts last night, and had him take several situational draws.

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Faceoff Circle Continuing To Haunt Many Golden Knights

As we watched last night, a hockey game is a story of three periods… and sometimes an extra :12 seconds.

Hockey Fact: 3 for 18 on draws is not good. (Photo Credit: SinBin.vegas Photographer Brandon Andreasen)

Forget the outcome, one storyline of the game was first-period faceoffs. Specifically, losing them. After the first 20 minutes, Vegas lost over 80% of the draws. The Golden Knights did get better as the game went on, but overall they won 25, and lost 32 faceoffs. Based off last year’s stats, the Golden Knight’s 43% FOW would be way below the league average. Okay, now is about the time I give the disclaimer… It’s only preseason. But we still had to ask.

Yeah, they were bad in the first period, obviously, you pride yourself from winning faceoffs. We had a tough time in the first period on faceoffs. Again, I thought we played a good eight or 10 minutes of that first period really well. After that we fell asleep for about 25 minutes in the middle part of the game… – Gerard Gallant

He later acknowledged that his players settled in, and improved their FOW percentage.

The faceoffs got better as the night went on. I think it’s just about guys going in there and battling and winning one-on-one battles in the faceoff circle, we didn’t start out real well.” -Gallant

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McPhee’s History Indicates Trade Could Come This Week

As the roster continues to thin out with at least five more players being cut (more on this later today), it’s time we start to look at what it’s going to take to put the finishing touches on the final roster the Golden Knights will take to Dallas.

We’ve known since the Expansion Draft ended that there must be a solution to the glut of defensemen in the system, and looking through George McPhee’s preseason roster transaction history, it appears the answer could come soon.

According to Sportstrac.com, the Washington Capitals have only claimed one player (Aaron Volpatti 2/28/13) off waivers in team history, including the 17 years McPhee was at the helm. So we can pretty much rule out a player being added that way. However, don’t mistake a man with an $800 haircut for being content with his roster. I’m guessing, but I’m telling you, it’s a sharp, maintained corporate cut. Sorry, back to hockey. McPhee may not claim players before the opener, but he’ll gladly make trades. 

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Colin Miller, One Of Many Offensive Minded VGK Defenseman

Ever wondered if players check their own stats? What about if players check their own advanced stats? Of course you haven’t. And players, yeah they don’t give a crap about analytics. Just ask Golden Knights defenseman, Colin Miller.

Are you aware of your Corsi and Fenwick numbers? -SinBin.vegas

Not really. I’ve heard a little bit about them. Am I good or bad? -Miller

You are like the king of it. -SinBin.vegas

Oh nice, well that’s good. I just try to get the shots through as often as I can. -Miller

You know with Corsi they don’t even need to get through. -SinBin.vegas

Oh, good, so I can just rip em at the glass? -Miller

Bet this shot got through. (Photo Credit: SinBin.vegas Photographer Brandon Andreasen)

Colin Miller: Corsi For- 60.34%
Nate Schmidt: Corsi For- 53.48%
Reilly Smith: Corsi For- 52.47%
James Neal: Corsi For- 52.20%

(If you don’t remember what in the hell these numbers mean, go back and read our Advanced Stats for VGK Dummies article on Corsi For %.)

Miller is however fully aware of the style of game he plays. He doesn’t need an advanced stat measuring shot attempts to prove himself. Vegas knows his skill and will need Miller’s offensive involvement this season and beyond. We asked the 24-year-old if he thought his role would expand with the Golden Knights.

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“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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