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Author: Ken Boehlke (Page 1 of 108)

William Karlsson Named Finalist For Lady Byng Trophy; Snubbed For Selke (Fleury Not A Vezina Finalist Either)

Lady Byng, of course, but not even a Selke finalist? C’mon people, open your eyes. (Photo Credit: SinBin.vegas Photographer Brandon Andreasen)

Award season is nearly upon us and over the course of the next week, we’ll learn the finalists for each of the individual awards. Today, the finalists were released for the Lady Byng Memorial Trophy and Vegas Golden Knights forward William Karlsson was among the three named.

The Lady Byng is awarded to the “player adjudged to have exhibited the best type of sportsmanship and gentlemanly conduct combined with a high standard of playing ability.” It’s voted on by the Professional Hockey Writers Association. Usually the trophy is given to the best offensive player who took the least penalty minutes. That’s no different this year as Aleksander Barkov (14 PIM) and Ryan O’Reilly (2 PIM) were named as finalists with Karlsson (12 PIM).

Karlsson should win the award when it’s handed out at the Hard Rock Hotel in Las Vegas at the NHL Awards Show on June 20th.

But with the positive news comes some negative news on the awards front. Despite posting some of the best numbers of any goalie in the NHL, Marc-Andre Fleury has not been named a finalist for the Vezina Trophy (best goaltender). The main knock on Fleury was that he missed a large portion of the season and only logged 47 games. However, Fleury had a better goals against average (2.24) and a better save percentage (.927) than any of the three finalists. Connor Hellebuyck, Andrei Vasilevskiy, and Pekka Rinne are the finalists.

The bigger snub, however, is William Karlsson in the Selke Award for best defensive forward. Karlsson was not listed among the three finalists and when the ballots are made public we will see that Karlsson is not even among the top five on many ballots, including voters from Las Vegas. We’ve already talked about Karlsson’s 12 PIM, but when you throw in his +49 rating, the fact that he and his linemates played against the opposition’s top line every game, and Karlsson’s ability on the penalty kill, and it’s hard to believe anyone would leave him off their list.

The Athletic’s Charlie O’Connor wrote an extended story making the case for Sean Couturier to win the Selke. In doing so, he proved the incredible year Karlsson had as well. It’s an incredibly in-depth article, but it does a tremendous job of going beyond the standard stats to show the candidacies of each of the top Selke finalists.

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Win Two Tickets To Game 1 Round 2 From Adam S. Kutner And Associates

We are pleased to announce our newest partnership with Adam S. Kutner and Associates, the best Las Vegas personal injury attorney.

Adam is featured on the Zamboni at T-Mobile Arena and often gives away rides on during intermission. We’ll have more on that as they make that available to the SinBinners.

Right now though, Adam and his team are giving away a pair of tickets to the first game of round two against the San Jose Sharks. These are great seats and it costs absolutely nothing to enter to win them. All you have to do is like Adam’s facebook page, comment on the contest post, and enter your email on the rules page.

So, what are you waiting for, go win some free tickets to the next Golden Knights game!

**Adam S. Kutner and Associates is an official sponsor of SinBin.vegas.**

SinBin.vegas Podcast #108: Swept LA

Back from LA where the Golden Knights completed the first round sweep against the Kings, we look back on that series and look forward a bit to the next one against San Jose. Hosted by Ken Boehlke and Jason Pothier.

  • How dominant were the Golden Knights really?
  • Karlsson isn’t on the Selke finalist list
  • A look back at the deals for Tatar and Reaves
  • What if the Kings had won an early game
  • Jason’s anger towards local radio

And much more…

We are on iTunesStitcher, and Google Play. Subscribe now!

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Round Two Start Date Remains A Mystery

The 24th, 25th, and 26th all make sense. (Photo Credit: SinBin.vegas Photographer Brandon Andreasen)

For the first time since the NHL went to seven game series in the first round, two teams scheduled to match up with each other swept their first round series. Vegas swept Los Angeles concluding their series on April 17th while the Sharks dispatched Anaheim wrapping up on April 18th.

The NHL schedule has round one set to come to an end on April 25th with four potential Game 7’s scheduled. Three are Eastern Conference series and the fourth is Minnesota and Winnipeg.

Thus, the following day, Thursday, April 26th, appears to be the most likely date for the Golden Knights to play the first game of the second round at T-Mobile Arena. However, there is precedent to move it up.

In 2016 the Predators/Ducks series went to Game 7 at Honda Center in Anaheim. Meanwhile, in the Eastern Conference, the Islanders had won in six and the Lightning in five. The NHL scheduled New York/Tampa Bay the same day as the Game 7 in Anaheim and actually dropped the puck on Game 1 in Tampa before Game 7 in Anaheim. Thus, the NHL has shown a willingness to begin a second round before the complete conclusion of the first round. However, over the past eight seasons, this is the only instance of this occurring.

Let’s throw in one more wrinkle too. Tuesday, April 24th currently has a pair of potential Game 7’s on the schedule, Nashville/Colorado and Pittsburgh/Philadelphia. Both top seeds lead the series 3-1 heading home for a Game 5. In the event both series are wrapped up in five or six, that would leave the 24th idle. It’s not unheard of for the league to have an off day, but they’d probably prefer to avoid it if possible.

Enter Vegas and San Jose. Both teams are looking at at least five full off days and would certainly prefer extra days rest in between games rather than before the series begins. T-Mobile Arena is wide open throughout the entirety of round two, but the SAP Center is a different story. The Sharks building has events on May 4th, 7th, 8th, 10th, 12th, and 13th. Plus, the San Jose Barracuda, who also use SAP Center are in the playoffs and would likely need to eat (that’s a pun) up a few days as well. An earlier start to the series gives the league more flexibility to work around SAP Center’s cramped calendar.

So what does it all mean? Well, we haven’t the slightest clue. All we can say is that the series can reasonably start on April 24th, 25th, or 26th. The 26th still seems the most likely, but we are far from as confident about this one as we were the start dates of round one.

Business-Like Attitude After Sweep Proves VGK Aren’t Like Everyone Else

The Golden Knights had just swept the Kings, their division rival, in the first round of the playoffs. They dominated a majority of the play, gave up just 3 goals in 14 periods, and trailed for less than 34 of the 275 minutes of play in the series.

I expected I’d be walking into a jubilant locker room full of laughter, smiles, and high fives. That was not the Golden Knights locker room after Game 4 of their sweep.

Still a few more games before it’s a good story. -Marc-Andre Fleury

It was cool and collected. I’m just already getting ready, starting to forget about this series, trying to get ready for the next one. See who we play and go from there. -Erik Haula

They’ve never been here before, but they had never been anywhere before, and that’s never stopped them. (Photo Credit: SinBin.vegas Photographer Brandon Andreasen)

This isn’t new for a winning Golden Knights locker room though. Outside of the very first game in franchise history in Dallas, the Vegas locker room doesn’t get too high after wins. Whether it was beating Tampa Bay to move into first place in the NHL, knocking off the Penguins for Fleury or a somewhat meaningless 7-3 win over Calgary, the demeanor in the room remained the same.

When they clinched the playoff berth, it was almost as if they thought it should have happened a while ago. When they won the division, they kind of had this look of, “well yeah, we’ve been ahead by 10 points all year.” When they won Game 1, and 2, and 3, the same, but I thought it might be a bit different having finished the series and knowing they’ve got a plenty of time to revel in this one before they have to move on. It wasn’t the case.

Why would you be satisfied? We don’t have the Stanley Cup. We didn’t start the playoffs thinking, alright if we make the second round we are happy about it. We’re excited because we just won a series and we’re probably going to get one more day to relax the bodies, but in two days from now it’s back to business. -Pierre-Edouard Bellemare

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VEGAS GOLDEN KNIGHTS 1 LOS ANGELES KINGS 0 (4-0 VGK)

The Golden Knights got off to a miserable start spending a majority of the 1st period struggling to break out of their own end. They did have one good chance that was actually blocked by Erik Haula in front of the Kings net. However, neither team scored in the 1st so Vegas survived. The Golden Knights came out a bit better to begin the 2nd and ended up scoring the first goal of the game on a great transition that led to a cross-ice wide open shot for Brayden McNabb. Vegas scratched and clawed it’s way to the finish and swept the first playoff series in franchise history. The Golden Knights are moving on to the Second Round!

Upcoming stories from the Vegas Golden Knights vs. Los Angeles Kings in Game 4 of Round 1 of the Stanley Cup Playoffs at Staples Center.

  • The story continues.
  • The impact of teams sweeping in the first round on the rest of their playoff runs
  • How did the Golden Knights locker room react to winning in the 1st round?

Three Stars
*** Brayden McNabb
** Jonathan Quick
* Marc-Andre Fleury

 

Nate Schmidt And Erik Haula: A Love Story Made For The Golden Knights

As the gathered media waited in the locker room inside Staples Center each Golden Knights player came in one at a time. Fleury walked through wearing a pair of Euro style tight jeans, Neal appeared in fancy sneakers, and Bellemare walked in wearing spandex that were a little too short for comfort. Then, in walked Nate Schmidt. Like always he was wearing a giant smile and laughing at anyone who wanted to laugh with him. He was also wearing sandals, but they didn’t match, the left foot was his own sandal marked with a little sticker with the number 88 on it, on the other foot was a sandal he “stole” because he couldn’t find his. It was that of his best friend on the team, Erik Haula, and it was an image that couldn’t have been more perfect for the story I was there to write.

There are many strong pairs of friends on this team. Alex Tuch and Shea Theodore live together, and Jonathan Marchessault and David Perron hit it off before training camp and became even closer on 1 October, but there’s not a friendship quite like Haula and Schmidt.

Erik Haula moved from Finland to the U.S. when he was 16. He attended high school in Faribault, Minnesota before going on to college at the University of Minnesota. While there, his roommate was Nate Schmidt.

Haula wound up on the Minnesota Wild while Schmidt ended up in Washington D.C. to begin their NHL careers, but that didn’t mean they didn’t keep in touch.

We had played in college, we played on softball teams together in the Summer, we’d work out in the same gym… although he’d show up a little later than I did. -Nate Schmidt

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Rolling Four Lines Pays Off In The Long Run

Tomas Nosek is secretly one of the most important players on the Golden Knights. He’s so much more than “that guy who scored the first home goal.” (Photo Credit: SinBin.vegas Photographer Brandon Andreasen)

All-Star head coach Gerard Gallant created a few cliches for his team that he’s spent the last six months repeating to the media every chance he’s gotten. Things like “one game at a time,” “work hard and have fun,” and “roll four lines.” They are all obvious for a coach, but usually, they have little actual meaning and are more like those motivational posters supposedly successful people hang in their office.

Every once in a while though one of those sayings manifests itself from a cliche into reality. The Golden Knights won Game 3, and are now ahead 3-0 in the series because of their conditioning, because after a double overtime game in Game 2, Vegas came back and was the fresher team for 60 minutes, and especially the last 20. That’s not because they were taking it one game at a time or that they were working harder than the Kings, it’s because they’ve rolled four lines all season long and it’s allowed them to keep playing the same way, with the same speed and ferocity, even after a 95 minute marathon two days prior.

We’ve never relied on anybody to create all the offense or all the defense. It’s really a great job by Turk (Gallant) to stay the course with that. There were games this year where we were losing and maybe a couple guys wanted more ice time but that’s why he coaches that way so that situations like this happen in the playoffs and we just play the same way. -David Perron

The Golden Knights did not have a single player in the top 50 in total ice time in the regular season. William Karlsson ranked 30th among centers in average time on ice, and Vegas’ first winger to appear in the ATOI rankings was Reilly Smith at 38th among all wingers.

The reason Gallant spread his minutes out all season wasn’t that he had Game 3 of Round 1 in mind, it’s because he could get away with it. Most coaches want to roll four lines and keep everyone fresh, but they can’t because there’s a major drop-off in play from top line to bottom. Most teams, like the Kings, have a group of high-end players and a group of below average players. Not the Golden Knights.

Whatever shifts we got we created those bounces that created those momentum shifts and we know the bench gets excited when we play that way, so it’s not that difficult for us to recreate that. -Pierre-Edouard Bellemare

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VEGAS GOLDEN KNIGHTS 3 LOS ANGELES KINGS 2 (3-0 VGK)

The game started out with the Kings really trying to bring the physicality, it ended up leading to a penalty on Kyle Clifford, but the Golden Knights squandered the power play having a very rough time entering. That seemed to energize the Kings and for the first period of the nine in the series Vegas looked a bit unsure of themselves. LA scored first on a goal from Alex Iaffalo. The Golden Knights turned the heat up a bit in the 2nd, but couldn’t ever create much than one shot at a time. The game’s flow kind of got away from the Golden Knights through two with a couple penalties and a terrible offensive power play that breathed some life into the Kings. The Golden Knights killed an early penalty, then started getting their offense going and it led to an incredible shift from the 3rd line that tied the game with a Cody Eakin goal. Then, like Vegas often does, they pounced and pounced in a big way. An individual effort goal from James Neal, then another from William Karlsson and Vegas had a 3-1 lead. Anze Kopitar made it interesting, but the Golden Knights hung on. They’re up 3-0 with a chance to sweep on Tuesday night.

Upcoming stories from the Vegas Golden Knights vs. Los Angeles Kings in Game 3 of Round 1 of the Stanley Cup Playoffs at Staples Center.

  • Golden Knights power play starting to struggle. (Maybe)
  • Are the Kings dead? Jason’s heading to the Kings locker room.

Three Stars
*** Alex Iafallo
** James Neal
* Marc-Andre Fleury

 

Benching Tatar Bold But Correct Move By Gallant

Heavy haul for a healthy scratch (Photo Credit: SinBin.vegas Photographer Brandon Andreasen)

On the day of the trade deadline, the Golden Knights sent three future draft picks, a 2018 1st, a 2019 2nd, and a 2021 3rd round pick, to the Detroit Red Wings in exchange for Tomas Tatar.

Tatar is a perennial 20 goal scorer, he’s got great speed, a good shot, and looked to be the perfect fit for the Golden Knights. Through 20 games with Vegas, that hasn’t exactly been the case, and now Tatar is set to be a healthy scratch in Game 3 of the first round of the playoffs.

The initial question is whether or not giving up three picks for a player that can’t crack the lineup was worth it. The answer is still incomplete, even with tonight’s benching, because Tatar wasn’t only added to help the Golden Knights for the 2018 playoff run. He has multiple years left on his contract and could still turn out to be a useful top six forward in Vegas.

However, part of the high price tag on Tatar at the deadline was getting him for this playoff season. McPhee traded Brendan Leipsic and figured he’d found an upgrade in Tatar. He hasn’t been. Instead, he’s been nothing more than a competent player who now can’t get in the lineup over a player Vegas claimed for free on the waiver wire back in December.

This is not a failure of a trade, yet, but it is a bold move that shows All Star head coach Gerard Gallant does indeed have full control over his lineup. He was handed a player that was supposed to be an upgrade, and his GM paid a massive price to get him, and yet Gallant still feels comfortable sitting him in the biggest situation of the year.

Here’s more good news, Tatar has never had consistent linemates. He should be better if/when that happens in the future. (Photo Credit: SinBin.vegas Photographer Brandon Andreasen)

There is good news for the Golden Knights, and that’s depth. If Vegas continues in these playoffs they will encounter injuries, and likely at least one to a significant player. Having Tatar available to fill that void absolutely has value, the same goes for Ryan Reaves if a bottom six forward were to be forced out. However, it’s not a good look for McPhee who still has the Filip Forsberg for Martin Erat trade hanging over his head.

Time will tell on the trade as a whole, but this decision tells us a lot about the organization, including the most important part, Tomas Tatar is the 13th best forward on this roster on April 15th, and unless that changes it will go down as an avoidable disaster at the Golden Knights first trade deadline.

***

Projected VGK Lines

Smith-Karlsson-Marchessault
Tuch-Haula-Neal
Carpenter-Eakin-Perron
Nosek-Bellemare-Carrier

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