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Author: Ken Boehlke Page 1 of 199

Golden Knights Who Could Be Heading To The Olympics In 2022

As we inch closer to the NHL and NHLPA agreeing on a plan to finish out the 2019-20 season, word has leaked out that an amendment to the CBA will pave the way for NHL players to participate in the 2022 Olympics in Beijing.

The league blocked players from playing in the 2018 games citing an unwillingness to put the NHL season on halt for upwards of two months. Russia’s KHL took 33 days off for an Olympic break in 2018, Sweden’s SHL took 14, and leagues in Germany, Switzerland, and the Czech Republic took nearly three weeks each.  The last three times NHL players have gone to the Olympics the league took a two-week break.

So, with the prospect of being without the Golden Knights for two weeks in the middle of the 2021-22 season, we’ll have to hope a few Golden Knights make Olympic rosters. Here’s a look at which ones have the best chance.

(Photo Credit: SinBin.vegas Photographer Brandon Andreasen)

Mark Stone – Canada

It’s hard to believe a roster with the option to select Mark Stone would be without him, but it is actually possible. He should be a lock as the best defensive winger in the NHL and nearly a point per game producer with size and an incredible stick, but the list of Canadian forwards is vast and depending on the type of team they are going for, there’s a legitimate argument to leave him off.

In the end, not selecting Stone would be a mistake Team Canada will probably not make.

William Karlsson – Sweden

Sweden is surprisingly a bit weak when it comes to the center position. By 2022, there’s going to be an argument to be made for Karlsson as the best Swedish center available. Nicklas Backstrom will be 34-years-old, so it’ll be between Karlsson and Mika Zibanejad. Karlsson will probably find himself down the lineup a bit due to his defensive prowess, but with the wingers Team Sweden boasts, every line is going to be potent.

Assuming health, Karlsson will be headed to Beijing.

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Goalie Out; Great

(Photo Credit: SinBin.vegas Photographer Brandon Andreasen)

Any time the Golden Knights lead the league in a statistic, it’s worth noting (usually with a tweet). When they lead the entire NHL by a 2:1 margin in that stat, it’s worth a full article.

Despite playing the most games in the league (tied with seven other teams), the Golden Knights allowed the fewest empty-net goals of any team. Vegas conceded into a goalie-less net just three times during the entire 2019-20 season. Columbus came in 2nd with six and then a group of nine teams finished with nine or fewer.

There were just two teams with a Goals For Percentage above 50% with their net empty, Vegas and the New York Islanders. The Golden Knights came in with five goals for and just the three against for 62.5% while the Islanders had eight for and seven against for 53.3%. Every other team in the league conceded more goals than they scored with their net empty.

Vegas did finish with the second to lowest total time without their goalie (ahead of Boston), but when the stats are adjusted for time, it remains incredibly impressive for the Golden Knights.

Vegas ranked first in goals against per 60 with 5.65 while the next closest team, Carolina, came in at 9.25. Only four teams were under 10.0.

They also finished in the top five in Shots For/60, Corsi For/60, Scoring Chances For/60, and High Danger Chances For/60 and the top 10 in Goals For/60. This all indicates that not only were the Golden Knights terrific at keeping the puck out of their own empty net, they were also putting massive amounts of pressure on the opposing goalie and chased down crucial 6-on-5 goals on five separate occasions.

You probably remember most of the Golden Knights’ handiwork with the net empty too. The most memorable goal is Max Pacioretty’s 0.3 seconds remaining equalizer in Nashville which started a four-game winning streak. There was also Nick Holden’s game-tier at Chicago, and Vegas scored twice with their net empty in one game this season, a game in Montreal. Pacioretty and Reilly Smith tallied in the final two minutes to help earn a much-needed point at the Bell Centre.

So, when the games finally get back underway and the Golden Knights trail late, don’t give up, they’ve got a better chance than anyone in the league to tie it back up.

How An Impractical Idea By The NHL Has Dragged Las Vegas Through The Mud

(Photo Credit: SinBin.vegas Photographer Brandon Andreasen)

For months, since the idea of hub cities was brought to the forefront, Vegas was widely considered the best option for the league. Every major reporter, be it national or local, declared Las Vegas to be the city with the best accommodations to deliver on the utopian bubble-world the NHL was seeking.

The problem is, the NHL doesn’t actually believe in their own irrational idea and the image of Las Vegas is getting unnecessarily slammed worldwide because of it.

The plan the NHL has laid out is to bring 12 teams from each conference to one central location in order to play out the 2020 Stanley Cup Playoffs and crown a team a champion. (Really, they just want the money that goes along with the event, but we’ll let that go for now.) Each “hub city” will house all 12 teams through the first two playoff rounds and then presumably the winners from one site will travel to the other to wrap up the conference finals and Stanley Cup Final.

The idea sounds amazing. Lock everyone in a specific area, test them all at the beginning to ensure everyone is healthy and COVID-19 free, and then have them all live there so no one is at risk of contracting the virus. Since there were to be no fans in the arenas anyway, playing every game at a neutral site is also a great way to limit travel, testing, and staff to tend to the games.

Here’s the issue and why it’s unnecessarily dragged Vegas through the mud. If the concept of the bubble actually worked, the surrounding areas wouldn’t make any difference. Once the bubble is “sealed” even if every person in the city in which its located gets infected, everyone inside the bubble is safe. Literally, the reason the term “bubble” is used.

But, if it is indeed true that Las Vegas is no longer being considered due to a spike in cases in the city, which has been written or said by pretty much everyone despite no official word on of it, then the league has proven they do not believe in their own concept. Instead, what they believe is that people will slip out of the bubble, others will slip in, and when it happens they want to limit the possibility of a bubble defector or bubble invaders contracting the virus. (Actually, they want to create the perception that they did everything in their power to avoid the inevitable from happening so they aren’t liable when it does, but we’ll let that go for now.)

So, in their fear of defectors and intruders, they’ve gone above and beyond to weed out cities that appear to have higher numbers of positive tests. Somehow, Vegas became one of those cities on the outs, despite being the only city on the NHL’s list to have actually held sporting events since the shutdown. The UFC has been holding events in Las Vegas since late May and has hosted 110 fighters over five different fight cards without a single case of Coronavirus to an athlete. The NHL though, believes there are too many cases and are instead creating both bubbles in Canada.

This unequivocally proves that the concept of the bubble is viewed as untrustworthy by the league. In a utopian world, there would be no defectors nor intruders and a negative test at the beginning would carry through the entirety of the playoffs as everyone is locked safely and soundly inside the bubble.

But utopia doesn’t exist and unfortunately, Las Vegas is paying for the half-baked idea that was concocted in the name of safety in the first place. (Actually, the hub city idea was likely pitched and ultimately accepted because it is financially much more viable than traveling and testing in buildings that won’t be making money off gate revenue, but we’ll let that go for now.)

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SinBin.vegas Podcast #200: The Bubble Bursts On Vegas

All of a sudden what appeared to be a sure thing is now looking like it’s not anymore. Las Vegas appears to be on the outs to become a hub city. Hosted by Ken Boehlke and Jason Pothier.

  • Is the hub city idea really a good one?
  • Finding motive in reporting.
  • Should Vegas, the team or the city, step up and challenge losing the hub city
  • The future of the center position for the Golden Knights?
  • How is a player viewed if he opts out?

And much more…

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

Other Sports Seeing Players Opt Out, Will Hockey Too?

(Photo Credit: SinBin.vegas Photographer Brandon Andreasen)

When it comes to Coronavirus, people’s opinions are like fingerprints. Everyone has them, but no two are the same.

For some, they act like the virus doesn’t exist, carrying on about their everyday life without a care in the world (for themselves or others). While others treat it like contracting the virus means certain death for all. Most fall somewhere in between but everyone’s opinion shapes their decision making and due to the lack of hard facts available, it’s impossible to truly challenge anyone’s actions.

With the NHL set to unveil their plans for Phase 3 and 4 of the return to play plan, we’re going to have to brace for the range of opinions, and actions, that will come with it from players.

Since the announcement of the playoff format and the opening of voluntary training camps as Phase 2, hockey is been the quietest sport regarding those challenging the sport’s return.

In the NBA and WNBA, it feels like every day another player announces he or she is dropping out and will not head to the bubble. MLB finally came to an agreement on how their season will resume and with it has come a rash of their players saying they’re out. Golf, tennis, and soccer have all seen it to a degree too. The NHL may very well be next.

https://twitter.com/TSNBobMcKenzie/status/1277638606430011392

Hockey has a much different culture than most other North American sports. It’s very team-oriented and players will go to great lengths to keep the spotlight off themselves.

I haven’t heard anything (about players opting out) and I’ve been on a couple calls and that hasn’t really been a thing. I think there’s a lot of discussion about what would happen. Obviously there are health risks for sure so it’s something you’ve got to be careful with and I think the NHL, especially our staff, has done an outstanding job of following the protocols and making sure everyone’s safe. -Brayden McNabb

However, the virus has a powerful impact on the actions of athletes, especially when it comes to their families.

The NHL’s concept is still in an abstract form with the idea of “hub cities” hosting the games. Once the league confirms specific details about living accommodations, testing protocols, family involvement, and everything else that goes along with creating a virus-free bubble, players may speak up and likely act upon those words as well.

Players opting out is just another unknown that comes with the NHL’s attempt to resume the 2019-20 season and award the Stanley Cup.

Hockey may or may not see it happen, but don’t be surprised if it does.

Reliving The 2017 NHL Draft Lottery

(Photo Credit: Brian Idziak, SinBin.vegas)

By now you’ve probably heard about yesterday’s Draft Lottery in which a mystery team to be decided later won the 1st overall pick in the 2020 NHL Draft. Of course, because the Golden Knights don’t suck, they had no chance at winning last night’s lottery and because they were one of the eight best teams in the league at the pause, they also have no shot at becoming the mystery team.

The NHL’s first live event in more than 100 days was conducted without the Golden Knights, and Vegas fans should be proud that it was.

Many Vegas fans probably don’t even remember the only time the Golden Knights were actually involved in the Draft Lottery, so I figured today was a good day to take a trip down memory lane to reminisce about the days when Stanley Cup hope was more a joke than a realistic feeling. (It’ll also remind you of why you never want your team’s fate to rest on the lottery.)

The date was April 29th, 2017. Six months after the Golden Knights got their name and two months before they picked their players at the Expansion Draft. (The team had signed Gerard Gallant two weeks prior and they were a week away from signing Vadim Shipachyov)

Historically, expansion teams are awarded the 1st overall pick in the Entry Draft to go along with their selections in the Expansion Draft. However, since the NHL believed the rules of that Expansion Draft were the best they’d ever had, the decision was made to give Vegas a high place in the lottery as opposed to an automatic top pick.

The rules stated that Vegas would have the same odds as the team that finished with the 3rd worst points percentage in the 2016-17 season. That team ended up being the Arizona Coyotes. Both teams were given a 10.3% chance to win the 1st overall pick and about a 30% chance to land in the top three.

Here were the Golden Knights exact odds in that lottery.

1st – 10.3%
2nd – 10.3%
3rd – 10.1%
4th – 11.8%
5th – 39.3%
6th – 18.1%

The lottery was slated to take place between a pair of playoff games at around 5PM Vegas time. All of the participating GMs flew to Toronto to be there for the unveiling of the 2017 Draft order. Vegas’ GM, however, got stuck in Washington DC after his flight was delayed due to weather. (That was probably foreshadowing of what was to come when the order was read.)

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A Case For Putting Peyton Krebs On The Playoff Roster

(Photo Credit: Ken Boehlke, SinBin.vegas)

This week, according to George McPhee, 30 players are skating at City National Arena for voluntary Phase 2 workouts. With Training Camp right around the corner, that number will probably continue to increase as just about every player under contract with the Golden Knights has to be ready in case selected to the expanded playoff roster.

When we took a stab at guessing the roster the Golden Knights will use in the playoffs, there was one name that barely even came to mind due to his age. That name is Peyton Krebs.

The Golden Knights 1st round pick in 2019 spent the majority of his time since being drafted rehabbing his torn Achilles tendon. This forced him to miss Development Camp, Rookie Camp, Training Camp, exhibition games, the start of the WHL season, and World Juniors (he participated in camp but was not selected to the team). All Krebs really got with the Golden Knights was a single practice before being shipped back to the WHL.

In other words, most of his first year of development since being drafted was lost. However, when he finally got to play for the Winnipeg Ice, he was the same electric player that made him a 1st round pick. He posted 60 points in 38 games which ranked him 3rd on the team despite playing nearly half the games of all his teammates and put up highlight real plays along the way.

With NHL rosters expanding to 28 skaters for the playoffs, it might make sense for the Golden Knights to select Krebs in an attempt to recover some of the missed development time over the past calendar year.

Vegas will enter the playoffs with a fully healthy squad with the exception of Cody Glass. As we showed in our projection, that means 13 forwards that are used to playing every night plus at least five more AHL level forwards behind them. One of Tomas Nosek, Nick Cousins, Nic Roy, William Carrier, or Ryan Reaves will have to be a healthy scratch to start the playoffs and some combination of Brandon Pirri, Patrick Brown, Valentin Zykov, Lucas Elvenes, Keegan Kolesar, Gage Quinney, and Reid Duke will be ready to step in if needed as well.

No matter which forwards the Golden Knights ultimately select, there will be at least five extras available with a strong possibility of a sixth.

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NHL’s Round Robin Has Similarities to IIHF World Championship

(Photo Credit: SinBin.vegas Photographer Brandon Andreasen)

The idea of a round-robin is totally foreign to the NHL. Since the inception of the league in 1917, the Stanley Cup champions have always been determined by a regular season followed by playoffs.

With the pandemic throwing a wrench in the works, for the first time ever there will be a regular season, albeit truncated, followed by a round-robin plus a play-in round, and then a 16 team playoff with re-seeding after each round.

It’s unprecedented in the NHL but it’s not in the sport of hockey. In fact, the largest international tournament of the year uses a round-robin every single year. That’s the IIHF World Championship which consists mostly of NHL players who have been eliminated from the playoffs. In addition to that tournament, the 2016 World Cup of Hockey used a round-robin and the Olympics have used it for decades.

I think this is going to be a lot more similar to what you would have seen at a World Cup. The best players in the world got together and played extremely entertaining and competitive hockey. -Kelly McCrimmon

The difference in most of these tournaments, compared to the NHL’s round-robin is that it is not only used for seeding but to eliminate teams.

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McPhee: 30 Players Expected To Skate At City National Arena This Week

(Photo Credit: SinBin.vegas Photographer Brandon Andreasen)

City National Arena was re-opened a few weeks ago with the beginning of Phase 2 of the NHL’s return to play plans. It called for only six players to be on the ice at a time and the facilities to be under strict safety protocols.

Despite the rough news over the weekend regarding positive cases, it was reported this week that the number of players allowed in the building is being increased to 12 as the league continues on the path towards the opening of training camps on July 10th.

The Golden Knights confirmed early on that six players, Marc-Andre Fleury, Mark Stone, Max Pacioretty, Paul Stastny, Nick Holden, and Deryk Engelland, participated in a skate the very first day of Phase 2. Since, they’ve sent out a couple more videos showing the exact same group of six players.

However, with most players in town, and a few others confirming they’ve skated, it’s been clear that the total number of players heading to skate each day was larger than six. Speaking on Sportsnet’s Hockey Central yesterday, George McPhee confirmed that nearly the entire roster is back.

We had I think 24 players skate the first week, 28 the second week, and we’ll probably have 30 this week. –McPhee on Hockey Central

To make matters even better, he also gave an update on the overall health of the team, which was seemingly a bit more dire than it appeared over the course of this season.

Everyone (is healthy). I don’t know what players that you were aware of that were injured. We weren’t public with all of them but they are all healthy. We had a couple of those high ankle sprains that take forever to heal and sometimes you need the summer for them to heal and we’re fortunate that we’ve had this kind of time for them to heal. –McPhee on Hockey Central

The expectation is that the league will allow teams to carry 28 skaters and an unlimited number of goalies when play resumes at the hub cities. Meaning for Vegas, just about everyone who will play is back to training and for the most part, has been for the last two weeks.

Kelly McCrimmon confirmed last Monday that the organization has not experienced any positive tests for Coronavirus.

All in all, it’s looking good for the Golden Knights as they prepare to return to the ice for real and accomplish what they couldn’t in years one and two. It might look even better by the end of the week too as SinBin.vegas sources indicate the players have been told the current plan is for the Golden Knights to stay in Vegas and play at T-Mobile Arena.


The Golden Knights have sent out three videos showing the six players mentioned above one the ice. Here’s the latest of those videos.

@SinBinVegas Twitter Q&A – June 21st, 2020

(Photo Credit: SinBin.vegas Photographer Brandon Andreasen)

 

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