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Author: Ken Boehlke Page 1 of 192

DeBoer Has No Interest In First Round Bye

(Photo Credit: SinBin.vegas Photographer Brandon Andreasen)

16 teams? 20 teams? 24 teams? They’ve all been floated as the NHL tries to figure out how they’ll return to action when the pandemic finally subsides.

For the Golden Knights, because they sat atop the Pacific Division when the league was paused, the smaller the tournament, the better. But, there’s one major hurdle even teams atop their divisions believe needs to be cleared.

Whatever the answer is, whoever’s team goes on that Cup, there has to be enough integrity to the process and the decision on how we’re going to do it so that team isn’t going to have an asterisk beside it in the history books. –Pete DeBoer on ESPN on Ice

In other words, whatever the format ends up being, there has be enough teams in the playoffs to make it feel like the winner truly is the best team in the league. No matter how tight the schedule gets, there won’t be any consideration of a four-team, or even eight-team, tournament when hockey starts back up.

Which leads us to the two most likely scenarios. The first is to stick with the normal 16-team playoff format the league has used for years. Everything remains the same and if you weren’t in the playoffs when the league halted, tough break. Everyone in the playoff picture, like Vegas, believe this is the best plan, but the five or six teams on the outside have different thoughts.

That’s what birthed the second idea, which is an extended playoff with 20 or 24 teams. For an example of what that could look like, check out our friend Drew Goldfarb’s proposal.

This scenario, as well as pretty much any other one with greater than 16 teams, gives the Golden Knights a bye in the first round. That’s something that sounds great, but in the eyes of Pete DeBoer isn’t.

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AHL Arena In Henderson Facing Opposition

(Photo Credit: Ken Boehlke, SinBin.vegas)

Things aren’t looking quite as golden, or should I say silver, as they did a few months ago when the Golden Knights took over the state of Henderson address announcing the construction of a 6,000 seat stadium.

The plan is to replace the current Henderson Pavilion with a state of the art hockey arena to serve as the permanent home of the AHL team The Creator recently purchased. The team was set to practice at the new facility being built on Water St., play at Orleans Arena for the next few years, and then move to the future arena on the corner of Green Valley and Paseo Verde.

Obviously, the shutdown of the league, and the world for that matter, caused by the coronavirus will present some challenges, but the issues go well beyond that in the eyes of many Henderson residents.

Stories recently published on KNPR and in the Review-Journal show Henderson and the Golden Knights appear to have different ideas than those who live and work in the arena.

Basically there were three meetings, they were hour-long meetings, exact same presentation. Packed packed meeting rooms and long lines to get to the next one… This wasn’t really a meeting in support of this hockey team and this new venue that would support it, these were people who seemed pretty concerned about this new venue in their neighborhood. -Mike Prevatt, KNPR

The issues range from minor to major with the minor ones surrounding traffic and parking while the major issue wondering about the way in which the city is going about making the arena a reality and how much of the money to pay for it is coming out of Henderson residents’ pockets.

Mayor Debra March has said Henderson would pay for half the building with up to $40 million in public money, but the city has since backed off that figure, saying the cost has not been determined. -Blake Apgar, LVRJ

The proposal is expected to be brought to the city council officially on May 19th according to the RJ.

Normally concerns voiced by the people end up holding little weight when it comes to the construction of arenas and the decisions to publicly finance them. However, the current state of the world is likely to at least throw a bit of a wrench into the works for the Golden Knights and their AHL plans.

What seemed like a slam dunk a few months ago may not look so clear when the question of spending $40 million on an arena comes up in a little over a month’s time.

Concerns of traffic, parking, and infrastructure, while probably all fair and valid now, will likely be answered as more plans are unveiled, but the financial aspect of the project will remain uncertain, to say the least.

SinBin.vegas Podcast #192: Hidden Injuries

Locked inside Ken’s house, we chat about the Golden Knights moving blueprint and where they stand once hockey resumes. Hosted by Ken Boehlke and Jason Pothier.

  • Who were the three hidden injured guys?
  • Why make excuses for a blueprint that’s worked?
  • Erratic front office?
  • The McPhee way
  • DeBoer, McPhee, or McCrimmon

And much more…

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

VGK All Over 2019-20 NHLPA Player’s Poll

(Photo Credit: SinBin.vegas Photographer Brandon Andreasen)

Every year the NHL Players Association (NHLPA) conducts a poll among more than 500 players asking a wide-ranging variety of topics.

In the Golden Knights’ first season there were just two mentions of Vegas related items in the poll. Last year that number jumped to five. This year takes the cake with seven total Golden Knights mentions.

We’ll start with the team related ones. First, in a bit of a surprise, the Golden Knights were voted to have the second-best jersey in all of the NHL.

Last year T-Mobile-Arena was voted as having the best atmosphere in the league. This year that category was left off, but that didn’t keep Vegas away from the arena related items.

The best individual honor received by a Golden Knight went to Marc-Andre Fleury.

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“Hidden” Injuries Hurt Golden Knights Early In Season

(Photo Credit: SinBin.vegas Photographer Brandon Andreasen)

It feels like ages ago now, but just six months ago the Golden Knights kicked off the third season in franchise history. It began with a pair of hotly contested games against the hated San Jose Sharks, each resulting in Vegas wins. From there, the Golden Knights ripped off wins in six of their first nine games before hitting the skids a bit dropping 12 of the next 17.

It all added up to a paltry 11-11-4 start. In those first 25 games, the Golden Knights were without Alex Tuch for 17, Nate Schmidt for 12, Malcolm Subban for nine, and Cody Eakin for four. Plus, Valentin Zykov was suspended for 20.

According to George McPhee though, those weren’t the only ailments plaguing his team early in the season.

We started the season a little slow. We had three players that were injured. The hidden injuries, we had three guys that were hurt late in the summer in training and missed a lot of training time. They were really behind when we got going. It was pretty obvious. -McPhee to GoldenKnights.com

My first thought was, “who’s he talking about?”

Shea Theodore’s bout with cancer could certainly fall under that category, but it’s hard to call that one “hidden.” Tuch, Schmidt, Eakin, Subban, and Whitecloud were all hurt on the ice during regular or preseason games, so he can’t be talking about them. Then there was the William Karlsson “can’t take draws” injury that seemed to occur in a preseason game, but once again, that shouldn’t have gotten in the way of the summer training.

“Three guys hurt late in the summer in training.”

The first, most obvious, candidate would be Ryan Reaves. He missed a majority of training camp, not hitting the ice for the first time until September 24th.

The next best guess is Paul Stastny who was absent for the first four preseason games but played in the final three and didn’t miss any of the 71 games played thus far.

Finally, there are Mark Stone and Deryk Engelland. Both participated in training camp, but neither saw preseason action until the third preseason game. That’s not horribly unusual, but when looking for “hidden” injuries the only names missing from the first two preseason games have to be considered.

Statistically, Stone was dominant out of the gates this season putting up 18 points in his first 15 games. The other three, not so much. Reaves tallied just three points in his first 20, Engelland had just two in 20, and Stastny had nine points in his first 20.

Or maybe it’s someone else I’m not even considering. But the point of this isn’t to out the guys who were potentially injured though, it’s to ask why that is an acceptable excuse?

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McPhee And McCrimmon Linked Up By Unlikely Matchmaker

(Photo Credit: SinBin.vegas Photographer Brandon Andreasen)

For the past three years, most of the success the Golden Knights have achieved on the ice can be credited to the “two-headed monster” of George McPhee and Kelly McCrimmon. As a pair, they’ve called all the shots that took Vegas from an expansion team to the Stanley Cup Final to a perennial contender in an incredibly short period of time.

From the moment I got here I was struck by (the fact that), we have two GMs. I like to call you guys the two-headed monster. I know you don’t like that and you said to me, ‘we’re not monsters Gary’ –Gary Lawless on SLGND Podcast

Whatever you call them, they are a heck of a pair atop the Golden Knights front office depth chart. So much so that in May of last year McCrimmon was promoted to general manager out of McPhee’s fear that he would leave for another job if he wasn’t.

It’s a partnership that has defined the Golden Knights, but it’s one that may have never been formed in the first place if not for an assist from an unlikely source.

As recently as July of 2016, McCrimmon and McPhee had never met. They knew of each other having both worked in hockey for the past few decades, but it wasn’t until a phone call in July, then a meeting in an airport in Austria in August that they actually linked up.

That phone call, the first one from McPhee to McCrimmon, may not have happened if not for a powerful recommendation from a man known in the hockey community as “The Bobfather.”

I had just finished reading Bob McKenzie’s book (Hockey Confidential) a few years ago and I thought jeez Bob would be a good guy just to call and say ‘here’s my list of guys I’m considering for assistant GM, do you have anybody I should put on this list?’ -McPhee on SLGND Podcast

So George asked me and the first thing I said to him, ‘is Kelly McCrimmon on your list? ‘-Bob McKenzie, TSN

I didn’t know Kelly. I do recall our amateur scouting staff in Washington always said good things about him. -McPhee on SLGND Podcast

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McCrimmon Expects League Order Of Operations To Remain In Tact Despite Pause

(Photo Credit: SinBin.vegas Photographer Brandon Andreasen)

Two weeks ago all was rolling along as planned and the Golden Knights were 11 games away from claiming their second Pacific Division title in franchise history. Then, the NHL hit the pause button, quite literally. Then, on March 12th, the season was halted, the season suspended, and the league calendar put in complete limbo.

Normally, the season ends, the playoffs start, then there’s a draft, free agency, training camp and we’re onto the next season.

This year, who knows?

Kelly McCrimmon, speaking on the Hockey Hotline with Brian Blessing, has no idea when the league will pick back up, nor is he even sure it will, but he does have an expectation as to how the calendar will look once it does.

The sequence of the events, I expect, will roll out in the same order. I can’t tell you what the dates of those events will be but I would expect that we wouldn’t have the NHL Draft until the season was over. There’s still going to be a window in there for free agency, which wouldn’t happen until the NHL Draft is over. -Kelly McCrimmon on Vegas Hockey Hotline

McCrimmon did qualify his expectations, indicating that he had not been told this by the league.

And again, that’s only speculation on my part, but I expect that the sequence of events will remain the same. The uncertainty would be exactly when those would be. -McCrimmon on Vegas Hockey Hotline

Last year, here’s how the calendar rolled out.

April 6th – Last day of regular season
April 9th – NHL Draft lottery
April 10th – Stanley Cup Playoffs begin
April 27th – NHL Scouting Combine begins
June 12th – Final day of Stanley Cup
June 19th – NHL Awards Show in Las Vegas
June 21-22 – NHL Draft
July 1st – Free agency opens
August 6th – Deadline for RFA salary arbitration

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Whitecloud’s Contract Likely Spells End Of The Road For Two Original Golden Knights

In their first official roster activity since the NHL season was put on halt, the Golden Knights locked up defenseman Zach Whitecloud to a two-year contract at $725K AAV.

Whitecloud becomes the third Golden Knights defenseman to be locked into next season since early February. First, Vegas acquired Alec Martinez and will pay him $4 million against the cap in 2020-21, then they extended Nick Holden on trade deadline day for a cheap $1.7 million for two seasons, and now Whitecloud.

That leaves the Golden Knights blueline fairly stocked. Shea Theodore and Nate Schmidt are under contract for each of the next five seasons, Brayden McNabb, Holden, and Whitecloud each have two years left now, and Martinez’s deal expires at the end of next season.

That’s six NHL defensemen under contract for the 20-21 season with Nic Hague, Jake Bischoff, and Dylan Coghlan all waiting in the wings in the AHL. Plus, Jimmy Schuldt will become an RFA whenever free agency opens this summer meaning he’ll likely stick around for another year as well.

(Photo Credit: SinBin.vegas Photographer Brandon Andreasen)

So, where does that leave the two defensemen currently on the roster both set to become UFAs? Well, the previous nine games before the pause told the beginning of the story (neither Merrill nor Engelland played defense in any of them), Whitecloud and Holden’s extensions tell the middle, and now the end will have to wait until July 1 (or whatever the equivalent is this year).

Under Gallant, Merrill played 38 of the Golden Knights’ 49 games. Engelland was in Gallant’s lineup for 44 of 49. Under DeBoer, Merrill has played 11 of the 22 (with one as a forward) and Engelland just five. Clearly, both Merrill and Engelland had fallen out of the Pete DeBoer led Golden Knights lineup prior to the pause.

Now, with six defensemen under NHL contract and four more pushing for time there’s simply not space for both Engelland and Merrill, if there’s even space for one.

Plus, looking over the roster and the salary cap balance sheet, if there’s one place for Vegas to upgrade with a massive piece, it would be on defense (paging Alex Pietrangelo).

Things get even trickier for Merrill and Engelland when you consider that none of the six NHL contracts are waiver-exempt next season. Also, Nic Roy will require waivers next season as well. Vegas spent the majority of the season juggling their roster this year because they could. Glass, Hague, Whitecloud, and Roy could all go back and forth without any risk. That’s no longer the case for Whitecloud and Roy, which means the expected roster already has 18 (and 19 if you count the backup goalie), waiver-eligible players. There’s simply no room for another one.

The move of signing Whitecloud should be celebrated as it was done for an incredibly cheap price and it gives the Golden Knights even more cap flexibility heading into an offseason with an uncertain cap. But, for those who are fans of original Golden Misfits, the deal likely signals the end of at least one and probably two of them.

SinBin.vegas Podcast #191: Quarantined In Ken’s House

Locked inside Ken’s house, we talk about the possibility of the season returning, paying employees, and quarantine life. Hosted by Ken Boehlke and Jason Pothier.

  • The August/September idea
  • VGK paying T-Mobile Employees
  • The future cap and Vegas
  • Feeling bad for McPhee?
  • What are you up to in this weird time?

And much more…

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

The Creator Explains The Delay In Announcing Plans To Take Care Of T-Mobile Arena Employees

(Photo Credit: SinBin.vegas Photographer Brandon Andreasen)

Yesterday the Golden Knights became the 31st team in the NHL to commit to paying arena employees for missed games due to the pause in the season.

The Golden Knights organization, players and Vegas Golden Knights Foundation will combine resources and planning to support those employees who may miss shifts due to the pause in the NHL season and pledge a minimum of $500,000 to these efforts. Leading the player contributions is goaltender Marc-Andre Fleury,who has committed to donating $100,000. -Golden Knights press release

Previously, every other team had made an announcement except the Golden Knights. In a pair of interviews with Vegas Hockey Hotline and JT The Brick, the Creator explained exactly why it took a bit longer for his team to make their announcement.

We wanted to be very specific about what we were doing. A lot of clubs made kind of a general statement. What I personally wanted to do was to make sure we get the money to the people who need it. We’re actually distributing it to the people who work, directly. That way we know they are going to get it. -The Creator on Vegas Hockey Hotline

We wanted to make sure we dealt with this ourselves, directly with the individuals that are working, to get the money from us. We don’t want it going through a third party. We’re making the decision. We know who the people are, we’re just getting our list together. -The Creator on Fox Sports Radio with JT The Brick

The tricky part in the Golden Knights situation is that employees at T-Mobile Arena work for a variety of employers. Many work for MGM. Others work for Levy, the company that handles food and beverage in the arena. Ushers work for a company called WeServe, and there are a few other third party companies involved as well.

So, The Creator says he wanted to take the middlemen out of the process to avoid any situations where the money would be dealt with in an unsavory manner.

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