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SinBin.vegas Podcast #176: The Blame Game

Taped from Moneyline Sports Bar at Park MGM we chat about the struggling Golden Knights and their search for a fix. Hosted by Ken Boehlke and Jason Pothier.

  • A quick look at what’s going on and the changing of the lines
  • Who is to blame for the rut? Front office, head coach, or players
  • Ken’s wacky ideas for team unity
  • Will there be a moment when the Golden Knights show a fully urgent game?
  • Jonny Greco’s influence on the team

And much more…

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Frustration Is Not The Answer

(Photo Credit: SinBin.vegas Photographer Brandon Andreasen)

The quotes were all the same from last night.

Different players framed it in slightly different ways, but deep down they were all trying to say the same thing. This team is too good to be losing as often as they have been.

The most consistent sound coming out of the mouths of Golden Knights players in the month of November has been a deep breath.

They know they should be better, but no one completely understands why they haven’t been better. The underlying stats show the Golden Knights are deserving of a better fate, but time and time again the scoreboard has not agreed. It’s led to the same feeling up and down the Golden Knights organization, the feeling is frustration.

Frustrated with themselves, but mostly frustrated in the results.

Just about every player and coach had something to be frustrated with. Whether it was Mark Stone’s missed breakaway, the blown penalty shot by Jonathan Marchessault, defensemen finding themselves on the wrong side of the puck, or the decision to try a brand new set of forward lines, everyone had something to think about when heads hit pillows last night.

What does frustration do though?

Speaking for myself, being frustrated doesn’t lead to the best me. When I’m frustrated I usually make poor decisions. They have the best intentions, but choices made out of frustration don’t tend to solve my problems. It’s not until I change my attitude that I see the results turn.

That’s just what the Golden Knights need right now. A change in attitude. Enough looking for the ceiling for answers. Enough wondering when it is going to turn. Enough disappointment. Try something new.

Maybe it’s anger. The “rage room” is all the rage, right?

Maybe it’s some Tony Robbins life coach bullshit. “Your past doesn’t equal your future.”

Maybe it’s something weird, like a wacky Joe Maddon-esque team bonding thing. Onesie pajama party on the plane. Bring a mime to practice. (Maddon did both of these things.)

How about hypnotism? (There’s literally a professional hypnotist with a Vegas Strip show that is a diehard Golden Knights fan.)

Go hang out with the crazies from Cirque du Soleil again.

Whatever it is, this team needs a new feeling in the locker room.

Frustration is not the answer and it’s up to someone to do something, anything, to change it. Even if it looks really stupid while they are doing it.

CHICAGO BLACKHAWKS 5 VEGAS GOLDEN KNIGHTS 3 (9-8-3 21 PTS)

The game got off to quick with an early penalty shot for Chicago. The Blackhawks couldn’t convert and the Golden Knights took over. William Carrier and William Karlsson have Vegas a 2-0 lead 6:30 minutes into the game. Patrick Kane would get Chicago within one and the 1st period would come to a close 2-1 Vegas.

Chicago scored two 2nd period in a span of :45 seconds. Vegas was awarded a penalty shot of their own but Jonathan Marchessault couldn’t slip it past the Blackhawks goaltender.

The Golden Knights began the 3rd period trailing 3-2 and looked to get back into the game early. However, the Blackhawks had other plans and scored their fourth goal 3:57 into the final frame. Vegas would have a few chances but couldn’t covert until it was too late. Chicago coasted to a 5-3 victory.

Vegas’ record drops to 9-8-3 and remain at 21 points for the season. The Golden Knights will next play on Saturday afternoon at 1PM in Los Angeles. They’ll head right back home for a back-to-back on Sunday against the Calgary Flames. (Recap by Jason)


Upcoming stories from the Vegas Golden Knights vs Chicago Blackhawks at T-Mobile Arena

  • Rock bottom?

Ken’s Three VGK Stars
*** Nic Hague
** William Karlsson
* William Carrier

Golden Knights Have To Start “Trying To Dominate,” Especially At Home

(Photo Credit: SinBin.vegas Photographer Brandon Andreasen)

The last time the Golden Knights won at home was 17 days ago. The last time they’ve won two in a row at home was 211 days ago when they won Games 3 and 4 of the series against the Sharks.

Over the course of the first season and a half for the Golden Knights, no matter what else was going on, they could always rely on their ability to win at home. They went an unbelievable 29-10-2 at T-Mobile Arena in 2017-18 and backed it up by starting 16-4-3 at home to start 2018-19. But since, it’s been a bit of a struggle.

They finished last year at 10-6-2 before dropping a crucial Game 6 at home leading to a first-round exit. This year they’ve actually lost more games inside of T-Mobile Arena than they’ve won, posting a 4-3-2 record.

If you dig into the stats, you’ll see they’ve been scoring fewer goals, shooting much less, and for the most part not controlling the flow of the game even close to as often as they used to.

I don’t think it’s anything with personal or the style of play or anything like that. I just honestly think it’s a mentality thing. We’ve got to play a little bit harder, little bit chippier. We’ve got to really want to dominate teams. I think we are going out to just try and win, we want to go out and try to dominate. It makes winning that much easier and I think it makes everyone around us better. -Alex Tuch

Tuch has been watching from the sidelines for all but four periods this season, and he’s seeing exactly what most everyone else is seeing. While he was speaking about the team in general, in my opinion, his comments translate to the team’s play at home even more than on the road.

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Golden Knights Rumored To Be “Looking For A Mobile D”

(Photo Credit: SinBin.vegas Photographer Brandon Andreasen)

Since the start of the regular season, the Golden Knights have been playing a numbers game with the salary cap. They’ve shuttled players like Nic Roy, Nic Hague, Cody Glass, Jimmy Schuldt, and Jake Bischoff between the NHL and AHL in an attempt to accrue usable cap space come trade deadline day. Thus far, they’ve sent Roy down four times, Hague three, and Glass, Schuldt, and Bischoff each once. In doing so, they’ve lessened the cap hits of all five waiver exempt rookies.

They are doing this for one reason, and one reason only, so they are in a position to make a trade and acquire a player that will help them win the Stanley Cup. Whether that trade happens today, or next week, or seconds before noon on February 24th, that’s why they are playing this game.

Which should obviously spark everyone reading this to ask the exact same question.

“Who are they looking to trade for?”

No one besides a select few inside the walls of City National Arena actually know, but over the course of the next four months there will be context clues along the way.

The first of those comes to us compliments of Sportsnet.ca’s superstar reporter Elliotte Friedman.

Nate Schmidt is back after a 13-game absence, and the Golden Knights badly missed him. Does Vegas feel the need to add mobility on the blue line? Opponents do think it is one of their few weaknesses. –Friedman in 31 thoughts on 11/5/19

He left it there in the written article but went on to elaborate a bit on his weekly podcast with Jeff Marek, also named 31 Thoughts.

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3rd Line Desperately Needs A Shakeup

The Golden Knights 3rd line this season has been an absolute disaster.

And that’s putting it politely.

Six games with Pirri-Eakin-Glass. Four games with Pirri-Stastny-Zykov. Three games with Zykov-Eakin-Glass. Three games with Nosek-Eakin-Glass. One game with Pirri-Eakin-Stone.

That’s 17 games, and those 3rd lines amassed a total of one goal. A single goal scored by Cody Glass against the Calgary Flames, which if this were soccer, would have been an own goal credited to Mark Giordano.

Individually, it doesn’t look much better.

(Photo Credit: SinBin.vegas Photographer Brandon Andreasen)

Cody Glass – 18 games, 3 goals, 7 points*
Tomas Nosek – 17 games, 3 goals, 4 points**
Cody Eakin – 14 games, 0 goals, 3 points
Brandon Pirri – 10 games, 0 goals, 1 point
Valentin Zykov – 7 games, 0 goals, 2 points

*Glass played four games on the 2nd line. He scored one goal and had two assists in those games
**All three of Nosek’s goals were scored shorthanded or with the 4th line

But they aren’t supposed to be an offensive line. Right? That’s the bill of goods that’s been sold since the Golden Knights installed Eakin as the 3rd line center midway through the 2017-18 season.

Well, they aren’t good defensively either.

Eakin ranks as one of the 15 worst forwards with at least 100 minutes played this season with a 41.3% Corsi. He’s the 21st worst skater in the NHL at shot percentage at 40.8%, and he ranks in at least the 200th worst of 292 NHL forwards in goals against per 60, expected goals against per 60, and scoring chances against per 60. He’s been less than stellar in the faceoff circle winning at just a 46.4% clip, the worst of any Golden Knight with at least 100 draws. He has a -7 +/- rating, the worst of any Golden Knight. He’s one of four VGK skaters with a 0.0 defensive point shares number (the other three are Tuch, Roy and Bischoff who have played a combined 10 games). And, he’s registered just three takeaways, the least of any player with at least eight games played.

Pirri is right there with Eakin in all of the advanced stat numbers with a Corsi of 42.2%, shot percentage of 36.4%, and an expected goals for percentage of 41.8%. He’s been on the ice for just two goals while allowing five, and that’s including his 28:16 of power play time. He’s a -3, and has a -0.2 point share number which means if you simply subtracted Pirri and Eakin from the roster completely stats say they’d be almost half a point better in the standings.

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DETROIT RED WINGS 3 VEGAS GOLDEN KNIGHTS 2 (9-7-3 21 PTS)

The Golden Knights last stop on their road trip was in Motown for an afternoon faceoff against the Red Wings. Jonathan Marchessault put Vegas ahead 1-0 at the 16:27 mark of the 1st period. With under a minute remaining Detroit was able to tie it up 1-1 on the power play.

In the 2nd period Max Pacioretty continued his hot streak scoring a goal in four out of the last five games. Vegas played strong defensively and kept Detroit off the board in the middle frame. Pacioretty’s goal made it 2-1 Vegas after 40 minutes of action.

The Red Wings tied it up 2-2 midway through the 3rd period. Detroit would keep Vegas’ offense stagnant and would burn the visiting team with :30 seconds remaining in regulation. The Golden Knights lost a 3-2 heartbreaker in Detroit.

Vegas’ record drops to 9-7-3 and went 1-2-1 on their four-game road trip. The Golden Knights will get back on track Tuesday night against the Chicago Blackhawks. Game time is scheduled for 7P at the T-Mobile Arena. (Recap by Jason)


Upcoming stories from the Vegas Golden Knights at Detroit Red Wings at Little Caesars Arena

  • It’s gone on long enough, changes can’t wait any longer for the 3rd line

Ken’s Three VGK Stars
*** Jonathan Marchessault
** Nate Schmidt
* Max Pacioretty

WASHINGTON CAPITALS 5 VEGAS GOLDEN KNIGHTS 2 (9-6-3 21 PTS)

The Golden Knights put themselves in an early hole giving up a goal to Evgeny Kuznetsov :58 seconds into the game. The Capitals scored again five minutes later. Vegas would grind back and get within one on Max Pacioretty’s fifth of the year.

Washington would take a 3-1 lead early in the 2nd period but again Vegas would continue to chip away. Reilly Smith would make it 3-2 on a Golden Knights power play with his team leading 10th goal of the year.

The Golden Knights would begin the 3rd on the power play but couldn’t score a game tying goal. The Capitals would take another two goal lead with a power play goal by Nick Backstrom. Vegas would kill a 5-on-3 but couldn’t creep back. Washington would get a late empty netter to win 5-2.

Vegas’ record drops to (9-6-3) and sit with 21 points. The Golden Knights get right back to it tomorrow afternoon in Detroit. Faceoff against the Red Wings is scheduled for 2PM. (Recap by Jason)


Upcoming stories from the Vegas Golden Knights at Washington Capitals at Capital One Arena

  • Steve Carp’s Sunday column on the Jonny Greco’s departure. (Plus, his 5 favorite in-arena moments in VGK history.)

Ken’s Three VGK Stars
*** Reilly Smith
** Brayden McNabb
* Max Pacioretty

TORONTO MAPLE LEAFS 2 VEGAS GOLDEN KNIGHTS 1 (9-5-3 21 PTS) – OT

The Golden Knights were forced to start the game in their defensive zone but the team stepped up defensively. Under heavy attack for most of the period, Vegas and Malcolm Subban kept Toronto out of the net and the opening 20 minutes ended in a scoreless tie.

Vegas came out sin the 2nd period, combining for 14 shots on net. The Golden Knights penalty killing units continued to shine, shutting down Toronto’s power play and even-strengthened offense. After two periods the game remained 0-0.

The Golden Knights finally opened the scoring with a goal by Max Pacioretty 4:08 into the 3rd period. The Maple Leafs would tie the game on their sixth power play opportunity. After three periods of play the game would need to be settled in overtime. Jon Tavares would win it late in 2–1 OT for Toronto.

Vegas drops their record to (9-5-3). The team continues their road trip on Saturday will against the Washington Capitals. Puck drop is scheduled for 4PM PT. (Recap by Jason)


Upcoming stories from the Vegas Golden Knights at Toronto Maple Leafs at Scotiabank Arena

  • Can we stop with the “Golden Knights aren’t that good” stuff?

Ken’s Three VGK Stars
*** Shea Theodore
** Max Pacioretty
* Malcolm Subban

Explaining The Salary Cap Benefit Of Sending Nic Hague And Nic Roy To The AHL

(Photo Credit: SinBin.vegas Photographer Brandon Andreasen)

Well, it happened again. Following a night in which both Nic Hague and Nic Roy played in a win against Columbus, they were optioned to the AHL. This morning, they were called right back up and one or both may play tonight against Toronto.

Being shuttled back and forth between the AHL and NHL isn’t new for the Nics. It has happened to Roy three times and Hague twice. They are sent down with the idea of eventually bringing them back up and sometimes it all happens within a day or two.

When it happens, you’ll see dopes like the guys at SinBin.vegas tweet something like this…

It’s about cap space we say.

Reminds me of one of my favorite lines in Seinfeld history when Kramer says “they just write it off.” He has no idea what writing it off means or how it helps businesses, but it sounds smart, so he says it.

They are accruing cap space, all the teams are doing it!

But how? Why? Are you sure?

If you nailed down most, they’ll eventually crack like Kramer and say “I don’t know, but they do it.” And the conversation would end there because let’s be honest, does anyone really care how or why it happens?

But, since you are still reading, you must be someone that cares. So, I’m here today to explain it. (After I spent most of my night last night reading through the CBA and having my buddy Hart from PuckPedia.com further explain it to me.)

The NHL has what they call an “upper limit” or a maximum amount of money a team can spend on their team salaries. This is often referred to as the salary cap. The idea behind it is to make it so that no team can go out and buy the best players and pay their way to a dynasty. There’s a crazy calculation to figure out what the cap will be each year, but that’s for another day. This year the upper limit is $81.5 million.

So, every day at 5PM EST, the league takes a look at every roster in the NHL, calculates the total amount of salary they have on their roster and makes sure it’s at or under $81.5 million. But, it’s not always as easy as simple addition. Instead, they use what’s called an “averaged amount” based on the player’s contract and the length of time he’s been on the NHL roster.

If a player makes $1 million and he’s been on the roster for every day of the season, he counts for $1 million against the cap. However, if that player was off the roster at any point, his cap figure comes down. Here, let me show you an example.

The league season is 186 days long. It runs from October 2nd to April 4th. Thus, every player’s salary is calculated over 186 days. To make the numbers round, let’s use a player that makes $1.86 million. Every day of his contract is worth $10,000 against the cap. $10,000*186 = $1.86 million.

Say this player is on the roster on opening night. The league calculates it as if he’s going to be on the roster for the rest of the year, so his cap hit is $1.86 million. If he’s on the roster every day for the next 40, his cap hit never changes, it’s always $1.86 million.

But, if he’s sent to the minors for one day, his cap hit is now reduced by $10,000 ($1.86 million divided by 186). When he comes back his cap hit is now $1.85 million.

Every day he’s not on the NHL roster, his cap hit decreases by $10,000. Send him down for 10, you save $100,000. Send him away for 30, you save $300,000.

Got it? Ok, let’s move away from this mythical player and get back to the Nics, Hague and Roy.

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