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Author: Ken Boehlke Page 2 of 159

Center Or Winger? Erik Haula’s Position Determines VGK’s Future Roster

(Photo Credit: SinBin.vegas Photographer Brandon Andreasen)

Coming into the 2018-19 season the Golden Knights appeared to be overloaded at the center position. With William Karlsson centering the top line, Stastny on the second, and Cody Eakin, Pierre-Edouard Bellemare, and Erik Haula all options for the final two lines, Gerard Gallant was not short on choices. When the dust settled, Haula wound up being the odd-man out being pushed to the wing to play with Stastny and Max Pacioretty.

However, Gallant never had a full roster of players to work as Alex Tuch was missing for the first eight games, and by the time he returned, Stastny had gone out with a major injury. So, we don’t know exactly what may have happened had the Golden Knights been fully healthy. All indications through training camp, preseason, and the beginning of year indicated the plan was to use Haula as a winger, but a quick rash of injuries forced Haula back into the center until he was eventually lost for the season in early November.

As we head into 2019-20, there’s a possibility of some change in regards to the center position. Bellemare is an unrestricted free agent, former #6 overall pick Cody Glass could potentially fight for a roster spot in camp, and Haula still has to prove he’s fully healed from his brutal knee injury.

Aside from center though, the Golden Knights have much more depth on the wings now than they did heading into Year 2. With the additions of Mark Stone and Nikita Gusev, the Golden Knights now have nine legitimate top-six quality forwards. But, depending on Erik Haula’s position, they may only have two centers of those nine (Karlsson and Stastny).

On locker cleanout day, we asked Haula about returning to center. The words that came out of his mouth were not exactly telling, but the way they were delivered certainly made it seem as though he views himself as a center.

That’s… yeah that’s something that I need to talk about, but yeah that’s my… Possibly. I don’t know. I don’t know yet exactly, so just focus on getting to 100 (percent) then figure that out. -Haula

It’s an important decision for the Golden Knights as their lines would look drastically different with Haula as the 3rd center or as part of a group of seven stellar wings.

Haula as Center
Marchessault-Karlsson-Smith
Pacioretty-Stastny-Stone
Gusev-Haula-Tuch
Carrier/Nosek-Eakin-Reaves/Carpenter

Haula as Wing
Marchessault-Karlsson-Smith
Pacioretty-Stastny-Stone
Haula/Gusev-Eakin-Tuch
Haula/Gusev-Nosek/Carpenter/Glass-Reaves/Carrier

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Best Moments From The 2018-19 Season

(Photo Credit: SinBin.vegas Photographer Brandon Andreasen)

Year 2 was a lot different than Year 1 in many ways, but that doesn’t mean the 2018-19 season didn’t have its fair share of incredible moments. We asked on social media for fans’ favorite moments from the season and we’ve compiled them into one mega multi-media post.

(This post is brought to you by the Charity Series of Poker. Please register in Saturday’s poker tournament benefitting VGK Sled Hockey. More details here.)

January 19th, 2019 – Jonathan Marchessault Hat Trick

April 14th, 2019 – Mark Stone Playoff Hat Trick

(Photo Credit: SinBin.vegas Photographer Brandon Andreasen)

March 21st, 2019 – Malcolm Subban First Career Shutout

https://twitter.com/GoldenKnights/status/1108953852043091968

October 28th, 2018 – Jonathan Marchessault Penalty Shot vs. Ottawa

February 25th, 2019 – Mark Stone Acquired At Trade Deadline

April 14th, 2019 – Ryan Reaves Fights Evander Kane

March 6th, 2019 – Marc-Andre Fleury Post Whistle Scrum Against Calgary 

https://twitter.com/TheOilDrop/status/1103532481012215808

February 28th, 2019 – Reilly Smith Incredible Between The Legs Goal vs. Florida

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SinBin.vegas Podcast #154: Miller Time

We try to dissect the Colin Miller scratch situation as well as chat a bit about William Karlsson and the IIHF World Championships. Hosted by Ken Boehlke and Jason Pothier.

  • What exactly went down that left Colin Miller out of Game 1?
  • A little IIHF talk
  • Get over it
  • William Karlsson’s contract situation
  • What if the Sharks win the Cup?

And much more…

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

Why Didn’t Colin Miller Play Game 1?

(Photo Credit: SinBin.vegas Photographer Brandon Andreasen)

When a series goes seven games, it’s the nature of the beast for the losing team to look back at every play, every call, and every decision to come up with answers as to what went wrong.

Of course, it’s been harped on time and time again that the call on Cody Eakin was blown and it cost the Golden Knights a chance to still be playing today. However, there’s no denying the fact that Vegas lost three other games in the series that could have nullified that gaffe.

In Games 5 and 6, Vegas played well and close games just didn’t fall their way, but Game 1 was a much different story. When the series got underway in San Jose, the Golden Knights seemed to take a moment to really get going. By the time they did, it was too late and they instantly dug themselves a hole in the series they would eventually climb out of, only to fall right back in.

Over the course of the first six games, head coach Gerard Gallant made one lineup change. That was putting Colin Miller, who was scratched in Game 1, back into the lineup for Nick Holden.

It was a peculiar decision to bench Miller in the first place, and one that would only get weirder as questions would later be answered about the lineup move.

Miller played all 102 games last season, 65 of the 82 in the regular season this year, and all of the previous seven heading into playoffs. Also, Miller took part in 13 of the 14 prior meetings between the Sharks and Golden Knights, scoring three goals, putting up five assists, and recording a +4 rating. Vegas won nine of the 13 games Miller played against San Jose and lost the one he didn’t.

This was the reasoning for scratching Miller after Game 1 from the Golden Knights head coach.

That was… Like I told you the other day, we play 20 hockey players and there’s some good players that are not playing tonight so we decided he’s not going to play tonight. -Gallant

Is he healthy? – SinBin.vegas

Yes, everybody’s healthy. -Gallant

However, it clearly wasn’t that simple.

Miller took warmups prior to Game 1 against the Sharks. No other player (with the exception of Jimmy Schuldt days after he joined the team) skated in warmups and then didn’t play for the Golden Knights in 2018-19. In 2017-18 it happened only a handful of times and in every instance, it was precautionary to cover for a player who might be injured and unable to play.

As Gallant confirmed, no one was injured. Miller skated alongside the scratches in morning skate the day of Game 1, so the decision was clearly not made in the spur of the moment before the game.

To make matters even more confusing, Miller was instantly placed back in the normal rotation on the off-day between Games 1 and 2. He played in every game the rest of the series, and Gallant made an interesting comment when asked about Miller prior to Game 4.

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Latest On The Ilya Mikheyev Front

(Photo Credit: SinBin.vegas Photographer Brandon Andreasen)

The Golden Knights made waves in the postseason by signing, and eventually burning, Nikita Gusev’s entry-level contract. The Russian superstar is the KHL’s MVP and will play on a line with Evgenii Malkin and Nikita Kucherov when the IIHF World Championships get underway next week.

But the George McPhee doesn’t seem to be done with his quest to bring over some of Russia’s best to become Golden Knights. On April 20th, a Canadian reporter dropped some news that Ilya Mikheyev could be the next Russian import to sign in Vegas.

Of course, that did not happen prior to the Golden Knights being eliminated from the playoffs, so no longer is Mikheyev eligible to burn his one-year entry-level contract that he will be forced to sign if/when he does decide to come to the NHL.

Weeks later, the news on Mikheyev was silent until his name popped back up in Elliotte Friedman’s 31 Thoughts column on Wednesday.

Some of my Russian sources aren’t buying that winger Ilya Mikheyev is picking between Toronto and Vegas. They think it is the Maple Leafs, and has been that way for a while. -Elliotte Friedman, Sportsnet

However, Friedman doesn’t think the Golden Knights are completely out of the running on Mikheyev. He expanded a bit on his podcast, also named 31 Thoughts, on Thursday.

I wrote in the notes that my Russian guys were telling me that Mikheyev was going to be a Leaf. The one thing I was told is that I think Vegas and Chicago are still going to pitch him but he’s Toronto’s to lose. -Friedman

TSN’s Bob McKenzie weighed in saying something similar as well.

There’ve been multiple reports here in the last week that Mikheyev is on the verge of signing with an NHL team and there’ve been multiple reports that the team is the Toronto Maple Leafs. My understanding of the situation is that while it is likely Toronto is the front runner for his services, he technically hasn’t made a final decision just yet, that won’t happen until the beginning of the week, and that there have been conversations between Mikheyev and the Vegas Golden Knights as well as the Chicago Blackhawks. But those who know Mikheyev believe he’s looking very fondly at the Toronto Maple Leafs as an opportunity. -Bob McKenzie, TSN

Mikheyev is considered a high-end two-way player who has the ability to score. He’s a good skater, a great back-checker, and has consistently been used as a penalty killer for his KHL team, Avangard Omsk.

As of this moment, Mikheyev has not signed with any NHL team officially. The Golden Knights definitely appear to be an underdog to pull this one off, but he could be a nice add if that final pitch goes well for McPhee.

Either way, we should know in the next few days.

KTNV (Channel 13) To Broadcast All Seven Preseason Games Live

When else do you get to see Dylan Ferguson between the pipes in a Golden Knights sweater? (Photo Credit: SinBin.vegas Photographer Brandon Andreasen)

Remember when the Golden Knights first laced em up this year for preseason games against the Coyotes, Avalanche, Kings, and Sharks?

Yeah, me neither, because those games were not broadcasted in the Las Vegas area. Only the final two preseason games were shown on TV in Vegas leaving five off the air.

In 2019, that won’t be the case thanks to KTNV, Channel 13, who will announce the news as soon as next week.

The Golden Knights are scheduled to play seven preseason games with four of them at T-Mobile Arena. The schedule is likely to be announced in the next month or so but those games should take place in the second, third, and fourth weeks of September with the regular season getting underway the first week of October.

AT&T Sportsnet will continue to air all regular season games that are not nationally broadcast, but KTNV will become the first local channel to air a Golden Knights game with their exclusive contract to show the preseason.

Further details of the broadcast, such as announcers, remain unknown, but this news is great news as no longer are Vegas fans going to be left searching the web for illegal streams of other teams’ Jumbotrons to watch their beloved Golden Knights in the preseason.

Change In Title, Not In Command

It was August of 2016 in an airport in Vienna, Austria that Vegas Golden Knights General Manager George McPhee first met Kelly McCrimmon.

When George called me in July, I had never talked to him, I had never met him before. -McCrimmon

Both on their way to the Ivan Hlinka prospects tournament in Slovakia, the two met for the first time and eventually formed a partnership that would take the NHL by storm.

It’s the best working relationship I’ve had in this business. -George McPhee

On that day McPhee began the process of courting then owner, general manager, and head coach of the WHL’s Brandon Wheat Kings, Kelly McCrimmon, to become his “assistant.”

I told Kelly when I was trying to hire him that he was going to be involved in every single thing we do here. -McPhee

McCrimmon took the job, officially titled “Assistant General Manager” and the two immediately got to work.

However, it was never really a situation with a first and second in command. Instead, McPhee quickly turned over half of his responsibilities, making the relationship much more of an equal partnership. It literally happened days after McCrimmon took the job.

I divvied up the teams, I said you take these 15 NHL teams, I’ll take these 15 NHL teams. You deal with them all year, I’ll deal with these and we shared everything, basically co-managed for three years and that will continue. -McPhee

Quite frankly, since the moment he started, Kelly was the general manager of the Golden Knights in relation to those 15 teams, but in reality, it was much more than just half the league.

The thing that’s special about our organization and our relationship is just the collaboration. -McCrimmon

That has continued ever since.

Literally however insignificant a move we’ve made, it has never ever been someone overruling the other. -McCrimmon

We haven’t disagreed on anything. For two guys who didn’t know each other, to get together and see things the way we see them, it’s just been a real treat to work together and I think we’ve been good and we’re going to keep doing it the same way. -McPhee

That’s why, when McCrimmon’s name started popping up as a prime candidate for open GM positions in Edmonton and Seattle, McPhee knew he couldn’t let his “co-manager” leave. So, he had to come up with a solution.

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Kelly McCrimmon Promoted To General Manager, George McPhee To Remain As President Of Hockey Operations

(Photo Credit: SinBin.vegas Photographer Brandon Andreasen)

The Golden Knights announced today that Kelly McCrimmon has been promoted from Assistant General Manager to General Manager. George McPhee, who previously had the title of General Manager and President of Hockey Operations, will now simply become the President of Hockey Operations.

Truthfully, very little will change with the Golden Knights organization. McPhee remains first in command and in complete control of all hockey decisions, while McCrimmon gets a title boost, probably a pay raise, and a few added responsibilities.

The reason for this move is because of how coveted McCrimmon is by other teams. He was a lead candidate for the General Manager position in both Edmonton and Seattle. The title boost means the Golden Knights will not lose McCrimmon to either job.

Functionally, there will be a few minor differences.

In this new role, McCrimmon will represent the Golden Knights at the league’s General Managers Meetings and be the point of contact for other NHL GMs. -Golden Knights press release

As far as from the fan perspective, this move has nearly no impact on the chemical makeup of the front office. The same people are making the decisions, with the same power structure in place.

The main takeaway that should come from this move is The Creator’s continued commitment to the Golden Knights success. Rather than let a trusted person leave for a better position, the team gave him a new title to keep him with the organization. Further proving, The Creator will spare no expense to reach the ultimate goal.

McCrimmon, McPhee, and Foley are expected to meet with the media at noon today at City National Arena.

McPhee Fires Cryptic Shot At Sharks In Final Press Conference

(Photo Credit: SinBin.vegas Photographer Brandon Andreasen)

Emotions ran very high during the Golden Knights and Sharks seven game first round thriller. From the Ryan Reaves vs. Evander Kane jabs (both literal and figurative) to Joe Thornton’s dirty hit on Tomas Nosek, to the “clown” comment from Gerard Gallant, the series will leave a lasting impression.

George McPhee clearly had some thoughts on the way the Sharks played in the series and in the most calculated way possible, he didn’t take long to let some slip out early in his season-ending press conference.

(Our) guys played their guts out. I like the way they competed for this organization, for this city. I think it’s a team that people can be proud of, they play hard, they play honest, they don’t embellish, we don’t cheat, we play the game right. We play hard. -George McPhee

Who could he possibly be referencing that plays a different way?

Aside from the apology from the NHL, admitting that the Sharks were the benefit of a horrendous call that changed the series, McPhee obviously wasn’t a fan of some of the embellishing, and apparently cheating, the Sharks did in the series.

San Jose benefitted from a 114-105 penalty minute advantage in the series, and were called for more penalties than Vegas in just two of the seven games, in Games 3 and 4.

There was a lot of after-whistle garbage and even an after game scrum that left Cody Eakin with a broken nose.

It was a hard fought series, but clearly, the GM of the Golden Knights felt there were a few liberties taken by the eventual winner of the series. It doesn’t matter now, but there’s no question the Golden Knights franchise, from top to bottom, will be ready to make amends against San Jose as quickly as possible.

SinBin.vegas Podcast #153: Early Offseason Outlook

For the first time since the disaster in San Jose, we get back in the studio to start looking at what the offseason might look like for the Golden Knights. Hosted by Ken Boehlke and Jason Pothier.

  • Necessary anger towards Dan O’Halloran and Eric Furlatt
  • Reviewing penalties in the NHL
  • Trade ideas
  • Potential 70 point Golden Knights
  • What do we expect to happen when all is said and done

And much more…

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

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