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Category: Team Ops (Page 1 of 59)

40 Points In 30 Games Means Vegas Golden Knights Playoff Hockey

Tonight the Golden Knights play their 30th game of the season. It’s a home against the 11-11-7 Carolina Hurricanes (29 points) who lost last night in Anaheim.

They better get at least 1 point so we don’t need to research 39 points in 30 games. (Photo Credit: Photographer Brandon Andreasen)

Vegas enters the game with 39 points and has a chance to join four other teams (TB, STL, NSH, LAK) to reach the 40 point plateau by their 30th game.

You should be asking yourself, why do I care about getting 40 points in the first 30 games of the season? Well here’s why.

Since the 2010-11 season, a total of 35 teams have hit that mark. 33 of them went to the playoffs and 32 of them reached 100 points on the season. (See full breakdown below)

Let’s put that in percentages. Teams that reach 40 points in 30 games have made the playoffs at a 94.3% rate and have finished with at least 100 points 91.4% of the time. Thus, if the Golden Knights earn a single point tonight against the Hurricanes, they have just a 5.7% chance of missing the playoffs… at least that’s what history says, but what does history know?

*** Chart of teams that reached 40 points in 30 games**

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35: The Golden Knights Magic Number

The Golden Knights returned from a perfect two-game road trip, keeping their winning streak alive at four games. Overall, they’re 4-1-0 in December. Although three of the four games were decided in overtime, Vegas has come away with eight points out of a possible 10, including two impressive wins in Nashville and Dallas.

Hockey is so simple sometimes. Just shoot it 35 times. Boom. Winner. (Photo Credit: Photographer Brandon Andreasen)

One reason could be the rising shot totals the Golden Knights are launching. During their four-game win streak, the team has 39 shots on goal or more in every game. To start the stretch, Vegas slapped, snapped and wristed 45 SOG on Arizona. Next game, Anaheim’s John Gibson faced 43 VGK shots in a losing effort. On the road, Vegas tallied 39 SOG per game against both Dallas and Nashville. These four are a part of the just seven times the Golden Knights have 39+ SOG this season. But when they do shoot 39+ times, they win.

Game 2 @ Arizona: 42 SOG (VGK wins 2-1 OT)
Game 19 vs LA: 40 SOG (VGK wins 4-2)
Game 20 @ Anaheim: 49 SOG (VGK wins 4-2)
Game 26 vs Arizona: 45 SOG (VGK wins 3-2 OT)
Game 27 vs Anaheim: 43 SOG (VGK wins 4-3 OT)
Game 28 @ Nashville: 39 SOG (VGK wins 4-3 OT)
Game 29 @ Dallas: 39 SOG (VGK wins 5-3)

To further the point of how important shot totals are for the Golden Knights, check this out. In every single one of Vegas’ ten losses, they’ve recorded less than 35 shots.

Game 4 vs Detroit: 27 SOG (VGK loses 6-3)
Game 10 @ NYI: 34 SOG (VGK loses 6-3)
Game 11 @ NYR: 34 SOG (VGK loses 6-4)
Game 12 @ Boston: 29 SOG (VGK loses 2-1)
Game 14 @ Toronto: 28 SOG (VGK loses 4-3 SO)
Game 15 @ Montreal: 31 SOG (VGK loses 3-2)
Game 17 @ Edmonton: 24 SOG (VGK loses 8-2)
Game 23 vs. Dallas: 34 SOG (VGK loses 3-0)
Game 24 @ Minnesota: 31 SOG (VGK loses 4-2)
Game 25 @ Winnipeg: 31 SOG (VGK loses 7-4)

When breaking down just shots on goal, common sense says the more shots, the better chance of winning. However, statistically, that’s not always the case. For example, Montreal, Florida, and Edmonton are all in the top ten for total team shots (VGK is 13), and none of them sit in a playoff position in their conference. The Florida Panthers are 2-6-2 when getting 39 or more SOG.

Through 29 games, there has been a direct correlation between SOG and W/L for the Golden Knights. In two worst games of the year (by score differential), at Edmonton and home against Detroit, Vegas fired just 24 and 27 shots.

If they want to continue to win consistently, they’ll need to keep the shot numbers consistently above 35. That or just keep bringing the dads along.


The transaction signals that Fleury is scheduled to start the Golden Knights next game, home against Carolina.

Vegas Paved The Way For Seattle

Well that didn’t take long. Not only is The Creator no longer the newest owner in the NHL, he may not even own the newest team soon enough.

Absent of some really cataclysmic thing that happens with the rink, or the owners, or some extraneous thing we’re not aware of, the 32nd team in the league will be Seattle. -Bob McKenzie, TSN Vancouver

Now that the cat is out of the bag, let’s bring up the obvious. The Golden Knights early success helped speed up the Seattle process for the NHL.

Vegas is a wonderful sales pitch. -Darren Dreger, TSN 1050 Toronto

Of course it is. The Golden Knights have 35 points after 27 games, and they’re 11-2-0 at home. Potential owners in Seattle are salivating with the early return happening in Las Vegas. Future NHL owner Jerry Bruckheimer (who tried multiple times to put a team in Vegas) hasn’t been this excited since he read the script for Con Air.

It feels like (NHL) are almost tripping over themselves to get to the door to make the next move. There’s an excitement to Seattle. They’ve long coveted this market. -Ray Ferraro, TSN Vancouver

The NHL favored Southern Nevada over Quebec City because of its uniqueness and financial security. Las Vegas has its strong tourism industry, and Seattle has its strong tech industry. In the eyes of the league, the demographics of each city make for lucrative NHL markets.

The league forever, even before Vegas was an idea… even if the league will never admit this, I can tell you, the league has always been intrigued with Seattle. -Pierre LeBrun, TSN Ottawa

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‘Tis The Season: Time To Enjoy Family, Friends, And… Playoff Probabilities?

Remember when this sign was kind of a joke? (Photo Credit: Photographer Brandon Andreasen)

The Golden Knights are currently sitting comfortably in second place in a lackluster Pacific Division. Sure, Anaheim Coach Randy Carlyle thinks some of it could be luck, but a 9-1-0 divisional record is more than a few friendly bounces. Outside of the Pacific, Vegas is 8-8-1 which makes the Golden Knights divisional record that more important.

Arizona is the only team out of the race, but the rest of the Pacific considers themselves in contention, which could create a dogfight for 3-4 open postseason spots, San Jose, Anaheim, Calgary, and Edmonton are all unhappy with their records but they’re far from giving up. Especially when they’re looking up at Vancouver and some expansion team.’s group of hockey prophets continue to predict the postseason future of the league. HR’s Playoff Probability Report runs 1,000 simulations and spits out the results.

Playoff Probability %

Los Angeles 93.9%
Vegas 80.9%
San Jose 62.6%
Vancouver 54.1%
Calgary 30.8%
Anaheim 24.1%
Edmonton 9.9%
Arizona 0.2%

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Vegas Golden Knights Rank 14th On Forbes NHL Franchise Valuation List

Every year Forbes releases a list of the most valuable franchises in the NHL. The leader, for the third straight year, is the New York Rangers coming in at $1.5 billion. For this year, the Vegas Golden Knights were simply slotted in at the price The Creator paid for the franchise, $500 million.


The interesting number is the Golden Knights debt to income ratio, which is listed at 42%. Having no historical data to go off, it’s hard to determine where that number should be less than two years into existence and without a full season under their belt, but it’s certainly a number to keep our eyes on.

Next year’s chart will be much more telling as Forbes will estimate the Golden Knights revenue and operating income which will shift the debt ratio.

The $500 million fee paid by the Golden Knights to become the NHL’s 31st team this season as a base line for the value of hockey teams illustrates the league’s enormous financial success as it has grown from six to 31 franchises. -Mike Ozanian, Forbes

The Maple Leafs, Canadiens, and Blackhawks were the only other teams that checked in at over $1 billion.

Based on the rousing success the Golden Knights have had on the ice, as well as with ticket sales, merchandise, and sponsorship, we can reasonably expect the Golden Knights to move up near the top 10 by next year.

He may still have his mind on “Playoffs by three, Cup by six,” but a spot amongst the NHL’s elite in valuation is something The Creator is also dying to see.

Bid On Signed Vegas Golden Knights Banner For Charity

-4Days -1Hours -17Minutes -57Seconds

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The Creator Speaks His Mind On Potentially Selling At The Deadline

As the games tick off the schedule and the Golden Knights remain not only in the playoff chase, but in first place, no one can help themselves but to wonder how George McPhee and company will handle the roster come deadline day.

He’s always in the picture. (Photo Credit: Photographer Brandon Andreasen)

The stated plan has always been “Playoffs by 3, Cup by 6” with the obvious path to achievement being through acquiring as many assets as possible now to supplement the future. However, with the current Golden Knights proving to be more capable than many expected, including the GM, it’s time to wonder how that plan will change.

When asked recently, and over the course of the past few weeks, George McPhee repeats nearly word for word the exact same statement.

We do have a master plan but if this team is in the hunt way down the road, way down the road in March, then we will stay in the hunt. I wouldn’t derail it. It’s not fair to this team or this community. -George McPhee

That all sounds good and well, but we’re talking about George McPhee here. He’s an incredibly calculated man who isn’t likely to let a few games change a plan he’s had in place for about 18 months since he got the job.

But there’s an elephant in the room, and in the case of the Golden Knights, he literally sits directly next to the McPhee every single game. Here at, we call him The Creator. The man who paid for the team, who coined the “Playoffs by three, Cup by six” mantra, and the man who said this recently on the Golden Knights official podcast.

People that know me from my business and my careers, they know I don’t enter anything to not win. I win at everything. -The Creator

The guys on the Sheriff, Lawless and Some Guy Named Dave (Hashtag #SLGND of course. Can’t forget that because they remind us 47 times per episode) posed the question directly to the Golden Knights owner; do you “raise” or “fold” on trading away some of your players at the deadline?

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Marc-Andre Fleury Injury Update

UPDATE (12/3/17 10:49 AM):

With Marc-Andre Fleury, he has passed his formal neuropsychology test. He is currently in the return to play protocol. He’ll be in that this week, and if there are no setbacks, he’ll be cleared for full contact later in the week.

If there are no setbacks at all he’ll be cleared, hopefully by Wednesday to return to practice, full contact. Which means in our minds his brain is 100% healed and as we’ve said often enough, that’s important now and it’s important 15 years from now. -George McPhee

UPDATE (12/2/17 11:50 AM):

Not sure what it means, but Fleury has concussion just one symptom left. (Photo Credit: Photographer Brandon Andreasen)

ORIGINAL STORY (11/29/17): The Marc-Andre Fleury injury saga is a long and annoying one, and quite frankly, it’s no one’s fault that it’s gone on as long as it has. In 2017, due to the incredible advance in research on the human brain, concussions are taken as seriously, if not more, than any other injury an athlete faces.

On October 13th, Fleury took a knee to the head by Detroit Red Wings forward Anthony Mantha. Fleury remained in the game, but was placed on IR shortly after and has remained there ever since with a concussion.

The moment of impact. (Photo Credit: Photographer Brandon Andreasen)

The updates from the organization have been consistent, but vague. Essentially every time either Gerard Gallant or George McPhee have been asked the answer has been the same, he’s progressing but he remains day-to-day.

Today, appearing on SportsNet’s Prime Time Sports on 590 The Fan, George McPhee went as in depth on the injury as we’ve heard since October 13th.

His brain is important now, it’s important 15 years from now. He’ll be ready when he’s ready, and there’s no bright line test, we don’t know when that’s going to be but hoping that’s getting closer.

He did skate lightly two weeks ago and took some shots on a Thursday. Is he now back off the ice? -Prime Time Sports

A medical team was trying to get him out there to see how he felt, but Dave Prior who runs out goaltending department basically said “I don’t want him on the ice until he’s 100% healed because when I deal with him I’m going to go real hard with him. I’m going to push him hard and he’s going to face a lot of shots at 100% velocity and speed and everything else as hard as we can do things. That’s how he likes to train the goaltenders. He doesn’t like to take baby steps, he wants them on the ice when they are 100% healed so we are going to wait until we get to that point. -George McPhee

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External Factors Galore As Golden Knights Face Dallas Stars

Hopefully the dads took the Stars out for a good ole fashioned boy’s night in Vegas. (Photo Credit: Photographer Brandon Andreasen)

During the course of a long season, we often look for oddities that may give us clues towards how a particular game might go. Things like back-to-backs, first game off a long road trip, odd start times, basically anything abnormal from a standard NHL game.

Most games don’t really have anything, occasionally a game will have one, tonight’s game against the Stars is ripe with them.


It’s no secret the Golden Knights are dominant at T-Mobile Arena. 9-1-0 on home ice is the best in the league. It can be attributed to many different reasons including the great play of the home team, but one that can never be overlooked is VegasFlu.

We define VegasFlu as anything that causes a team to differentiate from their normal routine. That can mean partying until four in the morning the night before the game, or it can even mean purposely staying in the hotel to stay away from the temptations Vegas offers. It can also be something as simple as inconspicuous as spending an extra hour at team dinner.

Some teams travel early to try an get it out of the way. Others wait until the last minute to get to Vegas. While some try and fall in between. VegasFlu means it’s in their heads, and special precautions are taken. With the Dallas Stars, it’s no different.

I’ll tell you after. We’ll see. We’ve heard the stories, and we just don’t want to be any of the stories. Other than a win. –Ken Hitchcock, Stars Head Coach on coming to Las Vegas

This quote is the definition of VegasFlu. Coming to Vegas is just a bit different, everyone knows it, and no one has quite figured out the antidote.

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