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Category: Team Ops (Page 1 of 60)

McKenzie: “Vegas Was Supposed To Be A Seller At The Deadline, They’re Not Selling”

“If those two players walk at the end of the season, they walk. Vegas will deal with that.” (Photo Credit: Photographer Brandon Andreasen)

If you have an hour or so, take a listen to TSN’s Hockey Bobcast with Bob McKenzie. It’s on my weekly must listen list. This week the Bobfather discussed the needs of all thirty-one NHL teams as he looks ahead to the February 26th trade deadline. Here’s what he had to say about the Golden Knights.

Vegas, my goodness what a story the Vegas Golden Knights are this season. Never seen anything like it in all my time covering the game. They’re not just a good team, they are legit. They look like a legitimate Stanley Cup contender. Now how the hell can we be saying that? -Bob McKenzie, TSN

McKenzie had been running in circles trying to figure out this Golden Knights team. Now he’s starting to sound like George McPhee. McKenzie is confident Vegas management won’t “derail” the team’s success.

This is a legitimate threat, they cannot weaken their team between now and the deadline. -McKenzie

According to the TSN analyst, any open rumors about McPhee listening to offers for pending UFA’s James Neal and David Perron are officially dead.

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Cirque Du SoKnights

This team never ceases to amaze. They literally spent the day levitating today.

Rather than practicing at City National Arena, the Golden Knights headed down to MGM Grand and the Ka Theatre to participate in a “workout” with the coaches from Cirque du Soleil.

At this point in the season, you can see that it’s a grind. We’re playing almost every other day so what we want to do is try to find time for recovery. Recovery really matters at this point in the season so trying to get the boys out of their element, get them into an experience that’s safe, fun, unique, and they are moving their bodies in a different way. Hope is they can take that as rejuvenating energy that’s being given to them here and take them out to the ice. -Jay Mellette, Head Athletic Trainer

The media was only able to see one of the many stages the Golden Knights participated in. Aside from flying through the air wrapped up in curtains, they tested their balance, strength, juggling skills and more.

Who was the best?

Cody Eakin. He’s been good at everything he’s done. -Mellette

Being in first place sure is nice.

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The Revenge Game: How Are Golden Knights Faring Against Their Old Teams?

As if Wild Bill was not going to tear up the Blue Jackets. (Photo Credit: Photographer Brandon Andreasen)

Playing against former teams has been a storyline all year and understandably it boiled over yesterday with Marc-Andre Fleury’s return to Pittsburgh.

All Star head coach Gerard Gallant joked early in the season that the “revenge game” was overblown. Then, after a win over the Buffalo Sabres in which “fourth” line forward William Carrier played his best game, Gallant’s mind was changed.

I didn’t think this was a big deal but William Carrier played his best game tonight against his old team. His old team is Buffalo, so it definitely made a difference. I didn’t think it did, but tonight he proved to me that he played his best game so far. He played real well. -Gallant

Since then the answer has been the same from Gallant when asked about any player facing his former team; he expects them to play one of their best games because “that’s how it seems to go.”

So, let’s take a look at how the Golden Knights have actually fared against their old teams.


*Bellemare and Carpenter have yet to face their former teams.

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Golden Knights Winning The Ones That Really Matter

Now if we can just stop playing against blue and orange teams. (Photo Credit: Photographer Brandon Andreasen)

After every game we post the score of the game and the Golden Knights updated record in parentheses. While the numbers look awesome just as they are, a deeper dive into the real win-loss numbers are even more impressive.

Overall Record: 34-12-4 (72 points/.720 Pt%)
vs. Western Conference: 22-6-1 (45 points/.776 Pt%)
vs. Pacific Division: 12-1-1 (25 points/.893 Pt%)

That’s right, the Golden Knights are racking up 78% of the of the available points against teams fighting for the same eight playoff spots, and an insane 89% of available points against teams competing for the top three spots in the division.

A .776 points percentage extrapolates to a 127 point season, the .893 points percentage would mean a 146 point season.

To put that in context, the NHL record for points in a season is 132 by the 1976-77 Montreal Canadiens. The President’s Trophy winner every year since 2001 has had 120 or fewer points.

But we’re not done here. It gets even better when you consider the goal differentials. Heading into tonight’s game in Minnesota the Golden Knights overall goal differential is +39 in 50 games. In the Western Conference, it’s +30 in 29 games, and in the Pacific Division, it’s +15 in 14 games.

Overall GD: +39 (+0.78 per game)
vs. Western Conference: +30 (+1.03 per game)
vs. Pacific Division: +15 (+1.07 per game)

They are also scoring more against the teams that matter most. 102 goals against the West, 51 against the Pacific, compared to just 69 against the Eastern Conference.

This is all amazing news for those hoping the magical season doesn’t come to a screeching halt when the playoffs begin. The first three rounds are guaranteed to be against the Western Conference, and at least one of those three is guaranteed to be a Pacific Division foe (and not the Oilers).

One game at a time, just get the two points, every game is the same, blah blah blah. They may believe it, or at least they are going to keep saying it, but the results on the ice show they are good in all games, great in the slightly more important games, and unbelievable in the really big ones.

All that sounds just fine to me.

Relax… We’re Golden… Enjoy It

There is nothing we here at want to see more than the Golden Knights lifting the Stanley Cup and the ensuing parade down Las Vegas Boulevard. It’s literally been on the top of the mind every single day since June 22nd, 2016. However, a recent quote from Nate Schmidt to has my mind in a pickle, and I’m writing this because I feel like many reading it will be in the same spot. First, here’s the quote, then let’s lie down on our imaginary psycho couch and talk this out.

I don’t really want to talk about (the playoffs) for the sole fact that we’re having so much fun in this room with our guys every day. If you start talking about it, you’re hitting the fast-forward button on the year, and I don’t really want to do that because of how cool our room has been. You don’t get these times back. It goes too fast. -Nate Schmidt

Literally the only goal of all NHL players (and fans) is to win the Stanley Cup, yet here we are, a player on the team with arguably the best chance to do it this season, and he wants to stay in the moment because he’s “having so much fun” right now.

It’s kind of profound in a way, mainly because he’s completely correct. If we start looking forward to what T-Mobile Arena is going to look like in April, May, or even June, if we start talking about the parade, if we even consider thinking about any games beyond the one tonight in Florida, are we doing a disservice to ourselves?

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Steven Stamkos Unknowingly Predicts Golden Knights Success… In 2015

One day we are going to get a player to admit that this is the reason they are so good at home. (Photo Credit: Photographer Brandon Andreasen) 

Exactly two years before the Vegas Golden Knights hosted their first home game, superstar center, and mortal enemy for the next 10 hours, Steven Stamkos was predicting their future. On October 10, 2015, Tampa’s captain joined an NHL roundtable with Sidney Crosby and Erik Karlsson. Host George Stroumboulopoulos served up easy one-timers, chatting everything from the league’s best goaltenders to Lebron James. Near the end of the discussion, the trio was asked about the NHL’s best cities to play in, and that’s when Stamstrodamus was born.

(The whole video is great, but the the moment of interest is at 7:15)

What’s the best arena to play in, if it’s not yours? -Stroumboulopoulos:

Montreal.- Crosby

Same. -Karlsson

Yeah that’s probably me too. -Stamkos

Will your answer change if there’s a team in Vegas? Stroumboulopoulos

They might have the best home record in the league. -Stamstrodamus

There you have it. Nine months before the Golden Knights were awarded to The Creator and Las Vegas, a prophet in Tampa hinted at a flu that would only effect visiting NHL teams. Not only does Vegas hold the league’s best home record, but Stamkos and the Lightning were one of the 18 teams to aid VGK’s home-ice advantage.

Yeah, that’s a crappy way to lose a hockey game. We fight back to tie the game. I don’t think anyone would’ve complained if he doesn’t call that penalty on them at the end. That’s an iffy call. Then I think he feels the need to make up for a mistake. At that point in the game, the puck’s in the corner, there’s a battle going on. I know it’s tough. I just think it was the wrong call at that time in the game.- Steven Stamkos after December 19th game at T-Mobile Arena

Tampa will try to avoid a season sweep by the Golden Knights. Heck, it could’ve been the other way around had present-day Stamkos listened to himself from 2015.

Bobfather Says Golden Knights Won’t Sell; TSN Colleague Disagrees

It’s time for another edition of “Buy, Sell, or Hold!” Today’s contestants weighing in on the Golden Knights trade deadline dilemma are two of TSN’s finest. First up, the Bobfather.

Well there’s no question, they’re not selling. -Bob McKenzie, TSN

McKenzie went on to explain that McPhee and staff have identified a core, and are attempting to lock them up. Following the trend of extending Jonathan Marchessault and Brayden McNabb.

They’ve got a core of young D that they really like. Nate Schmidt, Shea Theodore, and Colin Miller, those guys aren’t going anywhere… I think they’re probably in negotiations with David Perron and James Neal. That’s not to say contracts are absolutely going to get done. -McKenzie

Now to the contrarian argument from the author behind the ever popular Trade Bait, which still has James Neal listed in 10th.

A lot of people are surprised to see Neal still on this list. The fact that he hasn’t been re-signed so far, and we haven’t heard a lot of chatter about that possibility existing. Even though the Golden Knights are in a strong position to be a solid playoff team this season, they’re going to try and accumulate assets for the long-term. With Neal producing the way that he has this year, certainly there will be a lot of interest in him at the deadline. If, the Golden Knights make him available. -Frank Seravalli, TSN

If Bob says it, we believe it. (Photo Credit: Photographer Brandon Andreasen)

Keep in mind, Seravalli’s role at TSN is to track trade rumors and whispers from around the league. He’s not saying Neal is gone, but he’s simply warning fans that things could change before the deadline. Especially, since Neal is such an attractive rental for other contenders.

As much as I respect Seravalli and his efforts, it’s tough questioning The Bobfather. If he says Vegas won’t sell, I believe him, which means Neal’s not going anywhere.

William Karlsson’s Shooting Percentage Is Unsustainable… Or Is It?

Most of the time when people pick on the Golden Knights they do it with blind disregard for the truth. However, every once in a while there’s a legitimate claim as to why what’s happening for Vegas may not continue. But don’t worry, we’ll always be here to prove them all wrong.

I don’t shoot often, but when I do, I prefer to score. (Photo credit: Vegas Golden Knights Instagram)

One of the most common reasons cited for why the Golden Knights may not be able to continue the pace they are on is shooting percentage. At the beginning of the year, the numbers were absurdly skewed in favor of the Golden Knights, especially at home. At the 41 game mark the team’s shooting (10.6%) and save percentages (91.4%) have come back to earth and actually now indicate sustainability is likely.

That being said, William Karlsson, the Golden Knights leading scorer, also leads the NHL in shooting percentage at 25.9%. Karlsson has taken 82 shots and 22 of them have found the back of the net. This should be unsustainable. His career shooting percentage is 12.6%. The most goals Karlsson has scored at any level was 15 for HV71 Jonkoping in Sweden.

No player has shot 25.9% or better in a season since 1995-96 (Gary Robers 26.2%), and even Wayne Gretzky only posted a number that high once in his career at 26.9% in 1983-84.

Yeah I’ve seen people on Twitter. So yeah, it’s a bit high. I guess it’s going to slow down a little. -William Karlsson

BUT… what if I told you it didn’t have to change? What if I told you there’s a method to the madness that has gone into William Karlsson’s unbelievable shooting percentage.

Well, I’m here to tell you that, and I came armed with pictures to back it up. Karlsson has scored 22 goals this season, below is a picture from the exact moment when the puck leaves his stick and heads towards the promise land. Keep your eye on the amount of net that is open in just about every image.

Goal 1: Cross ice pass from Smith on an odd-man rush. Goalie has no time to come across. (Net Mostly Open)

Goal 2: Tip-in chance from in front of the goal. (Net Covered)

Goal 3: Shorthanded on feed from Eakin. Goalie misses on poke check leaving net open for Karlsson. (Net Mostly Open)

Goal 4: Wrap around attempt. Puck is in the goal before it leaves his stick. (Net Completely Open)

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Killing The “Easy Expansion Rules” Argument

Remember when Las Vegas didn’t deserve a hockey team because the city is in the middle of the desert? Boy have we come a long way from that.

Or my personal favorite…

What are they going to say next, our mascot is stupid? Oh wait. (Photo Credit: Photographer Brandon Andreasen)

There seems to be a growing belief that the expansion rules were so easy that the Golden Knights had no choice but to be the best team in the Western Conference.

Let’s start by conceding a bit. Yes, the 2017 Expansion Draft was the most favorable in modern sports history. This is just a fact.

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Toronto Thinks They’ve Found The VegasFlu Antidote

Pepto Red Rock? (Photo Credit: Photographer Brandon Andreasen)

The Golden Knights are 15-2-1 at T-Mobile Arena. Opposing teams have tried coming in early, they’ve tried coming in late, and they’ve tried to stick to the norm. They’ve stayed at Bellagio, Mandarin Oriental, and Cosmopolitan. Some do morning skate, others don’t. Some make a big deal of coming to Vegas, others try to ignore it. None of it has worked.

The Toronto Maple Leafs, the latest team to visit Las Vegas, are trying something a bit different than the previous 17 teams who have been to Sin City.

They’re staying about 25 minutes from the strip and T-Mobile Arena. I spoke to Lou Lamoriello about this and he says he’s vacationed a lot in Vegas and he just doesn’t feel that area around the arena is conducive for work, and certainly they’ve taken note of the record the Vegas Golden Knights have at home. Chris Johnston on Hockey Night in Canada

We don’t know exactly where they are staying, but our assumption is somewhere in Summerlin, likely Red Rock. (Sources tell us they are indeed staying at Red Rock)

We shall see if it pays off tomorrow afternoon. If it doesn’t, we’ll really know that it just comes down to this…

Because the house always wins. Vegas doesn’t look this way based on people winning in this town. -Nate Schmidt

Whether you believe in VegasFlu or not, one thing remains clear, it’s on the heads of every team that comes to town, and that’s a great thing for the Golden Knights.

(Stick tap to Steven Loung of Sportsnet)

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