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Category: Team Ops (Page 2 of 45)

Gerrard Gallant Named First Coach In Vegas Golden Knights History

Despite the fact that there won’t be an official “knighting” ceremony, former Panthers head coach Gerard Gallant is now Sir Gallant, the first head coach in Vegas Golden Knights history.

There is a great deal of excitement in the hockey community regarding what is happening with the Golden Knights and I am glad to now be a part of the team. We have a state-of-the-art practice facility being constructed, a world class home arena and from what I’ve heard, a very passionate and engaged fan base. I look forward to seeing that enthusiasm first hand and will work with George and the rest of the hockey operations staff to ice a team that Golden Knights fans will be proud to support. -Gallant in Golden Knights Press Release

Gallant was fired just 22 games into the season with the Florida Panthers with the reason cited as “philosophical differences.” Most believed it was due to disagreements over the use of analytics in deciding ice time and playing style, but Gallant denied that a few weeks after being let go.

Prior to his gig with the Panthers, Gallant spent four years as the head coach of the Columbus Blue Jackets. That was widely considered an unsuccessful tenure, which led Gerard to take a job QMJHL with the Saint John Sea Dogs. Gallant led the Sea Dogs to back to back titles and went on to win the Memorial Cup as well in 2011. This renaissance thrust Gallant back on to the scene.

One of the key players on his Memorial Cup winning team was a big reason why Gallant found himself standing behind an NHL bench once again. The Panthers selected Jonathan Huberdeau with the 3rd overall pick in 2011. Gallant was instrumental in getting Huberdeau that far, and then was able to reunite with him in the NHL in 2014.

The saga surrounding Gallant’s release in Florida made international headlines, as did these two pictures (1 and 2). Following a loss to the Carolina Hurricanes in Raleigh, Gallant was fired and left to take a taxi with assistant coach Mike Kelly (remember that name) who was released as well. But the oddity doesn’t end there. Normally when coaches are fired following an NHL game, it’s done immediately following the game and the media never gets a chance to speak to the coach. Well that was not the case with Gallant. However, no local media traveled from Miami to this particular game in North Carolina, so the Panthers allowed Gallant to speak to a few AP writers before making him aware of his release. The whole story is broken down in this excellent article from CaneCountry.com. It says a lot about the state of the Florida Panthers organization, but also about what kind of person the Golden Knights just hired.

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Head Coach Gerard Gallant Bio

Name – Gerard Gallant
Born – September 2nd, 1963 (53 years old), Summerside, Prince Edward Island, Canada
Nickname – Turk (His brother called him Turkey), Spuddy (Prince Edward Island is known for potatoes), or Sir Gallant (Knight reference)

Playing Career

1980-1981 – Sherbrooke Castors
1982-1983 – St. Jean Beavers
1982-1983 – Verdun Juniors
1983-1985 – Adirondack Red Wings
1984-1993 – Detroit Red Wings
1993-1995 – Tampa Bay Lightning
1994-1995 – Atlanta Knights
1995-1996 – Detroit Vipers

Highlights 

  • Drafted #107 overall in the 6th round of the 1981 Entry Draft
  • NHL All-Star Second Team in 1988–89
  • Silver Medalist of Men’s World Ice Hockey Championships in 1989 with Team Canada
  • 615 career NHL games, 211 goals, 269 assists
  • Elected into QMJHL Hall of Fame in 2014

Coaching Career

1998-1999 – Fort Wayne Komets (Assistant)
1999-2000 – Louisville Panthers (Assistant)
2001-2003 – Columbus Blue Jackets (Assistant)
2003-2007 – Columbus Blue Jackets (Head Coach)
2007-2008 – New York Islanders (Assistant)
2009-2012 – Saint John Sea Dogs (Head Coach)
2012-2014 – Montreal Canadiens (Assistant)
2014-2017 – Florida Panthers (Head Coach)

Highlights

  • All Star Game Coach in 2015-16 of Atlantic Division
  • Runner up for Jack Adams Award (Coach of the Year) in 2015-16
  • Back to back QMJHL League Championship 2011 and 2012
  • Memorial Cup Championship in 2011
  •  Assistant coach of Gold Medal winning Team Canada in 2007 Men’s World Ice Hockey Championships
  • 328 career NHL games coached. 152-141-35 overall record
  • One playoff appearance in 2015-16

Personal

Daughter Melissa is married to professional hockey player Darryl Boyce, and son Jason played four seasons in the Maritime Junior A Hockey League.

Where There’s Smoke, There’s Gallant

The Creator confirmed live on the air of Fox Sports 1340, the new radio home of the Vegas Golden Knights, that the team will announce their head coach tomorrow at noon.

Instantly the rumor mill starting spinning at a mile a minute, and pretty much landed on one name… Gerard Gallant.

The Vegas Golden Knights are expected to name their first ever head coach on Thursday, and it’s expected to be Gerard Gallant. –Ryan McKenna, SportsNet

Gallant was fired from the Florida Panthers after just 22 games. He fits the bill that McPhee has been looking for in a players coach.

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Golden Knights Find Their Radio Home

Time to set your presets in your car to 1340 AM and 98.9 FM, cause they are the new home of the Golden Knights on the radio. That’s Fox Sports Radio in Las Vegas and they are owned by Lotus Broadcasting, the same company that owns ESPN Radio and NBC Sports Radio in Vegas (Yes, it’s weird, but it’s true).

The plan is to have the Knights on Fox Sports Radio, which has signals on AM (1340) and FM (98.9). There will be no pre-empting of the broadcasts, which was a key element for the hockey team. Lotus’ inventory of stations allowed it to guarantee a permanent home for the NHL, and with the FM signal will guarantee reaching all parts of the valley. -Steve Carp, LVRJ

Lotus broadcasts UNLV Rebel football and basketball, and carry Las Vegas 51s games for the 11 people that listen to AAA Baseball on the radio. Lotus is also the home of the most local sports talk shows with hosts including Mitch Moss, Michael Pritchard, Steve Cofield, and Seat Williams. There’s no debating, Lotus is the undisputed sports radio powerhouse in the valley.  So from that perspective, this is the right place for the Golden Knights, and it’s obviously a great add for Lotus.

 

We do have our questions however about how great of a choice this really is for the Golden Knights?

Luckily, there’s a press conference this afternoon that may give us some of the answers. So, rather than go on and on about it now, only to find out the reasons for our reservations have been solved, we shall wait. But believe you me, we’ll have much more on the impact of this decision later tonight or tomorrow, and odds are, it’s not going to be pretty.

There is other positive news from the Lotus announcement though…

The team also is expected to announce its games will be broadcast in Spanish on ESPN Deportes, a Lotus station located at 1460 on the AM dial. -Carp

How many people will actually listen? Who knows, but honestly, who cares. This is an excellent move for the Golden Knights. 25% of the Las Vegas population primarily speak Spanish. Reaching that quarter of valley residents is crucial. It was a clear priority for the Golden Knights, and ESPN Deportes offers it.

The press conference is scheduled for 3:00 PM.

Stop It! Darryl Sutter Isn’t Coming To Vegas

Well, I guess we must go through this again. The same darn conversations followed Claude Julien’s release in Boston. Now, it’s Darryl Sutter, a two-time Stanley Cup winning coach getting the axe in LA. The writing was on the wall for Sutter and now another strong candidate is open to talk with George McPhee. Before we speculate Sutter’s direction, let’s just cut the cord now. Darryl Sutter will not be the head coach of the Vegas Golden Knights.

I feel like I’m that negative uncle you see a few times a year and he’s always just a complete asshat. You know, when you introduce the girl of your dreams and Uncle Sour comments out loud that the last girlfriend was hotter. That’s how I feel. I’m here to deflate people’s excitement, and it sucks, but every once in a while Uncle Sour’s pessimistic brain says something that sticks with you. Let’s hope this is that.

The first and most important reason the Golden Knights won’t hire Sutter is the price tag. The Kings paid the Cup winning coach $3M a year. His starting price is already too pricey for The Creator. With the abundance of jobs and the Babcock trickle-down effect, Sutter could easily make upwards of $4M a season. He will not be offered that much in Las Vegas.

“That’s probably a lot for us. I’ll tell you what we really want. George McPhee’s going to make the call. My call is going to be, is this a guy I can work with feel comfortable with. All the people we have in this organization keep their egos in check they are about winning hockey games or making a successful business. -The Creator on 2/10/17

That’s not enough? You could call Sutter a late bloomer of some sorts. His last five and a half seasons behind the bench were much more successful than his previous 12. Sutter finally tasted the celebration champagne and he’s not ready to rinse his flute. The Golden Knights will not be in position to make a run until Sutter is past 60 years-old. I’m not trying to age-shame anybody but let’s face it, not many coaches over the age of 60 go on to win the Cup. And just stop right now screaming the name Scotty Bowman into your phone as you read this. It’s Scotty effing Bowman for crying out loud, the man is a God D*** legend, and even for him winning at 68 years-old is an amazing story. Badger Bob Johnson was the only other coach to win the cup after 60 in the past 50 years. My point is Sutter won’t wait until he’s collecting Social Security to compete again. Here’s a text Sutter sent last year to Sportsnet’s Elliot Friedman before he signed his extension with LA. He doesn’t sound like a coach looking to develop a franchise. 

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Head Coaching Rumor Roundup

With the bow tied on the NHL regular season and the heads already beginning to roll (Lindy Ruff) off the coach chopping block, it’s time for a recap of where we stand in Las Vegas.

The Golden Knights have made it clear they aren’t in a hurry to hire the first head coach in franchise history. There was a moment there back in February when McPhee/McCrimmon and the Golden Knights braintrust discussed moving up the timeline, and even conducted interviews with at least a pair of coaches, but the timeline quickly shifted back to “after the season.”

So now that we are here, it’s time to take a look at the most likely coaching candidates, their connection to Vegas, and why we here at SinBin.vegas believe each make sense to stand behind the Golden Knights bench in October. But first, here’s a little recap on what’s going on (or at least what he’s telling us) inside George McPhee’s mind when it comes to the coach search.

We want someone who is very current on the game, who’s progressive. I’ve had the opportunity to work with lots of coaches in the NHL. Had great experiences in the world championships working with several NHL coaches. So, we know who’s out there. We decided way back in August, that we were going to take our time and interview along the way. – GM George McPhee

George is looking for a particular type of of coach. He’s not looking for a first-termer. He’s looking for a guy who’s learned a lot and has coached a couple of other teams. I would say the coach that will name is going to be a recognizable individual but he has to fit George’s culture. –The Creator

George McPhee’s going to make the call. My call is going to be, is this a guy I can work with feel comfortable with. All the people we have in this organization keep their egos in check they are about winning hockey games or making a successful business. -The Creator

It’s not an easy process to evaluate players when you are just getting going like we are and I don’t want to be evaluating a coach and players at the same time. I’d rather have the coach be someone who we know has done the job and can do the job and we’ll be focusing on players for the next few years… In Washington I went with a lot of guys it was their first time around, my preference would be an experienced guy…The coach certainly has to fit the model we are looking for. I’ve liked putting together high scoring entertaining teams. It’s a fun way to play the game and a fun way to watch the game. -McPhee

Head Coach Candidates for Vegas Golden Knights

Jack Capuano
Resume – New York Islanders Head Coach (2010-2017)
Style – The former defenseman coaches the same way he played. Defensive, gritty and physical. Blocking shots, winning neutral zone battles, and puck possession are his pillars.
VGK Connection – Capuano was the head coach while McPhee was an advisor to GM Garth Snow in New York.

Capuano emerged as the favorite in February, but each passing day his stock slips as the Golden Knights prove they have their eye on others. He has been interviewed by both McPhee and The Creator for the position in Vegas. Cappy is still the leader in the clubhouse, meaning he’ll get the job if they can’t find anyone better or McPhee truly didn’t want a head coach in the room prior to the Expansion Draft.

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Roster Move All But Confirms Chicago Wolves As AHL Affiliate

The plan is still to wait until the Chicago Wolves season ends to make the announcement that the Golden Knights will become their new parent club, but sometimes hockey logistics get in the way of a good plan.

With Reid Duke’s WHL season ending last week, we have explored opportunities and options for him to play additional games this year. The Chicago Wolves of the American Hockey League – who are currently the AHL affiliate of the St. Louis Blues – agreed to take Reid on a professional tryout agreement. Reid will be available to play for Chicago beginning Friday. We are appreciative of the Wolves organization for affording Reid this opportunity, which will be beneficial for his development as a player -George McPhee in Press Release

Duke’s WHL season wrapped up on the 29th of March when the Wheaties were swept by the Medicine Hat Tigers. Duke scored three goals and racked up eight penalty minutes in the four game series.

But now, the 21 year old is left with no where to play. Normally, an undrafted free agent like Duke would find his way to the AHL or ECHL for the final few games of the season. If he’s promising enough, he may even find his way on to the NHL team. Well, Vegas doesn’t have any of those, so they had to find something to do.

It was originally reported back in January that the Golden Knights and Chicago Wolves were in discussions. Then in February a team source told us the deal is done but nothing could be confirmed until the AHL season ends. Finally, during George McPhee’s Q&A with the fans in March the GM confirmed Vegas would have complete hockey control over their AHL affiliate.

Add it all up, and this is not a favor the Chicago Wolves and St. Louis Blues are granted the Golden Knights. This is the first transaction Vegas is making with it’s AHL club… despite what the team says.

The Golden Knights AHL affiliation discussions are still ongoing. We will announce those details after the affiliation agreement has been finalized and confirmed. -McPhee in Press Release

This is a move any NHL club would make with their minor league affiliate, just Vegas has to call it something different… for now.

Understanding The NHL Draft Lottery

The first time the Vegas Golden Knights will officially participate in an NHL sanctioned “competition” will be at the NHL Draft Lottery on April 29th. With a little help from TSN’s finest Frank Seravalli, the math wizards at HockeyViz.com, and this thing called Twitter, we unearthed the exact odds the NHL will be using for the 2017 lottery.

For those who are new to the NHL, the lottery is a system that was implemented in 1995 to curb the appeal of tanking. Rather than awarding the team with the worst record in the league the first overall pick (like NFL and MLB) the league instead gives them the best chance to win the lottery. All non-playoff teams are entered into the lottery with their odds to win corresponding to their record; worse the team, better the odds.

The NHL Lottery is actually a series of three lotteries using identical odds to determine the top three selections in the NHL Draft. After the lotteries decide the first three picks, teams are slotted in to the draft order based on their record. Therefore, the worst team can select no lower than fourth in the first round, and are guaranteed the first pick in the second round.

Still with me?

Now let’s move into how the Vegas Golden Knights fit into this year’s lottery.

The Las Vegas franchise will be given the same odds in the 2017 NHL Draft Lottery as the team finishing with the third-fewest points during the 2016-17 regular season. –NHL Expansion Draft Rules

Thus, two teams have better odds than the Golden Knights. After the lotteries, Vegas is technically the third worst team meaning they can select no worse than sixth (will explain how in a moment), and are guaranteed to pick third in the second through seventh rounds.

NHL Draft Lottery Odds (courtesy of HockeyViz.com)

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Last Chance To Buy Full Season Tickets; Team Sets Friday 5PM Deadline

Still thinking about buying season tickets to the Golden Knights inaugural campaign? Well consider your feet officially to the fire.

Vegas Golden Knights Chairman and CEO Bill Foley announced that the last day for fans to secure 2017-18 full season ticket memberships to Golden Knights home games will be Friday, April 7 at 5:00 p.m. PT. -Press Release

You’ve had 26 months (ticket drive launched on 2/10/15) to make up your mind, and now The Creator has give the definitive s**t or get off the pot. No more procrastinating allowed.

This is rather significant news in that there’s still two months before the Golden Knights fill their roster, and six months before they hit the ice, and yet they are capping season ticket sales. Ending season ticket sales means the remaining seats will be allotted for single game and group tickets, a number that was described to us as “already very manageable.” That number only gets smaller as each dilly-dallier comes in before Friday’s deadline.

Quite the feat when you consider the fact that the Predators, who entered the league in 1998, recently announced they sold out all 41 home games for the first time in franchise history this season. Today’s announcement ensures the Golden Knights should hit that mark in year one without any issue.

The response from the local population here in Las Vegas to our team really has been incredible. The fact that we have reached our full season ticket membership limit months before our expansion draft certainly illustrates that. -The Creator in Press Release

Fans will still be able to purchase split season (11 or 22 game) packages after the deadline and single game seats will go on sale sometime in the Summer. They have also created a wait list that will begin on Friday aptly named the “Can’t Wait Priority List.” For all the people that, you know, couldn’t wait to make up their mind over the last 26 months and now suddenly can’t wait to get their hands on season tickets.

Don’t be one of those people. If you want season tickets, just effing buy them already… or at least do it by 5PM on Friday. Otherwise, you are out of luck, and more importantly, SinBin.vegas reserves the right to make fun of you mercilessly.

***

The team also sent out this sweet image in an email to those on their newsletter. That font is really starting to grow on me (hint hint #VivaVGK).

Introducing The Vegas Junior Golden Knights

Say hello to the next generation of SinBin.vegas readers, I mean, Golden Knights fans.

The Vegas Golden Knights announced today, April 4, that the team has formed a partnership with the Nevada Storm to create a new youth hockey travel program, the Vegas Junior Golden Knights. The Vegas Junior Golden Knights program will initially feature teams from the mite level through midget and will utilize all three city rinks, including the Golden Knights practice facility, the Las Vegas Ice Center and the SoBe Ice Arena. All existing Nevada Storm teams will be re-branded under the Vegas Junior Golden Knights name. -Press Release

The partnership connects the team with the community more than ever. Now, children in Southern Nevada will have an easier chance to play the game, and wear VGK colors while doing it. Hockey participation will undoubtedly grow in Las Vegas as more kids will want to play like their favorite Knight. We discussed last summer how the Kings and Ducks have done a great job developing their youth and HS leagues. Now Southern California has thousands of kids choosing to skate over other sports. For two decades the Golden State has had constant growth in youth hockey participation.

Courtesy of NHLtoSeattle.com (https://nhltoseattle.com/2016/06/20/usa-hockey-numbers-are-up/)

Hockey participation is up all across the nation and California consistently leads in player growth. It currently ranks #7 in the US for youth or high school programs. Brad Sholl, who was announced as the GM of the Golden Knights new practice facility was very close to Southern California’s youth hockey evolution.

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