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Pierre McGuire: It’s So Easy, It’s Crazy Easy To Do Everything In Vegas For 12 Teams

(Photo Credit: SinBin.vegas Photographer Brandon Andreasen)

A few weeks back we wrote how Las Vegas was not an ideal location to host eight NHL teams at once. Our main argument against a Vegas hub was the lack of quality sheets of ice.

The city of Las Vegas currently only has three sheets of ice that meet NHL standards; one at T-Mobile and two at City National Arena. A year from now there will be two more at Lifeguard Arena in Henderson, then in a few years another one at the AHL rink in Henderson, but as for now, you can’t reasonably make NHL teams vying for a playoff spot, practice at the Ice Center or Sobe Arena. Not to mention, with everyone housed on the Strip, transporting players and equipment for SEVEN teams back and forth the 17 miles to Summerlin, only to be crammed into City National Arena simply isn’t logical. -SinBin.vegas, 4/24/20

With word that the NHL is pushing a 24-team postseason format, a pod city would hold not eight, but 12 teams. Yesterday, NHL analyst Pierre McGuire jumped on TSN Montreal to pitch Las Vegas as the perfect location. The league is considering two pod cities that would hold three, possibly four NHL games per day. Southern Nevada continues to be high on the list for obvious reasons. Hotel rooms, first-class amenities, and easy access to the T-Mobile Arena and other venues. However, the lack of practice ice is greatly overlooked.

Because they got significant ice availability starting with obviously the MGM arena. They got their arena where they practice. They’ve got the Thomas & Mack Center. They’re building an arena for an American Hockey League team that might already be completed in Henderson.-Pierre McGuire, NBC Sports Analyst

The Henderson facility (Lifeguard Arena) is projected to be finished this fall. Could the league help expedite the project? Sure, but there have been no indications that’s the case. Which leaves the Thomas & Mack Center, MGM Grand Garden Arena, T-Mobile Arena, and the City National Arena to cram in practice and morning skates for 12 teams.

Two sheets of ice at the CNA could comfortably serve four NHL clubs, one being the Golden Knights. After that, it’s up in the air. T-Mobile Arena would be available for teams when actual games weren’t being played, but is that viable? Will the Thomas & Mack and Grand Garden Arena have enough time to refreeze their surfaces and make them NHL quality?

More than enough hotel space. They’ve got more than enough ice availability. They’ve got more than enough convention area for dressing rooms if they need them. They’ve got perfect infrastructure to host this.-McGuire

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George McPhee In Favor Of Entry Draft In June

(Photo Credit: SinBin.vegas Photographer Brandon Andreasen)

In the NHL’s constant struggle to stay relevant since the season was put on hold on March 12th, one of the ideas that’s drawn the most ire from GMs is the thought of conducting the Draft during the pandemic rather than waiting until the season is completed.

We’ve detailed all of the challenges an Entry Draft prior to the conclusion of a season presents to the league and the minimal effect it would have on the Golden Knights.

Speaking to Brian Blessing on the Vegas Hockey Hotline, Golden Knights President of Hockey Operations, George McPhee, took about as positive a position as any NHL exec regarding the Draft being held in June.

We’re ready to go, if the league wants to do it, let’s go do it. If the league wants to move it up we’re fine with it. This is complicated enough for the league and everybody else. –George McPhee on Vegas Hockey Hotline

As the days pass it appears to be less and less likely that the league will indeed head that way, but the possibility still exists.

I don’t particularly find it very challenging. I don’t know that anything changes if you wait another three months to have a draft. We can work out all of the conditional picks. I just don’t find it that difficult. –McPhee on Vegas Hockey Hotline

Contrast that to the quote Elliotte Friedman published from an unnamed GM on the idea.

This is terrible, and I don’t support it.

Every team is in a different spot in regards to the impact holding the Draft in June would have, with some having much larger hurdles to cross than that in which the Golden Knights would face.

Any team in the lottery could have their fates changed, any team with an important conditional pick yet to be settled, and any team on the playoff bubble could get burned by the irregular draft. Those are likely the teams making the most noise in opposition of the idea. As for Vegas, it really wouldn’t matter, and thus…

There’s going to be no whining from the Vegas Golden Knights. Whatever the league wants to do, we’ll do. –McPhee on Vegas Hockey Hotline


The entire interview with George McPhee on Vegas Hockey Hotline can be found here.

Late Round Pick Success Stories Give Hope For Jack Dugan

(Photo Credit: SinBin.vegas Photographer Brandon Andreasen)

In 2010, the Ottawa Senators took a flier in the 6th round on an 18-year-old awkward skater from Winnipeg. The Golden Knights took a similar chance in the 5th round in 2017 on Jack Dugan, a player with close to the same build.

As a young player, I had to do a lot of things to even make it here… I wasn’t a very good skater. That was documented when I was 12 years old. Everyone told me I couldn’t skate. -Mark Stone

Going back to the 2012 NHL draft, only 106 of the 729 players selected in the 5th round or later have suited up to play in an NHL game. Only 28 have played more than 100 games.

A few have been successful in the NHL, but none have become elite like Stone. The former Wheat King, Senator, and current Golden Knight is an outlier when it comes to late draft picks. Stone has enjoyed eight seasons in the NHL, scoring 385 points, 601 takeaways, and is valued at $9.5M per year. Finding a player with that resume after the first three rounds takes incredible scouting, trust, and let’s face it, luck.

We’re still probably a year or two away from Jack Dugan even breaking into the NHL, but he’s trending in the direction of a late-round steal just like Stone.

At the time of the draft, Dugan’s scouting reports were lukewarm. Some thought he had the skill and eventual size to play a bottom-six role in the NHL.

Jack Dugan Scouting Reports:

The Hockey News
Every draft has sleepers, dark horses and late bloomers and Dugan may be a hidden gem that encompasses all three. A big, aggressive and raw talent who was passed over.

Dobber Prospects
Dugan is a late bloomer who is big, aggressive and is loaded with raw talent.

HockeyProspect.com Black Book
Isn’t a smooth skater but moves well and handles the puck at his top speed. We like his potential, has size, skill and a good hockey IQ.

Mark Stones Scouting Reports:

Hockey’s Future
Probability of success: C
The size and hands are there as is the willingness to work the boards and get to the dirty areas. The one noticeable weakness is his choppy stride which he’s working on and has spent time with the Ottawa skating coach improving his foot-speed. Smart on the ice and well-spoken off of it, Stone has the talent, intensity and work ethic to get himself to the NHL in time.

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Ryan Reaves Swimming And Hiking To Keep In Shape

(Photo Credit: SinBin.vegas Photographer Brandon Andreasen)

Golden Knights power forward Ryan Reaves joined After Hours on Sportsnet this weekend to catch up during the NHL pause and answer some fan questions. Isolating with his family in Summerlin, Reaves fielded a range of topics from staying in shape to Evander Kane.

I got to say my brother now because he plays in the CFL. It would be pretty disrespectful if I said me. When we were younger me and my brother were really good at football, we dominated our league. He was really good at basketball and I was really good at football. He tried playing basketball coming out of college but he couldn’t find work… he’s such an athlete that he was able to jump into the CFL after not playing football since he was fourteen.- Ryan Reaves

Reaves was asked why he doesn’t score more often? For three seasons we’ve seen the big fella come close but he’s usually good for just eight or nine goals a season. However, he’s had some memorable goals in Golden Knights history.

I ask myself that all the time. It’s been ten years asking myself that and I just don’t have an answer for you. I should probably do that a little more often. -Reaves

With gyms, parks, and facilities are closed, walking and jogging around the neighborhood is how people are staying fit during the shutdown. Reaves is making the most of what he has, which includes his swimming pool, some weights, and some hiking in his surrounding area to keep in shape.

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George McPhee Says Two Weeks Will Be Enough To Get Players Ready To Play

(Photo Credit: SinBin.vegas Photographer Brandon Andreasen)

If there’s one thing the NHL has made clear since the moment they placed the season on hold it’s that they will do whatever they can to make sure it was postponed and not canceled. Every piece of news that’s come out of the league since March 12th has pointed towards a devotion to return to the ice this year and award the 2019-20 Stanley Cup, no matter what that means for the future schedule.

However, with every day that ticks away without any concrete plans to return, it feels less and less likely that it will ever become a reality. Most return to play scenarios being thrown around are scheduled to take months before the teams ever hit the ice to play a game.

But, according to the Golden Knights President of Hockey Operations, George McPhee, it shouldn’t take nearly as long as what most expect to get the players back up to speed and ready to start playing meaningful games.

I think after a week or 10 days of skating they’d be fine. Are they really going to want four weeks? I don’t think so. After a week of hard skating, they’ll probably be saying ‘You know what, I’d rather be playing than practicing, so let’s get going.’ –George McPhee on Vegas Hockey Hotline

That’s a drastic difference from what we’ve normally been hearing in regards to how long the “camp” has to be to get the players fully conditioned.

And this is coming from a guy who not only has been a GM in the NHL for over 20 years, but also played more than 100 NHL games himself. Like everyone, he’s never been through something like this, but if anyone can predict how players will react to a situation it’s him.

If the league says you’ve got two weeks or a week to 10 days, ok, let’s go. It doesn’t matter to us, we’ll just be ready to go. –McPhee on Vegas Hockey Hotline

The fans will be ready too.


The entire interview with George McPhee on Vegas Hockey Hotline with Brian Blessing can be found here. We’ll have another story from this interview later in the week.

Games Without Fans Create Problems For TV Networks

(Photo Credit: SinBin.vegas Photographer Brandon Andreasen)

With the continuation of uncertainty, one thing that seems certain is fans will not be able to attend games when the league resumes. The plan would be to broadcast the games on TV networks like NBCSN, TSN, or Sportsnet and feed them across the US and Canada. League and broadcast officials are still trying to find the best, safest way to pull it off.

We’ve had numerous meetings with the league… The first thing that we all talk about is safety. The existing broadcast enviornment is not a place where you can properly practise social distancing.-Rob Corte, VP of Sportsnet and NHL Production to Sportsnet

The safety concerns are not only for the fans and players but the people running the broadcast as well. Sure it’s important to produce the best broadcast, but outlets cannot put their own employees at risk while doing so.

Live trucks tend to have a large video switcher, audio, replay and video editors, chyron operators, producers, etc. It’s close quarters. It’s literally on the back of a truck. There’s the possibility that you can offload some of those editors and replay operators outside of the truck. The switcher needs to be there. As does audio and producer. Perhaps editing and replay could be done back at the studios, but then you are only getting replays of whatever was fed to them, not of alternate angles. So it’s not ideal. -Shawn Tempesta, Las Vegas Media Professional

Local broadcast media pro and good friend of the site, Shawn Tempesta, told us broadcasting games will be a challenge, but it is possible to work around certain problems. Maybe networks will scale back, limiting the number of employees working in the same areas.

Graphically it will be tough. Usually each game has two crews, two production trucks, etc. You could see graphics handled at their studios versus at the arena. Or maybe what Olympics do with generic graphics. Chances are they do a bare bones, clean broadcast and move the graphics to the home studio. -Tempesta

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City Of Henderson Responds To AHL Arena Detractors

Photo credit: City of Henderson Virtual Town Hall on May 6th, 2020

Like it or not, the AHL is coming to Henderson and a 6,000 seat arena will be built on the site of the existing Henderson Pavilion. Many Henderson residents have voiced their opinions over the past few months since the project was announced. Yesterday, the City of Henderson conducted a “virtual town hall” in which they attempted to respond to as many of the concerns their citizens have over the project.

The two-hour town hall, which was hosted virtually using Cisco Webex, took on concerns over traffic, infrastructure, parking, job creation, timing, building operations, and a few more topics.

The most time was spent on traffic, an issue that was of major concern when the city hosted three consecutive public meetings back in March. The city’s presented solution was initially to build a tunnel to alleviate traffic coming and going from the arena, but that idea was nixed and now they believe any traffic congestion can be solved with the installation of new “adaptive” traffic lights.

An expert spent about 20 minutes explaining the benefits of the modern traffic lights that respond to traffic patterns in real-time.

Increasing people in the area drives an increase in traffic and congestion. The real solution to that is adaptive traffic signals which control the flow of traffic. The signals detect the presence of vehicles at the stop line and approaching the intersections. This system then allows progression through that road network. -Ian Machen, CEO of Ludian (traffic signal expert)

The other topic that took up the majority of the presentation was parking. A study showed that a 6,000 seat stadium would need about 1,200 to 1,400 on-site parking spaces to accommodate all attendees and arena employees.

They indicated that not only can they fit that number of spaces in the existing area, but they can do it without the construction of a multi-level parking structure and without disturbing the nearby library or multigenerational center.

Photo credit: City of Henderson Virtual Town Hall on May 6th, 2020

We looked at the event venue itself and the area around it as to what is the availability. We generally tested out the square footage and land area and determined that depending on landscaping and the configuration of the roadways that there is the feasibility in the planning level of obtaining 1,200 to 1,400 car spaces with the border of the site.  -Ken Ackeret, Principal of Kimley Horn (parking expert)

In addition to the town hall, the city released an economic impact study conducted by Applied Analysis to show the job creation that will result from the construction of the arena.

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Dear SinBin – May 6th, 2020

(Photo Credit: SinBin.vegas Photographer Brandon Andreasen)

Q. Hi SinBin, hope you are well and enjoying being home with loved ones. I’m writing because I’m having marital problems. My husband is a huge Golden Knights fan and that’s what has created the issues. We’re both working from home so already our personal space was getting cramped but now that there’s no hockey I can’t get away from him. Normally, three, maybe four times a week I had to myself while my husband was watching the Golden Knights.

I can’t explain how precious those three hours were to me. I love my husband with all of my heart but I need something to distract him a few times a week. Do you realize how backed up I am with my shows? I’m falling a part here.

-Delay of game Debra

A. You are not alone Debra. Significant others across the valley are having the same issue during the quarantine. Without the Golden Knights, there’s nothing that can easily replace the time spent watching hockey per week. Your husband is probably thinking it’s best spent with his wife. That’s clearly not working for you, and others, so don’t be too hard on yourself.

You mentioned distractions, which is a good first step in saving your marriage. I suggest you force your husband on would be game nights to catch up on highly-rated shows or movies that he may have missed over the years. He could roughly spend the same amount of time binging as he did watching the Golden Knights play. If he resists, tell him to ‘act like a man’ and watch The Godfather, The Sopranos, or Narcos. Call out his manhood, hit him where it hurts.

You could also fib and tell him he’s looking a little tight around the waist. Let him think that since the NHL pause he’s grown a little ponch, and it might be best if he spent two hours on game nights to work out. Even if your hubby is in shape, poke hard enough and he’ll worry you’re not attracted to him. We won’t admit it but men don’t like being fat-shamed.

Lastly, if he doesn’t cook, tell him to start. Pick out a few time-consuming recipes a week that will take up hours of his time. This should allow you to gain back some of your precious me time.

If none of that works, divorce him, or just “pause” your marriage. Everyone else seems to be doing it.

(Photo Credit: SinBin.vegas Photographer Brandon Andreasen)

Q. Dear SinBin, I’ve had this problem since late February. Now that there’s more time to think about it with the pause and all, I’m ready to reveal my dilemma. I have two loves and I’m torn. Both are great, one is charming and athletic, the other is a lovable, stonewall panda. Lately, I have come to the reality that both cannot stay in my life. There’s cost, games started, styles, endorsements, etc. Please, I need your help. Who should I start?

-Caught in the crease

A. There’s a great saying that we all know well, you can’t have your cake and eat it too. You might think you love both but really there’s one that means more to you. One sentence stood out to me from your letter, “There’s cost, games started, styles, endorsements, etc.” It’s good you’re starting to realize that only one can be in your life. Is it the more established but older one? Or a giant that’s hitting their peak?

It’s a stressful time and dilemmas like this can weigh you down. Maybe it’s best to step back and allow a team president or general manager to help make that difficult decision. Either way, you should feel good about 55-60 starts next season.

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How Would An Early June Draft Affect The Golden Knights?

No matter when the Draft happens, it won’t look like this. (Photo Credit: Ken Boehlke, SinBin.vegas)

The NHL is doing its best to fill the void. With the season halted since March 12th and no hockey seemingly on the horizon until July at the earliest, the league has been pushing the idea of hosting a virtual Entry Draft in early June.

Last week Bill Daly, the NHL’s Deputy Commissioner, reportedly sent a memo to all 31 teams making the case for an early Draft.

There are obviously all sorts of issues that come with holding the Draft prior to the conclusion of the season. Elliotte Friedman listed them all including the league’s proposed solutions. Here, I’m going to go through each to illustrate the effects each will have on the Golden Knights.

Using each team’s points percentage to determine the Order of Selection. (That’s under the current playoff format, so 16 teams would be out of the lottery and 15 would be in.) -Elliotte Friedman, TSN.ca

That would mean the Golden Knights’ 1st round pick would happen at #24. Vegas is without a 2nd round selection but hold four more selections in the 2020 Draft.

1st – #24
3rd (from NJD) – #68
3rd – #86
6th – #179
7th – #210

There’s a chance this could have negatively affected the Golden Knights a bit as Vegas was set to play out the rest of the regular season without Mark Stone and Max Pacioretty. On February 12th, just one month before the league stopped, the Golden Knights were in 17th by points percentage, but 11 wins in 13 before the pause shot Vegas up the standings.

We’ll obviously never know how things would have played out, but it’s reasonable to think Vegas was at its peak when the season was postponed. Six teams were within .027 points percentage of the Golden Knights while Vegas had only one team within that range above them. So, Vegas could have reasonably fallen as low as about 15th (draft selection 17), while risen as high as 7th (draft selection 25).

However, points/points percentage only comes into play if a team busts out of the playoffs prior to the conference finals. So, if the season were to resume and the Golden Knights were to make it out of the first two rounds, their pick would have dropped to 28-31.

All in all, using points percentage as of March 12th isn’t ideal for the Golden Knights, but selecting 24th isn’t the end of the world, and if the season does resume, they’ll have the chance to make #24 look like a gift by winning at least two playoff rounds.

Changing the lottery format this season only — picking just one winner, and limiting any move-up to a maximum of four spots. -Friedman, TSN.ca

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DeBoer Shares Engelland’s Message To Him About Being Scratched Before The Pause

(Photo Credit: SinBin.vegas Photographer Brandon Andreasen)

When Pete DeBoer took over as head coach of the Golden Knights, one of the most drastic changes he made to the everyday lineup was to take Deryk Engelland out of it.

Before the season was paused, Engelland had been scratched in 12 straight games and had played in just one of DeBoer’s last 18. All in all, Engelland appeared in only five of the 22 with DeBoer behind the bench.

Under Gallant, Engelland was scratched just eight times in 213 regular-season games and not a single time in 27 playoff games.

DeBoer still believes Engelland is a major part of the team, however. Speaking with JT The Brick on Fox Sports Radio, DeBoer went out of his way to praise the leadership Engelland brought while being placed in a “tough situation.”

To a man they all want to win the Stanley Cup, that’s their number one motivation. They are willing to do whatever they have to do to be a part of it. I look at Deryk Engelland as an example of that. Tough situation, veteran guy, we had to scratch him some games here recently before the pause. The messaging to me was ‘I just want to be a part of this. When you need me, let me know, and I’ll be ready to go.’ You can’t have enough of that and that’s what makes groups like this special. -DeBoer on Fox Sports Radio

DeBoer went on to say the leadership group of the team is eight to ten players deep, but clearly has an affinity towards Engelland.

The question moving forward is where does Engelland fit in on a roster that has become crowded on the blue line. The Golden Knights have six NHL contracts on the books for defensemen already to go along with Nic Hague, Jake Bischoff, Dylan Coghlan, and Jimmy Schuldt all chomping at the bit in the AHL.

Leadership and character are major pieces in what the Golden Knights look for when constructing their roster, but at some point skill on the ice has to take precedence over intangibles. DeBoer proved unequivocally he trusted Nick Holden, Jon Merrill, and Zach Whitecloud over Engelland in the lead-up to the pause.

And, despite the kind words, likely tipped his hand as to Engelland’s future as a player in the Golden Knights organization along the way.

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