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Praise Be To Foley, Vegas Golden Knights Hockey Website

Cross Off Claude, Julien All But Out For Vegas

Last March, the Toronto Maple Leafs handsomely paid Mike Babcock $6.25 million per year to be their head coach; an offer Babcock couldn’t refuse. In the process of getting a monster raise, Babcock rewarded his fellow NHL coaches by inflating the market. Now coaches are waiting their turn to cash in. Say a guy like Claude Julien.

When you make these decisions, you better have a guy in line that’s better than that guy. There’s not many, I can tell you that. He’s a hell of a coach. –Mike Babcock on Boston firing Claude Julien

Many believe Julien will demand a salary as high as $4-5 million per year. Which made me wonder, would Vegas be willing to pay the going rate for Claude?

The answer is no.

Ken and I had a chance to catch up with The Creator during the Mandarin Oriental Rooster trade event, and after our conversation, I can officially cross Julien’s name off the list. It’s no longer speculation, Claude Julien will not be the Golden Knights first coach. It was clear immediately when I asked directly about the financial aspect of the hiring. I first asked if he would pay top dollar, to which he instantly said yes. I added, four to five million? And the answer speaks for itself.

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

The cost for Julien is just too steep. The Creator obviously sees the value in a successful head coach, but wants more than just wins. He wants a coach that’ll grow with the organization. Julien could be that, but it’s much more likely he’s headed to somewhere he can win, and now. Plus, with Julien’s expected salary requirements, his high value just doesn’t fit the Golden Knights plan.

It’s best for us if we can find a coach that can carry us from day one. The expansion draft, amateur draft, opening night, to five or six years when we’re real contenders. I don’t want a three year guy. I’d just say we want a guy that’s gong to be with us for the long haul. Someone who is a players coach that’s what George is looking for… and an owner’s coach too. – The Creator

I wrote Thursday that Julien wasn’t the right fit in Las Vegas and purposely left off anything about his salary. That’s because there was no way of knowing the thoughts of the man with the checkbook at that time. Well now we know, and it’s basically a death sentence to the Julien to Vegas fan club.

Babcock went from making $2 million to $6.25 million per year when he left the Red Wings for Toronto in 2015. With as in demand as Claude appears to be on the open market, it’s rational to think Julien’s getting a significant raise. Puck Daddy lists eight potential landing spots for his services. He was making $2.5 million in Boston, odds are, double isn’t “probably a lot” for one of the other seven.

The Creator and George McPhee have a formula, and overpaying for a coach doesn’t appear to be part of it, at least for right now. They want someone that will stick, and more importantly someone who makes sense on day one. That’s not Julien, but that someone is out there.

Someone who may have “played hockey in Maine or something.” Hint hint.

***

Listen to the latest SinBin.vegas Podcast for much more discussion on our conversation with The Creator. Coaches, mascots, jerseys, we asked it all, and we broke it all down in the latest episode of the podcast.

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39 Comments

  1. James

    Per KTNV

    Foley says the Boston Bruins coach is on the short list to lead the team.

    “He would be one of the first guys we want to talk to,” he says. “He’s a quality individual, a quality coach. Is he a fit for us? I don’t know.”

    http://www.ktnv.com/sports/vegas-golden-knights-owner-comments-on-coaching-search

    Looks like a long shot the further it goes. I think it’s between Capuano and Gallant.

  2. James

    @Jason Pothier
    ‘Many believe Julien will demand a salary as high as $4-5 million per year. Which made me wonder, would Vegas be willing to pay the going rate for Claude?’

    Does Vegas have to pay the going rate for coaches/players? The Tampa Bay Lightning were able to pay less than the going rate for Steven Stamkos due to Florida taxes. Stamkos makes $9.5 million in Tampa. He would have to make significantly more in Toronto to make the same amount of money.

  3. PhiSig 150

    The fact that money and the potential coach’s ego are apparently issues makes me worry a bit. Is Foley too cost conscious already? Does Foley need to surround himself with yes men and doesn’t want to be challenged? Seems like some red flags may have been presented.

    • I wouldn’t say it’s a yes man situation with the coach. I just don’t think this is the right time for Claude to come here. Cost conscious is a good way to put it, but I don’t see it as a negative. I think we would all agree we would rather they spend less now (while they aren’t going to be good) to have the money available to spend big either keeping their guy on getting the best one that time.

      • PhiSig 150

        Would have much rather had Foley say we’re going to get the right guy for where we are right now and where we want to head in the future regardless if he costs half a million or 8 million. Instead we got yeah that’s too much for us and I need a guy that’s ready to check his ego at the door because I’m King Kong around here.

      • PhiSig 150

        Would you say Capuano is the best man for THIS job? If he’s not then why aren’t we getting the best and shouldn’t we be demanding the best? Foley says he doesn’t want a placeholder but isn’t doing what you suggest just that? Aren’t you all about winning isn’t everything it’s the only thing? So you’re ok with sucking for picks, have a lame duck coach, build our young nucleus, and then go pay top dollar when have something of note? (which sounds a lot like my Hinkie on Ice proposal). Glad you’re on board Ken. We need Sin Bin Trust the Process shirts.

        • James

          @PhiSig 150
          ‘Would you say Capuano is the best man for THIS job? If he’s not then why aren’t we getting the best and shouldn’t we be demanding the best?’

          I think Las Vegas will become a destination city, but I agree with Ken. I just don’t think this is the right time for Claude to come here. Marquee coaches want a chance to win. The lowly Maple Leafs had to make an offer that Babcock couldn’t refuse.

          Being a Dodgers fan I suppose you are used to your favourite team spending loadsamoney. The Vegas Golden Knights are the Baltimore Orioles 🙂

          From what I’ve heard Capuano overloaded his players with information. Attention to detail could be seen as a positive or a negative. Apparently Doug Weight has simplified things.

          • PhiSig 150

            I guess the question becomes how long does Foley’s grace period last before he’s expected to go all in. Ken seems to think the sheer talent of the front office assembled is enough to win in a very short time. RJ want’s him to go for it immediately to capture more fans. I want Hinkie on Ice. Pretty sure none of us want the NHL version of the Baltimore Orioles.

      • Phisig150

        I agree with spending less on the roster due to salary cap ramifications and draft consideration. Coach not so much. Just go get your guy. The price is the price.

  4. James

    @PhiSig 150
    It’s pretty clear that the likes of the Maple Leafs and Rangers etc are in a different stratosphere in regards to spending money. The Maple Leafs and Rangers spare no expense. Foley always points to the Ducks as a point of comparision. The Ducks are more frugal with their money. They have an internal budget. I was going to post this link the other day, but I didn’t want to give the impression that I was bashing the franchise. Compare the Knights locker room to the Edmonton Oilers. The Knights can compete with the high spending Maple Leafs and Rangers etc if they make smart decisions like the Ducks. The Ducks have proven that they can compete for the Stanley Cup with the restriction of an internal budget.

    http://www.foxsports.com/nhl/gallery/las-vegas-nhl-team-has-the-saddest-locker-room-101916

    • PhiSig 150

      That worries me. I don’t want the Knights to be some Mickey Mouse operation cutting costs at every corner. Not saying they are. By all accounts the practice facility is going to be state of the art. The arena is amazing. So why then skimp so much on a locker room or hiring a coach? Where is the money being spent of growing the fanbase in the city? Just seems like some troubling signs. The Knights should strive to be top notch in every facet of their organization. Are they though?

    • PhiSig 150

      I wonder if Ken can get us an update on the locker room. That can’t be the final finished space. If so that’s simply an embarrassment and probably doesn’t bode well for the future. I’ve seen better setups at Hampton Inns.

      • Yes. I’m going to ask next week. I’ll see if I can get in the arena as soon as possible…assuming there’s something for me to see.

  5. Cappy

    There’s always the possibility someone won’t demand extreme amount for the opportunity to be the very first coach for the Knights.

  6. Jason Pothier

    @James- Tampa could offer an 8th year, and no Florida state tax was a draw as well. He seemed to have a little “hometown heart” when stayed with Tampa.

    “It’s been a great eight years,” Stamkos said Thursday. “I grew up as a kid there, and this team is on the verge of competing for Stanley Cups for years to come. With me being a captain and the leader of that team, I felt in my heart that was always the place I wanted to stay.”

    So you’re right to think Vegas could offer up a going rate for a coach. But honestly it’s more than just paying the best coach. Foley really wants a tenured coach. If he feels that the coach he hired deserves a raise he certain will. It’s not about the money as much as belief in the system. The owner wants a coach that cares about the direction and not just the scoreboard.

    I hope that’s not giving the image of an owner who doesn’t care about winning? In fact, I think it’s a the opposite. Foley and McPhee are so committed to winning but consistently and for long time. Beefing up to make the playoffs in the first few years could damage the future development. Basically, he’d rather be consistently in the mix like Washington, New York, Tampa, Anaheim, San Jose… instead of some of the loaf organizations. By the way you notice I didn’t mention Pittsburgh, Chicago, of LA because ever team is trying to be THAT successful. Also keep in mind, next year’s draft is already rated stronger to this year’s.

    • James

      @Jason Pothier
      I’m just saying that $3 million in Las Vegas goes a lot further than it does in some other cities e.g. Montreal. Perhaps you don’t have to pay Julien $4-5 million per. The big three (Wade, James and Bosh) in Miami took a discount. Las Vegas is tax friendly. The Knights could use this to their advantage. Anyway, I think it’s a moot point because I believe Julien wants to win.

    • James

      @Jason Pothier
      ‘Also keep in mind, next year’s draft is already rated stronger to this year’s.’

      At this point in time, I think the draftees and the general manager are more important than the coach.

      Development is more important than winning. All I ask for is organic growth. Time will tell if Capuano develops/hinders the growth of the crop of draftees.

      #TrustTheProcess

    • Phisig150

      So you’re saying we won’t be getting a Stanley Cup in 6 years then???

      • James

        @Phisig150
        We would need a perfect storm to win a Stanley Cup in 6 years. It’s possible but it’s not probable.

        • PhiSig 150

          Those were Foley’s words not mine. I’d be happy with just making the playoffs in 6.

          • James

            @PhiSig 150
            I believe that Foley was just trying to drum up interest prior to the ticket drive with a rah rah speech. How many guarantees has Rex Ryan failed to deliver on? They go in one ear and out the other. Actions speak louder than words.

  7. RJ

    Here is my problem. I just feel like we never get a straight answer from Foley. Worse, it is starting to seem like when Foley makes a statement to the fans, we can count on the opposite. “The team name will have a deep connection with locals” (in fact the team name has no connection to locals) “we will pay top dollar for a coach” (unless top dollar is more than I want to spend) “we want a coach for the long haul” (but we are probably going to hire a middling cast off like Gallant or Capuano).

    I just want honesty. If Foley had said before hand that the name was designed with global marketing in mind or was limited by his weird knight fetish I would be somewhat less furious about the name. If he wants to have an internal budget and is not willing to compete for top coaches that is fine, but don’t pretend otherwise.

    If Foley wants to be cagey and not reveal his plans, okay, fine I get that. But please STOP LYING TO US. Frankly I’m not sure I can ever forgive him for the abject insult to natives that the name is and stuff like this does not help.

    • PhiSig 150

      Would loved for a follow up question to suss out if that’s too much as expansion team to pay for a coach or is that too much for the team period?

    • I’m completely in agreement that I do not ever want to hear a lie come from anyone in this organization, and unfortunately in my opinion there have been a few thus far. However, in the case of hiring a coach or talking about any position that has yet to be filled he simply cannot be completely forthcoming due to contract negotiations, legalities, and the fact that other teams could take advantage of what he says.

      There’s not a lie in anything he said to us Thursday. He’s been incredibly forthcoming with everything we asked. The amount of money he is willing to spend is much more based on time and situation than it is an unwillingness to pay. Your characterization about the quality of coach of a Capuano or Gallant is likely much different than Foley’s. There will always be an internal budget and any businessman will do his best to utilize the monies spent in the best way possible. That’s what he’s going to do, and I promise you, he’s not going to be cheap. Spending on Julien simply wouldn’t make sense at this time in his mind or in McPhee’s. That doesn’t mean they aren’t willing to spend on a coach now and it certainly doesn’t mean he’s not willing to go all in on one at another time.

      I hope I’m trusted to point out when I believe something is amiss with what I’ve (or someone else) has been told. And with that I hope I am trusted to tell you when it’s not the case as well. I do not believe there is any mistruth in anything that was shared this week on coaches. Nor do I, or should anyone else have problem with the logic behind any of it.

      This being said, if you want to question the quality of the coach, have at it, cause that’s what sports are all about.

      • RJ

        I fully understand that you guys want a strong relationship with ownership and that that leads to access, and that’s great. I love the blog and I read every post, but I do not consider you guys unbiased. My view is that you are very much a pro-ownership group. I truly can’t recall anything that Foley has done that you have strongly criticized him over. (Please correct the record if I’m wrong). When I criticize the name, I read your response and it is ‘get over it’. I mean geez, you guys call Foley ‘The Creator’ like he is literally a God.

        Foley literally told you that he was willing to pay top dollar, then followed it up with all the reasons he is actually not going to do it. Either isn’t willing and he thinks we are stupid or he didn’t really know how much the top coaches make. Neither is a good answer.

        I love your articles and your point of view and I get a lot of inside news and insight about the team I can’t get anywhere else, but do I trust you to criticize ownership? Of course not.

      • Phisig150

        I’ll take your word for it and give him the benefit of the doubt. It’s probably a moot point anyway because a top head coach is probably waiting for an opportunity with a more established team. You can see why we see red flags though right?

        • James

          @Phisig150
          ‘You can see why we see red flags though right?’

          Julien has been portrayed as George Allen in the NFL when it comes to using veterans over rookies, but if both gentleman wanted the job and the price tags were even I doubt that Foley would pick Capuano over the future Hall of Famer.

      • James

        This being said, if you want to question the quality of the coach, have at it, cause that’s what sports are all about.

        The hockey analytics weren’t good under Capuano this season. From what I gather, they played a boring dump and chase game.

        Per James Mirtle. Small sample size, but first 42 games under Capuano: 47% puck possession. 27th in the league. Last 10 games under Doug Weight: 52% puck possession. Top 10 in the NHL. Owning the puck better under Weight.

        • Phisig150

          If he fails his name can be easily turned into an insult to hurl at him. Crapuano.

          • James

            @Phisig150
            Looking at the glass half full, Capuano’s Islanders put up 100 and 101 points in the previous two seasons. You can spin it any way you want.

          • PhiSig 150

            @ James
            I’m rooting for him. I know nothing about NHL coaches. Maybe he really is their guy. Maybe he is the best guy for the job. Maybe he’s one of those coaches where the 2nd go around is much more successful. I have no idea. But if the main reason for hiring him is that he fits Foley’s budget then that’s weak.

      • Phisig150

        Talking about budget restraints is really going to get the the city psyched for hockey. I can picture the Budget Suites and Budget Rent a Car signs on the boards and can almost hear the crowd chanting Cost Con…Troll! Cost Con…Troll! at the games. Starting to get the feeling that this operation might end being 2nd rate. The danger signs are starting to present themselves.

    • A Fan

      Couldn’t have said it any better myself. I’m afraid that over time we will see he is too much of a ‘my way or the highway’ type guy.

      I’ve never known a billionaire to have an ego. Ok, maybe one. WRONG!

      • A Fan

        I meant – “Couldn’t have said it any better myself RJ.”

        RJ

        Here is my problem. I just feel like we never get a straight answer from Foley. Worse, it is starting to seem like when Foley makes a statement to the fans, we can count on the opposite….

  8. Karl

    This is bad indication for me as a fan. Foley has said on several occasions that $ will not be a hinderance to make this team and organization a winner. Now, before we have even hired a player or coach, it’s an issue!

    This is a big red flag , don’t kid us or yourself.

  9. James

    @PhiSig 150
    ‘I guess the question becomes how long does Foley’s grace period last before he’s expected to go all in. Ken seems to think the sheer talent of the front office assembled is enough to win in a very short time. RJ want’s him to go for it immediately to capture more fans. I want Hinkie on Ice. Pretty sure none of us want the NHL version of the Baltimore Orioles.’

    The Dodgers spent $223,352, 402 and the middle of the pack Orioles spent $115,587,632. I prefer the salary cap in hockey. The highest spending team has a ceiling and the lowest spending team has a floor they must reach. We could be big spenders in free agency in 2018. The Florida Panthers signed Dave Bolland as an unrestricted free agent for a five-year, $27.5 million contract among others in order to reach the floor. As Ken wrote, there are ways to manipulate the cap e.g. Arizona Coyotes trading for the contracts of Chris Pronger and Pavel Datsyuk.

  10. Phisig150

    The Dodgers took on alot of the salary to build their farm system. LA took on bad contracts to keep their top prospects or get better prospects in return. Also invested heavily internationally. Most of that 223 million is off the books in two years. So if the Knights can have that financial flexibility in two years coupled with the league’s best pipeline for young talent then I say sign me up.

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