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Praise Be To Foley, Vegas Golden Knights Hockey Website

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Welcome Seattle

**Steve Carp’s twice-weekly column publishes every Wednesday and Sunday during the Golden Knights season.**

The NHL officially grew by one Tuesday as the Emerald City joined the league as its 32nd team, effective for the 2021-22 season. The price tag? A hefty $650 million, 30 percent more than the $500 million Bill Foley paid to bring the Golden Knights into the NHL in 2016.

The Metropolitans or Totems or whatever they’re going to be called (I’m rooting for Totems, the idea of a Let’s Go Mets!” chant in a hockey arena is not what I want to hear) have a tough act to follow and they know it.

The fan base in Washington State has responded in similar fashion to Las Vegas with more than 32,000 deposits for a 17,000-seat building at the once-again refurbished KeyArena. And they’re going to demand the same kind of success the Golden Knights enjoyed in their inaugural season.

Could lightning strike twice? Sure. If Seattle’s Dave Tippett hires the right general manager and the right coach, if the team drafts well in the Expansion Draft and can pull off a few shrewd moves and have a decent amateur draft, yeah, they could have a memorable Year One.

But that’s a lot of if’s.

Frankly, I’m not so sure they can pull it off for a number of reasons.

Let’s start with the rules themselves.

If you recall, the Knights were able to select one player from each of the 30 existing NHL teams. They were also allowed to make side deals where if you didn’t take a certain player from a team, that team would trade you another player and/or a draft pick.

George McPhee skillfully exploited the rules and took a couple of teams to the cleaners, most notably Minnesota and Florida. He got Alex Tuch and Erik Haula from the Wild by agreeing not to take Matt Dumba. He got Reilly Smith from the Panthers along with Jonathan Marchessault.

Ironically, both opposing GMs, Chuck Fletcher in Minnesota and Tom Rowe in Florida, ultimately lost their jobs. (Fletcher resurfaced Monday in Philadelphia as the Flyers’ new GM.)

I’m guessing Fletcher learned his lesson in Minnesota and will be very wary about dealing with Seattle when it comes time for the Flyers to expose their unprotected list. Dale Tallon’s back in charge in Florida and assuming he’s still there two years from now, he’s not going to repeat the mistakes his predecessor made.

And that goes for the other GMs too. You’re not likely to see a lot of side deals made with Seattle. Better to just lose one player and not perpetuate a gaffe.

The exception? GMGM.

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VEGAS GOLDEN KNIGHTS 5 WASHINGTON CAPITALS 3 (15-13-1 31 PTS)

An early power play goal got things going for the Golden Knights. Ryan Reaves put home an excellent pass in front of the goal from Cody Eakin. Then the game started to get a bit ugly as the hitting rained down all over the ice. Reaves lit up Tom Wilson, Alex Ovechkin destroyed Tomas Nosek, and William Carrier was hitting everything that moved. During it all, Washington took the lead back. The Golden Knights killed the 5-minute major penalty that sent Reaves to the showers for hitting Tom Wilson. Then. Vegas scored twice in 16 seconds to regain the lead. Nate Schmidt scored late in a 4-minute power play to give the Golden Knights the lead very late in the 3rd and then Schmidt nailed the empty netter to seal it. The game of the year in the NHL to this point.

Upcoming stories from the Vegas Golden Knights vs Washington Capitals at T-Mobile Arena.

  • Carp’s column on Seattle expansion, including quotes from Foley on taking the exemption over the money.
  • Photo gallery from this incredible game
  • The most consistent part of the Golden Knights game: Penalty Killing

Three Stars
*** Cody Eakin
** Pierre-Edouard Bellemare
* Nate Schmidt

Ryan Reaves #75 of the Vegas Golden Knights taunts Tom Wilson #43 of the Washington Capitals after checking him to the ice at the T-Mobile Arena on December 4, 2018 in Las Vegas, NV. (Photo by Brandon Andreasen)

Alex Tuch Is The Driving Force Behind Max Pacioretty’s Offensive Awakening

Without Tuch’s help, Pacioretty has yet to find the net. (Photo Credit: SinBin.vegas Photographer Brandon Andreasen)

Max Pacioretty has been red-hot over the past two weeks. His seven-game point streak just concluded, he’s scored eight goals, and has tallied multiple points in three of the last four Golden Knights games. Finally, Pacioretty is breaking through and displaying the skills and production that was expected of him when he was acquired for Tomas Tatar, Nick Suzuki, and a 2nd round pick.

However, as we do on every goal in the hockey, we need to award an assist for Pacioretty’s turn-around, and it goes to Alex Tuch. A single stat illustrates it best, so we’ll start there.

 TOIGoals ScoredGoals Allowed
67 w/ 89173:36118
67 w/o 89139:0107
89 w/o 6799:0162

The table shows how many goals were scored and how many goals were allowed, at 5-on-5, when Pacioretty and Tuch are on the ice together, and when each has been on the ice without the other. As you can see, there is a significant amount of time on ice for each of the three situations.

Max Pacioretty has not been on the ice for a single Golden Knights goal, at 5-on-5, when Alex Tuch was not also on the ice. However, Tuch has been out there for six without Pacioretty. Also, Max has allowed seven without Tuch, while Tuch has only allowed two without Pacioretty.

Of course, Cody Eakin has had a positive impact on the line as well, but not nearly as much as Tuch. It’s a small sample, but in the 15:31 Pacioretty played with Eakin and not Tuch, the Golden Knights allowed two goals and didn’t score any.

 TOIGoals ScoredGoals Allowed
67 w/ 89173:36118
67 w/o 89139:0107
89 w/o 6799:0162
67 w/ 21 w/o 8915:3102
67 w/ 89 w/ 21141:13106
67 w/o 21 w/o 89123:3105

Sometimes stats are misleading though, especially “on ice” stats that are credited simply for a player being on the ice and not necessarily involved in the play. So, I decided to go through every 5-on-5 goal scored by Pacioretty to see what impact Tuch had on the play. (You can see them all at the end of this article.)

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Pothier: Stastny Should Return To Second Line Immediately

It still may be a couple weeks, but it’s starting to look like Stastny is getting ready to return. (Photo Credit: SinBin.vegas Photographer Brandon Andreasen)

With the promising news we uncovered yesterday about Paul Stastny, the question that seems to be on everyone’s mind is the same. When he comes back, where does reigning Jack Adams award winning coach Gerard Gallant place him in the lineup when he’s ready to come back?

It’s an age-old question in sports, should a player lose his position because of an injury? Keeping in mind how well his replacement is playing, in most cases, the answer is no.

Injured center Paul Stastny was signed in the offseason to anchor a brand new second line, yet they haven’t played one shift together. Alex Tuch was to graduate to the top-six and play alongside Americans Stastny and Max Pacioretty. The three could’ve been dubbed the “Freedom” line, but unfortunately, injuries got in the way.

The Golden Knights stand at 29 points, and in the middle of the mess that is known as the Pacific Division. Since Stastny’s injury in Game 3 of the season, the team has played roughly .500 (13-12–1) hockey without him. However, the second line has been extremely effective as of late. Since bumping third line center Cody Eakin up in early November due to Erik Haula’s lower-body injury, the Eakin-Tuch-Pacioretty line has 35 points. The second line was arguably one of the biggest factors in Vegas’ late November five-game win streak.

Tough to break-up, I get it.

Eakin’s strong play brings us back to the organization’s vision for this season. He was expected to center the third line again, and make it more consistent than it was last season. That was GM George McPhee’s plan. And so was upgrading their second line center with a talented veteran like Stastny. Injuries essentially delayed the offseason remodel.

Bottom line is, Stastny is valued by this team as their second line center. They paid him as such, and made a high-risk move trading for Pacioretty to compliment his play. The connecting moves were projected to juice up team offense, and still could once Stastny is cleared to play. This was the team’s vision. They told us.

We wanted to try improve our team. That’s why we signed Paul Stastny as a free agent. Why trading for Max Pacioretty was really important for us. -Kelly McCrimmon, Assistant GM, on 11/19/18

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Is Tom Wilson Just Wired Wrong?

**Steve Carp’s twice-weekly column publishes every Wednesday and Sunday during the Golden Knights season.**

The call didn’t come.

Should it have? Probably.

But Tom Wilson’s phone never rang Saturday after it was determined his hit from behind on New Jersey’s Brett Seney Friday was not going to be subject to supplementary discipline from the NHL’s Department of Player Safety.

Which means No. 43 will be on the ice Tuesday at T-Mobile Arena when the Washington Capitals face the Golden Knights. Unless, of course, he pulls a cement-head move Sunday against Anaheim and the league decides it needs to do something.

Wilson, who must have some of Raffi Torres’ DNA, took a run at Seney and hit him from behind late in the second period of the Capitals’ 6-3 win over the Devils. Seney obviously never saw Wilson coming and Wilson was given a match penalty and ejected.

Immediately, the hockey world called for major sanctions against Wilson, who only recently returned from a league-imposed 20-game suspension from the preseason when he KO’d St. Louis’ Oskar Sundqvist. Wilson appealed and, eventually, an arbitrator reduced the 20-game ban to 14.

It was more kind of back of my shoulder. I don’t know if he was intending to do it or what. I haven’t had the chance to look at it yet. -Brett Seney

Seney was OK and he eventually returned to Friday’s game. But given Wilson’s rap sheet, it was assumed the DoPS would lower the boom on him.

Wilson has been suspended on four occasions by the NHL:

  •  September 22, 2017
    • In a preseason game against St. Louis, Wilson caught Robert Thomas with a late hit, resulting in a two preseason game suspensions
  • October 1, 2017
    • The NHL suspended Wilson for the first four games of the regular season for boarding Blues rookie forward Sammy Blais during each team’s 2017 preseason finale.
  • May 2, 2018
    • Wilson was suspended from three playoff games due to an illegal check to the head of Pittsburgh’s Zach Aston-Reese, who sustained a concussion and a broken jaw in Game 3 of the Eastern Conference semifinals.
  • October 3, 2018
    • Wilson was given his largest suspension to date —20 regular season games — after an illegal hit to the head hit on Sundqvist during a preseason game.

(Photo Credit: SinBin.vegas Photographer Brandon Andreasen)

And that doesn’t include all the cheap shots over the years that didn’t get Wilson suspended. Golden Knights fans aren’t going to forget the run Wilson took at Jonathan Marchessault in Game 1 of the Stanley Cup Final last June. There was no real payback during the rest of the Final because the Knights couldn’t afford to lose a player. And there was no retribution on Oct. 10 when the teams met for the first time since June 6 as Wilson did not play.

But will there be something Tuesday? My gut tells me no. Even though Ryan Reeves, Will Carrier, Deryk Engelland, and Brayden McNabb could all take care of Wilson if they chose to. However, if, as Reaves so accurately put it after Game 1, “That’s Wilson being Wilson” and he pulls yet another stunt similar to the one on Marchessault or Friday’s on Seney, Gerard Gallant won’t have to say a word. The players will administer their own justice.

But let’s go back to the play Friday in D.C., and where I have a problem with the league’s lack of action. Seney was in a vulnerable position. His back was to Wilson. He had no idea he was about to get leveled.

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EDMONTON OILERS 2 VEGAS GOLDEN KNIGHTS 1 (14-13-1 29 PTS)

The Golden Knights controlled the beginning portion of the 1st period but then Connor McDavid happened. Vegas got it going towards the end of the 2nd period and William Karlsson banked one in off an Oiler’s skate scoring for the fourth game in a row. A giveaway behind the goal led to Edmonton regaining the lead early in the 3rd. Vegas couldn’t muster up enough chances to get one behind Mikko Koskinen.

Upcoming stories from the Vegas Golden Knights at Edmonton Oilers at Rogers Place.

  • Steve Carp’s Sunday column on Tom Wilson

Three Stars
*** Marc-Andre Fleury
** Mikko Koskinen
* Connor McDavid

SinBin Radio – CBS Sports Radio 1140 – 12/01/18

The Golden Knights are on fire, but they are doing it all against terrible teams. We talk about the potential “mirage,” as well as VGK TV ratings, the All Star ballot, William Nylander and Tom Wilson.

You can listen to our show every Saturday from 10-11am on 1140 AM or streaming live on the Radio.com app. All shows will be archived as well.

Vegas Golden Knights TV Ratings Soar

These two things are kind of a big reason for the massive bump in ratings. (Photo Credit: SinBin.vegas Photographer Brandon Andreasen)

It’s no secret to anyone that the Vegas Golden Knights are the most popular item in Las Vegas right now. Show up to a game, there are routinely 18,000+ people wearing grey and gold. Drive down the street and you’ll see thousands of VGK decals, stickers, plate holders, and now even custom license plates. You can go pretty much anywhere in this city and you are almost guaranteed to see the Golden Knights logo somewhere or on someone.

But the best determinant of actual fandom is eyeballs. By that I mean, people watching the games on TV.

Last year the numbers were very hard to come by (believe me, we asked over 20 times over the course of the season), but as the regular season came to a close, Sports Business Journal was able to gather the average number from the season.

The Vegas Golden Knights had a 1.87 rating on AT&T Rocky Mountain in the team’s inaugural season. –John Ourand and Ian Thomas, SportsBusiness Journal

For context, the league leader was the Pittsburgh Penguins with a 5.81 rating, the Buffalo Sabres came in second at 4.62 and the St. Louis Blues pulled a 3.93. The worst ratings in the league were by the Anaheim Ducks (0.24) and the Florida Panthers (0.27).

Before I show you the numbers for this year, let me explain TV ratings quickly. The numbers above, called “ratings” indicate what percentage of total households with televisions (whether turned on or not) are watching the channel. There’s another metric, called “share” which indicates the total percentage of households have that actually have TVs turned on which are tuned to a channel.

So, on to the fun numbers. Here are the Golden Knights ratings per game on AT&T SportsNet this season.

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The Second Line That Saved Christmas

It took a little while to get going, but Alex Tuch, Max Pacioretty, and Cody Eakin are on fire now. (Photo Credit: SinBin.vegas Photographer Brandon Andreasen)

When the holiday season began, Vegas Golden Knights fans didn’t have much to be thankful for, or so it seemed.

On Halloween, things were starting to get scary. Vegas was 5-6-1, with only 11 points and five spots out of the playoffs. Early season trends were beginning to look like the worst could come true. Remember the panic on November 1st?

NHL teams four or more points out of a playoff spot by 11/01, have roughly an 18% chance of making the postseason. Since 2005-06, 47 of 58 teams that were 4+ points out of the postseason spot by November 1st, missed the playoffs. That’s a whopping 82% of teams that their fate was determined by the beginning of November. –SinBin.vegas article on 11/05/18

And then came the East Coast trip that brutalized the Golden Knights. Vegas lost three of four on the road and came back home in seventh place in the division. Ken was losing his mind, many fans were on board with him, and legitimate concern was starting to creep in that maybe this team just isn’t that good.

Things looked bleak. Up until the second line began to warm up.

November 14: Vegas 5-0 vs Anaheim

  • Second line w/ 6 points (3 goals, 3 assists)
  • Eakin: Even-strength goal, Shorthanded goal
  • Tuch scores 1st Period Game-winning PP goal
  • Pacioretty assists Tuch’s GWG

November 18: Vegas 6-3 at Edmonton

  • Second line w/ 3 points (2 goals, 1 Assist)
  • Eakin scored shorthanded goal
  • Pacioretty with second period Go-ahead goal
  • Tuch assists Pacioretty’s Go-ahead goal

November 19: Vegas 3-2 @ Arizona

  • Second line w/ 4 points (2 goals, 2 assists)
  • Pacioretty scored 2nd Period Go-ahead goal, and OT winner
  • Tuch and Eakin assist Pacioretty’s Go-ahead goal

November 23: Vegas 2-0 vs. Calgary

  • Second line w/ 4 points (1 goal, 3 assists)
  • Tuch scored 1st Period Game-wining goal
  • Eakin and Pacioretty assist on Tuch’s GWG

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VEGAS GOLDEN KNIGHTS 4 VANCOUVER CANUCKS 3 (14-12-1 29 PTS)

The Golden Knights got off to a bit of a slow start allowing a 1st period goal on a delayed penalty, but they really came on as the period wore on. A great shift for the “4th” line earned a goal for William Carrier. Then, a power play goal by Max Pacioretty gave the Golden Knights the lead heading into the 2nd intermission. Vegas surrendered a two-goal lead, but an awesome effort from Reilly Smith on the penalty kill led to a tap-in for William Karlsson for the game-winner.

Upcoming stories from the Vegas Golden Knights at Vancouver Canucks at Rogers Arena

  • 2nd line FTW

Three Stars
*** Bo Horvat
** Brock Boeser
* Max Pacioretty

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