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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: SinBin.vegas 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 Golden Knights Have A Healthy Habit Of Stringing Goals Together Quickly

It’s somewhat of an unexplainable phenomenon in sports, specifically in hockey, but it happens and happens a lot for good teams.

Sometimes bounces don’t go your way. Through the first two periods, we had our chances but the puck didn’t cross the line. Then suddenly in the 3rd period, I don’t really know what happened, but boom, we got all of them. -Pierre-Edouard Bellemare

Three goals in a matter of less than five minutes. A deficit to a commanding lead. So what did happen?

I don’t know, maybe altitude change? -Nate Schmidt

He was joking (sort of) about how the training facility at Downtown Summerlin is 1,000 feet higher elevation than T-Mobile Arena. His teammates, and I, thought that concept was nuts, but that’s not uncommon when it comes to Nate.

Moments later though, he offered a much more believable justification, one that was echoed in the locker room.

Once our crowd gets into it and we score right away, it’s really hard for other teams to get back in. It’s kind of a like a hamster wheel it’s hard to stop it once it starts rolling. -Nate Schmidt

Obviously (the home crowd plays a major factor). When you have the crowd yelling at every single chance it makes you want to go on the ice and make something happen and hear those people yelling. They’ve been unbelievable all season, it’s amazing that it looks like this the first year. -Bellemare

It’s entirely possible Schmidt was being serious about the altitude thing. (Photo Credit: SinBin.vegas Photographer Brandon Andreasen)

It’s not out the norm for this team. At home, the Golden Knights have scored goals within five minutes of each other 22 different times this season. They’ve done it in 14 of their 26 home games, and in those 14 games, they’re are 13-1-0. They’ve also scored within two minutes of another goal 12 different times and within 91 seconds three times at T-Mobile Arena this year.

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VEGAS GOLDEN KNIGHTS 5 (37-15-4 78 PTS) CHICAGO BLACKHAWKS 2

It didn’t take time for the game to get going as the Golden Knights had a shot on goal within the first 10 seconds. Then, they took a penalty 1:00 into the game and Chicago cashed in to go ahead. Each team scored in the 2nd to send the game to the final period 2-1 Chicago. The Golden Knights did not wait long to take the game over though. Three goals in the first five minutes of the 3rd by Brad Hunt, Reilly Smith, and David Perron gave Vegas a lead they would not relinquish.

Upcoming stories from the Vegas Golden Knights vs. Chicago Blackhawks at T-Mobile Arena.

  • When it rains it pours for the Golden Knights. Why are they so good at scoring over and over again on teams?

Three Stars
*** David Perron
** Brad Hunt
* Reilly Smith

Bottom Six; What’s The Right Combination?

Step right up, pick three, any three!

The Golden Knights have hit a bit of a rough patch injury-wise, especially when it comes to the third and fourth lines. Over the course of the last month or so we’ve seen pretty much everyone play with everyone else.

Now, Tomas Nosek is set to return, which means for the first time in a while All Star head coach Gerrard Gallant will have to make decisions along the bottom six.

The plan for tonight is to run out the lines of Alex Tuch/Cody Eakin/Oscar Lindberg and Ryan Carpenter/Pierre-Edouard Bellemare/Tomas Nosek. Thus breaking up the recently successful Tuch/Bellemare/Carpenter line.

Everyone has their own opinions on who should be playing with whom, so we decided it’s time to put some numbers to the opinions. Have fun with this one…

 TOICF%SF%GFGASCF%
13456:0049.2350.30191851.12
21641:5547.9650.54212749.22
24536:4350.4851.92131952.69
4073:1353.7953.163655.56
41432:2253.0552.30131455.61
89530:3750.2551.43191653.06
92361:1350.4750.26111453.83
13 w/ 21314:1349.1950.88111450.00
13 w/ 2465:4246.2745.452442.03
13 w/ 400:550.000.00000.00
13 w/ 4129:5150.8550.002055.17
13 w/ 9224:2845.8327.270057.14
21 w/ 24170:1650.1754.612749.14
21 w/ 403:3954.5533.330042.86
21 w/ 4120:0640.9147.621045.00
21 w/ 9227:4846.6747.060051.61
24 w/ 4011:4650.0063.640060.00
24 w/ 41173:4056.8860.484462.25
24 w/ 92115:0450.4554.243556.31
40 w/ 4158:1957.8055.933459.62
40 w/ 928:51 52.1761.540054.55
41 w/ 92301:4052.7752.0191056.76
13 w/ 21 w/ 89245:5150.3152.8191052.85
13 w/ 21 w/ 2447:2743.4842.591430.95
40 w/ 41 w/ 8930:5164.5273.533171.43
21 w/ 24 w/ 89104:3653.2561.841258.82
24 w/ 41 w/ 9294:4254.0259.302363.29

Numerically, the most successful line offensively is the Tuch/Bellemare/Carpenter line, but the sample size is rather small. That being said, the line Gallant is going with, Tuch/Eakin/Lindberg has been very good in possession, but the scoring has yet to come (just one goal in 104:36).

This will be the first time Nosek, Carpenter, and Bellemare have been together, but any time Nosek and Bellemare have been very good, especially considering a majority of their zone starts are in the neutral or defensive zone.

Play around with that chart, and see what you can find. Personally, I’d like to see Tuch/Bellemare/Carpenter and Lindberg/Eakin/Nosek, but what do I know, I’m not the front-runner for the Jack Adams award.

Flyers Used Icings To Slow Down The Golden Knights, And It Worked

“Coach said they were icing it so much they should open a bakery.” -Probably what Cody Eakin was thinking (Photo Credit: SinBin.vegas Photographer Brandon Andreasen)

What did the Flyers do with the puck when the Golden Knights offensively pressured last night? They iced it.

I don’t think the icings were effecting us. When we were all on the same page and we know what we’re doing, guys are out of position it’s easier to ice it. Get back into position and start from scratch. -Radko Gudas, Flyers Defenseman

In the second period alone, Philadelphia iced the puck six times including three within a  :30 second span. The Flyers dumped the puck from their own zone to slow down a heavy attack by the Golden Knights.

There was a lot of icing, a lot more than usual… I thought the second was a bad period for us and the third, they were protecting the lead and they did a great job protecting it. We didn’t get many good chances. -Gerard Gallant

Flyers captain Claude Giroux echoed his teammates comments, that icing the puck allowed some breathing room.

I think first period we came out and it was pretty hard. They were making plays that not a lot of teams make. For us, it was just to regroup and make sure we’re on the same page out there. When we had our chances, we were able to put them in. -Claude Giroux, Flyers Captain

Icing the puck is usually looked at as a bad decision or a mistake. Philadelphia used it to their advantage, and took the opportunity to disrupt the Golden Knights momentum. At times, it looked as if the icing stoppage was frustrating Vegas.

Yeah for sure. When we were playing in our zone and they were all over us, sometimes we were able to take a breather and readjust. It wasn’t our game plan to ice the puck as much as we did but I think we did in times when we had to. It helped us weather the storm. -Gudas

The two Golden Knights we asked, Pierre-Eduoard Bellemare and William Karlsson claimed it didn’t have an effect on the game. All Star head coach Gerard Gallant agreed with his players. The Flyers head coach agreed with his opponents. 

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PHILADELPHIA FLYERS 4 VEGAS GOLDEN KNIGHTS 1 (36-15-4 76 PTS)

The Golden Knights got on the board first with a goal for Brayden McNabb but the Flyers, despite being outshot by 13 through two, scored three unanswered to give them the lead heading into the final frame. Vegas was able to muster up a bunch of shots through the final 20 minutes, but couldn’t ever get one to go. Rough loss on home ice to start the homestand.

Upcoming stories from the Vegas Golden Knights vs. Philadelphia Flyers at T-Mobile Arena.

  • Flyers seemed to take the air out of the game all night. They were outshot, outpossessed heavily, but won the game. A look into the effectiveness of that strategy against the Golden Knights.

Three Stars
*** Michal Neuvirth
** Brayden McNabb
* Sean Couturier

Malcolm Subban Headed To IR; Maxime Lagace To Be Recalled

Max’s back. (Photo Credit: SinBin.vegas Photographer Brandon Andreasen)

For the second time this year, the Golden Knights will be without their backup goalie, luckily this time the starter isn’t hurt as well.

Malcolm Subban sustained an upper-body injury during morning skate prior to the Golden Knights game in San Jose. Subban was dressed and was seen sitting under the bench during the game, but was apparently not available to enter that game.

All Star coach Gerard Gallant confirmed the team will recall Maxime Lagace. Lagace started 13 games during the Golden Knights goalie fiasco at the beginning of the year in which they lost three goalies in the team’s first 10 games. Vegas went 6-6-1 in those 13 games while Lagace allowed 3.79 goals per game and posted .872 save percentage. Lagace returned to the AHL with the Chicago Wolves where he has played in 14 games posting a .910 save percentage.

Oscar Dansk, who was sent back to the Wolves on January 24th has yet to start a game.

Both Dansk and Lagace are waiver-exempt this season, so the Golden Knights can freely rotate between the two assuming Dansk is healthy enough to play.

Best Against The Best

They are also 1-1 against these guys, the back-to-back champs, but they didn’t come close to the cut-off with their .571 points percentage. (Photo Credit: SinBin.vegas Photographer Brandon Andreasen)

The Golden Knights have been masterful against the entire NHL this season, but equally as successful against the league’s elite. In fact, they’ve actually been better against the good teams than they have against the not-so-good teams.

For the purpose of making this article look as impressive as possible, we made the cut-off for a good team a .600 points percentage. Nine teams other than Vegas (.704) qualify, all are currently sitting in a playoff position.

Tampa Bay (.713)
Boston (.712)
Nashville (.689)
Winnipeg (.664)
Washington (.639)
Dallas (.625)
St. Louis (.623)
Toronto (.616)
Los Angeles (.602)

Let’s start at the top, like the very top. The Golden Knights have earned six out of eight points against Boston and Tampa Bay.

VGK vs. Teams with .700+ Points %
.750 Point Percentage
3-1-0 Record
4 Games
6 Points
2-0 vs. Tampa Bay
1-1 vs. Boston

When you add in other league contenders the Golden Knights point percentage drops a bit, but it still would qualify them as the best team in the NHL. Marc-Andre Fleury and James Neal are still haunting Tampa, Washington, Dallas, Nashville and Winnipeg.

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SinBin.vegas Podcast #98: Vegas Atmosphere

Back for a short podcast due to Jason’s need to find a new place to live. Hosted by Ken Boehlke and Jason Pothier.

  • Ken can’t deal with doing physical labor.
  • Recapping the sights from DC.
  • T-Mobile Arena vs. other arenas.
  • The craziness of the road trip.
  • Changing the playoff format.

And much more…

We are on iTunes as well as Stitcher. Subscribe now!

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