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Nick Holden Finally Looks At Home In Vegas

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

I remember hearing all the negative comments about Golden Knights defenseman Nick Holden’s play the first month of the season.

He turned the puck over. He was out of position. He added nothing to the offense. And a lot of it was true.

But I also knew that it takes players time to adjust to a new team, a new system and living in a new city. Playing in a different division and conference also factor into the break-in period.

So I was preaching patience. But I’ll admit, my patience with the 31-year-old Holden was being tested. Here was an NHL veteran who was in his eighth season. I was expecting better. Not a whole lot better, mind you, but better than what I was witnessing.

The last few weeks, Holden has restored my faith in the free-agent signing George McPhee made on July 1. He has ramped up his play considerably and he has found a home on the third defensive pairing with Colin Miller.

I’m definitely comfortable. Any time you come to a new situation, you’re going to go through some adjustments. -Nick Holden

The biggest adjustments are learning the idiosyncrasies of your teammates, finding your role and comfort zone with your personality in the locker room and understanding what your coach wants and assimilating yourself in the team’s system and style of play.

When Nate Schmidt was serving his 20-game suspension, Holden was playing with several different partners. It was a difficult adjustment. Little things like which side of the ice you’re playing (Holden’s a left-handed shot), to knowing the speed of the forwards to headman the puck to them to simply having a feel for how the puck is passed to you can all contribute to a player’s comfort (or discomfort) level.

(Photo Credit: SinBin.vegas Photographer Brandon Andreasen)

But if you look at Holden’s play the past couple of weeks, you’re seeing the player McPhee thought he was getting.

He’s reading the play better. He’s making smarter decisions when to jump into the attack and support the play. He’s picking up the opposing forwards better in his own zone and using his stick better to get into passing lanes and clear rebounds from in front of the net.

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VEGAS GOLDEN KNIGHTS 8 CHICAGO BLACKHAWKS 3 (13-12-1 27 PTS)

The Golden Knights got off to a hot start taking a 3-0 lead into the intermission. They kept pouring it on eventually leading 8-2. Cody Eakin and Shea Theodore both put up two goals. All this being said, the Golden Knights did not play nearly as well as the score indicated. They allowed a ton of great chances on their own net that were either saved by Fleury or missed by the Blackhawks.

Upcoming stories from the Vegas Golden Knights at Chicago Blackhawks at United Center

  • Steve Carp’s Wednesday column on Nick Holden
  • A look at why I thought VGK wasn’t actually that good. (Assuming what I saw is what I see again when I watch the game again.)

Three Stars
*** Alex Tuch
** Cody Eakin
* Shea Theodore

 

SinBin.vegas Podcast #133: Daniel Negreanu

One of the biggest VGK fans out there, poker superstar Daniel Negreanu joins the show to respond to the question… are the Golden Knights good again? Hosted by Ken Boehlke and Jason Pothier.

  • How much luck was involved in building the Golden Knights?
  • Wasting away the first 20 games.
  • How poker impacts the way Daniel watches hockey
  • If you can make one change to hockey, what is it?
  • Sign up for the celebrity charity poker tournament here.

And much more…

We are on iTunesStitcher, and Google Play. Subscribe now!

Golden Knights Used Insane Schedule To Find Consistency

Who would have ever thought five games in seven days would be a blessing rather than a curse? (Photo Credit: SinBin.vegas Photographer Brandon Andreasen) 

It was a weird quirk in the schedule. Five games in seven days including three road games and two back-to-backs. And the Golden Knights came into it with just 19 points in their first 21 games.

To put it politely, this past week had a realistic chance of breaking the Golden Knights. Instead, they won four of the five games, which were all division games, and went from seventh place to third in the Pacific Division.

We talked about it, I mean like you said it was five games in seven days and the guys need a lot of rest so there wasn’t much practice time, very little if any. The biggest thing we did was we knew we had to win these hockey games. We knew we had to get back in this race and start to competing and playing real well and I think our game’s back right now. We played excellent hockey in four of the five games and that’s why we got a little streak here so we just have to continue to play the way we are playing and like I said guys are starting to get some confidence and feel good with their game. -Gerard Gallant

Rather than the Sunday, Monday, Wednesday, Friday, Saturday marathon that was last week killing the Golden Knights, instead it may have jumped started them.

It was the perfect time, when you are feeling good about playing your game, to play often. When you like the way things are going you don’t want to sit back and think about how great you are you want to put on the gear and go play a game. -Max Pacioretty

The Golden Knights had been mired in inconsistency used a tough schedule to their advantage and even despite laying a complete egg in one game, they may have played their most consistent five-game stretch of the year.

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Everyone Is In Hockey’s Fight Against Cancer

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

Saturday was my favorite night of the hockey season, and it had absolutely nothing to do with the Golden Knights’ 6-0 win over the San Jose Sharks

It was also the hardest night of the season, emotionally speaking.

The NHL’s 31 teams all celebrate “Hockey Fights Cancer” during November. It has been going on for 20 years now and has raised tens of millions of dollars for cancer research. From the special lavender jerseys the teams wear in warmups and are ultimately auctioned off, to the inspiring stories we hear throughout the league, to the signs fans hold up in arenas proclaiming who they “Fight For,” it’s one of the best things the NHL does.

Who among us hasn’t been impacted by cancer? Whether it was yourself, a family member, a friend, cancer doesn’t discriminate. Man or woman. Rich or poor. Black or white. American, Canadian or Russian. Cancer can get any of us.

We’ll get to how it got me in a minute. But first, I wanted to applaud Kendell Galor, who was honored in the pregame ceremony.

Kendell is a member of the Golden Knights family along with the UNLV hockey family. She is a strength and conditioning intern for the Knights and she is the trainer for UNLV’s hockey team.

Back in June, 2016, a rare form of brain tumor was found. After months of treatments and surgeries, she is winning her battle. (To learn more about Kendell’s story and to watch her ceremonial puck drop before the game, see the videos at the end of this column.)

Colin Magdon is also trying to win his battle. The 7-year-old who plays for the Junior Golden Knights, has leukemia. He recently had his first round of chemotherapy and his fight is well under way.

I hear these stories about young people and cancer and it breaks my heart.

Last year, the Knights visited the Nevada Childhood Cancer Center in Henderson to spend a couple of hours with kids who are waging a brave battle against cancer. To a man, every player who visited and spent time with those kids that day said it was one of the most rewarding experiences of their lives. And remember, many of these same players the month before were in the community supporting the victims of the October 1 mass shooting.

It’s days like Saturday where sports and the community can bond, where we can be there for each other, where we can raise awareness for a cause that is worth fighting for.

And while everyone wants the Golden Knights to win on the ice, sometimes, getting a little perspective is even more important. Because as much as a win Saturday against San Jose will bring a smile to Colin Magdon’s face or make Kendell Galor feel a little better as she drives home from T-Mobile Arena, the fact they know people care about them and want to help them is more important than two points and a .500 record.

Now, my story.

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VEGAS GOLDEN KNIGHTS 6 SAN JOSE SHARKS 0 (12-12-1 25 PTS)

The Golden Knights wasted no time to win this game scoring :14 second in and then three more times in the 1st period. William Karlsson recorded the fastest goal in team history. Max Pacioretty got on the board twice and Colin Miller added a goal for the second straight game. Things got a bit chippy in the 2nd as both Evander Kane and Pete DeBoer were ejected from the game. Alex Tuch added the sixth goal of the game in the 3rd. Marc-Andre Fleury recorded his fourth shutout in his last five home games and his league-leading fifth of the season.

Upcoming stories from the Vegas Golden Knights vs San Jose Sharks at T-Mobile Arena

  • Steve Carp’s emotional column on the importance of Hockey Fights Cancer including his personal bout with cancer.

Three Stars
*** William Carrier
** Max Pacioretty
*  Marc-Andre Fleury

SinBin Radio – CBS Sports Radio 1140 – 11/24/18

Following a big win at home against the Flames we talk about the decision to start Marc-Andre Fleury on the back-to-back, the potential loss of faith in Malcolm Subban, and how important tonight’s game against the Sharks really is for Vegas. Plus, a special guest appearance from FearTheFin.com’s Sheng Peng.

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.

Schmidt Comes Home, Neal Returns, Carr Debuts

Even aside from being dubbed as “Kids Day” at T-Mobile, the 3 PM start, and the home team wearing white jerseys, Friday’s game had a lot going on. So, when the game ended, we at SinBin.vegas split up to cover all three major stories at the same time. Jason went to the visitor’s locker room to track down James Neal, Steve spent the day focused on Daniel Carr and chatted with him after the game, and I drew the Schmidty straw. Here are all three stories wrapped up into one post.

Schmidt Comes Home
(written by Ken Boehlke)

Ever been in one of those circus mirror rooms where everywhere you turn you see a slightly different version of yourself? Creepy, right? Now, imagine you do the same thing, but the room doesn’t have mirrors and instead, they are real people, over 10,000 of them.

It felt like another dimension out there. -Nate Schmidt

But as much as Schmidt’s return was celebrated by those in the stands, it was his teammates and his coach who have the deepest appreciation for what he brings back to the Golden Knights.

You guys talked about Nate Schmidt and that’s important to our team and he is really important to our group and I think it makes us a lot better team, when we can come out and throw the defense at you like that and play the game that we play all the time. -Gerard Gallant

Nate seemed to really enjoy his time on the ice as well.

It’s fun to be back, fun to be back here (at T-Mobile Arena). It was such a fun game to be a part of. I love when we play our game. It’s fun, it’s fun hockey. It’s the reason why you play the game is when your team is playing that way. -Schmidt

You might say, he had fun. So did the rest of the Golden Knights when they saw the 10,000+ Schmidt faces in the crowd.

I got back in there in the locker room and the guys just stared at me and gave the open eyes like ‘woah.’ Never seen something like that. -Schmidt

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VEGAS GOLDEN KNIGHTS 2 CALGARY FLAMES (11-12-1 23 PTS)

Four nights ago it was 5-0 after one and 7-0 after two in favor of Calgary. Tied through one, and Vegas took the lead in the 2nd with an Alex Tuch tip in. A 3rd period power play goal from Colin Miller extended the lead to 2-0 and some terrific defense throughout kept the Flames off the board. Fleury’s fourth shutout of the year to give him the league lead.

Upcoming stories from the Vegas Golden Knights vs Calgary Flames at T-Mobile Arena

  • Daniel Carr: 3rd line stabilizer… at least for one night.

Three Stars
*** Colin Miller
** Alex Tuch
* Marc-Andre Fleury

Get The Puck Out Of The Zone… Now!

Get to it and get it out. That’s how VGK wants to play in their own end, and they know they haven’t done enough of it. (Photo Credit: SinBin.vegas Photographer Brandon Andreasen)

Hockey is a funny game. One night a team can come out completely flat, give up seven unanswered goals, and get embarrassed and then a few nights later that very same team can play an excellent defensive game and grind out an overtime win. The difference between the Golden Knights Monday night performance and their Wednesday night performance were stark.

So what changed?

Following Monday night’s loss the Golden Knights wanted to put the game in the rearview mirror, a commitment to simplicity helped the Golden Knights turn it around in just two nights time.

Nevermind what we can do to get up ice, nevermind the plays that we can make, be simple and just give the (opposing) forwards a steady diet of right ups, and quick ins and tip ins and let them go to work. -Nate Schmidt

Schmidt got a little inside baseball hockey on us there, but what he’s talking about is moving the puck quickly out of the zone. Rather than sitting back and trying to make the perfect play to spring an offensive chance, the defensemen wanted to simply get the puck out of their own zone as quickly as physically possible. Either move it directly out or move it once to the D-partner and let him move it out.

It forces them to go to work. It forces them to go to the go on the forecheck. You kind of take it out of their hands and take it out of our hands. That was what we talked about as a group on the day off. A healthy diet of right-ups. A healthy diet of quick-up D to D. -Schmidt

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