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The Mantra Puts Major Pressure On McPhee And Gallant

Playoffs in three, Cup in six, the mantra. As a fan, you’ve got to love the optimism, no matter how unlikely you feel it may be, but have you ever wondered how George McPhee and Gerard Gallant feel about the mantra? Let’s be honest, it has to make them uneasy.

Does The Creator’s wish list mean there’s an apocalypse clock on McPhee and Gallant and does “no excuses, that’s the standard,” mean the coach/GM duo have a hard deadline? Whether true or not, there’s no question every time the mantra is said publicly by the guy signing the checks, pressure has to be mounting for McPhee and Gallant.

So, just how ambitious or impatient is The Creator with his future plan? After researching expansion history, “playoffs in three and Cup in six” doesn’t seem that far off for a new owner’s expectations. We can’t find any other owners publicly stating a mantra like this (let alone hundreds of times), but it appears to be a standard set decades ago. In fact, three and six would actually have been considered overly patient for many new owners.

San Jose Sharks
First coach: George Kingston
Two seasons: 1991-93 (fired offseason)
Win% .129 (28-129-7)

First GM: Jack Ferreira
One season: 1990-92; 17 wins (39 points)

Ottawa Senators
First Coach: Rick Bowness
Four seasons: 1992-95 (fired mid-season)
Win% .204 (39-178-18)

First GM: Mel Bridgman
One season: 1991-93; 10 wins (24 points)

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Playoffs In 3, Cup In 6; A Mantra Better Off Believed Than Doubted

It’s a saying that shouldn’t be new to Golden Knights fans, players, and especially George McPhee, “Playoffs in three, Cup in six.” A mantra that dates back on record as far as February 2016, and one that in the mind of the man behind it probably dates back to the moment he first thought about buying an NHL team.

Four months before Gary Bettman stood behind a podium at the Wynn and awarded Vegas an NHL franchise, The Creator had his a timeline made up in his mind. “Playoffs in three, Cup in six”

I don’t think it’s quick at all. Playoffs in three, Cup in six. Period, no excuses, that’s the standard. I consider that being very patient. -The Creator

Let me have him repeat what he said to News3’s Amber Dixon (see tweet below for video) again.

Period. No excuses, that’s the standard. -The Creator

Which begs two very simple questions. What if they aren’t in the playoffs by 2020 and what if the Stanley Cup is not being paraded down Las Vegas Boulevard in June of 2023?

Only time will tell, and it’s certainly not crazy to hear the mantra and instantly disbelieve it. But this isn’t a claim coming from some fan, a player, or worse off some no-good blogger. It’s coming from a guy who simply doesn’t let things fail, and someone whose portfolio of successes isn’t exactly confined to one area of expertise like most believe.

The more I talk to people, the more I realize they aren’t actually aware of who this guy is, what he’s done, and why when he says he’s going to do something, you are better off believing it than doubting it.

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Vegas Golden Knights Jerseys Unveiled

It’s a moment Golden Knights fans have been waiting for since the moment they were told the team name. Finally, at an Adidas event at Intrigue at the Wynn, the Golden Knights revealed their jerseys for the 2017-18 season.

Here are our observations followed by a bunch of photos and a few videos.

Observations

  • The jersey looks a lot better in person than it does on the pictures.
  • The design inside of the crest and the “rivets” are unique and certainly add to the logo on the jersey. Hopefully they keep them off the logo though.
  • The alternate logo on the shoulders looks spectacular.
  • The red color pops off the jersey much more when you see it with the pants and socks. On just the sweater portion, the red really gets lost.
  • The inside of the collar with the Vegas word mark is nice.
  • The collar is also two colors. It is black along the back and grey as it comes to the NHL logo in the front.
  • The NHL logo is very shiny, maybe too shiny.
  • The team gloves on the mannequin were white with gold accents. The Creator told me he doesn’t love the white gloves, that he wanted them to be  all gold. An Adidas representative who works very closely with the jerseys said the gold patten cannot be replicated on gloves because it will fall apart. It’ll be interesting to see what happens when October rolls around.
  • As for the helmet, it is black. There was a ton of chatter about it being gold, but it was seemingly vetoed by Adidas and/or the league. The Creator seemed a little disappointed when I asked him about it, but did say he likes the look of the black. Another issue is that it’s hard to replicate gold across multiple helmet manufacturers. There are up to around four different helmets players use and matching the gold to the jersey would have been “nearly impossible” as the rep told me.
  • Remember the idea of the jerseys being a “suit of armor” and having a”chainmail” pattern. That was there in one of the original concepts, but it went away rather quickly. According to Adidas, there hasn’t been chainmail in the design for quite some time.

Photos

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Vegas Golden Knights NHL Expansion Draft Live Blog

Click through to follow our live blog of the Expansion Draft and the eight events leading up to it.

Golden Knights Formally Respond To Denied Trademark With USPTO

On December 7th, the Vegas Golden Knights trademark was denied by the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) because of “likelihood of confusion” with the College of St. Rose Golden Knights.

There are countless examples of college sports teams and professional sports teams with coexisting names including the UCLA Bruins and Boston Bruins, University of Miami Hurricanes and Carolina Hurricanes, etc. We will plan on making these arguments and others in our detailed written response to the office action which must be filed by June 7th, 2017. -Team Statement on December 7th

That statement, which consists of 1347 pages of argument, examples, and exhibits, has been prepared and sent to the USPTO for review. (If you feel like going through the whole thing, it can be found here.)

The response cites four reasons as to why “Vegas Golden Knights mark is not likely to be confused” with the College of St. Rose Golden Knights.

(1) sports fans (and the general public) have long been accustomed to distinguishing between unrelated sports teams using the same or similar nicknames and trademarks;

(2) more specifically, sports fans (and the general public) have long been accustomed to distinguishing between GOLDEN KNIGHTS and KNIGHTS marks for sporting events;

(3) sports fans, by their very nature, are knowledgable about the games they choose to watch and attend; and

(4) the parties’ marks differ materially in appearance, sound and commercial impression.

The response goes on to give hundreds of examples from the Arizona Coyotes and University of South Dakota Coyotes sharing name, to comparing 22 different trademarks with the word “knights,” to even citing an erotic movie theatre that shares its name with a family movie theatre (Mini Cinema).

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Apply To Be The Golden Knight

Have any interest in constantly being harassed by children? Want to be the only person inside of T-Mobile Arena hoping they crank up the air conditioning? Think it would be neat to be the actual person who acts out the scene The Creator has been dreaming about since the inception of the Golden Knights?

Well now you can!

Teamwork Online, the site where you go to get jobs with professional sports teams, has listed the position of team mascot. And as SinBin.vegas revealed in early February, this position actually needs to be filled twice.

We’re going to have two mascots. One fan-friendly, kid-friendly mascot and there’s going to be one awesome, mean mother… the guy you don’t want to meet in the woods. -The Creator

We’ve since dug a bit on the “other” mascot and discovered it’s likely to be a horse or a dragon.

The job listing also indicates a role of the mascot will be to run the social media accounts of the mascot(s). So, you can expect to see a Foley the Golden Knight or Foley the Trusty Horse Instagram account coming soon. (They better name one of the two Foley.)

Mascot social media accounts can be some of the best to follow, hopefully the Golden Knights take the fun approach and not the PR friendly approach.

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Lessons To Be Learned From Nashville And San Jose

Two years in a row the Stanley Cup will be fought for by Pittsburgh and a “non-traditional market.” Like San Jose last season, Nashville won the West and made it to their first Cup final in franchise history. Analysts, like Pierre LeBrun believe the Golden Knights can learn from teams like the Predators and Sharks. If the empty seats in Ottawa didn’t blow up the whole anti-hockey in warm climate traditionalists, nothing will.  Let’s face it purist punks, you didn’t see any empty playoff seats in Nashville and San Jose.

This year’s San Jose is Nashville. Another non-traditional market that has been run the right way. Just like the Sharks, always have been. Always had a loyal following. Good ownership. And here they are… you have model organizations from non-traditional markets in San Jose and Nashville that get to the final. –Pierre LeBrun, on TSN Hamilton 1150

LeBrun believes Vegas can become a successful franchise by designing themselves after the Sharks and Predators organizations. Sure neither team has secured a Stanley Cup of their own but both franchises are well-run and consistently competitive. San Jose has qualified for the postseason 19 times in 25 seasons, and Nashville has qualified 10 in 19 seasons.

Not only does Nashville prove that, but we had it last year with San Jose reaching the Cup final. And what a wonderful story it was for the Sharks. Finally get over the hump and get to the final after years and years of being a contender. People took for granted that the Sharks sell out all the time. Oh yeah, San Jose. Shark Tank. What’s so different about a team in the middle of San Jose, California having success when teams in Arizona and Carolina haven’t hadn’t had as much success the last ten years? The difference is stability in management. -LeBrun

Consistency keeps fans interested and loyal. Once Vegas builds that strong, faithful fanbase, it’ll be easier during periodic lean years. Another factor LeBrun mentioned a few times. Nashville and San Jose have strong ownership and a dedication the fans to win. Who does that sound like? It’s really that way across all the professional leagues, it starts with a strong owner.

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Root Sports Rocky Mountain Announced As TV Home For Golden Knights

If you are in your car you already know to flip the station to Fox Sports 1340/98.9 to hear the Golden Knights, well now we know where to tune your TV to catch the games as well. AT&T Sports Networks, using their Root Sports or ROOT SPORTS as they like to call it (we are not obliging to the caps locks name) brand and the Golden Knights have agreed to a multi year deal to become the official exclusive home of the Vegas Golden Knights.

Under the agreement, ROOT SPORTS Rocky Mountain will be the exclusive television rightsholder for Golden Knights regional telecasts of regular-season games, beginning with the 2017-18 NHL season, for the length of the agreement. The network will have the opportunity to carry preseason and playoff games as well. All games will be produced in high definition and contain a pregame show and postgame show, subject to live event conflicts. -Press Release

Root Sports is channel 683 on DirecTV and 5414 on Dish Network. It is currently not offered by either local cable provider, Cox or CenturyLink Prism.

Cox provides news, sports and entertainment content that appeals to a wide range of audiences. At this time, we have not been contacted by Root Sports, but we review new additions to our channel lineup on an ongoing basis. -Official Statement from Cox Communications

Being available across all providers in the Las Vegas valley was a major priority for the organization in choosing their television partner. While it is alarming that the deals are not in place at the moment and I’m sure any Dodgers fans reading this are having deja vu, it’s too early to panic about Cox and Prism not offering the channels.

Root Sports is offered on Comcast cable in Denver, Pittsburgh, Houston, Salt Lake City, Seattle, and Portland. Verizon FiOS in Pittsburgh. Coastal Link, En-Touch, and Consolidated Communications in Houston. AT&T Sports Networks is owned by DirecTV.

Root Sports Rocky Mountain is currently the home for the Colorado Rockies and the Utah Jazz. Their website says they will have live coverage of 150 Rockies games and “at least 75” Jazz games. We do not have information yet on how they plan on addressing the conflicts between the teams.

This is a landmark agreement for our organization, Golden Knights fans in Nevada and Golden Knights fans all across the Rocky Mountain region. The investment by ROOT SPORTS in cutting edge technology and their background televising the sport of hockey will ensure an enjoyable viewing experience during every Golden Knights game. -The Creator

In addition to the pre and post game shows mentioned Root Sports will also provide “other hockey-related programming with unique access to the team and its players.” How this interacts (or doesn’t) with Behind the Vegas Ice is yet to be seen. The show on Cox is scheduled to run through the first month of the season.

A press conference is scheduled for this afternoon.

McPhee Finds Silver Lining In Protection Lists Being Made Public

The decision by the NHL to make the Expansion Protection Lists public was applauded by media and fans alike, but GM’s around the league were not so thrilled about the idea of having to reveal their “secrets” to the rest of the world. We’re not sure which side the Vegas Golden Knights GM George McPhee was on during the discussions the GM meetings, but we sure know what he thinks about the lists being public now.

We like it from our stand point because now everyone is going to know what’s going on. We think teams are going to call us and say, ‘You know what that team over there has exposed a guy that we would really like to have. Can we do a deal with you to get that guy.’ That’s kind of the secondary market we are looking at that could be really fruitful for us. –George McPhee to The Rink Rats

That secondary market is one we’ve been talking about for a long time, and is the main asset the Golden Knights have in the Expansion Draft. Despite the many mock drafts out there striving to find the 30 best available players, Vegas is much more likely to utilize every selection from every team as a tradeable asset. The goal isn’t to put a winning team on the ice this season, it’s to build the foundation of the franchise. Whether it’s a deal to take a player, a deal to not take a player, or a deal to give a player to someone else, McPhee and the Golden Knights will be working hard to turn the Expansion Draft into NHL currency. That currency being draft picks and/or prospects, and friendly contracts… not 32-year-old former Stanley Cup winning Captain right wingers.

McPhee makes a great point in saying that if the lists were not public, other GMs wouldn’t be able to see the entire universe of available players and it would limit the deals Vegas could pull off. Of course, George could have simply told his fellow GMs which players are available during phone calls, but there is an element of time involved in this draft and also a level of gamesmanship that would have been involved that’s no longer there. (It’s hard to get a fair deal with someone who has much more information than you do.)

The Creator mentioned in multiple interviews over the past week that he expects his team to end up with plenty of draft picks. Sitting in on the mock drafts, he knows the strategy McPhee is planning on deploying, and odds are, that strategy includes a heck of a lot of wheeling and dealing. The lists being public will hopefully speed up the process and expand that secondary market in a way that majorly benefits the Golden Knights. I’ve said this before, and I’ll say it again because it’s crazy, but true. For 72 hours at the end of June, the Golden Knights own the rights to every single player left unprotected in the Expansion Draft. A pool of over 400 players. All roads go through Vegas from June 17th to the 20th, the Golden Knights must take advantage of it.

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Who Waited For Whom, And Why It Took So Long To Bring Gallant On Board

November 27th is a date that will forever live in the mind of new Vegas Golden Knights head coach Gerard Gallant. That’s the day he was let go from the Florida Panthers, paving the way for him to make history in Vegas.

But November 27th was 137 days before The Creator and George McPhee announced the knighting of Gerard Gallant. One has to wonder why it took so long, and more importantly, who caused the holdup.

We felt that we had a process that we wanted to go through, Kelly (McCrimmon) and I had discussed how we wanted to do this. I guess there are three issues why we took our time. First of all we didn’t have any players to coach, so we weren’t in a rush to have a coach, and we had so many other things to do. We had to get our priorities in order and take care of some of other things before we got to the coach. The second thing is when you have time in this business you use it. We needed every bit of it. The third reason was there were some people who had requested we talk to them at the end of their seasons. So, we went through the entire process. We did it the way we wanted to, and it worked out very well for us. We got the right person for this team and we did it in the timeline we set for it. -George McPhee

And what did it look like from Gallant’s point of view?

The first time I talked to George about it was probably in mid-December, he gave me a call and asked if I had any interest. I said definitely I had a lot of interest in it. Then I did an interview in mid-January and I flew out here for two days and we met for 3-4 hours with him and Kelly McCrimmon, Misha Donskov, and the owner. From that point on we talked about once every two weeks about the job and the process he was going through to hire his new coach. It was good, it was a long process but it was real good and it was everything I expected when we talked. -Gallant on Hockey Central at Noon

Gallant’s initial interview happened in January. Right around the time rumors started to fly that the Golden Knights may move up their coach hiring. Then, they didn’t, and here we are now, with the same guy that caused the rumors in the first place behind the bench?

When we met him we really liked him and there was an inclination to maybe do this right now because there’s some risk in waiting. But we wanted to be able to come here today and say ‘you know what, we did this right, it was a comprehensive exhaustive process and we took our time and we got the right guy.’ I talked to Gerard about two weeks ago and said when the season ends this is going to happen fast. We have one other person to talk to and when we get through that we will know exactly what we are doing. Throughout the process we kept coming back to Gerard and we felt like he was the right guy, and on Monday night we said, you know what, he’s the guy, let’s go. –McPhee to the Rink Rats

Gerard in the mean time was scooping up interviews himself.

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