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Tag: Hub City

Defense Can Benefit From Softer Crowd Noise

(Photo Credit: SinBin.vegas Photographer Brandon Andreasen)

We can’t get Golden Knights defensemen to shut up about the importance of their on-ice communication. They say it’s key for a pair to be aware of one another during a game, especially defending a rush, or if one is in possession of the puck. Sure, they know where the other is most of the time but the chatter can often help to get back in position, develop a play or break out of the defensive zone safely. Come this time of year (well, not normally actually this time, but you get my point), it takes on even more significance as one broken play in the postseason can lead to the winning or losing goal.

With the Return-to-Play underway, fans were introduced to the recorded ambiance that the league will use during games. It’s interesting, to say the least. The crowd noise will be pumped through arena speakers giving some sort of fan representation. However, the volume level was lower than a normal sold-out NHL game. During yesterday’s exhibition broadcasts, you could hear the atmosphere of a typical NHL game but the natural sounds of hockey were much more defined.

Brayden McNabb and Nate Schmidt have three years of chemistry playing together in Vegas. It’s a luxury the young franchise has. We’ve seen the impact Shea Theodore has on the ice but he wasn’t paired with Alec Martinez until deadline week back in February. There’s no doubt the veteran Martinez won’t have a problem connecting with his pair pal, but one injury or one bad night and that can all change.

If the third pair of Nick Holden or Zach Whitecloud are struggling you might see coach Pete DeBoer shuffle his lineup, or cut some minutes. In that scenario, the lessened crowd noise might allow whatever d-pair that’s on the ice to have clearer communication. Holden even made a crack to the media about using code words because opponents will likely hear what the Golden Knights are discussing. Without rabid fans, the defensive players should have no problems picking up each other.

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Other Postseason Teams Not Sounding As Confident As Vegas

(Photo Credit: SinBin.vegas Photographer Brandon Andreasen)

As we near the end of Phase 3, the Golden Knights confidently continue to prepare for life in the bubble. Coach Pete DeBoer and his players have expressed their goals throughout training camp and sound as if they are already in postseason mode.

We’re not going there for vacation. We’re going there for work and a goal in mind to win the Stanley Cup. –Alec Martinez, SiriusXM NHL

The message is clear from this organization that while their surroundings will be unique, nothing has altered their objective. The chatter from the Golden Knights since training camp has been focused and positive, more so than other clubs. And it starts with the head coach.

Even if we had a first-round opponent, through this portion we would be spending 90% of the time on our game anyway. I’m a big believer that if our game is in a good place that we throw that out there and let the other team adjust to us. –Pete DeBoer, NHL Network

While the local team feels good about their playoff chances other franchises are still trailing in preparation. The clock is ticking for some to get their act together before traveling to their hub city destination.

The Blue Jackets have a qualifying round matchup with the Toronto Maple Leafs, however, neither seem to be feeling as confident as Vegas. As most fans already know, Tortorella never holds back and he isn’t now. Maybe it’s motivation or maybe he’s legitimately concerned that his players aren’t ready for August.

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Families Add Extra Motivation For Vegas To Reach Finals

(Photo Credit: SinBin.vegas Photographer Brandon Andreasen)

NHL players don’t need any extra motivation when competing for the Stanley Cup. The childhood dream of skating a lap with the Cup is enough for professional hockey players. However, there’s one thing that comes first.

With the release of the NHL’s new protocol agreement, it was clear the players were concerned about being away from their families. Within league rules, not only will families be taken care of back home, but if the chips fall right, they’ll be joining their husbands, boyfriends, and dads in Edmonton for the Western Conference and Stanley Cup Finals.

Player families are not permitted in the Phase 4 Secure Zone until the Conference Finals and the Stanley Cup Final , at which time the Players will be permitted to invite their immediate family members to stay in the Phase 4 Secure Zone. Immediate family members include a Player’s spouse or partner, and his children. -NHL Phase 4 Protocols

When the players began discussing the return to play plan, it was uncertain if families would be allowed inside the bubble. Vegas is one of the older clubs in the league, so it had to be a major burden for the many fathers on the team. Marc-Andre Fleury, Jonathan Marchessault, Ryan Reaves, and Deryk Engelland all have young children. Tomas Nosek and William Carrier have infants at home. Max Pacioretty has four sons, and a daughter on the way. It’s hard to be away from loved ones for an extended time, but if the Golden Knights play well they won’t have to.

Can a family reunion act as extra motivation for the Golden Knights, or any team for that matter? I believe it can. It’s an added incentive that could generate a mental boost after playing two exhausting playoff series. Lets face it, the only way for players to see their families sooner is if they failed to make it out of the first two rounds. And if that were the case, there’s a chance they’d be no fun to be around for a week or two. Or however long it takes to get over a series loss.

Another indication showing the players’ apprehension was the NHL’s policy to assist the families back home.

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How An Impractical Idea By The NHL Has Dragged Las Vegas Through The Mud

(Photo Credit: SinBin.vegas Photographer Brandon Andreasen)

For months, since the idea of hub cities was brought to the forefront, Vegas was widely considered the best option for the league. Every major reporter, be it national or local, declared Las Vegas to be the city with the best accommodations to deliver on the utopian bubble-world the NHL was seeking.

The problem is, the NHL doesn’t actually believe in their own irrational idea and the image of Las Vegas is getting unnecessarily slammed worldwide because of it.

The plan the NHL has laid out is to bring 12 teams from each conference to one central location in order to play out the 2020 Stanley Cup Playoffs and crown a team a champion. (Really, they just want the money that goes along with the event, but we’ll let that go for now.) Each “hub city” will house all 12 teams through the first two playoff rounds and then presumably the winners from one site will travel to the other to wrap up the conference finals and Stanley Cup Final.

The idea sounds amazing. Lock everyone in a specific area, test them all at the beginning to ensure everyone is healthy and COVID-19 free, and then have them all live there so no one is at risk of contracting the virus. Since there were to be no fans in the arenas anyway, playing every game at a neutral site is also a great way to limit travel, testing, and staff to tend to the games.

Here’s the issue and why it’s unnecessarily dragged Vegas through the mud. If the concept of the bubble actually worked, the surrounding areas wouldn’t make any difference. Once the bubble is “sealed” even if every person in the city in which its located gets infected, everyone inside the bubble is safe. Literally, the reason the term “bubble” is used.

But, if it is indeed true that Las Vegas is no longer being considered due to a spike in cases in the city, which has been written or said by pretty much everyone despite no official word on of it, then the league has proven they do not believe in their own concept. Instead, what they believe is that people will slip out of the bubble, others will slip in, and when it happens they want to limit the possibility of a bubble defector or bubble invaders contracting the virus. (Actually, they want to create the perception that they did everything in their power to avoid the inevitable from happening so they aren’t liable when it does, but we’ll let that go for now.)

So, in their fear of defectors and intruders, they’ve gone above and beyond to weed out cities that appear to have higher numbers of positive tests. Somehow, Vegas became one of those cities on the outs, despite being the only city on the NHL’s list to have actually held sporting events since the shutdown. The UFC has been holding events in Las Vegas since late May and has hosted 110 fighters over five different fight cards without a single case of Coronavirus to an athlete. The NHL though, believes there are too many cases and are instead creating both bubbles in Canada.

This unequivocally proves that the concept of the bubble is viewed as untrustworthy by the league. In a utopian world, there would be no defectors nor intruders and a negative test at the beginning would carry through the entirety of the playoffs as everyone is locked safely and soundly inside the bubble.

But utopia doesn’t exist and unfortunately, Las Vegas is paying for the half-baked idea that was concocted in the name of safety in the first place. (Actually, the hub city idea was likely pitched and ultimately accepted because it is financially much more viable than traveling and testing in buildings that won’t be making money off gate revenue, but we’ll let that go for now.)

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Las Vegas “Virtually A Lock” As NHL Hub City

(Photo Credit: SinBin.vegas Photographer Brandon Andreasen)

It’s one of the worst kept secrets, the city of Las Vegas is the front runner to become one of the NHL’s playoff hubs.

I think out West that Vegas is virtually a lock. I don’t know that there’s one perfect place but I sense that Vegas has an inside track.-Ray Ferraro, Ray & Dregs podcast

With the decision still in the hands of the league, TSN insider’s Ray Ferraro and Darren Dreger spoke with Commissioner Gary Bettman about the plan to return to play and the selected hubs. Which could impact the Golden Knights and our city.

I’m going to have to make a decision collectively on this probably in about three weeks. I think in two weeks we’ll start narrowing down even further. Somewhere around three weeks we’re going to have to pull the trigger and start finalizing the arrangements and make our deposits. -Bettman

Over the past two months, we’ve covered every reason why Las Vegas makes sense to the NHL, but the decision really falls on the local and state governments. Bettman’s mention that any decision was still weeks away helps the city government assess the logistics. Once elected officials make their decision, the NHL can choose Las Vegas or not. Personally, I have a feeling that both parties would like to come to an agreement.

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