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Tag: James Neal (Page 1 of 3)

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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On To Washington

You forget about tonight and get ready for the next game. -Gerard Gallant

That’s exactly what the Golden Knights and their fans should do after last night’s 5-2 loss in Minnesota. There’s really no need to get into the details of the game, we all watched it, it wasn’t the Golden Knights night, something that’s rare with this club.

We were a tired team for the first time this year. -Gallant

Vegas only atempted a total of 24 shots on goal against Minnesota. It’s just the fifth time this season the Golden Knights shot 24 shots or less. Vegas is 2-2-1 in those games.

This guy was great though. (Photo Credit: SinBin.vegas Photographer Brandon Andreasen)

Defenseman Shea Theodore led Vegas with five shots on Wild goaltender Devan Dubynk. Last night was the third time Theodore took five or more shots in a game. The 22-year-old had never registered more than four shots in a game prior to this season.

Deryk Engelland led the Golden Knights with 23 minutes of ice time. Put aside last night, the Golden Knights are 3-1-0 when he leads the team in TOI.

Golden Knights All-Star winger James Neal had a rare dud of a game in Minnesota. He had zero shot attempts or shots on net. It was only the second time this season Neal didn’t register a shot. Also, Gallant tinkered with his lines and #18 saw a dip in ice time. For only the tenth time in 51 games, Neal skated less than 15:35 of ice time.

Again, none of these nuggets mean much in the grand scheme of things if you throw out the game, but they are certainly something to keep an eye on moving forward. It was a tough, tiring road loss for the Golden Knights. That was supposed to be the norm for this team, luckily it’s not.

Never-Ending Deadline Speculation Continues

Remember, Shippy’s agent had some things to say too… (Photo Credit: SinBin.vegas Photographer Brandon Andreasen)

Like restless fans, ESPN Insider Rob Vollman is getting prepared for the trade deadline. He ranked NHL general managers most likely to make a late-season deal. To no surprise, Golden Knights GM George McPhee made Vollman’s list.

The numbers show McPhee is rather active when it comes to trades, averaging 2.8 per season and 1.6 per year actually on deadline day.

Vegas is in the unexpected position of being buyers at the trade deadline, but don’t expect any big moves at the deadline because McPhee was not known for blockbuster trades in his time as Washington’s GM. Other than accidentally giving up a future star in Forsberg, McPhee never surrendered more than a second-round pick or a secondary prospect to get what he wanted (since 2005).- Rob Vollman, ESPN.com Insider

 

Vollman notes McPhee isn’t known for blockbusters around the trade deadline, but this is uncharted waters for an expansion team. Somehow McPhee will try to balance this season’s success and the future of the franchise. No doubt the Vegas brass will be making some difficult decisions before February 26th.

Adding fuel to the fire were comments by James Neal’s agent to Ed Graney of the Las Vegas Review Journal.

(The whole story from the RJ, which is a gem, can be found here.)

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Goals Of The Year – 5 Most Important Goals & 5 Prettiest Goals Of 2017-18 So Far

This goal didn’t make the cut, but Engelland scoring in the home opener needed to be represented somehow. (Photo Credit: SinBin.vegas Photographer Brandon Andreasen)

Inspired by the beauties by David Perron and James Neal over the past two games we’ve decided there’s no better time than now to take a look back on the Golden Knights “Goals of the Year.”

These are separated into two groups, first are the most important goals. These are based on a few criteria but mainly the impact the goal had on the Golden Knights season. The second group are the prettiest goals, graded mostly by skill and difficulty. Time of goal, score, and impact on the game are not considered for these goals.

Most Important Goals

#5 – Erik Haula vs. Nashville Predators – December 8th, 2017 – 3rd Period (19:20) – VGK 3 NSH 3

File this one in the “these guys are for real” category. After playing a great game the Golden Knights found themselves down a goal with the clock ticking down. They had chance after chance with the goalie pulled but just couldn’t beat Pekka Rinne. Then, off the magical 3rd period stick of Erik Haula the Golden Knights had their equalizer and eventually won the game in OT. It was a statement to the Predators, a statement to the NHL.

#4 – William Karlsson vs. St. Louis Blues – October 21st, 2017 – OT (4:36) – VGK 3 STL 2

This goal gave the Golden Knights their 6th win of the year, but more importantly it was the first win against a truly excellent opponent. Vegas was down to their third goalie after Fleury was hurt in game four and Subban earlier in this game, and yet still they found a way to get it done. Also, this goal might have been the birth of the madness that is the home crowd at T-Mobile Arena. The place was an absolute zoo and it was the first of many times the aisles would be filled with losing fans filing out with their tails between their legs. Oh, and it’s also William Karlsson’s first as a Golden Knight, the flood gates haven’t closed since.

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Bobfather Says Golden Knights Won’t Sell; TSN Colleague Disagrees

It’s time for another edition of “Buy, Sell, or Hold!” Today’s contestants weighing in on the Golden Knights trade deadline dilemma are two of TSN’s finest. First up, the Bobfather.

Well there’s no question, they’re not selling. -Bob McKenzie, TSN

McKenzie went on to explain that McPhee and staff have identified a core, and are attempting to lock them up. Following the trend of extending Jonathan Marchessault and Brayden McNabb.

They’ve got a core of young D that they really like. Nate Schmidt, Shea Theodore, and Colin Miller, those guys aren’t going anywhere… I think they’re probably in negotiations with David Perron and James Neal. That’s not to say contracts are absolutely going to get done. -McKenzie

Now to the contrarian argument from the author behind the ever popular Trade Bait, which still has James Neal listed in 10th.

A lot of people are surprised to see Neal still on this list. The fact that he hasn’t been re-signed so far, and we haven’t heard a lot of chatter about that possibility existing. Even though the Golden Knights are in a strong position to be a solid playoff team this season, they’re going to try and accumulate assets for the long-term. With Neal producing the way that he has this year, certainly there will be a lot of interest in him at the deadline. If, the Golden Knights make him available. -Frank Seravalli, TSN

If Bob says it, we believe it. (Photo Credit: SinBin.vegas Photographer Brandon Andreasen)

Keep in mind, Seravalli’s role at TSN is to track trade rumors and whispers from around the league. He’s not saying Neal is gone, but he’s simply warning fans that things could change before the deadline. Especially, since Neal is such an attractive rental for other contenders.

As much as I respect Seravalli and his efforts, it’s tough questioning The Bobfather. If he says Vegas won’t sell, I believe him, which means Neal’s not going anywhere.

Golden Knights May Buy Their “Own Rentals” At The Deadline

Buy, sell, or hold?

David, will you be our own rental? (Photo Credit: SinBin.vegas Photographer Brandon Andreasen)

It’s the million dollar question for the Golden Knights who remain atop the Pacific Division and the Western Conference halfway through the season. The plan coming in was likely to sell, and sell hard, at the February 26th trade deadline. Then 41 games were played, the Golden Knights lost just 12 of them, and now the landscape looks a bit different.

Due to Vegas’ complex situation, the answer to the “buy, sell, or hold?” question can’t really be just one of those three words. Instead, it will be something like “sell to buy” in which Vegas ships away a UFA or two and bring in a replacement NHL caliber player immediately. Or there’s this scenario which was brought up by Gary Lawless while joining the SinBin.vegas Podcast, something that can be defined as “hold to buy.”

Teams that are in the position of George McPhee’s team acquire rentals. They go out and they say ‘we’re gonna win, so we’re going to take our 1st or 2nd round draft pick and we’re going to trade it for that terrible team’s best scorer who is going to be an unrestricted free agent in July. We’re going to buy him for 12 weeks and we’re going to hope that we win a Stanley Cup.’ If it comes to pass that Vegas is a playoff team and they don’t sign one of their pending free agents, and they use that player to win one or two playoff series, that’s their own rental. -Gary Lawless, VGK Insider

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Marc-Andre Fleury, James Neal Named Pacific Division All Stars

It’s nice being a superstar. Flower = All Star (Photo Credit: SinBin.vegas Photographer Brandon Andreasen)

The NHL has released the full rosters for the 2018 NHL All Star Game and the Western Conference leading Vegas Golden Knights have two players on the Pacific Division team.

Forwards James Neal and goalie Marc-Andre Fleury have been selected to the game. It is both Neal and Fleury’s 3rd appearance.

Neal has scored 18 goals and has 11 assists for a total of 29 points. He was instrumental in getting the Golden Knights off on the right foot scoring game winning goals in each of the team’s first three games.

Fleury has been selected despite playing in just 12 games. Nonetheless he does sport a 9-2-1 record, a 1.73 goals against average, and a .945 save percentage.

All Star snubs and Luca Sbisa (Photo Credit: SinBin.vegas Photographer Brandon Andreasen)

Somehow neither Jonathan Marchessault nor William Karlsson have been selected despite leading the team in goals and points on the season. Both have been named alternates.

Also, Gerard Gallant will coach of the Pacific Division by virtue of the Golden Knights having the best record.

The 2018 All Star Game will take place at Amalie Arena in Tampa, Florida on January 28th.

I didn’t expect this because I haven’t played too many games this year. I’m excited because it’s always a nice honor to be a part of. I just feel like there’s so many great players around the league and they only pick a few. It’s an honor to be a part of those guys. It’s part of the excitement of the All-Star game. I’m fortunate. This wouldn’t be happening without the help of all of my teammates. They’ve helped me look good throughout the season. I thank them for that. There could have been a lot of guys from this team that got to go, don’t you think? We’ve got so many guys stepping up throughout the season. Marchy has 40 points right now. That’s awesome. William Karlsson has scored so many important goals for our team. Subban has been playing great in net, too. I wish the other guys could do this too and be a part of it. Too bad there’s only a few of us going. We get to go because of all of the work that they’ve done this season. -Marc-Andre Fleury

It’s very exciting to be named to the All-Star team. I’m looking forward to representing our team in Tampa and share the All-Star experience with Marc-Andre and Coach Gallant. Having three representatives from the Golden Knights is a great honor, there are a bunch of guys on our team who are having All-Star caliber seasons. Thanks to my teammates and coaches for their great play this season and Golden Knights fans for their unbelievable support. -James Neal

Forechecking: One Of The Many Reasons Vegas Is Good At Hockey

Forechecking also helps defensemen get in good position… like this. Take that Sid. (Photo Credit: SinBin.vegas Photographer Brandon Andreasen)

It wasn’t that long ago that just hearing the word forecheck made my head spin. It’s one of those words the high brow hockey fan uses just to prove they are smarter than you. Believe me, I’ve done it myself at times to test people. But the team you cheer for (I’m assuming since you are reading this right now) is so good at forechecking that it’s time you man up, stop being scared of this terrifying word, and enlighten yourself to how and why the Vegas Golden Knights are so darn good at it.

Forechecking simply means playing aggressive defense in your own attacking zone. In other words, when the Golden Knights are near the goal they want to score on, but do not have the puck, they play ferocious defense to try and get it back before the opposing team breaks out. Watch, here’s an example from the last game.

Jonathan Marchessault (#81) carries it into the zone. He takes a shot and then there’s a bit of a scramble for the rebound. Vegas does not get possession of the puck, but William Karlsson (#71) and Marchessault are relentless to get it back. The puck ends up being kicked out to Reilly Smith (#19) who gets a shot on goal.

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Gallant: “I Say Do What You Have To Do” At Deadline

Tied for first place in the Western Conference, first place in the Pacific Division, and 46 points in 33 games have the Golden Knights securely entrenched in the 2018 Stanley Cup Playoff race.

This was not the plan.

VGK might be able to name their price on James Neal, but is it worth the risk of never knowing what could have been? (Photo Credit: SinBin.vegas Photographer Brandon Andreasen)

When George McPhee, Kelly McCrimmon, and the Golden Knights front office built this team their minds were on the future. They had a mandate from the most powerful man in the organization to reach the playoffs by year three and win the Cup by year six. To do it, they accumulated picks, made moves to bring in young unestablished talent, and thought the host of pending free agents would be able to bring a haul similar to the post Expansion Draft trade returns.

But now what?

Now the Golden Knights are winners, and their general manager has been on record time and time again saying he won’t “derail” the team’s success. But Vegas hasn’t exactly been in the business of giving away pieces for nothing. (Except for Shippy, but that’s a whole different story)

James Neal, Jonathan Marchessault, David Perron, and Luca Sbisa are all set to become unrestricted free agents when the season is over. The plan was to move at least a few of them to bring back even more future assets to the bushel of them Vegas has already compiled. However, this whole winning thing might just get in the way.

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Fleury, Neal On NHL All-Star Ballot

This is what an All Star looks like. (Photo Credit: SinBin.vegas Photographer Brandon Andreasen)

The NHL All-Star Fan Vote is now open. Fans have the ability to vote for the captain of each division for the 3-on-3 tournament being held this year in Tampa on January 28th.

To simplify the voting process, the NHL has selected a few players from each team as the potential options fans can vote on. For the Golden Knights, they’ve selected Marc-Andre Fleury and James Neal.

Here’s the link to vote.

Most teams have three or four representatives, the Sharks and Penguins have five. Vegas got two, and one of them has only played in four games!

There’s only one other team with just two players to vote for, that’s the Carolina Hurricanes. C’mon NHL, you’re better than this.

Of course, you can use the “write-in” option to vote for William Karlsson, Jonathan Marchessault, William Karlsson, Nate Schmidt, William Karlsson, Alex Tuch, or William Karlsson.

Nonetheless, it’s still neat to see Golden Knights players and the logo on the ballot, even if all the correct options aren’t available without putting in a little extra work.

#WriteInWildBill

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