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Rookie Games Scheduled Against Kings

While we are still waiting on the finalization of the Golden Knights preseason schedule, another set of games just popped up that at least some of those under Vegas’ control will play in. 

LA Kings Insider has learned that the Los Angeles Kings will return to Toyota Sports Center to host the Vegas Golden Knights for a pair of rookie games in mid-September. –Jon Rosen, LA Kings Insider

These very well could be the first games ever to feature Golden Knights wearing Golden Knights jerseys. The two games are going to be played at the Toyota Sports Center, the Kings practice facility in El Segundo, California. 

Rookie games are common in the NHL and are usually stocked with a bunch of young players on training camp roster invites and/or AHL contacts. It will be interesting to see how many of these such players exist for the Golden Knights in year one as they’ll still be trying to figure out how to shuffle what ever is left from the Expansion Draft with their Entry Draft picks and players that acquire via trade between now and September. Non-roster invitees are likely to be somewhat of an after thought, but apparently not too much if these games have made it in to the schedule. 

No matter what the roster looks like, Vegas is on the schedule to play a pair of games in El Segundo against the Kings. I was originally thinking we would have to wait until the end of September to see the beginning of the Golden Knights domination of the Kings, guess now that domination will start with the Reid Duke captained Rookie VGKs. 

Preseason Opponents And Schedule Pretty Much Set

UPDATE 2 (4:41 PM 1/24/17) : After further review, the team is now confirming the dates reported are indeed accurate. They reiterated there is chance the could change, but they are the correct working dates at this moment.

UPDATE (3:28 PM 1/24/17) : Eric Tosi, Golden Knights VP of communications and content, would only confirm the fact that the current plan is to play seven games, three of which at T-Mobile Arena. The dates and opponents mentioned in this article were described as “TBD” and “still a work in progress.”

We knew there would be seven preseason games for the Vegas Golden Knights in preparation of their inaugural season Three at home, three for sure on the road, and one either neutral or away. The picture is starting to clear up thanks to some top notch reporting by Steve Carp.

Depending on the game in China, the first Vegas Golden Knights hockey game will be on September 17th at T-Mobile Arena or the 19th in Colorado.

Either way, the first team to hit the ice against the Golden Knights in Vegas will be the Kings.

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Kings Pass Hockey Torch To Las Vegas

Say what you will about the Los Angeles Kings (#EveryoneSucksButVegas), but what they did to close out Frozen Fury and figuratively pass the torch to Las Vegas was absolutely brilliant.

Check it out.

The Kings also showed a pretty cool highlight video thanking Las Vegas for all the memories of the 18 years of Frozen Fury.

Goodbye Kings, Hello ________ Knights!

Frozen Fury Night One: Pictures and Observations

Last night marked the very first NHL game in T-Mobile Arena history, and hopefully the last time the Stars ever win in this building.

First, let’s start with some observations, then we will get to the pictures and videos.

  • Parking was easy, but they charge a $20 flat rate at NYNY and Monte Carlo. It’s free for locals at MGM Grand, Excalibur, Luxor, or Aria.
  • Ticket box/will call was very easy, short lines and very helpful.
  • Trip from entrance to seat took about 10 minutes.
  • Once I could see the ice, I seriously felt a chill. The air was crisp, it was noticeably cold.
  • You could see ice from parts of the concourse which was cool, so it never feels like you never miss gameplay.
  • The ice was incredibly clear and very bright, creating great visibility.
  • The ice seemed very fast. Like a clean sheet during the entire period rather than just the beginning. Players were gliding.
  • The boards were “live.” Big rebounds off the backboards behind the goalies. Two goals created from backboard deflections. Huge offensive impact if no adjustment is made.
  • Boards also seemed very stiff, didn’t move when players landed body checks.
  • Granted it was preseason, but there were so many penalties.
  • Penalty boxes look very big, almost like the league is expecting multiple players in one box at a time. Plenty of fans will be able to harass penalized players. And more importantly plenty of space for that SinBin.vegas ad we’ve been dreaming of.
  • Stanchions were slanted under new NHL regulations for player safety.

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Style Must Match Owner, But Also Have Eyes On Pacific Division

We’re only a week and half away from the big announcement. I won’t get into to potential names, but the GM should fit the owner, the coach should fit the owner, and the team should fit the owner. The Creator would be best to hire a coach and GM with the style of hockey he likes best. I’m not saying Foley will be Jerry Jones, but he’ll certainly have an influence on the franchise’s firsts.

The GM will try and match the style of hockey The Creator wants, but also compete in the Western Conference. Specifically, the Pacific Division. It’ll be a tough balance. According to Francois Gagnon, the Knights (or whatever they call em) will be playing in the Pacific division. The LA Kings have led the charge in the Pacific for the past five years. Looking ahead, it doesn’t look like that will change any time soon. Sure the Sharks are in the Finals, and the Ducks seem to win the division every year but LA still rules West Coast. Jonathan Quick is locked up until 2023, Drew Doughty through 2019, Anze Kopitar just signed an eight year deal, and Jeff Carter‘s contract is up in 2022. LA’s core is intact. (Shoutout to Mass’s Cathedral High School alum Dean Lombardi for crafting a Cup winning team) The Kings groomed a Norris trophy defenseman, a Conn Smyth wining goalie, and a Selke finalist. They may be a little deflated after this year’s postseason but LA won’t be down for long.

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Frozen Fury Back For 2016 At T-Mobile Arena

The Kings now have not one, but two preseason games scheduled at T-Mobile Arena. Rumors were pretty strong that Frozen Fury 2015 would be the final in the series, but the Kings have confirmed they are once again returning for their yearly classic here in Vegas.

They will be moving across the street from MGM Grand and will officially serve as the first hockey game in venue history.

The atmosphere at Frozen Fury is always one of the highlights of our exhibition game schedule and we believe we can take this to a ‘next level’ in this new environment. Our fans will be excited that there will be two games this season, our 50th Anniversary, and we know they — along with our players — are going to love this new state-of-the-art arena. -Luc Robitaille, President of Business Operations

Frozen Fury will take place on October 7th when the Kings play the Stars and the second exhibition game will be the following night with Colorado coming to Vegas to take LA.

I was asked if this had any impact on the expansion process and the decision making and in my personal opinion I don’t think it figures in the decision one way or another. Seems to me to be more of a deal between the Kings and MGM/AEG with the NHL simply signing off on it.

What happens to the future of Frozen Fury when our own team plays home exhibition games at T-Mobile Arena? That’s a different story.

Vegas Must Build With Size And Strength To Compete In Pacific Division

So how about that Pacific Division? Talk about coming down to the wire. Tomorrow the Kings will host the Ducks for the division. Both tied at 99 points, the NHL couldn’t have scripted it any better. Both teams are desperate to win the Pacific, because each would rather play Nashville over San Jose. Playing a divisional foe in the first round is always a challenge. Remember two years ago, the Kings on the brink of elimination, won four straight against the Sharks. Then beat the Ducks in seven on their way to their second Cup. It doesn’t matter what division, playing a rival isn’t ideal. The Ducks, Kings and Sharks are all capable of succeeding in the playoffs. All three organizations know that their first round matchup might be the toughest.

The three Pacific playoff teams will be tough to beat this season, and for seasons to come. The Kings are set for years with the anchor of Drew Doughty, Anze Kopitar, and Jonathan Quick. Arguably the best players in their respective positions, and they’re all 30 years-old or younger. Not too mention, Jeff Carter, Tyler Toffoli, and Alec Martinez. The Sharks are loaded with talent. Joe Pavelski, Tomas Hertl, Logan Couture, Marc-Edouard Vlasic, and Brent Burns form a strong nucleus in NorCal. Add in future HOF’ers Patrick Marleau and Joe Thornton, and San Jose is annually strong. Possibly the best core of young players play in Anaheim, or in San Diego. The Ducks have a bevy of young defenseman some of whom can’t even find room in Orange County. Shea Theodore is a highly respected prospect that’s sent up, and down between the Gulls and Ducks. Hampus Lindholm, Cam Fowler, Josh Manson, and Sami Vatanen create a logjam that’ll force Anaheim to make a move. Not the worst problem to have.

Obviously, we know how good the top Pacific teams are but what about the lower tier. How good can the Flames, Canucks, Oilers and Coyotes be? Sure we see young skilled talent in Calgary, Edmonton and Arizona but will they compete? That’s a question The Creator should ask as well. Can the bottom four rosters ever win in a top heavy division? I don’t think so. John Gaudreau is an amazing talent, but who protects him? And I’m not talking about Marty McSorley, goon protection crap. I’m talking about giving Johnny space on the ice to use his speed, and skill. There’s a rumor Milan Lucic may be interested in Calgary. He’d be the perfect line mate for Gaudreau. Lucic can score, and he scare the bleep out of opposing players. The power forward would automatically make Calgary more physical. Something they’re not known for. Same goes for Edmonton. Connor McDavid may take over the league, but he’s gonna need help. Issues The Creator might have when he drafts a top three pick. You need to protect your assets Bill.

When Las Vegas drops the puck in 2017 (assuming an announcement comes “some time in June”), the rest of the Pacific Division will be licking their chops. Established teams will be looking to pad points against the new team. That’s a normal process that any expansion team goes through. Call it growing pains. How can Creator and Co. prevent this? Well, let’s be honest it’s gonna be tough. Top NHL teams have a hard time figuring out Jonathan Quick, a roster of unprotected players probably won’t do any better. It’ll also be tough keeping Scorey Perry, and Jumbo Joe off the score board.

Maybe there is a way Las Vegas could be competitive. The Creator’s staff should design a roster strictly built for the Pacific Division. That means defense, size and physicality. Chances are the starting goaltender won’t be a top ten goaltender, so he’ll need help. Building a blue line with experience and size can help Las Vegas stay competitive. Top Centers Ryan Getzlaf, and Anze Kopitar take over games offensively, a strong backend can keep the score close. I know he’s not popular, but a guy like Dennis Wideman could be unprotected and fit well in Las Vegas. A Defenseman that could be unprotected and would be a dream come true for Las Vegas is the Duck’s Simon Despres. The 6’4, 24 year-old blueliner might be a victim of Anaheims crowded backend. The Ducks will be upset letting Despres go and could be part of the Las Vegas’ first pairing. Who knows maybe Shea Weber could be available. Size and defense.

I could do this all day, Dustin Brown, Jakob Silfverberg, maybe even Rick Nash could be left unprotected. All three forwards would fit perfectly. Silfverberg is part of the most effective checking line in hockey. Nash could provide offense, and size. Brown, well, you know how I feel about him. It’s not about the score sheet for Dusty. At average NHL size, the Kings Captain plays with more physicality than anyone in the league. He leads the box score in hits annually, and is a two-time Cup winning Captain. He’s a pretty good leader. The Creator, fans, and the league want Las Vegas to compete right away. Building around the division is one way to achieve that goal.

Kings Confirm Preseason Game At T-Mobile Arena, Second Scheduled NHL Game At Venue

The NHL footprint in Las Vegas is growing! The Los Angeles Kings will continue to play their annual preseason game in Las Vegas, but this time it’ll be at the T-Mobile Arena rather than at the MGM Grand Garden Arena.

Dallas Stars President Jim Lites told the Dallas Morning News the Stars would love to be the Kings opponent in 2016.

We are talking to them and we would be honored to be involved, but nothing is confirmed at this time. -Jim Lites

ESPN.com has it (almost) perfect at the bottom of their article.

It’s not quite the Las Vegas Black Knights, but it’s a start. -Craig Custance

Bingo… except we still really do prefer Rat Pack.

Nonetheless, we now have two games here in Vegas next preseason. Kings vs. Stars or whoever else they decide to play and Sharks vs. Avalanche. Two’s a start, but I really think we deserve 41.

When Building An NHL Team, Goalie Comes First

Most successful teams are balanced with a great offense and a great defense. In all sports one player can make the difference, but overall balance is the plan. However, in hockey and football one position truly makes the difference for teams to succeed.

If an NFL team doesn’t have a great quarterback chances are the team isn’t still playing. Same with the NHL, to have success a team needs a goaltender. Not an average one either, a goalie that can anchor a team like Dominik Hasek did. In both sports teams need an elite star that can individually lead them to victory.

This weekend the Golden Boy will defend his title against the legendary Peyton Manning who is relatively beaten up but good enough to be there. On the NFC side, two QBs having career years will face off. Carson Palmer and Cam Newton are former Heisman winners and ready to win their first Super Bowls. They may not be the top four best QBs in the NFL, but they are some of football’s best. All four of them have a good chance of winning this year’s Lombardi trophy.

Now the NHL isn’t so far off. Most of today’s best teams have the leagues best goaltenders. Sure I know an NHL team needs a solid two-way center, a sniper, and a deep blue line. However, those teams are still backed up by the NHL’s best. Let’s take the LA Kings as an example. You could argue Drew Doughty, and Anze Kopitar  are the best players at their position. Doughty and Kopitar will both tell you without their stud goalie Jonathon Quick they wouldn’t be two-time Stanley cup winners.

Over on the Eastern Conference Alexander Ovechkin gets all the praise for lighting up the lamp in DC, but he has a lot of help. Goaltender Braden Holtby is playing out of his mind and anchors the best team in the east. Down south the surprise Panthers are led by their thirty-six year old Vezina finalist goaltender Roberto Luongo. He’s always been a top tier goalie, but this season he has shown he’s still elite. Plus he’s always lead the NHL with his slick salad. This talented Florida team is geared up for a serious postseason run in front of Roberto. Here’s more on glorious heads of hair.

Some of you will argue that Corey Crawford isn’t a top tier goaltender. Hey, I understand the evidence is there. Joel Quennville has had to pull his starter on multiple occasions. Scott Darling has his own fan page thanks to a few stinkers from Crawford. Chicago is also loaded so Crawford doesn’t have to be the star like Carey Price in Montreal. Even after being pulled, Crawford was there at the end stopping Stamkos clappers.

If the trend continues, this year’s Stanley Cup winner will have a steady goaltender leading the charge. Keep in mind the 2012 Kings Cup winning team was an #8 seed. That’s when the Jonathan Quick show began, and it hasn’t stopped airing. LA proved seeding doesn’t matter in the playoffs, and a hot goalie is the key. That’s why teams like the Rangers, Bruins, Predators and Ducks still have a fighting chance in the playoffs. Their goaltenders give them a chance to win on most nights. So this when you’re watching the NFL playoffs, look at the four remaining quarterbacks and ask yourself a question. Would these four teams be playing without these QBs? Chances are no, and the same will be said come Stanley Cup time. The teams remaining will have an outstanding netminder.

Mock Expansion Draft – Protected Players – Los Angeles Kings

The first step to our mock draft is to establish the list of players that will be available for the Las Vegas franchise to draft. To do this, we decided to have a blogger from each team represent their own franchise and select the players that will be protected from the Mock Expansion Draft available player pool. To see the rules which were followed to protect players, hit this link.

Next up, we have the Los Angeles Kings. The Kings are being represented by Jesse Cohen from All The Kings Men Podcast on LAKings.com.

Protected Players

Analysis from All The Kings Men Podcast:

Despite missing the playoffs in the 2014-2015 season, there is no reason to believe the Kings are anything other than perennial Stanley Cup contenders. With players like Anze Kopitar and Drew Doughty in or approaching their peak and a supporting cast made up of young, versatile and experienced role players it seems unreasonable to be overly concerned with sacrificing some of the present to protect an uncertain future.

Jonathan Quick will be and should be the Kings goalie until his legs fall off. Let the revolving door of backups continue.

The Kings defense isn’t as strong as it was in either of the Cup years but it’s younger and continuing to evolve. Jake Muzzin and the rest of the Kings young-ish defensive corps compliment the play of Drew Doughty who should have a banner in the rafters and a statue on Figueroa Street when his career is done. Matt Greene will remain as Alternate Captain, locker room cut up and veteran presence.

Anze Kopitar and Dustin Brown embody everything the current incarnation of the Los Angeles Kings is built on and around. While both of their contracts moving forward present challenges to expose either of them is to risk losing a crucial piece of the winning identity Lombardi has tried so hard to perfect. Carter and Gaborik provide depth that most teams can’t come close to matching while Pearson and Toffoli represent the present and the future of the organization. Milan Lucic has proven an invaluable ability to step onto the team and contribute immediately. Dwight King and Trevor Lewis are some of the most versatile and hardest working of the Kings role players and have each come up huge in crucial moments while helping the team win the Stanley Cup twice.

When you have a team with as much recent success as the Los Angeles Kings every player up and down the roster represents a fond memory or a big goal. While most teams should be protecting players with an eye towards their future, the Kings should be focused on one thing and one thing only. Winning the Stanley Cup again.

The entire list of unprotected players that will be available for Team Lane and Team Pothier to select from can be found here.

To see more team explanations just like this one, check out The Sin Bin Mock Expansion Draft Landing Page.

Special thanks again to Jesse Cohen from All The Kings Men Podcast on LAKings.com. Be sure to follow @KingsMenPodcast on Twitter, and heck, throw us (@SinBinVegas) a follow too while you’re at it.

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