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Tag: Mike McKenna

Backup Advice Is Part Of The Culture In Vegas

(Photo Credit: SinBin.vegas Photographer Brandon Andreasen)

NHL coaches like to use their entire roster. Even though a coach can only play 19 players at a time, there are 20 players suited up each game when you include the backup goaltender. Former coaches have fessed up to seeking regular advice from their backups. Hoping the sitting goalie notices something different that they can relay to the players, coaches, but more importantly the starter.

There’s a lot of validity to that because we see things so differently. To me actually, that’s a mark of a really inquisitive coach doing all of his homework. -Mike McKenna, Retired NHL goaltender and VGK TV analyst

Vegas’ Marc-Andre Fleury was a spectator last week when Malcolm Subban got the nod against St. Louis. It was a wild, multiple lead changing game that the Golden Knights came from behind to win. With the night off, Fleury was able to watch the 6-5 goal fest from a chair, wearing his snapback hat.

I think you get a different perspective when you sit there and see the whole play develop. It’s different when you’re just watching the puck when you’re in net. You think ‘I should’ve had that one, and that one’ but other times guys get good chances with some time, or on the back door. So, it’s good to have a better view of the game. -Marc Andre Fleury

The conversation goes both ways in Vegas. When he’s in net, Fleury often chats with Subban and goalie coach Dave Prior about certain plays, goals or saves. The open discussion offers the starting goaltender a view outside of himself, and from people they trust.

Yeah, we talk a little bit. Even when I play too we usually always have a little talk about goals, little plays, weird plays. Stuff like that. -Fleury

McKenna spent plenty of time viewing the game from the bench. He felt offering information to the starter was an important part of his job, being part confidante, coach, and shrink.

By the time I was in my late 20’s I realized I was in a role that realistically I was being a goalie coach in some ways too. They would bounce things off of me a lot but I would never cross that line of providing information the player was thinking or feeling. -McKenna

That was an area that McKenna stressed over and over. The advice or information needs to be asked for and accepted. Since most goalies are rare birds, it was important to recognize early on how each individual goaltender felt about discussions in between periods. McKenna was overly careful making sure his insight was wanted.

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UFA Goalie Options For Golden Knights

SinBin.vegas has been digging around for any clues heading into tomorrow’s free agency frenzy, and we finally found one. It has become evident the organization feels light in net. With the belief that Vegas will keep Calvin Pickard as Marc-Andre Fleury‘s backup, and let J.F. Berube walk as a UFA, the team is in need of goalie depth. The Golden Knights are very likely to sign a third goaltender (and possibly a fourth) to a two-way contract allowing him to play in the AHL. Here are some potential free agents that could be putting pen to paper with Vegas next week.

Darcy Kuemper: Minnesota
2016-17 Salary: $1,500,000

Kuemper clearly lost his starting job for good to All-Star Devan Dubnyk. The Kuemperor was once beloved in Minnesota but he’s now looking for a new home. After statistically having his worst season, the Golden Knights could sign the 27-year-old on a two-way deal. Giving Kuemper more action in the AHL could boost his confidence. By signing the five-year veteran the Golden Knights would have incredibly strong depth at net. He’s a slightly more expensive option, but would help fill the gap between 32-year-old Fleury and 25-year-old Pickard.

Sam Brittain: Florida
21016-17 Salary: $750,000

Brittain is far from a household name. In fact, if you don’t follow the AHL or ECHL you’re probably lost. Brittain has never suited up for a pro club but is considered a plausible option for the Golden Knights third goaltender. A two-way contract is guaranteed which will give Vegas the option to shuttle him back and fourth from Chicago. The contract would be a short-term inexpensive agreement to start 5-10 times next season.

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