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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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Return To Play Roundup For VGK

The NHL rolled out their plans on how they will conduct the playoffs, the Draft Lottery, and much more. Here’s a quick roundup of what it all means for the Vegas Golden Knights.

  • The 2019-20 regular season is over
    • Golden Knights officially become Pacific Division Champions
    • Final four home games are canceled. Ticket office sent out an email to fans with tickets telling them another is coming by the end of the week with information on refunds/credits
    • Team has begun process of distributing money set aside for arena workers
  • 24 team playoff with eight automatically qualified for the round of 16
    • Vegas is among the eight to have qualified
    • Golden Knights will play a round-robin against the other three teams (Colorado, St. Louis, and Dallas) to determine seeding
  • Two hub cities will be used to host playoff games
    • Las Vegas was listed among the 10 potential hub cities.
    • The league made it clear their preference is to have any team from a hub city to NOT play their games in that city. Thus, if Las Vegas is selected, the Golden Knights will likely play in the other hub city.
  • Elliotte Friedman reported each team will play two exhibition games prior to the quasi-first round and round-robin.
  • NHL announced modified Draft Lottery system
    • This has no effect on the Golden Knights.
  • New contracts will not be allowed for the 2019-20 playoffs
    • Jack Dugan will not be able to sign with the Golden Knights and participate in the playoffs. His contract will begin in 2020-21.
  • The NHL did not place dates on anything, but the current plan is aiming for the playoffs to begin in late July to early August.

Expected Financial Loss May Be Worse For The Players

(Photo Credit: SinBin.vegas Photographer Brandon Andreasen)

As the pause continues, it’s no surprise the NHL is preparing for a severe loss in revenue. It’s not to suggest they would rush to play, but like most of us, the league is facing serious financial issues. It’s already started inside the league office.

But the players may be the ones that get hit the most.

Hall of Fame hockey scribe Larry Brooks reported NHL players were alerted to a staggering amount of earnings lost due to the pause.

The NHL has informed the NHLPA that revenue losses could range from the best-case low of a couple of hundred million dollars to a worst-case amount of up to one billion dollars, The Post has learned. -Larry Brooks, NY Post

The NHLPA spoke with player representatives and explained the escrow share could reach a loss of 21% if the season and/or playoffs are canceled. Under the current labor agreement, it’s possible player contracts would be paid only 65% of their salary for 2019-20.

The season is approximately 85-percent complete. The discrepancy reflects a combination of the 6-to-10 percent of revenue generated by the playoffs and the fact that a full playoff would come at the cost of the remaining 15-percent of the season that would not be played. No wonder the players are pitching the idea of resuming the season in some form and playing for the Stanley Cup in August and September.-Brooks, NY Post

For a team like the Golden Knights who were expected to make a deep run, the pause takes significant money out of the players’ pockets. Playoff shares, according to the NHL are distributed by “A single lump-sum payment of $6,500,000 shall be made by the NHL to the players on account of a player fund, which shall be allocated to the players on clubs participating in the various playoff rounds and/or based upon club finish, as shall be determined by the NHLPA, subject to approval by the League.”

Without the postseason, players stand to lose a good chunk of change, and because of their escrow agreement, they stand to be impacted financially even more than the owners.

Players and owners split the NHL’s “hockey-related revenue” 50/50 (players get their share in salaries). At the end of the playoffs every year, both sides get together and count up how much money the NHL made that season. They then use that number to estimate how much it’ll make the next season (a five per cent bump is a typical ballpark guess). The salary cap, which is designed to make sure the players get 50 per cent of the revenue and no more, is then set based on that number.

But because it’s impossible to predict exactly how much revenue will come in, a percentage of every player’s paycheque is held in escrow until the money is counted at the end of the season (it isn’t always the same, but 15 per cent is a good ballpark number). If the NHL does really well and exceeds the revenue projection by a significant amount, all that money is returned to the players. But if it doesn’t, the owners get to keep however much they need to ensure they end up with exactly 50 per cent of the revenue. –Jesse Campigotto, CBC Sports

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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.

Translating NHL’s Rules And Regulations On Vegas Transactions

252 days ago the NHL announced Vegas as the league’s 31st franchise. Today, the NHL announced Vegas as officially the league’s 31st franchise. There’s a difference there, and it involved $500 million dollars of The Creator’s money, but we don’t have to worry about it anymore, thank goodness.

What we do have to worry about is what has changed between yesterday and 12:04 this afternoon when the Golden Knights sent out the press release confirming the final payment has cleared and have become a “fully operational member of the National Hockey League.”

With the announcement the league put out a list of rules and regulations about exactly what George McPhee and the Golden Knights are able to do now that they are fully operational. Unfortunately their rules are written in some sort of jibberish laywery talk which is nearly impossible for English speaking humans to understand. (Yes, I did just say lawyers aren’t humans.) Luckily, SinBin.vegas is here to translate. Here we go!

**There’s an acronym glossary at the bottom**

Bona Fide Transactions: Effective today, Vegas may now enter into Trades and Waiver Transactions or sign Players to NHL SPCs in accordance with CBA Section 50.8(d) or a Player Transfer Agreement (a “bona fide transaction”). Any bona fide transactions involving current Players must specify the identity of each and every such Player(s) at the time the transaction is entered into.

Translation – Vegas can make trades and sign players. They just can’t cheat the CBA and have to tell the league when they make trades or sign players.

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Super Bowl Style NHL Stanley Cup Props

In honor of this year’s Super Bowl I’ve come of with some imaginary NHL props. And by the way, isn’t it ridiculous that they don’t let people reference the name of the “Big Game?” You think Lord Stanley would ever allow that garbage? C’mon I’m eating here.

So here are a few goofy NHL Stanley Cup props: (Note – All odds were created by a bored Jason Pothier. They are not offered by anyone respectable.)

Who will win the honorary puck drop?
Home team -350

Will the LA Kings win when Pia Toscano songs the National Anthem?
Yes -210

Will Doc Emrick repeat the same word during a 60 minute game?(OT excluded)
Yes +450

Will there be a goal by a goaltender?
No -2000

Will a ref be cross checked?(Calgary games excluded)
Yes +250

Will a player lose a tooth?
Yes +150

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