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Reaves And Schmidt Share Gallant Story On Spittin’ Chiclets

(Photo Credit: SinBin.vegas Photographer Brandon Andreasen)

Last night two of the Golden Knights biggest personalities joined Spittin’ Chiclets to sip some brew, talk some trash, and play a little NHL 20.

Schmidty has been nervous about this all week. -Reaves

As usual, Chiclets hosts Ryan Whitney and Paul Bissonnette loosened up their guests and the video chat turned to trash talk, inside jokes and small nuggets of information. The combination podcast/game-watch was close to an hour, and for a guy who doesn’t enjoy watching others play video games, it was very entertaining. Plus, there was one hilarious story involving former Golden Knights head coach Gerard Gallant.

The two teammates were asked about getting back to work, and if the team has gotten together at all during the pandemic. Reaves mentioned the entire team was in Las Vegas but they haven’t been able to see one another.

Yeah we’re all here, but no you can’t. Yeah but everything is opening up now. I don’t know what’s going to happen.-Reaves

While we assumed most, if not all of the Golden Knights stayed in Las Vegas, Reaves confirmed it. With players from all over the world, you have to wonder if the organization pleaded with the players to stay in town during the coronavirus lockdown or left it up to them. Either way, it makes it easier for the team to fully unite than if they had to wait for other teammates to self-quarantine.

Las Vegas as a potential NHL hub city came up in conversation, and it sure seems like the players know they won’t be getting any advantages.

I was thinking that would be quite a bit of an advantage for the Golden Knights considering they get to stay at home, but that’s not the case. -Paul Bissonnette

Yeah, we still have to go to the hotel and everything.-Reaves

And with no fans, yeah you’re pretty much in the same ballpark. Other than, would you then be able to see your family?-Bissonnette

No. I don’t think so. I think we’re in full lockdown.-Reaves

So it’s clear the Golden Knights have been told some directives regarding the league’s plan to return. With the concern of creating a disadvantage for the other teams, if Vegas is allowed to play in their home city, they really should be looking at it as if they’re on the road.

Schmidt even thinks this could be the toughest Stanley Cup to win for any team.

Don’t you think that if we start up again it’ll actually be even tougher because everyone’s healthy? -Schmidt

Schmidt’s theory has been floating around hockey media and it’s interesting to hear a player talk about how hard it’ll be to hoist the 2020 Stanley Cup.

Okay, okay enough burying the lead. Let’s get to the funniest moment of the entire webcast. Bissonnette and Whitney pushing Reaves to tell the story about the time he took a shot on net and lost the puck in the netting for a delay of game penalty.

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Ryan Reaves Swimming And Hiking To Keep In Shape

(Photo Credit: SinBin.vegas Photographer Brandon Andreasen)

Golden Knights power forward Ryan Reaves joined After Hours on Sportsnet this weekend to catch up during the NHL pause and answer some fan questions. Isolating with his family in Summerlin, Reaves fielded a range of topics from staying in shape to Evander Kane.

I got to say my brother now because he plays in the CFL. It would be pretty disrespectful if I said me. When we were younger me and my brother were really good at football, we dominated our league. He was really good at basketball and I was really good at football. He tried playing basketball coming out of college but he couldn’t find work… he’s such an athlete that he was able to jump into the CFL after not playing football since he was fourteen.- Ryan Reaves

Reaves was asked why he doesn’t score more often? For three seasons we’ve seen the big fella come close but he’s usually good for just eight or nine goals a season. However, he’s had some memorable goals in Golden Knights history.

I ask myself that all the time. It’s been ten years asking myself that and I just don’t have an answer for you. I should probably do that a little more often. -Reaves

With gyms, parks, and facilities are closed, walking and jogging around the neighborhood is how people are staying fit during the shutdown. Reaves is making the most of what he has, which includes his swimming pool, some weights, and some hiking in his surrounding area to keep in shape.

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VGK All Over 2019-20 NHLPA Player’s Poll

(Photo Credit: SinBin.vegas Photographer Brandon Andreasen)

Every year the NHL Players Association (NHLPA) conducts a poll among more than 500 players asking a wide-ranging variety of topics.

In the Golden Knights’ first season there were just two mentions of Vegas related items in the poll. Last year that number jumped to five. This year takes the cake with seven total Golden Knights mentions.

We’ll start with the team related ones. First, in a bit of a surprise, the Golden Knights were voted to have the second-best jersey in all of the NHL.

Last year T-Mobile-Arena was voted as having the best atmosphere in the league. This year that category was left off, but that didn’t keep Vegas away from the arena related items.

The best individual honor received by a Golden Knight went to Marc-Andre Fleury.

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“Hidden” Injuries Hurt Golden Knights Early In Season

(Photo Credit: SinBin.vegas Photographer Brandon Andreasen)

It feels like ages ago now, but just six months ago the Golden Knights kicked off the third season in franchise history. It began with a pair of hotly contested games against the hated San Jose Sharks, each resulting in Vegas wins. From there, the Golden Knights ripped off wins in six of their first nine games before hitting the skids a bit dropping 12 of the next 17.

It all added up to a paltry 11-11-4 start. In those first 25 games, the Golden Knights were without Alex Tuch for 17, Nate Schmidt for 12, Malcolm Subban for nine, and Cody Eakin for four. Plus, Valentin Zykov was suspended for 20.

According to George McPhee though, those weren’t the only ailments plaguing his team early in the season.

We started the season a little slow. We had three players that were injured. The hidden injuries, we had three guys that were hurt late in the summer in training and missed a lot of training time. They were really behind when we got going. It was pretty obvious. -McPhee to GoldenKnights.com

My first thought was, “who’s he talking about?”

Shea Theodore’s bout with cancer could certainly fall under that category, but it’s hard to call that one “hidden.” Tuch, Schmidt, Eakin, Subban, and Whitecloud were all hurt on the ice during regular or preseason games, so he can’t be talking about them. Then there was the William Karlsson “can’t take draws” injury that seemed to occur in a preseason game, but once again, that shouldn’t have gotten in the way of the summer training.

“Three guys hurt late in the summer in training.”

The first, most obvious, candidate would be Ryan Reaves. He missed a majority of training camp, not hitting the ice for the first time until September 24th.

The next best guess is Paul Stastny who was absent for the first four preseason games but played in the final three and didn’t miss any of the 71 games played thus far.

Finally, there are Mark Stone and Deryk Engelland. Both participated in training camp, but neither saw preseason action until the third preseason game. That’s not horribly unusual, but when looking for “hidden” injuries the only names missing from the first two preseason games have to be considered.

Statistically, Stone was dominant out of the gates this season putting up 18 points in his first 15 games. The other three, not so much. Reaves tallied just three points in his first 20, Engelland had just two in 20, and Stastny had nine points in his first 20.

Or maybe it’s someone else I’m not even considering. But the point of this isn’t to out the guys who were potentially injured though, it’s to ask why that is an acceptable excuse?

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Buy, Sell, Or Hold, Pacioretty Trusts VGK To Make The Right Call

(Photo Credit: SinBin.vegas Photographer Brandon Andreasen)

The NHL trade deadline is a week away and it could be another active one for the Golden Knights. Since their first trade deadline in 2018, Vegas hasn’t been shy adding players to their already competitive roster. The first season Ryan Reaves and Tomas Tatar were acquired to give the coaching staff extra skill and muscle. On last year’s deadline day, the Golden Knights traded and signed Mark Stone who quickly became the face of the franchise. Needless to say, the players and fans are anticipating the front office to be calling and texting other general managers.

 I’ve been on every end of that situation, buying and selling, or standing put. In terms of rumors you don’t hear too many playing in Vegas as opposed to playing in a Canadian city. On trade deadline having the TV on in here, you heard about the possibility of getting a guy like Mark Stone. I’m sure once we get closer to the day maybe we’ll hear a little more. In terms of what we hear with outside noise, we don’t as a player in Vegas and that’s a nice thing. -Pacioretty

Max Pacioretty has seen his share of deadlines come and go in his 12-year career. The 31-year-old has been on both sides of the scale, teams that were buyers and teams that were sellers. Even for a veteran the trade deadline period can be a bit stressful, knowing a teammate or potentially himself could be dealt to another club.

It’s a pretty crappy feeling when you get the day off and you’re all hanging out, which has happened to me, and everyone has got their phones on. Seeing guys drop like flies getting traded to other teams because your team is selling. That’s the worst feeling in the world and you never want to be in that position.- Pacioretty

That isn’t the case for Vegas, nor has it been in team history. Pacioretty and his teammates expect the Golden Knights to be heavily involved, even if a trade doesn’t materialize.

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Carrier’s Versatility and Awareness Makes Life Easier For DeBoer

(Photo Credit: SinBin.vegas Photographer Brandon Andreasen)

For the better part of three seasons, William Carrier has played a role on the 4th line, and he’s played it well. His versatility, however, has allowed both coaching staffs to use him up and down the lineup. When injuries occur, his quick, forceful style has no trouble handling more minutes and shifts.

After his latest stint on the 3rd line, Carrier is heading back to the place he knows best, 4th line left wing. It’s not a problem for him though, he accepts his role on the team and enjoys his strong bond with linemates Ryan Reaves and Tomas Nosek. Also, let’s face it, the 3rd line isn’t as fun.

I had a great time playing up there but for right now I think Karly is coming back. So I’ll head back with Reavo and Nosey out there… I think our 4th line has more goals than the 3rd line. -Carrier

Carrier didn’t bitch and moan or pout. It’s an important job being a utility player that occasionally fills in for injured teammates. There’s zero ego with Carrier. He gives max effort every night, never veers from his aggressive style, and will do whatever the coaches ask.

It’s all about roles. I can go out there and play top roles but I’ll probably turn the puck over more times than I’d make the plays. Sure, I would pick up more points than I have now, but as a 4th line we can’t do that. We have to be a plus-one line every night.-Carrier

The Golden Knights recognize #28 as a hard-working, heavy forechecking type player. A better scouting report would be, Carrier’s a bull that will create an exciting scoring chance and a glass shaking check in the same shift. His nightly consistency gives DeBoer the option to use him to help pick up the tempo, or bring some life to his club.

This group of guys know what role we have. Each guy knows what they have to bring night after night. It’s working out for us. Everyone is mature and everyone’s got their role. If you don’t get your role, than those guys aren’t with us no more. I think they’re trying to keep the guys around that fit best with the team. Every guy here has their own role, and we try and fill them as best we can. -Carrier

When Carrier talks about maturity and understanding roles, you realize how dedicated he is to winning. He executes his assignments, knows everyone else’s, and is prepared for anything. He’s highly aware of the team’s objectives.

I was a point a game guy in juniors. Maybe now, I don’t try those plays the top guys make. When there’s a chance to create an offensive play I’m going to try it out. I think it’s all about poise, confidence and making plays.-Carrier

This season, Carrier is on pace for career bests. He’s already passed his mark for most games played, and will more than double his highest point total. He’ll tell you to put the statistics aside though because winning means more than any personal accomplishment.

It’s always team-first with this guy.

Reaves Moves On From Bad Calls

(Photo Credit: SinBin.vegas Photographer Brandon Andreasen)

No NHL player enjoys being called for a penalty. It puts their team at a disadvantage and could change the momentum of a game. While it’s frustrating for players to skate over to the box, inevitably minors and double minors are going to happen. It’s just how a physical game like hockey plays out.

It’s definitely frustrating because I pride myself on being a guy that leads the league in hits and I don’t take a lot of minor penalties. Especially, off of my hits. -Ryan Reaves

A few weeks before the break, Reaves was whistled for a tripping call that even the biggest Reaves detractors agreed was a terrible call by the officials. Not only was it a clean hit, but it also took a referee a few seconds to stop the game and lead Reaves to the penalty box. The bruising forward was livid and refused to listen to the ref’s explanation. Normally, a customary thing officials do after the whistle. This time around Reaves wasn’t having it.

I don’t think that was really a conversation at the time because I was a little fired up. I wasn’t too happy so the refs weren’t really talking to me. -Reaves

There’s a certain reputation Reaves carries around with him, and it’s only human nature for referees to lean towards calls against him. However, as he’ll constantly remind you, he’s been suspended once in 632 games.

Has he taken it over the edge a little bit? Sure, but some will note Tom Wilson is fair game. Either way, the tripping call against Reaves on January 2nd against Philadelphia was neither a vendetta or a response to a prior incident. It seemed like a routine check that resulted in a tough fall for the opponent. It was an unfortunate hit that resulted in an official away from the puck to whistle the play dead and toss Reaves out for two minutes. That didn’t sit well.

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Ryan Reaves Responds To David Perron’s “Whining”

(Photo Credit: SinBin.vegas Photographer Brandon Andreasen)

Former Golden Knight David Perron didn’t hold back on Saturday after the Blues loss in overtime. Perron made some scathing remarks about Vegas’ physicality, suggesting they stepped over the line.

You don’t like to see some of that extra stuff they do. One to our captain, I thought that was bullshit to be honest with you. That’s how I see it… Now we know what to expect. We’ve played them enough already. I see a lot of games of them. I really appreciate a lot of the stuff they do. I like their coaches, the organization, everything. But I didn’t like that (stuff on Alex Pietrangelo). -David Perron, Blues forward

Perron was clearly upset with some of the after whistle scrums, which in his eyes, were created by Vegas. One in particular involving Ryan Reaves and St. Louis captain Alex Pietrangelo.

Everybody saw what happened. I didn’t even start it. I just stopped in front of the net Petro (Alex Pietrangelo) tried to move me. He’s not going to move me. -Ryan Reaves

By now, most of us understand and appreciate Reaves’ role. If a player wants to get face-to-face, no matter who it is, #75 isn’t backing down. Pietrangelo happens to be an important player for St. Louis which is why Perron took umbrage. To Reaves, an opponent is just another opponent.

Hats off to Petro (Pietrangelo) for standing in there. You look at that situation, Petro stands up and tries to get to get me from out in front of the net.-Reaves

Pietrangelo got nicked up during his scrum with Reaves. On Monday, he sounded off.

I was just trying to take care of business. He was standing in front of our goalie. But I’ll tell you: It’s the first time I’ve ever been scratched in the eye before… I’m OK with getting into a scrum, but I’m not too fond of being scratched. Maybe that’s his new way, I don’t know. -Alex Pietrangelo, Blues defenseman

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Golden Knights Weigh In On Abuse Accusations By Former NHL Players

(Photo Credit: SinBin.vegas Photographer Brandon Andreasen)

The stories began to leak after the Toronto Maple Leafs relieved Mike Babcock from his coaching position. Former and current players spoke out about Babcock’s harsh, critical style hidden behind his success. Then more stories came out by past players, stories that were very concerning.

Akim Aliu broke open the door when he accused former coaches of being openly racist. Aliu’s claims were taken seriously enough that Calgary quickly parted ways with coach Bill Peters for his involvement a decade ago. They weren’t claims anymore, the nightmare stories by former players were sadly proven right. Peters resigned and the league is better for the swift actions.

Most teams got a chance to address the controversy over the past two weeks, so we thought it was time for the league to hear from some of the Golden Knights.

I wasn’t there in those situations but the Bill Peters thing, there’s no room for that on hockey. There’s no room for racism in the world at all.

Guys coming out saying that got yelled at, if you’re a hockey player you have to have tough skin. If you’re getting yelled at you probably just have to brush it off. I don’t know. All of these stories coming out about the past is a little weird but this stuff about berated guys, racism and that stuff is important and needs to be discussed and taken care of. -Ryan Reaves

Ryan Reaves didn’t hesitate to call out Peters for his racist actions but he doesn’t want the outpouring of other stories clouding Aliu’s serious accounts.

Akim Aliu comes out with the racism story, that’s an important subject. That’s something that needs to be dealt with but the four or five other stories that came out seems like they’re just trying to catch a story and try and be part of a story that isn’t really there. There are certain subjects that need to be dealt with and then there’s certain things that are just noise. -Reaves

Twelve year NHL veteran Max Pacioretty has had his share of uncomfortable moments in his career but he’s never witnessed any form of abuse.

I can’t relate to any of the negative stuff that’s been coming out but often times in a team sport environment you can’t always be everyone’s best friend. You got to pick your time and spots when to be hard on guys and I think that accountability is present on pretty much every good team. -Max Pacioretty

Same goes for #75, he’s never seen any of the accusations firsthand.

I’ve never been on a team that had that. I’ve seen coaches and players battle, and sometimes they didn’t quite like each other. There’s going to be heated moments, it’s a heated sport. Sometimes the emotions get the best of you but I’ve never been a part of anything that crossed the line. -Reaves

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An Idea On How To Deploy The Bottom Six When Cody Eakin Returns

(Photo Credit: SinBin.vegas Photographer Brandon Andreasen)

It’s not the way anyone envisioned it coming to be, but the 3rd line of William Carrier, Cody Glass, and Alex Tuch was formed three games ago. In those three games, the Golden Knights have earned points in each and won two on the road.

They’ve also received three goals and five assists from that line. They’ve created eight scoring chances in 26 minutes of play and have a 54% Corsi.

But where they’ve been best is in the eye test. Since the Golden Knights have been a franchise, they’ve never had a 3rd line look as good as Carrier, Glass, and Tuch have looked over the past three games. Tuch is driving offense, Glass is controlling the defensive end, and Carrier is winning puck battles helping set up the cycle to spend time in the offensive zone.

Tuch has returned to the right-wing, Glass to his natural center position, and Carrier is playing with the most offensive talent since he’s been a Golden Knight. It’s not the perfect line, but it’s certainly an upgrade on what they’ve gotten throughout this season with Cody Eakin as the center.

Tuch scored just one goal in 10 games with Eakin. He has three with Glass and Carrier. Glass has just three assists in 23 games playing with Eakin. He has two in three games with Tuch and Carrier.

However, the fourth line hasn’t looked quite the same without Carrier. Ryan Reaves has struggled without Carrier recording just five hits in three games while Carrier was on the 3rd line. Tomas Nosek still appears to play better as a center than a winger. And Stephenson scored the goal, but doesn’t quite seem a match for Nosek and Reaves.

Eakin remains out week-to-week with an upper body injury, so the decision on where to put him when he returns is not imminent, but after just three games on the road, it might be time to start considering where else he might fit.

The key question moving forward will become usage. Eakin has averaged about 15 minutes of ice time each season with the Golden Knights. That’s normal for a 3rd line center with penalty-killing duties. But, if he finds himself relegated to the 4th line, his TOI will likely drop under 10 minutes per game as has been the case for Reaves in 66% of games this season. That also means relying more heavily on Glass, something Gerard Gallant has not shown a willingness to do. (He’s played more than 14 minutes in less than half his NHL appearances.)

Vegas has never used an interchanging line system throughout an entire game, but they may want to consider it when Eakin is ready to return. With Glass, Eakin, Carrier, Reaves (or Nosek), Tuch, and Stephenson, there are multiple combinations that can be deployed depending on the situation.

Rather than lay out the standard two lines and roll them over, they could be mixed and matched depending on draw location, score, matchup, and stamina. Here are just a few of the logical trios that could be made out of that group.

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