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Tag: Ryan Reaves

Reaves, Gallant Mentioned In NHLPA Player’s Poll

3rd!?! C’mon NHL. (Photo Credit: Photographer Brandon Andreasen)

Once a year the NHL Player’s Association conducts a poll in which they ask multiple questions to current NHL players. Questions asked ranged from fastest current skater to best defenseman of all time.

Two Golden Knights were mentioned in the poll including one of the largest vote totals of any category. That distinction went to new Golden Knight, Ryan Reaves, in the category of “toughest player.”

The other Golden Knight was All Star head coach Gerard Gallant.

Gallant received 31 votes from the 267 players who voted in the poll.

Slightly surprisingly, maybe depending on when the poll was conducted (between preseason and January), T-Mobile Arena was not listed in the results for best arena, best ice, or best fans.

To see the rest of the results, click here.

Golden Knights Must Get Back To Being Themselves

The Golden Knights do not have their own “way” like the New England Patriots. They did not come up with a different scheme of play like the “run and gun” Showtime Era Los Angeles Lakers. Nor are they trying to re-invent the game of hockey like the Moneyball Oakland A’s did baseball. But what the Golden Knights have done is carved out a style in which they prefer to play, and when they stick to it, they win.

Reel em back in David. (Photo Credit: Photographer Brandon Andreasen)

Vegas has been at or near the top of the NHL standings the entire year. They’ve yet to experience a losing streak beyond three games, and when I asked a bunch of players the question, “what’s been the toughest thing your team has gone through this year,” every single guy started his response the same way, by cocking their head to the side and saying “I don’t know.”

We’ve come to know the Golden Knights as a fast, quick, transition heavy, high scoring chance team that never believes its out of a game and very rarely, if ever, partake in the rough physical style of play commonly seen in the Pacific Division. Whether this is the reason or not, Vegas had jumped out to a 16-1-1 record against the seven teams in their division. They were undefeated against the likes of the Kings, Ducks, and Sharks before the last 10 days. Then Tuesday happened, and those Golden Knights were nowhere to be found.

All year we haven’t really gotten into scrums all that much. We need to play the way we’ve played all year. We’ve had success and I think for Ryan he is trying to make an impression. When we were in St. Louis it was about getting into the net all the time with Coach Hitchcock. I think that he came here and he wants to do that, he wants to show that he cares, he’s got to learn though a little bit about the way we play. I don’t think he’s going to have a problem with that. -David Perron

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Examining The Ryan Reaves Hits/Penalties

The end of the second game on back to back nights with the Los Angeles Kings got a bit out of hand, and the man in the middle of all of it was newly acquired Ryan Reaves.

With Vegas trailing by two and less than 10 minutes to go, Reaves was called with two penalties, made two other strong hits, and indirectly caused Gerard Gallant to be charged with a bench minor.

Here are the hits, the calls, the rules, and where I come in on each play.

Penalty 1 – 12:20 – Boarding

41.1 Boarding – A boarding penalty shall be imposed on any player who checks or pushes a defenseless opponent in such a manner that causes the opponent to hit or impact the boards violently or dangerously. -NHL Rule Book

Analysis: By the letter of the law, this is essentially textbook boarding. Reaves checks the player, who is absolutely defenseless, in such a manner that causes the opponent to impact the boards violently.

The puck is absolutely out of the play and the intent of Reaves is not hockey-oriented, instead, it is to finish a hit.

This being said, I’m completely aware of how often calls like this are not made. Boarding can be called on a lot of checks in the NHL. However, this one has two factors that made it even more likely for it to be called. First, Reaves loads up on the check. He brings his shoulder back to try and completely demolish the Kings player. The second is who is committing the infraction, Ryan Reaves. He is known for this type of behavior and referees have a tighter eye on him.

Could it have been let go, sure, but this is boarding.

Penalty 2 – 16:37 – Roughing

51.1 Roughing – Roughing is a punching motion with the hand or fist, with or without the glove on the hand, normally directed at the head or face of an opponent. -NHL Rule Book

Analysis: This one is much closer than the last one. There is technically a punching motion directed at the back of the head of the Kings player, however, Reaves’ hand is on the stick and the contact does not appear to be enough to have drawn the penalty.

Referees are allowed discretion to decide when a call should or should not be made. By rule, many penalties could be called in the course of a game, but refs choose not to for various reasons. Reaves’ action did not effect the play, it did not hurt the player, and it probably didn’t even lean cleanly.

This is a case of the referee seeing that Reaves needs to be stopped, so he makes a call to try and get him off the ice. Understandably, Reaves had turned into a wild man, but to make this call is harsh. Then, the referee doubled down by handing out a bench minor to Gallant for being upset over it. With the call being so tight, the ref has to use better judgment to allow Gallant to challenge the call verbally without drawing a second penalty.

No Call – Extra Hits that could be have been ruled charging

42.1 Charging shall mean the actions of a player who, as a result of distance traveled, shall violently check an opponent in any manner. A “charge” may be the result of a check into the boards, into the goal frame or in open ice. -NHL Rule Book

The first one is a clean check that is a hockey play. Reaves is challenging for the puck and impacts the player to attempt to change the play. No call should have been made, no call was.

The second one is charging. Reaves travels an extended distance to deliver a violent check to a player well after the puck is gone. It was let go, which is also a potential reason why the roughing penalty may have been called later.

May Not Agree With The Moves, But Have To Trust The Golden Knights

When you ask anyone with a hockey brain why the Golden Knights have been so good this year, the word “balance” will inevitably come up. Balance insinuates that all four lines and all three pairings have played a major role to the success Vegas has experienced to this point.

This team has done a lot of winning, but they’re going to have to do a lot more to prove George McPhee right. (Photo Credit: Photographer Brandon Andreasen)

That success has come to the tune of 86 points in 61 games, an 11 point lead in the Pacific Division, and a season-long tussle with the Lightning for the best record in the entire NHL. The Golden Knights are the best team in the Pacific Division, and if they aren’t the best in the league, they are right up there among them.

You can point towards George McPhee and front office building the team, All Star coach Gerard Gallant for pulling the right strings to get them to mesh together, and/or the players for taking that chip on their shoulder and coming together to become a force in the NHL quickly. But no matter which way you point, you’re pointing to a winner.

So when the deadline rolled around, it was reasonable to think the Golden Knights would stand pat with their first place roster and focus on the next game at hand (I learned that statement from Turk). Then, they didn’t.

I don’t think that we need to do anything really, but if there are opportunities to make the club a little bit better – one percent, two percent, three percent – you do it if it’s not going to affect chemistry and if you’re not going to take anything out of the lineup. -George McPhee

Wait, I thought Reaves was supposed to be the fighter? (Photo Credit: Photographer Brandon Andreasen)

The Golden Knights acquired Ryan Reaves, a 6’1″ 225 pound mammoth of a man most known for his toughness, grit, and physical presence on the ice. McPhee craftily gave up nothing but The Creator’s money to make this happen. Then McPhee went out and added Tomas Tatar, a consistent 20+ goal scorer from the Detroit Red Wings for a 1st, 2nd, and 3rd pick.

In theory, the team got better, but it’s the last part of McPhee’s statement that brings up a legitimate concern.

Tatar and Reaves are going to play. That means players like Ryan Carpenter, Cody Eakin, William Carrier, Tomas Hyka, Oscar Lindberg or others will be forced out of the lineup.

We’re obviously very confident with our group but it’s up to George (McPhee) to do what he wants. Obviously, I think that everyone’s aware of the chemistry that can be changed if you add too many guys or the wrong piece. You’ve seen it with teams in the previous years. Last year they added (Martin) Hanzal in Minnesota and we (St. Louis) knocked them out in the first round. A guy like Haula, who I thought was playing really well on the third line, he gets bumped down to the fourth line, it changes his role. You understand teams trying to get better but in my opinion, you’ve got to make sure the guys who got you there have to be the guys that keep driving the bus. -David Perron

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Quotes From McPhee, Gallant, And Players On The Trade Deadline

Hopefully Tatar and Haula can move past the hit that caused this tussle. (Photo Credit: Photographer Brandon Andreasen)

We went into the deadline wanting to improve our team and we did that. We had surplus picks and a lot of cap space and we used them to do these deals. We still have surplus picks and surplus cap space. -George McPhee

We’ve known (they are all in for us) for a long time. They kind of gave us a game plan of what the next three years look like for the organization, but things change quickly. For us, no one thought we were going to be anywhere near where we are right now. You’ve got to adapt so the people upstairs they are the brains behind everything, they are the ones pulling the strings. As players, we know that we have something good going and we are going to keep challenging. -Luca Sbisa

We’ve believed in them all year long. They’ve played very very well so far. We wanted to keep them together to see what they could accomplish. If we could help them, we wanted to, and we believe we did that, and we didn’t take anything out of our lineup to do that. -McPhee

We’re pretty tight. We started from scratch and the chemistry worked right away. It’ll be fine. It’s just one guy. Everyone will take him in and I’m sure it’ll be fine. -Marc-Andre Fleury

(Tatar)’s a real quality person. We did our homework on that and we did our homework on Ryan Reaves. Tatar is very excited to be here, so there will be no chemistry issues, in fact I think it enhances our locker room. -McPhee

(Tatar)’s a younger player, he’s only 27. He’s quick, he’s competitive, and he can score. -McPhee

We just want him to fit in with our group. He’s a character guy, he’s a veteran guy and he can help our team win. I think you guys know from day one that I try to play four lines as much as I can. If they are playing well everybody’s going to play, so obviously if he’s playing he’s going to play more than four minutes. -Gallant

Especially since I’ve been the guy that’s gotten pushed out the last couple years, it’s difficult at first, it’s hard to see the big picture of what can happen. As we saw last year a lot of things happened for me and I ended up getting to play when guys hurt, so you need that kind of depth. -Nate Schmidt

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Six Degrees Of Separation To Ryan Reaves

I’m sure these guys will prefer him beating up other guys now that he’s a Golden Knight.

Ryan Reaves is the new guy on the Golden Knights locker room, but he’s not exactly a new face for many on Vegas’ roster.

James Neal

Reaves was drafted the same year as Neal. Neal went 33rd overall to Dallas, Reaves was selected 156th by St. Louis. These two mostly know each other from playing in the Central division for many years. In this clip, Neal stays patient from a rushing Reaves and lands a big shoulder check.

David Perron

Reaves and Perron played in St. Louis together from 2010-2013 and then again in 2016-2017. Reaves shows his hand-eye skill with this nice deflection for a goal in 2013… on Marc-Andre Fleury. Deryk Engelland was also on the ice for Pittsburgh picking up a minus -1 on Reaves tip. James Neal and David Perron were also in the lineups that night.

Deryk Engelland

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Like Reaves or not, McPhee just pulled a pick and a player out of thin air. (Photo Credit: Photographer Brandon Andreasen)

According to multiple reports, the Golden Knights were the third team in a deal that sent Derick Brassard to the Penguins and Ian Cole to Ottawa. Vegas acquired Ryan Reaves and the Vancouver Canucks 4th round pick (via Pittsburgh). The Golden Knights only gave up Tobias Lindberg in the trade. They also retained $2 million of salary of Derick Brassard’s contract.

Vegas Gets:
Ryan Reaves (F)
2018 4th Round Pick (Vancouver)

Pittsburgh Gets:
Derick Brassard (F) ($2 mil retained by VGK)
Vincent Dunn (F)
Tobias Lindberg (F)
2018 3rd Round Pick (Ottawa)

Ottawa Gets:
Ian Cole (D)
Filip Gustavsson (G)
2018 1st Round Pick (Pittsburgh)
2019 3rd Round Pick (Pittsburgh)

George McPhee was able to utilize the salary cap and a player he acquired in the Calvin Pickard trade prior to the season to bring in a 4th round pick and Ryan Reaves.

McPhee is scheduled to meet with the media in the 1st intermission of tonight’s game.

Ryan Reaves was traded from St. Louis to the Penguins in a deal that was completed at the 2017 NHL Entry Draft. Reaves has played in 58 games this season averaging 6:45 TOI. He has scored four goals (one against Vegas) and has four assists. He has racked up 84 penalty minutes and has a -9 +/- rating.

If Nolan Patrick’s A Golden Knight, It’ll Be For Good Reason

Since the signing of Reid Duke, the entire Golden Knights fan base have been playing make-believe GM. The dream transaction almost every armchair general manager (including myself) wants to make, is drafting top rated prospect Nolan Patrick. By now, we’re all aware Nolan and Duke play together in Brandon, Manitoba. Patrick is currently projected first or second in most analysts mock drafts. Duke, who becomes the Golden Knights first signed player could also become the team’s first player ambassador.

Of course, we can’t expect Kelly McCrimmon to exchange all of his Brandon currency for Vegas gold but his influence could help. If he believes Patrick is worth trading future assets for, I’m sure his boss will listen. George McPhee wouldn’t just trade up for a splash, but we have to imagine McCrimmon’s opinion is heavily valued by the GM. Conspiracy nuts like myself and Alex Jones expect lottery shenanigans leading to Vegas magically getting the first pick, but the possibility of drafting four to six is real if the odds are legit.

McPhee will be having very serious conversations with all 30 GMs in the near future so he’ll know (he might already) what the price of moving up will be. Analysts like Craig Button and Bob McKenzie are both down on this year’s draft but that doesn’t mean a team will make trade-swapping easy on Vegas.

Now that we know the situation, we have to ask the obvious question, is trading up for Nolan Patrick is even worth it? The projected number one pick’s numbers are silly over the past three plus seasons in Brandon. In 28 games this season, the right-handed center has 42 points. Last year he posted 102 points in 72 games with a rating of +51. Out of Patrick’s 18 goals this season only a few are assisted by Duke. While both centers play many shifts on separate lines, they continuously show up together on Brandon’s lethal power play unit. The Wheat Kings are in the top half of the WHL, scoring 64 PP goals this season. Teaming up on special teams in Vegas could be one reason to reunite Duke and Patrick. 

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The Dark Knight Will Determine A Lot Of Golden Knights Successes Or Failures

Batman is one of the few superheroes that does not actually have a special power.

“He relies on his genius intellect, physical prowess, martial arts abilities, detective skills, science and technology, vast wealth, intimidation, and indomitable will,” or at least that’s what Wikipedia says.

He’s there to fight crime and save Gotham City from evil, but in every adaptation of the world’s most beloved fictional character, there’s a dark side, which earned him the nickname, the Caped Crusader, or more fitting for the topic of this website, the Dark Knight.

The Vegas Golden Knights have a Dark Knight of their own. His name is Kelly McCrimmon, and he’s the mastermind that has the ability to pull strings not many in NHL circles posses.

Ask someone who knows him, and without a question the word smart will be in the answer. Rather than physical prowess, martial arts abilities, and all the other crap that makes Batman, Batman, McCrimmon has his own set of skills. “Excellent talent evaluator,” “brilliant hockey mind,” “incredible work ethic,” “a real asset in the role he’s been cast in.” And I have a feeling that “indomitable will” is probably in there when it comes to helping the Golden Knights put a winning product on the ice.

McCrimmon is, the Dark Knight of Vegas hockey.

As the former GM and coach, and still the owner of the Brandon Wheat Kings of the WHL, McCrimmon has an understanding of junior Canadian hockey like few in the business.

Putting the pieces together, he’s likely the reason Bob Lowes, Raphael Pouliot, and Bruno Campese were hired as scouts, and probably had a direct connection to many more that don’t have as obvious of connectable dots. As far as players go, he’s one for one. The signing of Reid Duke is just the beginning of what’s likely to be a long line of players headed to Vegas directly off the recommendation of McCrimmon.

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