It’s one of the worst kept secrets, the city of Las Vegas is the front runner to become one of the NHL’s playoff hubs.
I think out West that Vegas is virtually a lock. I don’t know that there’s one perfect place but I sense that Vegas has an inside track.-Ray Ferraro, Ray & Dregs podcast
With the decision still in the hands of the league, TSN insider’s Ray Ferraro and Darren Dreger spoke with Commissioner Gary Bettman about the plan to return to play and the selected hubs. Which could impact the Golden Knights and our city.
Ep. 32 @rayanddregs guest @NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman talks hub cities, potential Canadian 14-day quarantine rule workarounds and timelines to make a final decision.
— The Ray & Dregs Hockey Podcast (@rayanddregs) May 29, 2020
I’m going to have to make a decision collectively on this probably in about three weeks. I think in two weeks we’ll start narrowing down even further. Somewhere around three weeks we’re going to have to pull the trigger and start finalizing the arrangements and make our deposits. -Bettman
Over the past two months, we’ve covered every reason why Las Vegas makes sense to the NHL, but the decision really falls on the local and state governments. Bettman’s mention that any decision was still weeks away helps the city government assess the logistics. Once elected officials make their decision, the NHL can choose Las Vegas or not. Personally, I have a feeling that both parties would like to come to an agreement.
The city of Las Vegas currently only has three sheets of ice that meet NHL standards; one at T-Mobile and two at City National Arena. A year from now there will be two more at Lifeguard Arena in Henderson, then in a few years another one at the AHL rink in Henderson, but as for now, you can’t reasonably make NHL teams vying for a playoff spot, practice at the Ice Center or Sobe Arena. Not to mention, with everyone housed on the Strip, transporting players and equipment for SEVEN teams back and forth the 17 miles to Summerlin, only to be crammed into City National Arena simply isn’t logical. -SinBin.vegas, 4/24/20
With word that the NHL is pushing a 24-team postseason format, a pod city would hold not eight, but 12 teams. Yesterday, NHL analyst Pierre McGuire jumped on TSN Montreal to pitch Las Vegas as the perfect location. The league is considering two pod cities that would hold three, possibly four NHL games per day. Southern Nevada continues to be high on the list for obvious reasons. Hotel rooms, first-class amenities, and easy access to the T-Mobile Arena and other venues. However, the lack of practice ice is greatly overlooked.
Because they got significant ice availability starting with obviously the MGM arena. They got their arena where they practice. They’ve got the Thomas & Mack Center. They’re building an arena for an American Hockey League team that might already be completed in Henderson.-Pierre McGuire, NBC Sports Analyst
The Henderson facility (Lifeguard Arena) is projected to be finished this fall. Could the league help expedite the project? Sure, but there have been no indications that’s the case. Which leaves the Thomas & Mack Center, MGM Grand Garden Arena, T-Mobile Arena, and the City National Arena to cram in practice and morning skates for 12 teams.
Two sheets of ice at the CNA could comfortably serve four NHL clubs, one being the Golden Knights. After that, it’s up in the air. T-Mobile Arena would be available for teams when actual games weren’t being played, but is that viable? Will the Thomas & Mack and Grand Garden Arena have enough time to refreeze their surfaces and make them NHL quality?
More than enough hotel space. They’ve got more than enough ice availability. They’ve got more than enough convention area for dressing rooms if they need them. They’ve got perfect infrastructure to host this.-McGuire
Picture this, Mayor Goodman gets her wish to open casinos prematurely but only certain groups of people are allowed in. A block of rooms would be booked, and only the high-limit tables would be open. Call it a soft opening. Those guests, or tenants, would be NHL players.
TSN’s Frank Seravalli proposed four NHL cities that are well suited to host postseason series. Dallas, Edmonton, Pittsburgh and Toronto were the locations suggested. His criteria were logical and based on areas that would be safe and accessible.
The plan could include regular-season play, a traditional 16-team playoff, or even an “expanded” playoff.
Teams might be grouped by division, but not necessarily, Bettman said. Sources indicated that the NHL could have teams playing at sites outside of their usual geographic area, such as two groups of eight teams at two sites in the West – circumstances that would be dictated by which localities have eased restrictions.
“We’re just constantly trying to figure out what our alternatives will be,” Bettman said.
Bettman’s stated requirements for host sites are:
– “The location could be anywhere besides a [COVID-19] hot spot.”
– “We need a lot of ice. There does need to be practice facilities.”
– “We need four NHL-calibre locker rooms. Because if you’re going to play three games in one day, you’ve got to be moving things around, and you’ve got to make sure that we’re taking the proper sanitizing procedures.”
Sources indicate the league is keeping a running list of up to 10 NHL cities that could suitably host in the event of a centralized restart.- Frank Seravalli, TSN
At first glance Las Vegas seems to be a perfect location to host multiple series. Thanks to the shutdown and social-distancing, Southern Nevada is not a hot spot for Covid-19, which is cardinal rule #1 for Commissioner Bettman. T-Mobile Arena has many rooms that can convert into NHL-Caliber lockerrooms. Army, Cornell, Providence, and Ohio State all fit comfortably during the Fortress Invitational even with an NHL game taking place on the same day.
But, there’s one massive reason why Las Vegas can’t be one of the initial four hosts when if the league does indeed use this plan. That reason is a shortage of ice.
The city of Las Vegas currently only has three sheets of ice that meet NHL standards; one at T-Mobile and two at City National Arena. A year from now there will be two more at Lifeguard Arena in Henderson, then in a few years another one at the AHL rink in Henderson, but as for now, you can’t reasonably make NHL teams vying for a playoff spot practice at the Ice Center or Sobe Arena. Not to mention, with everyone housed on the Strip, transporting players and equipment for SEVEN teams back and forth the 17 miles to Summerlin, only to be crammed into City National Arena simply isn’t logical.
Las Vegas is just not suitable for eight teams. So scrap that idea.
In their first two games of the 2019-2020 season, the Golden Knights have scored three goals in the opening ten minutes. It was a point of emphasis for the opponent after the opening night matchup against San Jose.
The key in this building is getting through the first ten minutes. And we didn’t do that.-Pete DeBoer, Sharks Head Coach
It’s not just this season, it dates back to the inaugural 2017-18 campaign. Under Gerard Gallant, the Golden Knights have a track record of taking quick control of the game, especially against the Sharks. Just look at how Vegas handles San Jose at T-Mobile Arena. The Golden Knights have a clear advantage in the opening ten minutes.
11/24/17: VGK 5 SJ 4 Shea Theodore Goal At 2:33 1st Period James Neal Goal At 11:16 1st Period
3/31/18: VGK 3 SJ 2 Shea Theodore Goal At 2:21 1st Period
4/26/18: Game 1- VGK 7 SJ 0 Cody Eakin Goal At 4:31 1st Period Erik Haula Goal At 4:57 1st Period Jon Marchessault Goal At 6:02 1st Period Alex Tuch Goal At 11:43 1st Period
11/24/18: VGK 6 SJ 0 William Karlsson Goal At 0:14 1st Period Colin Miller Goal At 4:40 1st Period Max Pacioretty Goal At 9:29 1st Period
01/10/19: SJ 3 VGK 2 Tomas Nosek Goal At 1:34 1st Period
04/14/19: Game 3- VGK 6 SJ 3 Mark Stone Goal At 0:14 1st Period Max Pacioretty Goal At 12:43 1st Period
04/16/19: Game 4- VGK 5 SJ 0 Max Pacioretty Goal At 1:11 1st Period
10/02/19: VGK 4 SJ 1 Mark Stone Goal At 3:46 1st Period Reilly Smith Goal At 5:21 1st Period
VGK/SJ History Totals:
VGK is 7-1-0 against San Jose when they score in the opening 10 minutes of a game VGK scored 16 Goals against San Jose in the opening 13 minutes VGK scored two or more goals in 5 separate games
Is it as simple as having a ‘race out of the gate’ mentality? Or is it the atmosphere at the T-Mobile Arena?
I think it’s a little bit of both. -Marc Andre Fleury
And nobody benefits more from the quick starts than the goalie.
During the open house just about every group in the building is having one of two conversations. First, this place is amazing. That is just a fact, so that conversation usually ends pretty quickly. The other one is much more in depth, which seats should we pick when we get the chance?
Well, I’m here to help (and you are going to help too). I walked around the arena and took three pictures in each P-Section of the arena.
Here’s the map with exact sections and their coordinating P-Section.