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Praise Be To Foley, Vegas Golden Knights Hockey Website

The Creator Gives A Rough Guide Of What VGK’s February Schedule Will Look Like

(Photo Credit: SinBin.vegas Photographer Brandon Andreasen)

Like every team in the NHL this season, the Golden Knights have had a number of games postponed due to the ongoing/never-ending pandemic. Luckily, Vegas is in a much better spot than most teams in this regard, needing just four games to be placed back on the schedule.

The Golden Knights were supposed to be in Calgary tonight and were scheduled to play in Edmonton last night as part of an All Alberta road back-to-back. Also, in late December, Vegas lost a pair of home games when the December 23rd game against the Kings and the December 27th matchup with Avalanche were wiped out.

NHL discussions have indicated that these games, along with most of the other postponed ones around the league, will be rescheduled during the month of February that was previously left vacant for the Olympics. With NHL and AHL players no longer going to Beijing, there are three full weeks to squeeze in these makeup games.

I believe we are going to play seven total games in February, might be eight. -The Creator

The current schedule calls for a home game against Buffalo on February 1st and then a home/road back-to-back in Arizona and against Colorado to end the month of February 25th and 26th. Assuming the four games are rescheduled, that would make for seven. However, the mention of eight leaves room for the possibility that another game from later in the season is moved up as the league rearranges the schedules for the teams needing to make up north of 10 games.

Seven games in February would be the lightest month in the Golden Knights’ five year history. They played 10 in in February last year and played at least 13 each of their first three seasons. It’s not all great news though.

Unfortunately we have two back-to-backs, because the league commands we do. We’ve gone back and we’ve tried to get some things adjusted because unfortunately we play a back-to-back then skip a day then play a game and then we have something like seven or eight days off. -The Creator

He wouldn’t give us the exact dates as they are still being finalized, but did give out a few hints.

When you come back from the All Star break you are not supposed to play on the Sunday. So you can practice on Monday but we actually have to travel for two back-to-back road games. -The Creator

This means the Golden Knights are likely headed to Alberta on February 8th and 9th to play the Oilers and Flames. The earlier comment seems to indicate that there would be a home game on the 11th (LAK or COL) and then the Golden Knights would be off most of the week before returning to action with the other home game on the 19th or 20th.

The month would wrap up with the ARI/COL back-to-back on the 25th and 26th with the possibility of another game being snuck in at some point during the month.

Interview w/ Bill Foley On Blessing’s Vegas Hockey Hotline

The Las Vegas hockey community lost a pillar this week with the passing of Brian Blessing. Brian was a member of the Founding 50 that helped bring hockey to Las Vegas and he was a personal friend of the man on this site we call The Creator.

Bill Foley joined us on Blessing’s Vegas Hockey Hotline to tell some stories about Brian and fill us in on some of the newest happenings surrounding the Golden Knights. We learned about a new jersey on the way, the hope of an outdoor/stadium series game, a lot of detail in the Eichel trade and so much more.

Latest NHL Power Rankings: VGK A Multimillion-Dollar World Of Imagination

(Photo Credit: SinBin.vegas Photographer Brandon Andreasen)

Since the start of the new year the Golden Knights haven’t been at their best. Vegas is 1-2-2 in 2022 but still managed to add four points to their Pacific Division leading 23-14-2 record. It’s been awhile since we’ve seen the Golden Knights dominate opponents like they did throughout the month of December, which may have changed minds across the league. When in reality, Vegas picked up four points in five games without playing up to their potential and missing a myriad of starters.

Every so often we like to check in on NHL power rankings across the league. Vegas was a preseason Top 5 team but ever since the injuries piled up they’ve mostly been stuck in double digits. According to aggregate site Power Rankings Guru, this week the Golden Knights checked in at #11.

The consensus was, Vegas had an incredible month of December but took a step back once the calendar year ended. A little dramatic if you ask me.

Let’s start with the league’s site. Vegas rounded out the top ten for the second straight week on NHL.com. Up until they’re fully healthy expect Vegas to be ranked in bottom part of the top ten.

NHL.com – #10 (Previously #10)

The Golden Knights won an NHL record 14 straight regular-season games decided in overtime before losing 5-4 to the Winnipeg Jets on Sunday, the first time they lost in OT since Dec. 19, 2019 (5-4 at the Vancouver Canucks).

ESPN had a little fun by publishing a Disney themed NHL power rankings. Greg Wyshinski and crew went light on Vegas, only dropping them one position.

ESPN – #12 (Previously #11)

To honor this magical place, and with no small amount of corporate synergy, we’ve decided to use this week’s NHL power rankings to match all 32 teams with the Disney World attractions — rides, food, characters — that best fit their vibes.

Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge. A multimillion-dollar world of imagination that offers thrilling rides, lasting memories and the unwavering feeling that it never goes quite as far as you’d like it to go. That weird feeling in your stomach about the Golden Knights in the playoffs is not because you drank too much blue milk …

Sportsnet has routinely had Vegas outside of the top ten. One of the reasons for the lower grade is the injuries to Jack Eichel, Max Pacioretty and Alec Martinez. Once those three impact players return I’m sure SN will raise the local boys in their rankings.

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Bad Teams Skew VGK’s Home/Road Splits

(Photo Credit: SinBin.vegas Photographer Brandon Andreasen)

Heading into the faux bye-week, the Golden Knights are 23-14-2. They are in 1st place in the Pacific Division, both by points and points percentage. However, Vegas sits 5th in the West and 13th in the league in points percentage.

It’s been a bit of a rocky road to get here. After dropping three of their first four games in regulation, the Golden Knights ripped off 11 wins in their next 15 games. Then they lost three of six before winning seven of the following eight. Now, they are amidst a stretch of four losses in five games.

One of the main reasons for the ups and downs to this point has been the health of the roster. The Golden Knights still lead the league, by a wide margin, in both man-games lost and cap-hit of injured players.

The next man up stuff is getting a little old. You just hope it all evens out. I think we’ve been hit harder than anybody this year and ou group hasn’t used it as an excuse any night. -Pete DeBoer

To this point in the season, the Golden Knights have played the 13th hardest schedule in the NHL (per ESPN.com). They have the 8th easiest schedule remaining per Tankathon.com. This is excellent news because they have struggled a bit with the better teams in the NHL. It has affected all of their totals, but it’s been specifically impactful in the road record.

Unlike most years in the past, the Golden Knights have been better on the road than they have at home. They’ve boasted an 11-5-0 record on the road while just 12-9-2 at home.

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Goalie Interference – Episode 14

With a week off before the next game, we look back at the 6 points the Golden Knights have earned during the first 6 games of this 8-game homestand. Also, we’ll talk about our confidence levels in Robin Lehner, react to the Fleury return game, and talk about a really cool thing the Golden Knights do for parents of players making their NHL debuts. As always, the show airs live at 7 PM every Wednesday (or Thursday when VGK play on Wednesday).

Audio Only

Philadelphia Flyers Senior Advisor: “None Of Our Scouts Wanted Nolan Patrick”

(Photo Credit: NHL.com)

The Golden Knights and Nolan Patrick have always been connected, even if it took until 2021 for Patrick to finally become a Golden Knight.

As a top prospect for the Brandon Wheat Kings, it was understood that Golden Knights general manager Kelly McCrimmon would want him in Vegas. Heck, we even wrote an article on this site nearly six years ago considering the possibility.

But when the ping pong balls fell the way they did before the 2017 Draft, it became fairly clear Patrick was going to go well before the Golden Knights had a chance to make their first pick.

In the end, Patrick went #2 overall to the Philadelphia Flyers sandwiched between Nico Hischier, Miro Heiskanen, Cale Makar, and Elias Petterson, before the Golden Knights selected fellow WHL standout Cody Glass at #6.

Patrick went on to play at the NHL level fairly quickly, racking up 73 games in 2017-18, while Glass didn’t make his Golden Knights debut until opening night of 2019-20.

We now know the history that neither Patrick nor Glass flourished with the team that drafted them and they were eventually traded for each other in a three-way deal that landed Patrick in Las Vegas. So far, it hasn’t been a great start with their new teams for either player.

Yesterday, appearing on the Cam and Strick Podcast, Philadelphia Flyers senior advisor, and legendary former player, Bobby Clarke, shared some enlightening details into the draft process that led the Flyers to select Patrick.

(Flyers GM Ron Hextall) shut his door. He locked the doors, he was boss and nobody else was part of it. We end up drafting, with the 2nd pick in the Draft, Nolan Patrick. None of our scouts wanted Nolan Patrick. I don’t know where Patrick should have gone after his performances in Brandon, he’s a pretty good player, but our scouts wanted Makar, of course, he went next, and now he’s a superstar and Patrick hasn’t played much. –Bobby Clarke on the Cam and Strick Podcast

Pretty damning stuff about a player the Golden Knights currently have in their everyday lineup.

Patrick has played just nine games this season, missing nearly two months with an undisclosed injury. He’s been noticeable at times on the ice in Vegas but has just tallied three points while averaging 13 minutes a night.

In the end, McCrimmon finally got his guy, but hearing from Clarke has to make you wonder what might have been had the Flyers listened to their scouts and selected Makar.

TORONTO MAPLE LEAFS 4 VEGAS GOLDEN KNIGHTS 3 (23-14-2 48 PTS) – SO (1-0)

Recap: Toronto struck quickly in the 1st taking the lead just 1:24 into the game. The Golden Knights killed a pair of penalties before earning a power play of their own. Keegan Kolesar scored from right out in front, his third of the season, to tie the score.

The Golden Knights looked great to start the 2nd, hemming Toronto in their own end for much of the first 10 minutes. However, they were unable to cash in and the Leafs went down and got a pair of their own. Vegas trailed by two and the end of two.

Vegas stormed back into the game scoring quickly in the 3rd. William Karlsson scored his fifth goal of the season to cut the deficit in half. Then, on a 5-on-3, Alex Pietrangelo fired one past Jack Campbell to tie the game at three.

The game would go to overtime where very little happened. In shootout, Robin Lehner stopped the first two, but William Nylander potted the game-winner. Vegas went 0 for 3 in shootout.

The Golden Knights record drops to 23-14-2 falling 4-3 to the Toronto Maple Leafs. Vegas has the rest of the week off with a pair of games scheduled to be played in Canada postponed. They’ll hit the ice again on Monday night against the Pittsburgh Penguins. Puck drop is set for 7 PM. (Recap by Jason)

Analysis: The Golden Knights played a pretty strong game as a whole aside from a couple minutes in the 2nd. They suppressed Toronto’s offense as best a team can, but playing as shorthanded as Vegas did, the Leafs were able to score enough to cause problems. Yet another comeback to steal a point for the Golden Knights though, who are suddenly in the middle of a rough homestand. (Recap by Ken)


Upcoming stories from the Vegas Golden Knights vs. Toronto Maple Leafs game at T-Mobile Arena.

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Eichel’s Debut Gets Closer This Week

(Photo Credit: Ken Boehlke, SinBin.vegas)

It’s expected that Jack Eichel will make his arrival this week to officially join the organization. Since his successful neck surgery two months ago Eichel has been showing positive signs of rehabbing and doing light on-ice workouts. Now, it’s time for the Golden Knights training and coaching staff to prepare for his much anticipated Golden Knights debut.

Jack’s rehab has gone real well. We’re getting closer to two months since he’s been rehabbing. We’ll get him to Vegas sometime in January. Confident he will be in the lineup this season. -Kelly McCrimmon on ATTSN intermission on 1/2/22

While it’s impossible to predict where Eichel’s performance level will be, his presence alone will create more challenges for an opponent. We know the obvious reasons why Vegas’ front office made the trade; rare talent, center depth, adding another playmaker, improving the power play, but Eichel will help in dozens of ways. Here are three he will impact immediately.

Flexibility

With Eichel in the lineup, the Golden Knights will be considered one of the deepest teams down the middle. Rank them how you want but Vegas’ depth of William Karlsson, Chandler Stephenson, and Nic Roy to center the bottom three lines will frighten any postseason team.

I can write down all the line combinations and dream all the dreams I want to as a coach about what we could look like, and yet we know this game changes every day. It’s a bit of a fruitless exercise to try to (look ahead). -Pete DeBoer, VGK coach

Considering what we’ve seen from Stephenson this season, the coach will have no problems slotting him on as third-line center if necessary. With Stephenson anchoring the bottom six the Misfits would remain intact and allow DeBoer more options throughout his lineup. The addition of a highly-skilled center like Eichel might shift the lineup but it’ll undoubtedly improve it.

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Iole: Uninspiring Efforts Becoming Worrying Trend

This season, diehard VGK fan and legendary combat sports columnist Kevin Iole will be delivering columns a few times a month on Sundays. Kevin’s back today to take a look at a position of depth, one that’s been notoriously thin in years past.

Pete DeBoer was correct, of course, even though he called Saturday’s 2-1 loss to the Chicago at T-Mobile Arena “just another mid-December game.” It’s a long season and a loss to a lesser team in January isn’t anything to get too worked up about in the grand scheme of things.

(Photo Credit: SinBin.vegas Photographer Brandon Andreasen)

I’m a lot more worked up about Keegan Kolesar’s lack of production and slowing development, and the lack of an identity for the fourth line, than I am about a loss to a weak team on home ice in the second week of January.

It’s how they lost that game that is troubling. It’s not as if the Blackhawks played an incredible game because they were fired up for Marc-Andre Fleury’s return and wanted to support their goaltender. Oh, the Blackhawks did defend hard in the final two periods in particular, and played solid hockey, but it was far from a Herculean effort by them.

The Golden Knights’ loss was more due to an uninspired effort which, if we’re being honest, has happened far too often this season for a team that fancies itself as a contender for the Stanley Cup.

On Saturday, the Knights badly missed William Carrier, who left seven minutes into the game with what the club later said was an upper-body injury. Carrier’s intensity can and often does have a trickle down effect. Without him, there were far too many passengers.

Nolan Patrick seemed out for a cruise. Kolesar’s big body is perfect for barreling over opponents and cruising to the net, but do you remember him doing that even once on Saturday? There was little urgency, or desire to win, from far too many players.

In an 82-game season, that’s going to happen, and DeBoer recognized that when he was dismissive of it.

But how could the Knights’ come out flat in a game against Fleury, a game surely they should badly want to win? Fleury was the second star, but that was mostly because no one else really stood out. Until a save on Evgenii Dadonov in the waning seconds, Fleury never made one of the five-star saves that have made him a surefire Hall of Famer. The Knights made it easy on him.

We’re still not to the halfway point of the season, and it’s happened far, far too often. They were on cruise control in two of their last three games and that’s unacceptable. Nashville played great in a 3-2 win on Tuesday, but the Golden Knights basically didn’t make it hard on them.

Then, after a stirring effort in a 5-1 win over old friend Gerard Gallant and his New York Rangers, the VGK laid an egg again against Fleury.

There’s not much DeBoer can do to change this, either. He doesn’t have the threat of making moves or sending guys down to inspire more consistently intense play.

On the surface, a Kolesar for Jake Leschyshyn swap in the lineup would probably be good, but to send Kolesar to Henderson, he’d have to clear waivers. That would be risky because he’d almost certainly be claimed.

Guys who are 6-2, 230 pounds, and can skate like he doesn’t are rare commodities in today’s NHL. Kolesar’s a big guy and big men often take longer to develop than other players do. Kolesar seemed on a nice upward trajectory early and looked as if he’d turn into that rare third- or fourth-line big man who could skate, contribute 12-15 goals, play well defensively and create havoc with his physical presence.

The Knights are going to be fighting the salary cap for several years, and it makes little sense to give up now on a guy like Kolesar who has the ability to develop into that kind of player and who has a relatively low salary.

There were some fans pining for the VGK to sign Evander Kane to a one-year deal at the league minimum after his release from the Sharks. But while Kane, though smaller, is a much more effective big man, he brings far too much baggage, and his issue with gambling means Las Vegas is the last place he should play.

It’s not a no or a NO, it’s a “HELL NO, ARE YOU CRAZY?” type of pass on Kane.

Putting Leschyshyn in for Kolesar isn’t likely to happen because it would make the Knights more vulnerable to big, physical teams.

So they’re going to have to make do with what they have and figure out a way to overcome this disconcerting trait of coming out flat far too often.

This is a good team and you have to pick to find problems. They’re the kind of problems teams like Buffalo and Arizona and Seattle and Columbus would love to have.

But when your stated goal is the Stanley Cup, you have to be picky and you have to be ruthless. The kind of effort the Golden Knights gave on Saturday and have given too often this season is unacceptable, and the leadership group needs to impress that upon the players sooner rather than later.

You can’t give away games in the NHL when home-ice advantage will be so crucial against the Colorados and Tampas and Carolinas of the world. And these games in January count every bit as much in the standings as the ones in late March or April when the playoff position push is on.

**You can find all of Kevin’s tremendous boxing and MMA work at Yahoo Sports here.**

CHICAGO BLACKHAWKS 2 VEGAS GOLDEN KNIGHTS 1 (23-14-1 47 PTS)

Recap: The night began with a wonderful video tribute to Blackhawks goaltender and Vegas fan favorite Marc-Andre Fleury. Vegas didn’t take long to get going as Ben Hutton scored his first of the season five minutes into the game.  

Chicago picked up the pace in the middle frame scoring one early and one late. Fleury stopped all 12 second period shots to hold a 2-1 Blackhawks advantage. 

Fleury silenced Vegas’ offense in the final period to preserve a 2-1 Chicago victory. The former VGK goaltender was sharp in net stopping 30 of 31 total shots on net. 

The Golden Knights record drops to 23-14-1 falling 2-1 to Fleury’s Blackhawks. Vegas next faces the Toronto Maple Leafs on Tuesday night. Puck drop is set for 7 PM. (Recap by Jason)

Analysis: Uninspired is the word that jumps to mind to describe this game for the Golden Knights. On a night where you’d expect them to be rearing to score on their buddy, they just looked like they were content to play an easy game and it didn’t turn out that way for them. It’s not often we see three consecutive periods without the passion needed to win in the NHL, but that’s what we got tonight. (Recap by Ken)


Upcoming stories from the Vegas Golden Knights vs. Chicago Blackhawks game at T-Mobile Arena.

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