Praise Be To Foley, Vegas Golden Knights Hockey Website

Author: Dana Lane Page 1 of 2

McPhee/McCrimmon Scheming At The Ivan Hlinka

The National Hockey League’s preseason will start on September 25th with the Columbus Blue Jackets and the St.Louis Blues playing a couple of split squad games. To Las Vegas, it’s a schedule highlighted by the Los Angeles Kings taking on the Dallas Stars to officially christen the T-Mobile Arena on October 7th followed by the traditional Kings/Avalanche match-up October 8th.

If you ask General Manager George McPhee or newly named assistant GM Kelly McCrimmon, the preseason started Monday with start of the Ivan Hlinka Memorial Cup held in the Czech Republic and Slovakia. Although not an official tournament recognized by the International Ice Hockey Federation (IIHF) it’s certainly the first chance for the Las Vegas brain trust to watch some of the best young talent. Though most are second rounders, that’s what makes the Hlinka Tournament so important. These are the players who will be the core of the Las Vegas franchise the kind of players you build around.

No offense to Misha Donskov the newly named Director of Hockey Operations who is bringing his strong analytics background to the Strip, nothing replaces a gut feeling based on watching a player perform. Numbers are useful, but until there is no way for a number to reflect a player’s state of emotion from day to day. You will always need educated eyes to evaluate talent.

I want to see how willing a player is to go in the corner to battle for a puck. I want to see how accurate a defensemen is with their first pass out of their own end. I want to see if a player make a good choice after they’ve made a bad one. To give proper credit, Donskov created the ‘Program of Excellence’ which is his way of putting proper emphasis on relevant numbers, but our organization will be be built McPhee’s (and McCrimmon’s) gut.

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T-Mobile Arena Lays Ice For The First Time – Pictures, Videos, and More

It’s been a long time coming but finally for the first time the ice is being laid at T-Mobile Arena. As part of a walk-through for Frozen Fury coming up in September the fine folks at MGM will take the floor of T-Mobile Arena from a boring concrete slab to the most beautiful sight in all of sports, a fresh sheet of ice.

We’ve got pictures, videos, and will even have a chance to speak to some of the people making this happen, and we’ll have them all here throughout the day.

Pre-prep for laying the first white layer.

Click through to see this mega post including the incredible time lapse video of the whole process!

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Probably Won’t Happen, But Thunder Might Just Be The Perfect Name

I’ve tried to stay away from the team name debate for as long as I could but making my feeling known my feelings known on Twitter didn’t seem to satisfy. I may be ‘Old School’ but I would be happy with the Thunder first and the Wranglers second. After all, those two are synonymous with the culture of hockey in Las Vegas, no disrespect intended to the Las Vegas Flash roller hockey team, but after watching Zootopia three dozen times by myself with my kids, Flash isn’t exactly the character that you build around.

It’s easy for me to say because I didn’t spend close to a billion dollars setting up a NHL organization. If I had, I would at least want to pick the name but at what expense.

Perhaps I don’t get the whole process of buying a NHL team but at the same time I can’t help but to wonder what was being done in the year The Creator was waiting for the announcement of whether he would be accepted into the Boys Club of owners who didn’t pay as much to enter their franchises combined. Like other aspects of the organization the process of obtaining various web sites or at least an easy search to see what names were available should have started the minute Gary Bettman instructed him to “just sell tickets” last Summer at the MGM Grand.

Far be it for me to question people who are more successful at their lives than I’ll be at my next ten combined, but seriously, if you can ask for permission to move forward on a practice facility perhaps the idea of asking Adidas and the league about team names could been a caveat to the request.

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The Biggest Knock On McPhee Is Now His Best Attribute

I’m a sucker for guys who have seen the top of the mountain but didn’t have enough time to pull themselves all the way to the top. I have this image of Gollum in Lord of the Rings but I’ll spare you the metaphor.

I’m also a sucker for a guy who’s willing to put his career on the line by punching an opposing coach as he did 17 years ago when George McPhee and Blackhawks Head Coach Lorne Molleken squared off outside the Chicago dressing room after what he perceived to be dirty play. The best part about that was it was in front of the Blackhawks dressing room which meant he went looking for him.

Yesterday, McPhee was named the first General Manger in Las Vegas history. It was a historical event for Las Vegas. According to The Creator he will be given the reigns to mold, what is perceived to be, the best head start any new franchise has been given.

In some ways I like this situation a lot better and I think most GM’s do. Historically you take over a team that needs work. You have to dig out from under some bad contracts of players not getting the job done and you have to make changes with the staff and everything else. Here you come in and it’s clean slate and you get to pick everyone in the organization. I’m looking forward to that. In some ways this is what every GM wants to experience in his career. -George McPhee

When he took over the Capitals in 1997 he inherited only 2,900 season ticket holders. Las Vegas will give him a 15,200 head count to start.

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There Simply Hasn’t Been Enough Coming From The NHL’s Newest Team

We need to get moving. That’s how I feel in relation to the last couple of weeks since the announcement that the league’s 31st franchise will call Las Vegas home.

I understand that it takes time to build the intricacies of an organization, but a sales team and social media presence has to be relentless. From day one, not day 31. I’m not sure what exactly I expected, but I can assure you that something resembling a “street team” should have busted through the Encore doors leaving Gary Bettman in his dust ready to find the people in the Las Vegas Valley who dared not buy season tickets.

Instead, they left town to start a process that should have been started months ago, at least when it comes sales strategies. I don’t think the NHL would have cared if a sales team was hired just in case. Even if it were done with tentative agreements. Believe me, I know plenty of people who would have signed up for a job that only existed if the team did indeed come to fruition.

Social media should be on fire with updates on how league moves relate to our fate. How each and every little moving piece can (and will) effect the future of our brand new baby. The new Twitter went from 0-20,000 followers in less than a day. The Instagram and Facebook blew up as well. But since the announcement, they’ve sent out 84 tweets, 24 Facebook posts, and 12 Instagrams (is that the term?).

It’s is too easy to neglect, and I understand it when you consider the fact that the team doesn’t yet have a name, a logo, a GM, scouts, trainers, a sales staff, a marketing staff, a PR staff, and the list goes on an on.

On June 22nd the team hired Dan Marrazza to head social media and the VegasIsHockey website. Dan is a spectacular writer and has been pumping out gems like this, and this, and this since the day he came on board. But he’s only one guy and he needs a team who’s only focus is followers and content. When is fielding public relations calls/emails (and believe me, we have) for the newest organization in the NHL, something is clearly missing.

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Gambling In Las Vegas Is Not A Problem, Gambling Elsewhere Is

The Associated Press reported the National Hockey League has decided to bring their talents to Las Vegas, which came as no surprise to considering we had reported this hours after the executive committee met. It does bring up a few questions that need to be answered over the next couple of months.

One is gaming which has never been addressed in this process which is great because to address it would shed light on it as if it was a problem. Unfortunately that still doesn’t prevent the uneducated from flooding social media with their unfounded game fixing comments.

A few years ago, the thought of a professional sports team in Las Vegas would be unheard of, not because anyone at the league offices thought guys like Rick Tockett would be collecting drink tickets and screaming “C’mon three” at the race.., hold on, bad example. It was more because they were scared of the perception that came with publicly accepting Las Vegas into their club when they knew the real issue lurked right outside every NHL arena. Better to attack the devil you know I suppose. All together now, I ask all of you to send in your point shaving, game fixing stories that involve Las Vegas athletes. I’ll wait.

Truth is, the potential of unsavory characters trying to convince Marc-Andre Fleury his concussion may be acting up for the night is nonexistent because of sportsbooks. As long as books exist there is no need for a local bookmaker. Do they exist in Vegas? I’m sure they do, but nothing compared to the 1,000’s of illegal “bookies” that exist on the East Coast.

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Adding A Name To The Potential GM List

A few weeks ago, I wrote that George McPhee’s name has come up as a possible candidate to secure a high ranking position, perhaps general manager, for the soon to be named Las Vegas franchise. With any job search there are numerous people to be considered and this is no exception so let’s go ahead and add Dale Tallon to the list.

Tallon, who recently signed a three year deal to become the Florida Panthers President of Hockey Operations, was the former General Manager and although the Panthers spun it as a promotion it appears as if it was lateral at best even though he still receives final say on all trades.

The Panthers are going to using a new analytic system called “Prospect Cohort Success” and word has it that this new system doesn’t sit well with Tallon when it comes to drafting players. The Panthers know that losing a talent like Tallon would be a huge hit to their organization so they moved him out of the way by giving him a “promotion”.

Even though Vancouver has been the rumored landing spot we know many rumors are just reality’s smoke screen so expect Las Vegas to be in play if he makes a move.

Keep An Eye On George McPhee, Could Be Vegas’ First GM

We’ve been trying to piece together what the front office of the new Las Vegas NHL franchise might look like and the one name keeps popping up as a candidate for a high ranking hockey ops position is currently the special adviser to the New York Islanders, George McPhee.

If you don’t know that name, you should, because we’ve mentioned him before and you need to pay more attention to the site you could argue he’s the man responsible for the Washington Capitals success this season. After all McPhee drafted Alexander Ovechkin, Braden Holtby, EDIT: Peter Bondra, Nicklas Backstrom and had the insight to give Bruce Boudreau his first coaching job.

So, is there a connection between Las Vegas, The Creator, and McPhee? By themselves no, but when you throw current advisor Murray Craven into the mix, we have a connection.

In 1992 McPhee landed his first big time management job with the Vancouver Canucks. He assisted General Manager Pat Quinn and was a Board of Governors Alternate. Here’s the tie in, Craven was traded to the Vancouver Canucks in 1992 from the Hartford Whalers at the trade deadline, a deal in which McPhee played a instrumental role.

The two have met on the ice as well when they participated in a bench clearing brawl when Craven played for the Philadelphia Flyers against McPhee’s New York Rangers. Apparently a couple of punches found their way to Craven’s head which I’m sure isn’t the version Murray would tell you.

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Experience Comes First In Building Las Vegas Organization

In a few weeks we anticipate the NHL talk in Las Vegas will turn from ‘when’ into ‘whom’, as in, whom will be the teams first General Manager. My personal feeling has always been I would like someone who at least has seen the light at the end of the tunnel even if he hasn’t actually reached it. The front office dynamic will be the core of the teams long term success so it can’t be filled with a bunch of ex-players who need on the job training.

The leaders of Las Vegas’ first major professional franchise must exude confidence. Maybe I mean a little gentle arrogance. Which is a word usually is associated with negativity, but when mixed with compassion, experience, and the willingness to roll you sleeves up the word becomes a beacon for leadership.

We’ve heard the name Scott Mellanby already, but it’s fair to question his front office credentials considering the closest he’s been to a GM position is in Montreal where he’s been an assistant to GM Marc Bergevin. Perhaps not the greatest mentor if you’ve followed how empty the cupboard was after Carey Price was injured. The most important position on the ice was clearly neglected heading into the 2015-16 season.

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NHL In Las Vegas: North America’s Team

In 1978, John Facenda opened up his weekly highlight show by attaching a nickname that they will forever be identified with. “They appear on television so much that their faces are as familiar to the public as Presidents and movie stars”. They are the Dallas Cowboys, “America’s Team”.

From that point on the Cowboys were the standard by which many organization would measure their success. Regardless of your personal preference, they were and are still a huge component of the NFL’s DNA. No other team commands as much passion and opinion.

The National Hockey League certainly has teams that capture that spirit in their region, but I’m not too sure the Montreal Canadiens with all their Stanley Cups moves the meter in Los Angeles like the Sharks, Ducks, or Blackhawks do. The Cowboys move the pendulum everywhere they go no matter their record.

The Blackhawks would certainly be the best current candidate because their fans seem to be everywhere but the question remains, is that just a product of their success?

In 2006, when they were 31-42-9, I just can’t remember this level of support for Martin Havlat who happened to be one of the few Blackhawks that gave the Hawks fans something to be proud of. I’m going to go overboard and guess Chicago was an irrelevant franchise in their own city, let alone anyone outside the ‘Windy City’ giving a flying puck about them.

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