Praise Be To Foley, Vegas Golden Knights Hockey Website

Author: Ken Boehlke Page 1 of 270

@SinBinVegas Twitter Q&A – May 27th, 2022

(Photo Credit: Photographer Brandon Andreasen)

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While Filling One Age Gap, The Golden Knights Have Created Another

(Photo Credit: Photographer Brandon Andreasen)

Due to the nature of the Expansion Draft, one of the ongoing challenges the Golden Knights have had to work through is dealing with what’s been coined “the age gap.”

We didn’t have the ability to draft (players with birth years) 1998, 97, 96, 95, or 94. We had no players available to us in those age groups. -Kelly McCrimmon

They were able to acquire a few via trade, but in Vegas’ first season they had just four regulars who were born between 1994-1998, which at the time would have made them 21-23 years old. A year later that number remained at four but there were two different players involved.

At the time, it wasn’t that big of a deal because the majority of the group was hitting their prime, somewhere between the ages of 24-30, but it was always clear what was coming on the horizon if the gap was not addressed.

So, over the course of the previous four seasons, the Golden Knights have worked hard to bulk up that group. The kingpin is 1996-born Jack Eichel (which cost a fellow 96 in Alex Tuch). Vegas also have Shea Theodore, William Carrier, Nic Roy, Zach Whitecloud, Keegan Kolesar, Michael Amadio, Dylan Coghlan, and Logan Thompson in that group. (They’ve also cycled through Dylan Sikura, Jake Bischoff, Valentin Zykov, Gage Quinney, Jimmy Schuldt, Stefan Matteau, Brendan Leipsic, and Oscar Dansk who all played NHL games.)

Trades, free agents, waivers, and diamonds in the rough have helped the Golden Knights find a group that will play next season between the ages of 24-28.

Now, you look at our team today and the players that we have in those age groups are very important. Those players are really important in (developing our identity of rolling four lines), they are really important in a salary cap world. They are good players. They help our team win. That to me is critical in your team having that depth and developing that identity that you want to see. -Kelly McCrimmon

There’s one problem. In the quest to fill one age gap, the Golden Knights have created another one, and one that is of even more significance “in the salary cap world” as McCrimmon puts it. The 94-98 group are no longer on their entry-level deals, meaning they are all being paid something close (or more) than their market value. Meanwhile, the younger group is still bound by the ELC system which caps out at less than $1 million.

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Golden Knights With The Most To Gain/Lose With The Coaching Change

Somehow almost every player I picked ended up in this picture. (Photo Credit: Photographer Brandon Andreasen)

Often times when teams swap coaches they see a shift in usage among players on the roster. Some guys see dramatic upticks in their ice time while others watch their’s decrease or even diminish entirely.

Of course, we still don’t know who the next coach will be, but we do know who benefitted most from Pete DeBoer’s system and who didn’t. So, here are the four players with the most to gain and the four with the most to lose as the Golden Knights switch coaches.

Most To Gain

William Karlsson

It’s no secret Karlsson’s best days in the NHL were under Gerard Gallant. The forecheck-reliant, free-flowing, transition-heavy style fit Karlsson’s game perfectly. Not only was he at his best offensively, but he and his line of Misfits were always the best defensive line as well. Under DeBoer, it often felt like Karlsson was overthinking the game which led to hesitancy in the offensive zone in favor of making the “right” play to keep them safe defensively. This seemed to sap his confidence which has proven to be a huge factor in Karlsson’s success. The new coach will likely improve his power play numbers as well. In his first two seasons in Vegas, Karlsson notched 15 PP goals in 164 games. The last three years, he had five in 186.

Jack Eichel

It’s not like Eichel struggled under DeBoer, he clearly didn’t, but there’s a pretty good chance a new coach will tailor his system more to Eichel’s skillset than we saw from DeBoer. Center was a demanding position defensively under DeBoer, and that simply isn’t Eichel’s strong suit. He’s likely to be matched with at least one stellar defensive winger, which under a less defensive-minded system could free up Eichel in the offensive zone. Also, there’s a good chance the new coach is less reliant on working the puck from low to high which very well may unleash more of Eichel’s creativity.

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Golden Knights In No Hurry To Hire Next Head Coach

(Photo Credit: Photographer Brandon Andreasen)

A big decision is coming for the Golden Knights as they look to hire their third head coach in six seasons. Most are focused on the “who” and that will clearly be the most important part of it all, but what about the “when.”

Going back through the history of the franchise, this is a unique situation for Vegas. Their first coach, Gerard Gallant, was hired in April of 2017, nearly 10 months after GM at the time George McPhee joined the team. The other coach hire happened simultaneously with the firing of Gallant. The Golden Knights didn’t even play a single game with an interim head coach. Gallant’s last game was on a Tuesday in Buffalo and Pete DeBoer was behind the bench in Ottawa on Thursday.

The Golden Knights announced they released DeBoer on Monday of last week. It was two weeks after their season officially came to a close and nearly five months until their next meaningful game.

It’ll be lengthier. That’s what the offseason allows you to do. We’ll be thorough. We’ll look at all the candidates we can identify. We’ll work with people in our organization that have past affiliations with coaches or ideas. We’ll solicit opinions from our pro staff and our amateur staff and people that are in the game at different levels. We’ll identify who the candidates are and go through an interview process. -Kelly McCrimmon

While McCrimmon is right that the offseason allows for plenty more patience in the search, there are still some time restraints based on the competitiveness of the coaching market and the NHL’s offseason calendar.

The biggest such date is the opening of the new league year on July 13th. It’s crucial because every contract set to expire this summer does so on that date. One would think the decisions on pending free agents in the Golden Knights’ system and ones soon to hit the open market from other teams would be something you’d want the new head coach in on.

Not important at all. You need to be reasonable. The person needs to move a family, the person needs to hire a staff and get set up. But in terms of preparation for the amateur draft or free agency, it’s not essential. It may well be (that we hire a coach before), but we’re not bound by any dates in the short term. -McCrimmon

So, buckle up, the Golden Knights could be coachless for a while.

Q&A w/ Dr. Pinegar On Mark Stone’s Lumbar Discectomy

(Photo Credit: Photographer Brandon Andreasen)

On Wednesday, Mark Stone underwent a surgical procedure to repair a back issue that has been plaguing him for several years and basically ruined his 2021-22 season.

The Golden Knights announced Thursday that the lumbar discectomy surgery was a success and added he is expected to be ready to play for the regular season.

We consulted our resident injury expert, Dr. Caleb Pinegar of Crovetti Orthopaedics and Sports Medicine to give us more information on anything and everything surrounding this type of surgery.

Here’s the full Q&A with Vegas Sports Doc, Dr. Pinegar.

How do you pronounce lumbar discectomy and what is it?

When you say it you say the word “disc” first then “ectomy” which means removal. So lumbar discectomy means they’ve taken part of the disc out of the vertebrae.

Between every bone of the spine is a little shock absorber and each of those shock absorbers is pretty stout and strong but if you take the wrong hit or fold or just actively mobilize the spine while you change positions and if you do it just right you can squirt this little inner shock-absorbing material out of the rim that’s supposed to be real strong.

Wait, “squirts out”?

Yeah. The material is called the nucleus pulposus. It’s a jelly-like substance that looks like crab meat. So this little gooey stuff squirts out of your shock absorber and it causes the nerve near it to get really inflamed and irritated or it’s big enough of a squirt that it will pinch the nerve and cause the nerve to not work.

The initial major injury happened in October and then he came back multiple times and played. So do we think this “crab meat” shot out then?

Probably. The odds are very good that disc herniations get better over time. They don’t necessarily go away but the body can reabsorb some of the disc material and if you give the person time, anti-inflammatories, steroids, and physical therapy a lot of people can skip the surgery. So for the period of time he was out, they were probably trying to calm it down. If the symptoms calm down and the person isn’t having any shooting pain and they just have the ache of back pain, you can play through it. But if you don’t get it to go away then you can just say, let’s go get that piece. They do a minimally invasive incision and clean out that torn disc.

Does taking a part of the disc out fix the problem for good?

Read More Podcast #268: Coaching Vacancy

The Golden Knights have made their first big change of the offseason and we’re breaking down why it happened, what it says, and what’s next. Hosted by Ken Boehlke and Jason Pothier.

  • Celebrating the coaching move while also questioning it
  • Qualities of the next coach
  • Is the Vegas job a good one to take for a new head coach?
  • Stone’s injury
  • The message behind the Stone surgery tweet

And much more…

We are on iTunesStitcher, Spotify, and Google Play. Subscribe now!

Understanding Ownership’s Role In DeBoer Firing

(Photo Credit: Photographer Brandon Andreasen)

The Golden Knights have officially made their first big move of the offseason. Firing head coach Pete DeBoer is a clear sign that despite the consistent injury excuse Vegas found 2021-22 unacceptable.

Following the year, The Creator went on record saying he was going to be more vocal and proactive in helping his team regain their identity.

I’ve always been invited to all the meetings. They take my input, but I try and stand aside when everyone is convinced something needs to be done. This time, after all these years, I’ve got a few specific ideas of things that I believe need to be accomplished. If I’m being very transparent, I’m going to be active. –The Creator to LVRJ

In the same interview, he took one type of adjustment to the team off the table.

Foley said he met this past week with general manager Kelly McCrimmon, who will return for his fourth season in that role, and does not anticipate dramatic changes to the roster. –Dave Schoen, Las Vegas Review Journal

The biggest move a team can make from a non-player perspective is removing the head coach. Vegas did that, so naturally, it makes sense that it came from the big man himself. Those suspicions were confirmed in a recent article from The Athletic.

Several external sources suggested the main impetus for the coaching change came from owner Bill Foley. –Eric Duhatschek, The Athletic

But then there was the press conference with Kelly McCrimmon explaining the move. And in his words, it didn’t go that way at all.

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(Photo Credit: Photographer Brandon Andreasen)

The Golden Knights announced today Pete DeBoer has been relieved of his duties as head coach of the team.

After lengthy discussions over the last two weeks, we believe that a new coach will put us in the best position to succeed next season. -Kelly McCrimmon in press release

DeBoer led the Golden Knights to a regular season record of 98-50-12 in his two and a half seasons behind the bench. He won four playoff series and compiled a record of 22-17 in the postseason.

GM Kelly McCrimmon is expected to meet with the media to discuss the decision at 1 PM today. Podcast #267: Player Values

We’re back in the studio to take a more player-specific look at the season, especially based on values of contracts looking forward. Hosted by Ken Boehlke and Jason Pothier.

  • Values vs the cap
  • Overperformers
  • Planning for bad health again?
  • A weird analogy about grapes, harvest, and wine
  • Taming down the arrogant moves
  • Foley’s role in the 5 years

And much more…

We are on iTunesStitcher, Spotify, and Google Play. Subscribe now!

Vegas Doesn’t Do Much Of What Makes A Team Hardest To Defend

(Photo Credit: Photographer Brandon Andreasen)

Brayden McNabb is among the best defense-first defensemen in the NHL, and certainly one of the best on the Golden Knights. He’s played more than 600 regular season and playoff games in the NHL, so it’s fair to say he’s seen just about every type of player, offensive system, and situation a defenseman can face.

Following the season, I asked McNabb a question that generated an answer I found telling, even if he didn’t mean it to be taken the way I’m about to take it.

The question was simple, “what makes a team hardest to play against for you as a defenseman?”

If they play fast. If they are putting the puck in and forechecking us and you are getting slammed into the boards every time they do that I don’t care who you ask no one really likes that. Teams that move around in the O-zone, make it difficult by making you make hard reads and making it confusing. -McNabb

It all makes perfect sense and nothing in his answer should be surprising to anyone.

But it made me think…

Do the Golden Knights do any of it?

“Play fast.” At times, sure, I’d argue that the Golden Knights played a fast brand of hockey this season, specifically in transition. When they were turning pucks over in the neutral zone or defensive zone, they sprung into the attack quickly and would often demolish teams on the rush.

In the offensive zone though, fast is not a word most would use to describe the VGK offensive style. They were much more methodical, placing a high preference on puck possession as opposed to quick passing.

Next is forechecking with physicality. This was rarely a part of the Golden Knights’ game this season at all. Vegas was not a heavy dump and chase type team and when they were forced to do it, throwing bodies was not exactly the preferred method of retrieval. Instead, Vegas would send the first player into the zone trying to force the puck along the boards to where the second forechecker would usually be. They’d then try to turn the puck over and hit their third forward coming through the center of the ice, or recycle the puck to eventually generate shots from the point.

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