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Author: Ken Boehlke Page 1 of 280

Karlsson, Howden, Amadio Line Expected To Fill Defensive Role While Also Chipping In Offensively

(Photo Credit: Photographer Brandon Andreasen)

Since the first day of Training Camp the trio of William Karlsson, Brett Howden, and Michael Amadio have been together as a line.

Wednesday night they got their first opportunity to play in a preseason game together and it went quite well. Karlsson and Amadio each scored goals, all three players posted a Corsi of at least 70%, and in a little more than 11 minutes of ice time together they did not allow a single shot on goal against.

I think they all have good hockey IQ and good offensive instincts. They are all centermen by nature so they probably speak the same language when they are talking about plays way from the puck. -Bruce Cassidy

Last year Karlsson, Amadio, and Howden played a total of 51 seconds together. However, there were two pairs including these three guys that did see significant action together. Howden and Amadio shared the ice for 127 minutes while Amadio and Karlsson played together for 172.

Now, with all three coming together, they’ll look to capture something new, and do it while filling a much more defensive role for the team.

They are going to need to be responsible if they are put in that role. We know Karlsson can do that but the other two guys that’s a bit of a challenge for younger guys. Here’s your role on the team, can you handle it? Can you check good players and still create offense? So we’ll see how that plays. -Cassidy

As Cassidy alluded to, Karlsson remains one of the better defensive centers in the NHL and will surely make any line he’s on competent enough in the defensive zone. But, if the Golden Knights want to get to where they intend on going, they will need Howden and Amadio to take strides defensively.

The goal of most third lines, and Cassidy doesn’t seem any different, is to steal minutes from the opposing top-six to free up favorable matchups for Vegas’ top two lines.

That means this group will be seeing consistent shifts against the likes of Connor McDavid, Nathan MacKinnon, Auston Matthews, Jonathan Huberdeau, and Anze Kopitar. And that’s just in October.

Karlsson has joked that he’s found a new group of Misfits with a pair of players who have been overlooked for good portions of their short NHL careers. It may sound a little funky and overly optimistic now, but one game in, they look the part.


Recap: The Golden Knights hosted the Colorado Avalanche for a preseason rematch. The Golden Knights got off to a quick start as Zach Whitecloud and William Karlsson connected for the game’s first goal. Karlsson deflected an open pass in the high slot from Whitecloud. Forward Gage Quinney notched his first of the preseason 10 minutes later. Vegas goaltender Logan Thompson held the early lead stopping several quality chances by the Avalanche in the opening 20 minutes. VGK lead 2-0 after one.

The home team came out hot again in the middle frame when forward Michael Amadio extended Vegas’ lead to 3-0. Amadio’s first of the preseason was assisted by Karlsson and Whitecloud. Vegas’ Paul Cotter, Keegan Kolesar, and Kaedan Korczak all found the net later in the period to extend their team’s lead to 6-0.

Colorado finally jumped on the board 4:47 into the final period. However, the Golden Knights did a good job of limiting chances down the stretch. Chandler Stephenson tacked on the extra point to make it 7-1 with a little more than five minutes left. Thompson was sharp in net playing the entire 60 minutes in a winning effort.

The Golden Knights win their first preseason game 6-1 with three remaining. Vegas will next host the San Jose Sharks on Friday night from T-Mobile Arena. (Recap by Jason)

Analysis: The 1st period wasn’t pretty for the Golden Knights offensively. Even though they scored twice, they generated almost nothing. The 2nd was the complete opposite. They were all over the Colorado Eagles Avalanche. Colorado simply didn’t show up, credit to VGK for embarrassing them for it. (Recap by Ken)

Read More Podcast #280: Cassidy’s First Lineup

We’re diving deep into the first lineup revealed by Bruce Cassidy through the early part of camp. Plus, we dive deep into Nic Hague’s RFA holdout and when it could end. Hosted by Ken Boehlke and Jason Pothier.

  • Kessel on the first line
  • Karlsson as a third liner
  • The hole in the lineup
  • Hague’s holdout
  • Power play options
  • What to make of preseason games.

And much more…

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

VGK Returning To Familiar Neutral Zone Setup Under Bruce Cassidy

(Photo Credit: Photographer Brandon Andreasen)

Entering last season, Pete DeBoer opted to make a fairly dramatic shift in his systems in hopes of challenging opposition entries more consistently and baiting teams into turnovers that could feed the Golden Knights’ deadly transition offense.

After defeating the mighty Colorado Avalanche by stimying them in the neutral zone and then watching it fall apart against the more patient Montreal Canadiens, DeBoer opted to swap out that system for the one that helped the Tampa Bay Lightning hoist consecutive Stanley Cups.

Vegas shifted to a 1-1-3 neutral zone setup where a forward drops back to the blue line along with the two defensemen. (We did a video detailing the 1-1-3 and what it was supposed to achieve.)

This year, with the new boss behind the bench, the Golden Knights plan on returning to the system they ran for almost all of the first four seasons of the franchise’s existence.

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LOS ANGELES KINGS 2 VEGAS GOLDEN KNIGHTS 1 (Preseason Game 2) (Shootout 6-5 VGK)

Recap: The Golden Knights got right back to business following their preseason loss yesterday in Colorado. Vegas hosted LA for their first divisional exhibition game of the 2022-23. Center Jack Eichel opened the scoring seven minutes into game slipping through the Kings defense for a breakaway goal. Linemates Phil Kessel and Reilly Smith picked up an assist on Eichel’s goal. After the opening 20 minutes the Golden Knights led 1-0.

The second frame was a battle on the boards fighting for possession. The game was so tight that neither team could control the puck for an extended amount of time. The Kings evened the score on a well-executed give-and-go by Kevin Fiala and Brandt Clark. The score was locked in a 1-1 tie after 40 minutes.

Both teams had quality chances in the final period but neither could break the tie in regulation. Vegas defenseman Alex Pietrangelo committed a penalty in overtime which LA took advantage of. Adrian Kempe finished the game 2-1 with a sudden death power play goal.

The Golden Knights lose their second game of the preseason with four games remaining. Vegas will next host a rematch with Colorado on Wednesday night from T-Mobile Arena. (Recap by Jason)

Analysis: Like many preseason games, it started out choppy. To VGK’s credit, they started to work through it and continued to make life difficult on the Kings along the way. The game opened up in the late 2nd and then returned to a bit of a slog in the 3rd. (Recap by Ken)

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Paul Cotter And Sakari Manninen Making Early Push For Roster Spots

(Photo Credit: Photographer Brandon Andreasen)

The Golden Knights came into training camp without much uncertainty in the lineup. Sure there are guys who could solidify roles on different lines or pairs, but the 18 skaters expected to be on the ice for Vegas when they head to Los Angeles are pretty set.

That being said, there are a few guys in camp trying to challenge that sentiment, and through just a few days, they are doing it.

The first of those is Paul Cotter. The former 4th round pick saw minimal action in the NHL a year ago, but he made the most of it scoring twice in seven games.

In his first preseason game, he scored again, and drew high praise from the new head coach.

He was our best player. Not because he scored. He had three good looks. The offensive side was really good. He tracked and finished at least three checks, took good angles, and eliminated guys from the play. -Bruce Cassidy

For the first time in his career, Cotter is no long waiver exempt, which makes the decision even more difficult on the Golden Knights. If he can continue to do the things that impress Cassidy, he’ll likely pique the interest of other coaches around the league making him dangerous to place on waivers.

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Recap: Golden Knights hockey is officially underway as the team faced off against the Colorado Avalanche for their first exhibition game of the 2022-23 season. Vegas took the first lead of the game with under a minute to go in the opening 20 minutes. Henderson Silver Knights forward Paul Cotter scored on Vegas’ second power play of the period.

The second frame was a bit messy like the first. Vegas committed three penalties and Colorado added two more. All in all through 40 minutes, 20 of them were spent on special teams. The Golden Knights penalty killers and goaltenders did a good job of shutting down the Avalanche’s power play. After two periods Vegas held a 1-0 advantage.

Colorado quickly came storming back in the final period; tying the game in the opening minute and taking the lead 12 minutes later. The Avalanche tacked on a late empty net goal to cap off a 3-1 final.

The Golden Knights get right back to work tomorrow night against the LA Kings. Vegas will take the ice at T-Mobile Arena for the first time since late April. (Recap by Jason)

Analysis: The few moments in which the game was played at even-strength, VGK were pretty good. But, they took nine penalties and drew six more of their own so the 5-on-5 time was few and far between. A lot of the youngsters stood out though. From Cotter to Leschyshyn to Dean to Morozov, it was a positive first preseason game for sure, despite the result. (Recap by Ken)

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Cassidy Unveils First Lineup And Explains How He Arrived At It

(Photo Credit: Ken Boehlke,

It’s just the first day of Training Camp, and each of the top three lines participated in separate practices, but Bruce Cassidy had months to consider line combinations and there’s certainly something to be said about the first ones he rolled out as head coach of the Golden Knights.

Following the three practices, Cassidy took to the podium to discuss his thinking on setting the lines for the first day of camp.

We want to get players that can play to their strengths, mesh with other people but still get a good combination of guys that can make a play, guys that are willing to get to the net to open ice, guys that are able to hold on to pucks low in the o-zone and how they compliment each other. There’s a lot that goes into it. That’s how we started and we’ll go from there. -Cassidy

The lineup looked like this.

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5 Questions To Be Answered As VGK Start Training Camp

(Photo Credit: Photographer Brandon Andreasen)

The longest wait for hockey in franchise history is finally over. Training Camp is here, preseason is this weekend, and Opening Night is just Reilly Smith days away.

The Golden Knights have brought a roster of 40 forwards, 19 defensemen, and eight goalies to camp and as they pair it down over the course of the next three weeks many questions will be answered by Bruce Cassidy and the new coaching staff.

Who are the four primary centers?

For the first time ever, the Golden Knights have a clear 1C. His name is Jack Eichel, and no matter where he’s listed on the lineup sheet, he’s the focal point in the center of the ice for Vegas. But after Eichel, it gets a little murky. William Karlsson will clearly take one of the other three center spots, but the question is whether that will be as #2 or #3 behind Chander Stephenson.

Stephenson has shown terrific chemistry with Mark Stone over the past few years and it could easily be something Cassidy leans on at least early in the season. If that’s the case, Karlsson drops to #3, and Nic Roy, Brett Howden, Jake Leschyshyn and a few others would be fighting over the final spot.

It may take a week or so for this to sort itself out in camp, but eventually, Cassidy will have to tip his hand and it’ll go a long way towards our full understanding of how the rest of the lineup will shake out.

Which forward finds his way into the top-six?

It’s possible the group of Jack Eichel, Mark Stone, William Karlsson, Jonathan Marchessault, Reilly Smith, and Chandler Stephenson make up VGK’s top-six. However, the premise of splitting up the Misfit Line, which Cassidy seems set on doing, and the expectation of Stephenson playing as a center leaves a hole in the lineup.

The most obvious fit for that hole would be newcomer Phil Kessel who has scored like a top-six winger his entire life. But, it’s possible with his age and suspect defensive abilities, Cassidy may opt to go another direction. Is it the leftover center of Roy or Howden, does a grinder like William Carrier or Keegan Kolesar grab the job, or will a dark horse like Sakari Manninen arrive?

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Twitter Space – September 21st, 2022

On the eve of Training Camp, we talk about Nic Hague’s pending holdout. Plus, we touch on Mark Stone’s status, highlight some standouts from the Rookie Faceoff, and discuss the top storylines heading into camp.

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