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Praise Be To Foley, Vegas Golden Knights Hockey Website

Author: Ken Boehlke Page 2 of 270

Goalie Interference – Episode 28

In the final episode of Goalie Interference this season, we dive into Foley’s more vocal role, the relationship between Lehner and DeBoer, pressure, identity and so much more.

Audio Only

McPhee Not Concerned About Lehner/DeBoer Relationship Because “People Get Over It”

(Photo Credit: SinBin.vegas Photographer Brandon Andreasen)

The saga at the end of the season between the pipes for the Golden Knights was, well, messy.

It started with Robin Lehner fighting reports of his injuries publicly and it ended with him serving as the backup in a must-win game when he had already decided his season was over and he’d undergo shoulder surgery.

In between, there were soft goals, scathing public comments about his play, a goalie pull during a tie game, a press release about a maintenance day, and a whole lot of speculation.

It’s the second time in three seasons with Pete DeBoer behind the VGK bench that drama about the goalie has marred the end of a season. At least this time there weren’t any graphic memes on Twitter.

So now, the focus turns to the simple question of “can Pete DeBoer and Robin Lehner coexist as head coach and starting goalie of this team?”

During his postseason media availability, DeBoer detailed his entire decision-making process during the final few weeks of the season and even went as far as to express regret that he used the term “healthy” about Lehner down the stretch. He then pointed to the situation as the main reason why it got so contentious.

It shouldn’t be a surprise that there’s friction at the end of a tough season between coaches and players or even players and players. Everyone’s frustrated, everyone’s pushing, there’s lots of tough conversations that are had down the stretch in those situations and you are pushing people to max amount because we need it. This isn’t something that’s unique to us or our group or Robin Lehner. -DeBoer

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Hero vs Heel: VGK Swapped Roles, Now Do They Need To Swap Back?

(Photo Credit: SinBin.vegas Photographer Brandon Andreasen)

Down the stretch of the regular season, there was a common refrain from most hockey fans, (four-letter word) the Golden Knights.

It seemed like everyone outside of the Vegas fan base was openly, and strongly, rooting against the Golden Knights, almost finding the adversity VGK were facing to be comical. Whether it was tweets directly from other teams or Twitter accounts banding together, it was definitely in vogue to cheer for anyone else in the Western Conference.

The Golden Knights took notice.

Everyone does, everyone roots against us, but it’s all about the guys that we have in that locker room, the ones we battle with. There’s nothing much else you can do. -Shea Theodore

But they still aren’t exactly sure why.

It’s a great question, I have no idea. -Theodore

I’m sad to think of (how the perception has changed.) We would see the last few games that the whole NHL was rooting against us. It’s sad to think that but it’s not necessarily because of one person that it happened like that. It’s just an accumulation of a few things that people were just irritated with us. -Jonathan Marchessault

Usually it’s something players shrug off as uncontrollable and in many ways unimportant, but when you look at the shift in perception from the Expansion team that reached the Cup final to the Year 5 team that miss the playoffs, it’s impossible to ignore.

The question becomes, is it healthy, is it helpful, and can it be harnessed?

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Golden Knights Linked To KHL Free Agent Andrei Kuzmenko

(Photo Credit: @hcSKA_News on Twitter)

The Golden Knights’ record with Russian players isn’t exactly sterling. However, it has been improving over the past few seasons. After drama-filled experiences with Vadim Shipachyov, Nikita Gusev, and Valentin Zykov, the Golden Knights have started to see some success stories. Daniil Miromanov made an impact at the NHL level, 2018 2nd round pick Ivan Morozov made the leap following the KHL season and quickly stepped in with the Silver Knights, and he played with teammates Pavel Dorofeyev and Maxim Marushev who were both stalwarts for Henderson.

Now, the Golden Knights have their eyes on another standout from the KHL and one who could instantly help the NHL team if things work out.

There’s still some time here, probably about a month before KHL free agent Andrei Kuzmenko makes his decision on where he’s going next year. There’s been a lot of interest, among the teams Vancouver and Edmonton on the Canadian side of the border, Vegas, Carolina, and Nashville in the US. –Elliotte Friedman on Sportsnet

Kuzmenko is a 26-year-old right-handed winger who has spent the last eight seasons playing in the KHL. Last year, playing for SKA St. Petersburg his 53 points in 43 games ranked 2nd in the entire KHL.

Dan Milstein, Kuzmenko’s agent, described him as a top-six type forward in the NHL who will have a strong impact on the power play. He’s also familiar with the aforementioned Morozov, having played together with SKA, but Milstein doesn’t expect that to play much of a role in Kuzmenko’s decision on where to play.

The hockey business is fairly small, so everybody has played with everybody or against each other. So when you look at coming to North America you don’t select a team because they have somebody you used to play with. –Dan Milstein, Kuzmenko’s agent to Canucks Conversation podcast

Nonetheless, Kuzmenko represents an opportunity for the Golden Knights. A creative scorer who is great on the power play and shouldn’t come with a gigantic price tag is exactly what Vegas is looking for this offseason.

This offseason is going to include more subtractions than additions as the Golden Knights work their way back under the salary cap. Adding Kuzmenko would go a long way in balancing the scales in regards to skill added vs. lost.

Ownership’s Decision To Take More Vocal Role Could Be Best Solution For Golden Knights Identity Problem

What was once the best story in professional sports has turned into arguably the NHL’s most loathed. From the subjects of a heart-warming documentary to the butt end of collective hatred from fans across North America, the Golden Knights have done a complete 180. Now, they enter an offseason in which they have to decide what’s next.

The Golden Knights are at a critical juncture regarding the state of the franchise as a whole. It goes much deeper than just missing the playoffs or finding themselves in the middle of a few eccentric situations over the course of the turbulent 2021-22 season.

This franchise must figure out what it was then, what it is now, and what it wants to be moving forward. And this offseason stands as the most important in team history as they attempt to do just that while untying the complicated salary cap knot they voluntarily stepped into.

From the outside looking in, it’s clear how different things have become. But from the inside speaking out, there appeared to be a bit of a murkier view.

Comments from the general manager, head coach, captain, and many key players indicated a bit of a woe-is-me-type atmosphere. For each question about what went wrong, the solution was always the same, better health. Or in other words, better luck, something beyond anyone’s control.

That was until The Creator stepped forward recently in an interview with the Las Vegas Review Journal’s David Schoen.

We’ve got to get better. And we will be better next year. We might have lost a little personality over the last few years with some of the things that have happened. Our goal is to get back to this identity of never giving up, never giving in, and being a team. I believe we did move away from that identity somewhat with all the changes that have been made and the constant machinations. –The Creator to LVRJ

The Golden Knights’ owner vowed to be much more hands-on in solving this problem.

I’d say we’re going to be a team now that we’re ‘Ready, aim, fire’ not ‘Ready, fire, aim.’ We’re going to be careful. That’s a big priority for me, and I’m going to be involved in it. 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

It’s a stark contrast to the words of one of his top lieutenants, general manager Kelly McCrimmon.

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SinBin.vegas Podcast #266: End Of Season

The Golden Knights missed the playoffs for the first time in franchise history and they blamed it almost completely on injuries. We chat about the fallout from locker cleanout day. Hosted by Ken Boehlke and Jason Pothier.

  • The true impact of injuries on the 2021-22 season
  • Finding the real issues amongst the excuses
  • A need for change
  • Dysfunction
  • The facts of the Robin Lehner “healthy” saga
  • Self-awareness

And much more…

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

Golden Knights 2021-22 Locker Cleanout Press Conference Audio

(Photo Credit: Ken Boehlke, SinBin.vegas)

The Golden Knights conducted their season-end media availability today at City National Arena. This is the complete unedited audio of every press conference.

0:00 – 31:47 – Pete DeBoer

31:47 – 1:07:24 – Kelly McCrimmon

1:07:24 – 1:23:10 – Alec Martinez

1:23:10 – 1:39:20 – Max Pacioretty

1:39:20 – 1:48:27 – Shea Theodore

1:48:27 – 2:01:44 – Jack Eichel

2:01:44 – 2:13:20 – Zach Whitecloud

2:13:20 – 2:26:48 – Mark Stone

2:26:48 – 2:38:01 – Jonathan Marchessault

2:38:01 – 2:47:46 – William Karlsson

2:47:46 – 2:57:56 – Brayden McNabb

Injuries Aren’t An Excuse, They Were The Plan (And The Plan Failed)

(Photo Credit: SinBin.vegas Photographer Brandon Andreasen)

When the Golden Knights step up to the podium at 9:30am Tuesday to address the media in what is known as “locker-cleanout day,” the most common words that will be used are “injuries” and “health.”

In an attempt to excuse away the worst underachieving season of VGK’s first five, players, coaches, management, and the owner (if he chooses to speak), will point to the enormous number of “man-games lost” by the Golden Knights this season.

On its face, it’s true, the number is monstrous. By my count, the Golden Knights lost 508 games due to injury this season. A number rivaled only by some of the worst teams in the league, Montreal, Arizona, Philadelphia, and Buffalo.

However, that 508 number bothers me, because it’s self-serving. It acts as an excuse for a team that purposely positioned itself to rack up such an insane number.

When the Golden Knights entered the 2021-22 season, they did so with a roster that was nearly $5 million over the salary cap. They were allowed to do this because they came into the year with multiple players unable to play the very first game of the season. Alex Tuch, William Carrier, Nic Roy, and Brett Howden were all unavailable due to injury. In fact, Tuch’s injury dates back to May 2021 and it was well-known throughout the offseason that he would miss at least the first 30 games of the year.

Vegas saw this as an opportunity, not a pitfall. They knew that under the current rules of the CBA they could stash players on long-term injured reserve in order to bolster the roster beyond the allowable $81.5 million salary cap. So, that’s what they did to start the year.

Then, when Mark Stone and Max Pacioretty were sidelined early in the season, they sought out a trade for Jack Eichel, who was injured himself. Once again, in no way could, or would, the Golden Knights ever be able to field a legal roster with what the players they currently had under contract plus Eichel, but with multiple players on the shelf, the opportunity was ripe to continue utilizing LTIR to reinforce the roster.

The trade brought hopes and dreams that one day a roster of Eichel, Stone, Pacioretty, Alex Pietrangelo, William Karlsson, Reilly Smith, Jonathan Marchessault, Robin Lehner, and the rest of the Golden Knights would see the ice togehter and take the NHL by storm. But, it was never possible, or legal, in the regular season. The only way to keep that fantasy alive was to rack up massive numbers of man-games lost.

In many ways, the 508 man-games lost are the only reason the Golden Knights were considered a Cup contender in the first place. Without them, they would have had to trade away nearly $12 million worth of assets, completely shredding the deep roster that had everyone so excited in the first place.

I wanted to find a way to illustrate this concept to show exactly how many man-games the Golden Knights purposely lost based on their willingness to venture deep into the pits of LTIR. And I did it, coming up with a number of 202.

Here’s how I went about the calculations.

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Iole: VGK Offseason Agenda

This season, diehard VGK fan and legendary combat sports columnist Kevin Iole will be delivering columns a few times a month on Sundays. Today is the last column for the season from Kevin. We cannot thank Kevin enough for contributing to the site all year.

(Photo Credit: SinBin.vegas Photographer Brandon Andreasen)

Trying to forecast what the Golden Knights’ will be like in the 2022-23 season is all but impossible. We don’t know who is going to manage the team, who will coach it, and if several of the key players on it will ever be the same physically.

From owner Bill Foley on down, VGK management has to be praying that Mark Stone’s back injury that kept him out of 46 games this year and left him a shell of himself when he did return for the final, ultimately futile, playoff run is healed and just a sad memory when next season begins.

That’s no guarantee, though, and without a healthy and productive Stone, it’s all but impossible to take this team seriously as a contender no matter what else they do in the offseason.

There are a number of free agents, though none more important than Reilly Smith. But with the Knights up against the salary cap, will they be able to find the money to bring him back? And even if they can, will he want to return?

The answers to those questions will play out in the next several months. But I’ve identified six areas whoever is running this team will need to solidify in the offseason if it is to have a reasonable hope of fulfilling Foley’s dream of a Stanley Cup title by Year 6.

Get younger and faster

The Knights were the third-oldest team in the league in the 2021-22 season, and at times it looked like they didn’t have the jump they needed. They certainly didn’t play with the pace of a championship team.

When the Misfits went to the Stanley Cup final in 2018, they forechecked ferociously and took time and space away from the opposition on virtually every shift.

The inordinate number of injuries they suffered through played a role in that, but they need to infuse the lineup with both young, hungry players and speed.

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VEGAS GOLDEN KNIGHTS 7 ST. LOUIS BLUES 4 (42-31-8 94 PTS)

Recap: The Golden Knights started off the game well jumping all over the Blues by not allowing a single shot on goal for the first nine minutes. Mark Stone converted a power play goal to give Vegas the lead, but former VGK David Perron equalized a few minutes later.

In the 2nd, The Blues struck two to give themselves leads of 2-1 and 3-2, but goals from Jack Eichel and Zach Whitecloud sent the game to intermission even.

Vegas came out firing in the 3rd getting goals from both William Karlsson and Jonathan Marchessault early in the period and then adding another from Eichel and an empty netter from Max Pacioretty.

The Golden Knights finish the season with a record of 42-31-8 and finish in 4th place in the Pacific Division with 94 points. (Recap by Jason)

Analysis: Vegas actually played pretty well in a game that didn’t matter. But, the game didn’t matter, so who cares what actually happened in it? (Recap by Ken)


Upcoming stories from the Vegas Golden Knights vs. St. Louis Blues at Enterprise Center.

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