**Southern Nevada Sports Hall of Famer, Steve Carp’s returns to SinBin.vegas for the 2021 season. His weekly column publishes every Sunday during the Golden Knights season and is brought to you by the Jimmerson Law Firm.**
You didn’t think they were going 56-0, did you?
The Golden Knights have their warts, just like the other 30 NHL teams. Sometimes they are camouflaged, sometimes they’re on full display.
Such was the case Friday in Glendale where the Knights continue to get caught in odd-man rushes, fail to account for themselves in their own end, and remain dismal when having a man advantage. So it shouldn’t have come as a surprise they lost to the Arizona Coyotes, 5-2.
I’ve not been a fan of playing five defensemen and I’d like to think management will do something to address the team’s salary cap situation sooner than later instead of waiting until someone has to go on LTIR. However, I’m glad Cody Glass is in the lineup. It’s time, once and for all, to see if he can be an impact player at the NHL level.
Glass scored Friday and in nearly 15 minutes of ice time, he posted a productive stat line, not the least of which was going 8-2 on faceoffs. He said afterward he has worked hard on improving at the dot and working in the corners. Both were on display in the loss.
We see glimpses of this in Glass’ game. He can produce given the right opportunity and matched with productive wingers. Alex Tuch certainly fits that bill. Many think Tuch is a top-six forward and while he’s currently a third-liner, that doesn’t mean he can’t remain productive. Tuch has been getting to the front of the net with more regularity and if he and Glass along with Nicolas Roy can bolster their puck possession time, the Keegan Kolesar experiment may be nothing but a distant memory.
Glass is just 21. To give up on him at this point would be a mistake. However, he needs to be able to go to the rink on game day and know his name is on Peter DeBoer’s lineup card. Confidence is an important part of any player’s game, especially a young player’s. So far, Glass has handled his yo-yoing in and out of the lineup the right way.
It’s nice to get one to kind of get the confidence up, but we need to be better. -Cody Glass
The team’s 2nd period struggles continue and the power play, which is now 2-for-18, remains dismal. Even the presence of Alex Pietrangelo has not helped so far.
DeBoer admits both issues need to be addressed.
I believe the more comfortable Pietrangelo gets being in Vegas, the better the power play will be. Remember, he’s been a Golden Knight for all of five games. It’s almost like preseason for No. 7.
However, Shea Theodore is off to a fine start and whether he is paired with Pietrangelo on the power play or is on a separate unit, I’m not worried about him playing the point when Vegas is a man up.
Consistently getting caught in odd-man rushes is a real concern and I directly correlate it to both DeBoer’s desire to activate his D into the attack and the use of a five-man rotation on the blue line. When guys are playing with different partners, sometimes the communication breaks down and it creates issues.
Ken explained it beautifully Saturday about the salary cap issue that prevents Nic Hague from playing and having three pairings of defensemen. And this obviously impacts Glass.
It also probably explains why the Golden Knights were never serious players in the Pierre-Luc Dubois sweepstakes. The disgruntled Columbus Blue Jackets center was shipped to Winnipeg Saturday for disgruntled Jet Patrik Laine.
The Jackets don’t need a goalie, much less one making $7 million a year. And the way Marc-Andre Fleury has played so far, you wouldn’t want to trade him. So, it would’ve required a third team to get involved to make a Dubois-to-Vegas deal work. It was far less complicated for Columbus to do business with Winnipeg, swap malcontents and move on.
You can argue it would have been disastrous to bring potential poison into the Vegas locker room if you believe Debois’ final shift as a Jacket Thursday against Tampa Bay, which was the last straw in his stay in Ohio, is the norm. You can also make the case as a top center, he would have been the answer to the Knights’ need to bolster themselves up the middle. When Dubois’ head is on straight and he’s engaged, he’s a very good player.
For a team with cap issues, it would have been tough for the Knights to make a run at Dubois. Nonetheless, I’d like to think Kelly McCrimmon kicked the tires and chatted with Blue Jackets GM Jarmo Kekalainen to see what it would take to acquire Dubois. But we’ll likely never know whether that conversation took place.
For now, the Knights focus should remain on the young center they do have. They need to keep Cody Glass on the ice and see, once and for all, if he was worth the investment the team made in him when they drafted Glass with the No. 6 overall pick in 2017.
**Steve Carp is the author of “Vegas Born — The remarkable story of the Golden Knights.” Follow him on Twitter @stevecarp56. All of Steve Carp’s work here on SinBin.vegas is presented to you by the Jimmerson Law Firm. For over twenty-five years, the Jimmerson Law Firm has been widely recognized as one of Las Vegas’s preeminent full-service law firms. Specializing in high stakes business, civil and family litigation, the Jimmerson Law Firm has an unparalleled track record of winning when it matters most. To reach the Jimmerson Law Firm, call (702) 388-7171 and tell them SinBin.vegas sent you.**