Year 2 was a lot different than Year 1 in many ways, but that doesn’t mean the 2018-19 season didn’t have its fair share of incredible moments. We asked on social media for fans’ favorite moments from the season and we’ve compiled them into one mega multi-media post.
(This post is brought to you by the Charity Series of Poker. Please register in Saturday’s poker tournament benefitting VGK Sled Hockey. More details here.)
January 19th, 2019 – Jonathan Marchessault Hat Trick
Marchy Hatty! First one of the year for VGK and the 2nd player ever to record one. He took about a 2 minute long shift to get it. pic.twitter.com/C4hRsL1B20
Anyone who has watched playoff hockey has probably imagined being part of a handshake line after a successful series. Walking through as the team that lost though, that’s not one that normally comes up in the childhood dreams.
It’s the hardest thing to do. -Nate Schmidt
After the Golden Knights brutal Game 7 loss in San Jose, the players followed hockey tradition and formed the classic handshake line. Still torn up from last season’s Stanley Cup finals handshake, an animated Schmidt confirmed it’s as miserable as it looks.
The hardest thing I did last year was the handshake line, and the hardest thing I did this year was the handshake line. -Schmidt
For many of the Golden Knights, it’s their fifth handshake line in two years, the last two have been tough to swallow. It’s painful to watch for fans (I bet many of you didn’t even leave the TV on long enough to watch it) and even more painful for the players to go through. No one wants to end their season shaking the hand of the victor, especially after a series as bitter that that one.
It’s hard to win. Just look at all the teams that are out. It’s crazy. It’s a hard league to win, but that doesn’t make it any easier right now. -Schmidt
I’ve never been in a position to basically be forced to shake hands with an enemy, but I imagine I probably couldn’t handle it as well as Nate, Ryan Reaves, and every other Golden Knight.
It doesn’t matter what happens in the series. You go to war with guys who play the same sport as you. No matter what the outcome is, you shake their hand. -Ryan Reaves
Just imagine shaking hands with Evander Kane, Logan Couture, or Joe Thornton after being shoved and slugged for seven games. It would take a lot of sedatives to get me through it. Fortunately, NHL players make enough money (or are just better people) that they quickly forgive dirty elbows and gloved sucker punches after the whistle.
Whether we like each other or not, it was a good, hard fought series and you got to show your respect. -Reaves
When else do you get to see Dylan Ferguson between the pipes in a Golden Knights sweater? (Photo Credit: SinBin.vegas Photographer Brandon Andreasen)
Remember when the Golden Knights first laced em up this year for preseason games against the Coyotes, Avalanche, Kings, and Sharks?
Yeah, me neither, because those games were not broadcasted in the Las Vegas area. Only the final two preseason games were shown on TV in Vegas leaving five off the air.
In 2019, that won’t be the case thanks to KTNV, Channel 13, who will announce the news as soon as next week.
The Golden Knights are scheduled to play seven preseason games with four of them at T-Mobile Arena. The schedule is likely to be announced in the next month or so but those games should take place in the second, third, and fourth weeks of September with the regular season getting underway the first week of October.
AT&T Sportsnet will continue to air all regular season games that are not nationally broadcast, but KTNV will become the first local channel to air a Golden Knights game with their exclusive contract to show the preseason.
Further details of the broadcast, such as announcers, remain unknown, but this news is great news as no longer are Vegas fans going to be left searching the web for illegal streams of other teams’ Jumbotrons to watch their beloved Golden Knights in the preseason.
Yes, they've been better all season long and they got much better at the deadline. I'm aware of the results, but the way the team is structured they are even better. Long way to go, but VGK will be a tough out for anybody in these playoffs. https://t.co/YA0davZIuX
VGK are significantly deeper and much more talented aside from the top guys. MacKinnon is unreal and will be a handful, but VGK would have a much bigger advantage in that series than this one. Let's get there first though. https://t.co/MJ5Y9PCXME
I'll have to watch them a lot more if we get there, but from my memory of when they've played VGK it's been puck possession. They cycle in the VGK zone for extended periods (not always doing anything dangerous) but it slows Vegas down. Get the puck and keep it. https://t.co/hcIQnN0GWx
Since the NHLPA came out with their player polls from around the league I figured I’d add another category. One that I may add is vital. After polling only myself, here is this season’s Golden Knights All-Hair team.
There’s not much to explain. Of course Karlsson has the nicest hair on the Golden Knights. He’s a Swedish blonde, do I need to say more. My wife already says enough. Karlsson has the true definition of a hockey flow. His hair graciously flows while he glides up the ice on the way to embarrassing another goaltender. Karlsson obviously goes to a premier salon and uses high-end conditioners but like his talent, he was born with a beautiful head of hair. Bottom line is chicks dig it.
Forward: Ryan Reaves
It’s as tight as a low fade can get. Reaves must get his hair touched up daily or every other day. Short on top, lined up in front, and sometimes a carved side part. A sleek tapered cut for the NHL. Reaves has that charming badass look that the Vegas Strip has been waiting for since Mike Tyson.
**Southern Nevada Sports Hall of Famer, Steve Carp’s twice-weekly column publishes every Wednesday and Sunday during the Golden Knights season.**
Long before Las Vegas got an NHL team, I suggested that it made sure to reach out to the city’s large Latino community and have a Spanish radio broadcast of the games.
Fortunately, Kerry Bubolz listened. And last year, selected home games were on ESPN Deportes (1460 AM).
This year, all the home games are being broadcast. Hopefully in the future, all games, home and away, will be broadcast, assuming it’s financially feasible.
But the announcement Monday by the team that it was expanding its social media reach to Spanish was an excellent move. Obviously, the hope is to grow the fan base and attract younger followers. Social media has proven to be the right medium to accomplish both.
I admit, my Spanish is extremely limited. I took French in high school and I would need help if I tried to conduct an interview with Marc-Andre Fleury or Pierre-Edouard Bellemare or Jonathan Marchessault in French.
But that doesn’t mean I can’t appreciate the importance of what the Knights are doing by reaching out to the Latino community of Las Vegas. My question is: “What took them so long?”
Here’s a quick Q&A I conducted via email with Brian Killingsworth, the team’s chief marketing officer:
Q: Why do this now? Why not wait until next year? Better yet, why not have done it before this season?
A: “Our efforts to reach the Hispanic communities are always on-going. This was a concept that we wanted to do right in an authentic and intentional way. In order to do it right, we had to have the resources and strategy in place so we felt that now was the appropriate time.
“We are really pleased to have it launched and we are excited to continue to build on this and other initiatives the rest of this regular season, hopefully into the playoffs should we qualify, offseason and into next year. This is going to be a sustainable outreach.”
Q: How many Twitter followers are there for your English account? What is the projection for Spanish Twitter?
A: “Currently, we have just over 430,000 followers on Twitter. For @LosVGK, to corner ourselves on an actual projection is not prudent. “There is not a lot of baselines to measure this on as we are the first team in the NHL to have active accounts of this nature. We will reevaluate this as the content is produced and as we progress.”
Q: Are there plans to travel the radio guys next year or through this year’s playoffs? Or will the broadcast on ESPN Deportes remain strictly a home-only situation?
A: “This is something we will continue to evaluate. We would like to have as many games broadcast in Spanish on ESPN Deportes as possible. ESPN Deportes is an important part of our broadcasting assets.”
(All odds referenced in this article are pulled from the William Hill Sports Book. The William Hill mobile sports app is the best in the business with prop bets on every VGK game and InPlay betting on all NHL games.)
Whether you are a sports gambler or not, odds tell a great story about how a team performs under many different circumstances. They paint a picture of how a game is supposed to go and give some context about how well (or poorly) a team has played over the course of a season.
The Golden Knights have played 68 games to this point winning 37 and losing 31 as overtime/shootout losses are losses in gambling terms.
A $100 bettor (see end of article for explanation of how this works) would be down $360 if he bet on every Golden Knights game this season.
Vegas has been favored in 55 of the 68 games. That same bettor would be up $305 on the Golden Knights’ 35-20 record as favorites.
The Golden Knights are a dismal 3-10 as underdogs. Their three wins are all as minuscule dogs too, winning at Minnesota (+100), at Philadelphia (-105), and at Tampa Bay (+135). Bet all 13 and you’d be down $665. Vegas went on an eight-game losing streak as underdogs spanning almost 4 months from mid-October to early February (115 days).
However, despite a total road record of just 16-16-1 on the road the Golden Knights make bettors money when they are favored away from home. That’s happened 20 times this season and the Golden Knights are 13-7 earning a total of $345. The worst loss as a road favorite was just -155 at Los Angeles, while the Golden Knights have covered games as large as -185 (@ANA), -170 (@CHI), and -165 three times (@DET, @VAN, @OTT).
There is one other situation in which the Golden Knights pay off.
You would have thought the Olympics were on, or at least a World Juniors tournament. It was neither. Yesterday, the Vegas Golden Knights players were glued to an internet feed of the Vegas Junior Golden Knights playing their third game in the Quebec International Pee Wee Tournament.
Yeah it’s awesome. We got it online watching the game. Ryan Craig, our assistant coach’s son plays on the team. It’s good seeing those kids out there representing the Golden Knights. It’s a great tournament. It’s awesome. -Gerard Gallant
The score was 3-2 in favor of the Junior Golden Knights, with a handful of big Golden Knights players watching the game on a giant flatscreen in their locker room. Colin Miller, Nate Schmidt, Jon Merrill, and Malcolm Subban all watched from one end of the locker room. On the other side were Ryan Reaves, Brandon Pirri and Jonathan Marchessault reacting to every shot.
I played two years. That’s my hometown. Probably my best memories of minor hockey. -Marchessault
Literally standing smack dab in front of the TV was Vegas alternate captain Pierre-Edouard Bellemare giving us the play by play.
Oh what a save… I played in tournaments for Europe but never play a Pee Wee tournaments. It’s fun. A bunch of kids that didn’t know about hockey, or didn’t fully underst… Oh C’mon ref. That should’ve been two. -Bellemare
Like the other pros in the locker room, Bellemare was squarely focused on the strong WiFi broadcast of a Pee Wee hockey game. It really was surreal. Normally, the Pee Wee players watch their hockey heroes on TV. Yesterday, their hockey heroes were watching the Pee Wee’s on TV.
**Southern Nevada Sports Hall of Famer, Steve Carp’s twice-weekly column publishes every Wednesday and Sunday during the Golden Knights season.**
It was Feb. 1. The Golden Knights had just dropped a 5-2 decision to the Carolina Hurricanes. And as the Knights trudged off the ice at the PNC Center in Raleigh, it was turn-the-page time and focus on the next game against the Florida Panthers the following night.
The Hurricanes, however, weren’t quite done.
They remained on the ice and celebrated the win. First, it started with a team clap of the hands that looked like something Iceland’s national soccer team does. But it morphed into a quick game of childhood favorite “Duck, Duck, Goose.”
They call it the “Storm Surge” in Carolina. Don Cherry calls it something else. Cherry, who is 85 and has had a bully pulpit for decades on the CBC’s Hockey Night in Canada telecast, ripped the ‘Canes.
These guys to me are jerks. And I’ll tell you one thing, they better not do this in the playoffs.. . . This is a joke.
Young men expressing themselves for joy of winning. You don’t do this thing in professional hockey. What are these guys? Jerks or something?
I know what I’m talking about. You never do anything like that. They’re still not drawing. They’re a bunch of jerks as far as I’m concerned. Imagine Justin Williams doing stuff like that. -Don Cherry
The team obviously has a different point of view. Williams, the team’s captain, plays a major role in all this.
Hockey is our life and job…but it is still a game. Enjoy the good times and have fun with it…let’s celebrate more this year. Great win tonight #TakeWarninghttps://t.co/POvYY8z3qQ
And the coach doesn’t have a problem with the postgame celebrations.
We want to have fun when we win. The game should be fun. That’s why we’re doing it. I want the players to enjoy winning and the fans to enjoy being here. -Rod Brind’Amour, Hurricanes coach
My first thought when I saw the initial celebration earlier this year was, “What the hell is that?” But as the cellys became more creative and elaborate, I started to enjoy them. I hadn’t played Duck, Duck, Goose since I was a tyke back in the late 1950s. So I have to admit seeing a bunch of grown men doing it was pretty funny.
And the others are funny too. The fans offer suggestions, the players take them under advisement and then figure out what they’ll ultimately do.
Understand these “Storm Surges” take place after victories at home, long after the opposing team has left the ice. So the night of Feb. 1, all of the Golden Knights were in their locker room when the frivolity began, so none of them saw it.
The 2nd annual “Wine on Ice” event to support the Jr. Golden Knights is literally headed on the ice. While last year’s event took place in the lobby of City National Arena, this year attendees will gather on the ice at T-Mobile Arena.
The event is Saturday, February 23rd from 6-9 PM. It’s $100 per person and all of the proceeds benefit the Jr. Golden Knights.
Last year, the Jr. Golden Knights provided more than 20 scholarships to players in financial need. The JrVGK are also sending 3 teams to National championship tournaments. The Bantam AA, Midget AA, and high school teams will go to Nationals in April, and two teams are headed to international tournaments. The Squirts AA are attending the Squirt international tournament in Fargo and the nationally ranked (#11 in the country) Pee Wee AA are competing in the Pee Wee international tournament in Quebec.
The money raised from the “Wine on Ice” event helps to fund all of these great endeavors and continues to build the game of hockey in Las Vegas.
Aside from wine and appetizers, the event promises to be a unique experience mirroring some of the excitement of the game experience with music and emcee Nick Grismondi all while allowing the fans to be “on” the ice.
Last year’s event was an absolute blast and this one should be even bigger and better. Only 500 tickets are available and they’ll likely sell out fairly quickly, so don’t wait, get yours now.