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Guest Post: Catharsis

(Photo Credit: Photographer Brandon Andreasen)

The last year and a half have been tough on everyone. No matter who you are or where you live, lifestyle changes have become the norm for everybody. One of those changes involved how we watch hockey. For many, watching the Golden Knights in person became a part of their weekly routine and it was suddenly taken away despite the games continuing to go on. Finally, towards the end of last season and into the playoffs fans were allowed back in the building and for many, it was incredibly meaningful to return.

One such fan is today’s Guest Post author, Lara Lee. A diehard Golden Knights fan who never misses a game and can constantly be seen banging on the glass at T-Mobile Arena (actually she’s a great hockey fan so she’s aware *not* to bang on the glass, but you get my point), Lara was in the building for the first time in over a year for Game 3 against the Avalanche. She recounts that night, one that meant so much more to so many people who finally felt like they were getting back to normal… which of course meant the Golden Knights winning at T-Mobile Arena.

Catharsis. That’s the word I keep coming back to. Being in T-Mobile Arena for Game 3 of the Vegas Golden Knights’ series against the Colorado Avalanche felt like catharsis for me and, I suspect, many in the building. The experience of being together and helping will our team to a desperately needed comeback win was a cleansing moment. It washed away the ache of missing an entire year of seeing hockey in person, washed away the frustration of being handcuffed by dubious officiating, washed away the agony of seeing the Golden Knights outplay teams without being rewarded. Finally, we were all in one place again, and we made it count.

The crowd was electric from the start. The “KNIGHT” yell during the national anthem was the loudest that I’ve ever heard. I got goosebumps, so I can only imagine its effect on the team. The Golden Knights came out flying, and I hoped that they would score quickly so that the crowd could exhale the breath it was holding. Instead, the tension built and built until William Karlsson finally put the puck in the net in the 2nd period. But the Avalanche tied the game before we could thoroughly enjoy our lead, and the stress returned.

You could feel the nerves running through the arena when the 3rd period began. We knew our guys were the better team on this night, but we’d seen this movie too many times to trust that would lead to victory. When Colorado scored a goal to take the lead, the air went out of the building.

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Guest Post: VGK Upgraded, But Enough?

Today’s Guest Post comes from Kevin Iole. Kevin is a columnist for Yahoo Sports. He was a sportswriter for the Las Vegas Review-Journal from 1990 until 2007. He covered the Las Vegas Thunder for the entirety of the team’s run in Las Vegas, and did a little bit of work covering the Las Vegas Wranglers. A lifelong hockey fan whose favorite players were Eddie Shack, Battleship Kelly, Steve Durbano, and Gary Rissling before Mario Lemieux came along, Iole was born and raised in Pittsburgh. He was a diehard Penguins fan and a season ticket holder for about 10 seasons. He is a Vegas Golden Knights and Henderson Silver Knights season ticket holder along with his wife, Betsy. He became a Golden Knights fan early in the inaugural season and counts the Knights as his No. 1 team witih the Penguins No. 2. His ideal outcome would be the Knights winning the Cup 4-3 over the Penguins every year. Other than hockey, Iole loves Basset Hounds and owns about 40 VGK jerseys, many of which need new nameplates. 

For a franchise whose motto ought to be, “Stanley Cup or bust,” the Golden Knights only got marginally better this offseason.

Sure, the defense is better after essentially swapping Nate Schmidt for Alex Pietrangelo, as well as continued growth from Zach Whitecloud. This, though, is a team that lost in five games in the Western Conference finals and the only change in its forward lineup will be that its No. 2 center will be replaced by an injury prone and unproven 21-year-old.

But the forwards are worse and the goalies are the same, so will the difference from Schmidt to Pietrangelo mean that the Stanley Cup will be toted down Las Vegas Blvd in 2021?


Oh, I like the Knights’ chances of having a parade better than the Sabres or the Senators, and probably even better than the Penguins, Devils and Coyotes.

So much could go so wrong for this team.

It starts with William Karlsson, the only true elite (or close to elite) center on the roster. If he gets hurt and is out for any length of time, it’s a disaster of epic proportions.

The Golden Knights’ depth at center is nonexistent, and it could withstand a Pietrangelo absence far more than it could a prolonged Karlsson absence.

Peyton Krebs is a promising prospect, but relying on a 19-year-old in one of the most important spots on the team — and a 19-year-old who is less than two years removed from tearing his Achilles tendon, remember — is not the stuff of which Stanley Cup champions are made.

(Photo Credit: Photographer Brandon Andreasen)

If Chandler Stephenson regresses and plays next season like he did in the first half of the season with Washington rather than the way he did after he was traded to the Golden Knights, it will seriously imperil their Cup chances.

I could go on and on, but you get the point.

This team is close, though, and it has the ability to make a move that could, in fact, make it the Cup favorite. It won’t be popular, of course, but Kelly McCrimmon already told us that the popular moves aren’t always the wisest moves. But the path the Knights should take, and I’d argue must take, is clear:

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Guest Post: Brandon Pirri Gets His Shot

(Photo Credit: Photographer Brandon Andreasen)

The signing of Brandon Pirri was a bit of a shock for most, but today’s guest post author, Brock Lammers, explains why keeping #73 around makes perfect sense. 

At the Final Press conference of the 2019 season, Brandon Pirri said it was all about opportunity. He just wants to play in the NHL. The Knights have listened and they have signed him for 2 years $1.55 million. This isn’t the biggest contract he has signed in his career but it is a good contract for Brandon given the point he is at in his career.

Brandon Pirri is no doubt an NHL caliber forward, as demonstrated by his 10-game 2019 midseason scoring streak. I thought the Knights might have traded him last season. He was hot and his contract was expiring. It felt like there was value in a piece they were potentially set to lose, but they opted to not only keep him, but he remained on the roster through the rest of the season and the playoffs. This tells me that the Knights see something in him.

With the trade of Erik Haula and Ryan Carpenter leaving to free agency there are some open forward positions for Pirri to take. Pirri is a very exciting player with good speed and an excellent stick. He seems to always find himself in a great position for prime scoring chances. His net presence makes him a good asset on the offensive side of the puck. Pirri has also stepped up his defensive game which was one of his notable flaws last season. Many think this was the reason that he struggled to stay in the lineup and many believe if he fixed this aspect of his game he could claim a permanent spot in the lineup.

Game 7 of the 2019 First Round was the best game of Pirri’s career in my opinion. He was all over the ice, aggressively forechecking, had a good defensive stick, and of course, always creating offensive chances. If his play remains consistent with his Game 7 performance I believe he would be a good candidate for a starting slot on the opening night roster. However, with the depth of the Knights roster at the forward position, any sign of inconsistency is a sure way to become a healthy scratch.

His game 7 performance was what the Knights were looking for all year from him and they got it at the most crucial time. With two forwards already gone and another one or two potentially on the trade block, Brandon Pirri is more than an insurance plan, he’s a legitimate 3rd line option for 82 games.

Brock Lammers

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Sheng Peng: Mark Stone Has A Chance To Buck The Trend And Win A Selke For The Wingers

**This article was written by Sheng Peng of Sheng covered the Golden Knights in 2017-18 and a portion of 2018-19 before moving to San Jose to cover the Sharks. You can read all of Sheng’s work here.**

By Sheng Peng

(Photo Credit: Photographer Brandon Andreasen)

It’s supposed to be the award for best defensive forward.

But left winger Nick Foligno knows he’s never going to win the Selke Trophy.

Foligno quipped, “I switch to center and maybe have a chance at it.”

That’ll help. Since 2008-09, just four wingers have finished in the top-six in Selke voting: Ryan Callahan was fourth in 2012, Marian Hossa was fifth in 2014, Max Pacioretty was sixth in 2015, and Mark Stone was sixth in 2017. Stone is also a finalist this year, the first winger to be so honored since Jay Pandolfo in 2007.

(This is ignoring David Backes, listed as a right winger, who finished second in 2012, and Henrik Zetterberg, listed as a left winger, who finished second in 2008. Both took over 1,000 faceoffs in their respective Selke finalist campaigns.)

The last winger to win the Selke was Jere Lehtinen in 2003.

What’s supposed to be a recognition for best defensive forward has become a centers-only club.

Hockey Hall of Fame journalist Michael Farber has voted on the Selke since “the time that Bob Gainey was winning it.” He offered, “Maybe if Mark Stone wins, that’ll restore a little bit of balance.”


Gainey, a left winger, won the inaugural Selke Trophy in 1978. Then he took the next three.

In fact, wingers like Gainey, Craig Ramsay, and Dirk Graham accounted for six of the first 14 Selke winners.

Farber pointed to three key reasons.

First, Gainey was a singular player.

“Anatoly Tarasov called Bob Gainey the perfect hockey player. He didn’t make mistakes,” Farber recalled.

Tarasov knew a special player when he saw one. He’s credited with establishing the Soviet Union as a dominant international hockey power in the 1950s.

Second, Gainey played in a different era. A defense-first forward stood out in an era where Marcel Dionne could score 135 points and finish 29 points behind Wayne Gretzky in the scoring race. This is exactly what happened in 1980-81, the last time Gainey won the Selke.

Farber noted: “The game, look at the ’80s, wasn’t what we have now. Quite often, there’d be a three-on-two one way, three-on-two the other way. Teams traded chances.

“So the emphasis on defensive hockey and the role of the centerman wasn’t the same that it is now.

“It’s much tighter. If you do give up odd-man rushes now, you make your coach apoplectic.”

Finally, Gainey played in an era when forwards, wingers included, were often used as “shadows.” That means a defensive player was assigned to follow the opposition’s top scorer all around the ice.

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Guest Post: Keep Calm And Carry On

(Photo Credit: Photographer Brandon Andreasen)

There are Golden Knights fans everywhere, and we love every single one of them. So, today we present you with a Guest Post from across the pond, in the United Kingdom, where Scott Mackay urges his fellow VGK fans not to go crazy over just three games.

Welcome to the NHL, quite possibly the hardest league to win in world sports.

You have to put your body through 82 regular season games to have a chance to see the playoffs and even then you have potentially another 28 games to go. It’s a rollercoaster with ups, downs, sideways and loop the loops. The Golden Knights enjoyed a fairy-tale season and the fairy-tale was rode all the way until the final hurdle. That one just wasn’t our series, it didn’t go our way.

Us Knights fans have been treated to tremendous hockey under the worst circumstances of a year ago and this team became more than a hockey team, smashing records and proving to other fan bases that we are here to stay and more importantly bringing together a community.

At the time of writing, we are 1-2-0. Believe it or not, we have 79 games to go and to see people losing it on Twitter about how much this team ‘sucks’ is really quite worrying. C’mon guys get a grip, I understand that we should have won those games but that’s professional sports, you will win some AND lose some, it’s all part of the rollercoaster. We will be absolutely awful one game and win, we will be amazing another game and lose.

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Guest Post: Year One Through The Eyes Of The Fan

Year 1 was a magical one, starting with the Expansion Draft and ending with the Golden Knights appearance in the Stanley Cup Final. Today’s Guest Post from Alex Norwood walks us through the magical season through the eyes of a fan who was there from the beginning.

I, like many others, was very excited to learn who would dawn the Vegas Golden Knights jersey after being taken by the Golden Knights in the 2017 Expansion Draft. During the draft, there was a great amount of excitement to know who exactly, we as fans, would be cheering for during their first season as a team.

As development camp and the preseason came to end, the horrific events of 1 October took place. It was in that moment, that the Knights showed they were not just a team, but that they were a part of the Vegas community.

On Nevada Day the Golden Knights played one of their best games of the year. (Photo Credit: Photographer Brandon Andreasen)

What came next was unexpected for everyone, including fans of the Golden Knights. After great performances and two comeback wins on the road, it was time to play in front of the home fans, for real, for the first time, and it was not really about the game. Being in attendance for the Knights first-ever home game, for what the franchise did before puck drop, might have been the most moving moment of the season. It was not about hockey that night. It was about honoring those who lost their lives and those that put their lives on the line. At that point, everyone knew there was no chance of them losing their first home game.

After winning their third, and record-breaking game, the ride we were all unprepared for never ended. Nobody could have imagined an amazing 8-1-0 start to the season. As shocking as it was for the hockey and sports world, everyone in Vegas was witnessing the start of the most historic first season in sports history. It was already crazy to be a fan of a successful team, but what came next reassured us of what we were seeing.

After suffering three straight losses to Dallas, Minnesota, and Winnipeg, from November 28th to December 1st, the Golden Knights went on an unprecedented 13-game point streak which included six straight home wins. In the middle of that month-long run, I felt they were going to win no matter what. At that point, the team was 27-9-2 and the only thing I was worried about was that I did not want the loss column to go into double digits. And I, along with every Golden Knights fan, had completely lost my mind on how good this team really was.

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Guest Post: Paying William Karlsson

There’s not a Golden Knight fan in the world who hasn’t wondered what the future holds for William Karlsson. The 25-year-old is a restricted free agent at year’s end which means George McPhee has plenty of options. Kevin Horton dives into the numbers in our newest Guest Post.

Best part of a hockey game? Easy… the goals. Unfortunately, like most great things in life, they don’t come cheap. Per CapFriendly, at this point of the 2017-2018 season the going rate for an NHL goal is $318,437. That prorates the number of goals over an 82 game season. Basically, every time someone buries one in the back of the net it’s more valuable than the house you live in.

The shot he’s taking in this picture is probably worth $25,641. (Photo Credit: Photographer Brandon Andreasen)

The good news for us is that the Golden Knights employ William Karlsson who is about as cheap as an elite goal scorer comes. Karlsson entered the season on the final year of a 2-year $1,000,000 per year deal. That means Karlsson’s 39 goals so far have come at a rate of $25,641 per goal, good for the 3rd cheapest scoring price in the league behind only young stars like Winnipeg’s Patrik Laine ($21,512) best player in the world-Connor McDavid ($23,718) and Brayden Point of the Tampa Bay Lightning ($25,432.) If you standardize the individual numbers Karlsson projects to finish with a $23,345 cost per goal trailing only Laine, Point, McDavid and Auston Matthews ($21,352).

For comparison goals from higher paid perineal snipers like Alex Ovechkin, John Tavares, and Nikita Kucherov cost $198,277, $152,439, and $114,689 respectively. Karlsson’s goals are basically coming at over a 90% discount compared to league average and a 75% discount compared to the league’s other top goal scorers. That’s quite a bargain.

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