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Coyotes Always Seem To Keep It Close

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Since their first season, the Golden Knights have now faced the Arizona Coyotes 13 times. Although Vegas’ record is 9-4-0 in those games, it doesn’t truly tell the story, a lot like last night’s game.

The Coyotes will remind us that in their history against the Golden Knights they’ve taken points off the Golden Knights in eight of the 13 games.

We’ve played this team before and we’ve had some success. I don’t want to go in there and be intimidated. We shouldn’t be intimidated if we play the right way. We got to have some swagger going in there knowing that if we play our game we can beat this team. -Rick Tocchet, Coyotes coach

Prior to last night, in the first dozen meetings with the Coyotes, the Golden Knights led the scoring margin by just six goals. However, three were scored in overtime, one in shootout, and one was an empty netter. So, after last night, Vegas has nine wins against Arizona, but an overall lead of just four goals in regulation. 

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Carp: It’s Good To Be Back!

**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.**

I missed you folks.

When the NHL season paused last March, my column for SinBin also went on hiatus. But unlike the league, which resumed play in July, I remained sidelined. I felt like Drew Doughty. Or Jack Eichel.

But thanks to Ken, Jason, and especially Las Vegas attorney Jim Jimmerson, who is sponsoring this column once again, it’s back to work for what will be a most fascinating season. And it starts tonight at T-Mobile Arena where no fans will be admitted inside to watch the Golden Knights host Anaheim.

Fifty-six games. A restructured and renamed division. A captain for the first time. Arguably the best goaltending tandem in the league. New faces on the scene. Old ones having departed. All sorts of strange scenarios playing out.

That’s what we have to look forward to over the coming months. Interesting? Hell yes. Unpredictable? Absolutely. Frustrating at times? Count on it.

Welcome to the 2021 season.

For me, the Golden Knights are built to make the playoffs and make a long run, similar to the Edmonton bubble as they advanced to the Western Conference Final. Are they good enough to play for and win the Stanley Cup the way they’re currently constructed? Perhaps. But I have some concerns.

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MARK STONE NAMED FIRST CAPTAIN IN VGK HISTORY

The wait is over, the Golden Knights officially have their first captain in franchise history. Mark Stone was named captain of the Golden Knights via the team’s social media account.

Alex Pietrangelo and Reilly Smith have been named alternates.

Honestly I was kind of speechless. It’s very humbling for me. It’s a big honor. Something I’m not going to take lightly and something I’ve very excited to do. -Mark Stone

He’s as fine a person as you can find in this game. You like him off the ice, you like him on the ice. -George McPhee

He’s a tremendous competitor. He likes nothing more than when someone on the team scores, not just himself personally, that says a lot about his character and what type of leader he is. -Max Pacioretty

You want a guy who is dedicated to winning, who plays the right way and if you watch him play he’s underrated in terms of everything he can do on both ends of the ice. There’s not many guys in the league that can put up the numbers offensively that he does year in year out and contribute the way he can defensively. To me, that’s winning hockey and that’s what you want in your captain. You want a guy that’s going to give it to you every single night, the consistency like that, he’s certainly a special player. -Alex Pietrangelo

It’s been 40 years since an NHL team has won the Stanley Cup without a captain. That doesn’t mean you can’t do it. I don’t think that it’s an accident that that’s the case. -Pete DeBoer

We had with McPhee, DeBoer, and myself we thought we had the obvious guy and this was the time to name the captain. He embodies everything we want in a captain and that includes a great deal of humility. -Kelly McCrimmon

Golden Knights Among William Hill’s Individual Award Odds

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As we inch closer to the Golden Knights’ opening night, here’s a friendly reminder that time is running out on placing 2021 future odds. Ken picked sides on William Hill’s team point totals earlier in the month, now I’m attacking league leaders and player award odds.

In last year’s shortened season Max Pacioretty finished with a team-leading 32 regular season goals. The veteran’s total was good enough for 13th most in the NHL. This year, in an even shorter season, Pacioretty is 22-1 to lead all scorers in goals.

*To see all odds, download the William Hill Mobile Sports App. Sign up with the promo code GET50 and they’ll match your first $50 bet.*

NHL’s Leading Scorer odds:
Auston Matthews +500
Alex Ovechkin +600
Connor McDavid +850
Leon Draisaitl +850
Nathan MacKinnon +1000

Golden Knights to be NHL Leading Scorer odds:
Max Pacioretty 22/1
William Karlsson 75/1
Mark Stone 100/1
Reilly Smith 125/1

It’s a tall order for any of the Golden Knights to outscore super offensive studs like McDavid, Ovechkin, and Matthews but it is a unique season and there may be value with a couple of Vegas forwards. It might seem like a long shot but dropping a sawbuck or two on Karlsson to lead the league in scoring would bring back a nice return. Remember Karlsson’s 43 goals scored in 2017-18 was done playing with Marchessault and Smith, who he is set to play with again this season.

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Nick Holden Waivers FAQ

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UPDATE (1/12/21 9:07 AM) – Nick Holden cleared waivers.

The Golden Knights had to do something to get under the cap before the first game of the season. Today we learned that something was waiving Nick Holden, risking losing a player they signed to a new contract less than a year ago.

The salary cap and waivers can be confusing under normal circumstances and now with the new rules put into place for the shortened season, it can be almost impossible to follow. So, here’s the Nick Holden on waivers FAQ.

What does that mean, Nick Holden is on waivers?

In an effort to reduce the salary cap, the Golden Knights removed Holden from their active roster. Due to his age and experience in the NHL, he is required to pass through waivers to remain with the Golden Knights organization. That means every team in the league will have the option to claim Holden and add him to their active NHL roster. If someone does, Holden will no longer be a member of the Golden Knights. If they do not, he’ll be eligible for the Golden Knights taxi squad and the Silver Knights.

What are the chances someone claims him?

It’s certainly possible, but it’s not necessarily probable. A total of 139 players were placed on waivers today. Holden is among the most experienced of the group and absolutely could be viewed as valuable by another team.

Put odds on it happening.

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Schmidt Reviews Are High In Vancouver

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It feels like just yesterday Ken and I were digging up interviews and stories about all the players the Golden Knights selected in the Expansion Draft. That’s when we first discovered the personality of Nate Schmidt. We instantly declared “Nate Schmidt’s going to be your favorite player, you just don’t know it yet.

Even though we’re watching Alex Pietrangelo suit up in a Golden Knights jersey day in and day out in camp, it’s still tough to see videos of Schmidt somewhere else. We always knew it would be the case, but Schmidt is already making an impact in Vancouver.

He looks comfortable. His skating has jumped out to me the first couple of days. It’s been very much as advertised for Nate Schmidt.-Jeff Paterson, TSN Vancouver on TSN 1040

Vegas fans knew what Vancouver was getting when they acquired Schmidt this offseason. A reliable defender with the ability to pitch in offensively and a whale of a personality. The Canucks are seeing it in person and the reviews have been high.

The Canucks got better when the Golden Knights front office made the tough decision to move #88. Not only will Schmidt boost the blueline but he’ll add some veteran presence surrounding emerging star Quinn Hughes.

Not quite at Quinn Hughes level, not many are in terms of generating offense but this guy doesn’t miss an opportunity with his skating to jump up into the rush. He loves to be the trailer, loves to add another layer of attack. –Paterson, TSN Vancouver on TSN 1040

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Alec Martinez Is Very Easy To Root For

“I’m smiling under my mask.” -Alec Martinez

Although the members of the media were miles away, Golden Knights defenseman Alec Martinez answered questions at his Zoom press conference wearing a mask.

It’s a common theme with Martinez. He understands there’s a world outside of hockey. When asked about the concerns of a short training camp, a condensed schedule, or the pressures of playing for a contender, he first qualifies his responses by comparing it to the reality that we’re all living in. It’s not just the hockey season that’s been shaken, and the 33-year-old NHL’er understands that more than anyone.

It’s just the way things are going these days. Everyone has to adapt, you’ve got to be a professional. You know a lot of people are making sacrifices. There’s a lot of hard work being put into this so we can have the opportunity to play. I’m not going to complain. -Martinez

There’s no whiff of selfish, millionaire athlete coming from Martinez. It’s the complete opposite, the defenseman sounds like an aware citizen continuing to adjust like all of us. He’s preparing for an unusual season but doing his best to adjust.

Nothing in the world right now is ideal. I don’t expect the NHL season to be any different. -Martinez

Martinez is an easy guy to root for. He takes his job seriously but takes a real-world approach. Sure, his life has been rattled by delays, negotiations, and protocols but #23 recognizes that others are in a similar predicament.

As he enters his 12th NHL season, Martinez is confident Vegas can make a deep run in the postseason. Playing alongside Shea Theodore, the veteran defenseman understands his responsibilities protecting his free-skating partner. To get the most of Theodore’s abilities, Martinez will need to be a steady wingman.

Martinez might be unaware of how his demeanor can easily connect to average, everyday Golden Knights fans. It’s hard for fanbases not to feel left out when they can only enjoy their team from their 65-inch TVs. Martinez recognizes the issues that we’re all facing.

If guys don’t like each other you don’t have chemistry then you’re not going to be successful. I don’t think that only applies to hockey, I think that’s anything in life. -Martinez

If only he could say it louder so the rest of the country can hear.

Short Camp? No Problem, VGK Says “We’ve Done This Before”

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Ever been somewhere new thought to yourself, wait a minute, I think I’ve been here before. That’s exactly how the Golden Knights feel heading into this season’s incredibly short training camp at City National Arena.

Back in July, the Golden Knights opened what was called Phase 3 Training Camp on the 12th with their first real game on August 3rd. This time, camp got underway on January 3rd with the regular season opener just 11 days away.

It’s not quite deja vu, mainly because that camp led directly into the playoffs, but there’s definitely a been there done that feeling to this shortened camp.

We’ve done this before with the bubble camp and we really like how that camp went and prepared us to go into the bubble for the playoffs. How we played early in the bubble our camp gave us an advantage in our start there being able to go undefeated in our start there. -Pete DeBoer

After two weeks of camp in Vegas the Golden Knights headed to Edmonton where they dominated a preseason game against the Coyotes, then ripped through the round-robin beating Dallas, St. Louis, and Colorado to earn them the #1 seed.

Vegas scored first in three of the four games and looked surprisingly sharp for being off the ice for a few months right before it.

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What We’re Watching For At Training Camp

(Photo Credit: SinBin.vegas Photographer Brandon Andreasen)

The Golden Knights open on-ice Training Camp today as they prepare for the abridged 2021 regular season. Unlike a normal camp that is nearly a month-long, this one is condensed to less than two weeks with the season opener right around the corner on January 14th. 4o players will be in camp for the Golden Knights, 24 forwards, 12 defensemen and four goalies.

Here’s what we’ve got our eyes on as the Golden Knights get back on the ice.

Put The Thing In The Thing

Normally I wouldn’t care how often guys were scoring in drills or scrimmages during camp, but I can’t get my mind off the camp in July before the Golden Knights headed up to Edmonton and the bubble. That camp was marred with an inability to score basically up and down the lineup. At the time, we chalked it up to great goaltending, excellent defending, and rust from being off for a few months. Then, the Golden Knights caught fire scoring when they first got going in the playoffs. So, all seemed well. Of course, we all know how the year ended for Vegas and it brought me back to that camp. When I say the Golden Knights couldn’t score at City National Arena before they left, I literally mean there were 10 minute long drills where the puck would go in once, 20 minute long scrimmages where neither team scored, and one specific 2-on-1 drill I remember that went 0 for 31.

I want to see something different this time around. Marchessault, Pacioretty, Stone, Karlsson, Smith, Tuch, Theodore, Pietrangelo, put the puck in the net, please. Scoring draughts have been an issue for the Golden Knights for two seasons running and the time for it to stop is now, like literally today in training camp.

Goalie “Competition”

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Tahoe Takeaways

(Photo Credit: SinBin.vegas Photographer Brandon Andreasen)

There have been 30 NHL outdoor games since 2003. Up until now, all but six teams have participated.

When the Golden Knights face off against the Colorado Avalanche on February 20th, they’ll become the 26th NHL team to skate outdoors. While five other franchises have waited for almost two decades, Vegas will get their opportunity up in Northern Nevada in only their fourth season.

Outdoor Weekend

Here’s a cool fact about Lake Tahoe, it never freezes over.

The Lake Tahoe Basin has its share of below-freezing days and nights, but surprisingly enough the Lake itself has never frozen over. On occasion, Emerald Bay has been covered with a layer of ice, and ice also forms in cold protected inlets. However, Lake Tahoe’s great depth and volume of water is always in motion and keeps it from being the world’s largest ice rink. -KeepTahoeBlue.org

Luckily, the league did their research and will avoid any ice cracking disasters. The NHL games will take place at the Edgewood Tahoe Resort in Stateline, NV. It’s reported that an ice sheet will be built around the resorts golf course, however it was unclear exactly where. Will an NHL game be played be on a massive three-hole water hazard?

Vegas’ Opponent

Many were confused why the NHL would choose the Avalanche over one of the three California teams. I’d imagine there were several reasons, but one would have to be the spotlight factor. Colorado and Vegas are two premier teams in the West division, it allows the league and networks a chance to showcase both clubs. In all likelihood, it could be a playoff series preview. San Jose may be closer to Lake Tahoe, but clearly, the league felt a superior Colorado team would make for a better event.

The Perfect Matchup

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