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Praise Be To Foley, Vegas Golden Knights Hockey Website

Category: Team Ops (Page 1 of 66)

The Play That Beat The Ducks

The play of the game. (Photo Credit: SinBin.vegas Photographer Brandon Andreasen)

Unlike baseball where there’s one pitch or football where there’s one play, hockey is not a game that is often decided, or even swung, by an individual moment in a game. However, during the game against Anaheim, Tomas Nosek and Pierre-Edouard Bellemare combined to make a play that flipped the course of that game and if all goes well, could end up changing the course of the season.

It came late in a somewhat sloppily played first period. The Golden Knights had taken a penalty and appeared like they could be headed for the all too familiar fate of falling behind early. The penalty kill begins with Bellemare winning the draw,  Brayden McNabb clears the puck, and the Golden Knights stop the first entry. But then, the Ducks maintain possession for 20 more seconds before setting up a shot from the high slot. It’s wired, Bellemare courageously blocks it, he then finds it first and springs Nosek into open ice. Here, give it a watch.

 

Nosek picks up the puck and drives directly toward the goal drawing a penalty, thus killing off the current penalty and earning Vegas a power play. But it’s not just the block and the breakaway, it’s when it happened in the shift. Penalty kill shifts are meant to be as short as possible, :20-:30 is great for forwards. Once you can safely change, you are supposed to do it. The normal play there would have been to send the puck down and get off the ice, but Nosek dug deep into his gas tank, already :50 seconds into the shift, and went straight to the net. 

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McPhee On Injuries: “We Aren’t Deep Enough Yet To Not Have Everybody In”

Gerard Gallant confirmed this morning Haula is considered “month-to-month.” (Photo Credit: SinBin.vegas Photographer Brandon Andreasen)

Injuries are a major part of hockey. Every team goes through them at various times and for various stretches of the season. For the Golden Knights, it’s come early and it’s come in the form of high-end forwards.

Alex Tuch missed the first eight games of the year and Max Pacioretty missed four games at the end of October. Both Pacioretty and Tuch have returned to the lineup, but the two guys they’ve played with on the Vegas second line haven’t been as fortunate. Paul Stastny went out in Game 3 and isn’t expected to return until late December at the earliest, and Erik Haula appears to be out for at least the balance of the calendar year.

Then there’s the suspension which has kept Nate Schmidt out for the first 20 games of the season. All in all, the Golden Knights have yet to play a game with anything resembling a full lineup, and the GM is frustrated.

I’d like to get healthy, for one game. just to see what we are. We just haven’t been. You know we rebuilt our second line and I think they’ve played two and half games together. Stastny’s been out most of the year, Pacioretty was out, Haula’s out, Tuch’s been out. We aren’t deep enough yet to not have everybody in. -George McPhee on Sportsnet 590 in Toronto

All in all, they’ve missed 39 games due to injury and 18 going on 20 due to suspension.

Nate Schmidt – 18 missed (100%)
Paul Stastny – 15 missed (83%)
Alex Tuch – 8 missed (44.%)
Deryk Engelland – 5 missed (28%)
Max Pacioretty – 4 missed (22%)
Erik Haula – 3 missed (17%)
Cody Eakin – 4 missed (22%)
Ryan Carpenter – 1 missed (6%)

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Golden Knights vs. Hurricanes: Must-Win?

Yeah, this is how we feel about the season so far too. (Photo Credit: SinBin.vegas Photographer Brandon Andreasen)

We know this term gets thrown around WAY too much, especially when it comes to Game 14 of an 82 game season, but if the emotional leader calls tonight’s game against the Hurricanes a must-win, it must be a must-win.

It’s a big game for us. We definitely need to win. -Jonathan Marchessault

Okay, fine, he didn’t say must-win, but “definitely need to win” is close enough for me. It’s kind of unimaginable, that on November 3rd we’re talking about important games for the Golden Knights, but this is reality when a team is already four points out of a playoff spot and have their bags packed for a four-game road trip to the other side of the continent.

This is a team with expectations. We set the bar high for us. We know it’s going to be harder, but it’s nothing we can’t handle as a group. -Marchessault

It’s not just the two points that the Golden Knights want, it’s more that this team is a franchise that’s experienced nothing but winning, and they are sick of losing.

If you’re ready for a game, they better be must wins. I hope guys think this is a must win game. Not because it is, but every game is a must win. -Gerard Gallant

He said “must-win!” Well, really, he said it is, then said it isn’t, then said it is again. So… I think I like what Marchy said better.

In Florida, Marchessault and Gallant faced a slow start which ultimately costed Gallant his job. While we’re nowhere near that situation here, the bigger point is that Panther team was never able to regain a playoff spot.

This is definitely a slow start. We’re not where we want to be. Nobody is going to feel bad for us. So we got to get out of this hole, keep battling and turn our luck around. -Marchessault

Tonight is the perfect spot for #81 and his teammates to turn things around. Carolina comes in with an acceptable 6-5-2 record, but have lost three straight including an overtime tilt in Arizona last night. Carolina fell into a 3-0 hole in the 1st, only to climb back to tie it, and then lose in OT.

We’ve been told there’s a locker room full of leaders. So I’m sure it’s eating at each and every one of them to come home from their road trip empty-handed. Tonight is a game that could help the Golden Knights set themselves straight. And I’m sure that’s the message Marchessault is spreading around the room.

The Foreword

**Steve Carp’s twice-weekly column publishes every Wednesday and Sunday during the Golden Knights season.**

First of all, let me say I appreciate having a forum to continue to write about the Golden Knights and the NHL. Many thanks to Ken Boehlke and Jason Pothier for giving me the opportunity to connect with the followers of SinBin.vegas. And a very special thanks to the Jimmerson Law Firm for sponsoring my column.

You will be hearing from me twice a week — on Wednesday and on Sunday. I will also be on the SinBin podcasts and will participate in other events and promotions with Ken and Jason.

Many of you are wondering what happened to me last summer. I won’t get into the exact details as to why I left the Review-Journal in early July. Let’s just say after 19 years of marriage it was time for both of us to move on.

I had pursued other opportunities, both here in Las Vegas and beyond. Ultimately, I accepted a position last month to be senior editor at GamingToday, which has been around for more than 40 years and am glad to be part of the publication’s new chapter.

Yes, GT deals with hockey, but from a betting perspective. And since I don’t bet on hockey, you won’t see my byline when it comes to wagering on the NHL or the Golden Knights. However, here at SinBin, you will get my observations on the Golden Knights and the NHL.

It will be unfiltered. It will be unbiased. It will be fair.

When the team is deserving of praise, I will be first over the boards to acknowledge it. When they are deserving of criticism, I will deal with that as well.

For those not familiar with my background, here’s the Cliffs Notes version: I grew up in Brooklyn, New York as a Rangers fan. I played roller hockey, switched to ice hockey, captained my high school team and played two years of club hockey at Manhattan College before I left to pursue my Journalism degree at San Jose State.

I have been a New York Islanders fan since their inception in 1972 and my heart belongs to the orange and blue. (No, I wasn’t devastated when John Tavares left in July, though it would have been nice to see him in a Golden Knights sweater.)

In other words, hockey has been part of me for as long as I can remember. And while you don’t have to have played the game to know the game, it doesn’t hurt to have experienced what the Knights do daily, albeit on a far lower level. I remember talking to Nate Schmidt about hockey sticks prior to last Christmas and how I used an all-wood stick throughout my career and how breaking in a pair of new skates required a lot of pain and suffering. When you’ve played, you can relate. Riding a bus. Carrying your gear. The one-of-a-kind stench that comes from sweaty equipment. You never forget.

Not once last year did a Golden Knights player, coach or executive say to me, “You don’t know what the hell you’re talking about!” though I admittedly came close a couple of times with James Neal. And though I hadn’t played in a hockey game that counted in more than 40 years, I was proud of that. Once hockey gets in your blood, it stays there forever.

So now that you know something about me, let me explain why I decided to write a book on the Golden Knights.

Back in January as the team was having unparalleled success on the ice and in the stands playing to above capacity at T-Mobile Arena, I realized what a great story was emerging. Obviously, none of us had any idea how things would turn out, but I came to the realization that the Knights’ story could make for a great book.

I canvassed a couple of my colleagues at the paper and other media members throughout the league and they spoke with one voice — “You have to write that book.”

I had been covering the story from the start and was around the team every day. I asked owner Bill Foley what he thought and he seemed receptive to the idea. Eventually, I would ask him to do the Foreword to the book (more on that later).

My leaving the R-J allowed me time to think, to write, to review the journey of the franchise, shop for a publisher and still have it come out in time for the 2018-19 NHL season.

Normally, it would have been next to impossible to deliver. But thanks to today’s options, an author can go a nontraditional route to get published. I had sent the manuscript to booklocker.com, a company out of St. Petersburg, Florida, and it was accepted. It is a “Publish On Demand” process which means when you order the book, and I hope you will, they receive your order online, print your book and ship it to you the next day. Or if you prefer to get it quicker, there is an ebook version where with a click of a button, the file gets downloaded to your computer, tablet, Kindle, phone, etc. and you’re in business. (The link to buy it is at the end of this column)

There have been three books written on the Golden Knights. The R-J and Sun came out with theirs after the Stanley Cup Final and both are photo-driven supported by copy from stories by reporters from their respective papers. A third book was written by Joe Pane, which I have not yet read. And the Knights are planning to come out with their own book — a high-end, glossy stock book in November.

So why buy my book, “Vegas Born?”

For starters, it is the most comprehensive work on the franchise. It is 284 pages and it goes back to the very beginning when the Maloof brothers approached NHL commissioner Gary Bettman about trying to bring a team to Las Vegas and Bettman introduced them to Bill Foley.

This book also chronicles the entire inaugural season. Every game is mentioned with details and quotes from those games. It also provides insights into the players, coaches, and staff along with how the franchise and the city bonded in the aftermath of the October 1 shootings.

It’s a balanced, unbiased look at the team, written in the same fashion as when I covered the Knights at the R-J. I believe it is worth your time and money and I really think you’ll enjoy it.

I also hope you will enjoy my work in the coming weeks and months for SinBin. Ken and Jason truly love this sport, this team, and this city and I’m glad to be joining them in providing information and insight into the Golden Knights.

The Foreword that never got published

Earlier, I had mentioned that Bill Foley was going to write the Foreword to “Vegas Born.” I have known the man Ken and Jason lovingly call “The Creator” for four years and I thought the best way to start a book about the birth of a franchise was to begin with words from its “heavenly father.” (You like that one Ken?)

Due to a series of circumstances and timing issues beyond anyone’s control, the forward did not make it into the print version of the book. However, luckily, I have a new forum to share Foley’s words, and I couldn’t think of a better way to launch my column on SinBin.vegas than with an original work from the man who brought hockey to Las Vegas, Bill Foley.

Here is the Foreword to “Vegas Born” in its entirety:

When I began pursuing an NHL franchise for the City of Las Vegas in 2014, it was an uncertain journey. There was no guarantee from anyone, and it was going to entail a lot of hard work on the part of a lot of people.

Las Vegas had no major league sports franchises at the time. The city had played host to major sports events over the decades, from the National Finals Rodeo to NASCAR auto races to world championship fights in boxing and mixed martial arts. It had also hosted NHL hockey, NBA basketball and Major League Baseball. But I always believed this was a city that would support something worthwhile, especially when it came to something the people could claim to be their own. And after carefully evaluating the market over a period of time, I decided to move forward with my pursuit of bringing major league pro sports to Las Vegas.

It was going to take time, a lot of money, and even more patience, the latter of which I usually don’t have great quantities of. But as I began the process, I learned that being patient was worth more than the actual money that would be spent on the endeavor.

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Fleury’s Appearance On History Channel’s Counting Cars

Hard to tell who was more excited to meet who. (Photo Credit: History Channel’s Counting Cars)

Marc-Andre Fleury LOVES cars. He’s had Ferraris, Lamborghinis, Maseratis and now he’s in the market for his first muscle car. Luckily, one of the most popular car reality shows is set in Las Vegas.

Fleury drives his Ferrari into the shop. (Photo Credit: History Chanel’s Counting Cars)

Count’s Kustoms owner Danny Koker’s show Counting Cars aired the episode featuring Fleury yesterday in which he got to see his next car. The car is a customized 1972 Chevelle Convertible.

I just thought it would look cool, so this is the perfect opportunity for me to try it. -Marc-Andre Fleury

Here’s what the car looks like when they were done with it.

500 horsepower! (Photo Credit: History Channel’s Counting Cars)

Fleury says he’s anxiously waiting to get the car as they are still “breaking it in” for him.

All we ask now is you put a big giant Cup in the back seat of her. -Danny Koker

You can see the whole episode here.

Marchessault: “It’s All On Us” – But Was It Really?

Not much went right for the Golden Knights in the opener. (Photo Credit: SinBin.vegas Photographer Brandon Andreasen)

No doubt about it, last night’s 5-2 loss to Philadelphia was an ugly start to the season.

They played a good game and we played a bad game, and that’s usually a bad mix. -Pierre-Edouard Bellemare

It’s all on us. The D has the puck and we didn’t give options on the wall, we were far from each other, we didn’t manage the puck well at both blue lines and just bad decisions the whole game. -Jonathan Marchessault

The Golden Knights will toss it away and move on to Minnesota like they normally do. After all, even though it was the first game of the season, it’s still just one game and a lopsided loss is the same as a close loss in the standings.

But the question certainly needs to be asked, how did the Golden Knights look so bad? Was it the Flyers stellar play or mistakes the Golden Knights made, and more importantly, is this something that might continue?

We need to be ready. This was definitely not good enough of an effort. Every night there’s a good hockey team, if we’re not ready we’re going to get spanked like we just did. -Marchessault

From the winning locker room, Philadelphia believed it was a combination of both their strong execution and Vegas’ miscues.

We took advantage of what we got. It was a solid game, we did a good job of creating opportunities. -Wayne Simmonds, Flyers forward

On the Flyers first and second goals, Vegas made costly errors from their defensemen and forwards. Jon Merrill made a timing mistake in the offensive zone which led to an odd-man rush on the first one, and Oscar Lindberg made an egregious backhand dump attempt that Philly picked off and stormed to the net to score the second. Both mistakes led directly to goals.

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Golden Knights Exempt From Seattle’s NHL Expansion Draft

Historically when new teams are added to the NHL, they are exempt from the next Expansion Draft. The same was expected to be the case for the Golden Knights when the NHL inevitably adds Seattle. However, earlier this year Deputy Commissioner Bill Daly left the door open for the owners to change their mind and force Vegas to give a player up to Seattle.

Luckily, today, Gary Bettman put a halt to that potential disaster and confirmed the Golden Knights are indeed exempt when Seattle comes into the league.

This is significant news for multiple reasons for the Golden Knights.

The first, and most obvious, reason is that Vegas will not lose a player in the Expansion Draft. Clearly, that’s a benefit as every other team will be subject to the same rules the Golden Knights had when they entered in 2017.

The next is because Expansion Drafts thin out the talent pool in the NHL. Rather than there being 713 NHL roster spots being available (31 teams of 23), there will suddenly become 736. Thus, it will be easier for players to make an NHL roster, meaning the talent at the bottom of rosters will be lesser than it is now. Every other team will have to replace a player with what used to be an AHL quality player. Vegas will not.

The final reason is that because the Golden Knights are exempt, The Creator will not get his cut of the $650 million expansion fee Seattle will pay to enter the league. This is a blow to the owner of the team, but knowing The Creator, he’d gladly give up $16+ million to ensure his hockey team has a better chance of winning.

No matter how you slice it, this is excellent news for the Golden Knights. Plus, we will all get to sit back and experience all the fun of an Expansion Draft, without fear of the repercussions that come with it.

VGK Has Become The Hunted

The Golden Knights have basically become the bully of the Pacific. (Photo Credit: SinBin.vegas Photographer Brandon Andreasen)

Rivalries grow over time. Years and years of brutally beating up on each other, battling for divisional crowns and eliminating one another in the playoffs. Or so I thought…

Stevens had that to say after last week’s preseason game at the T-Mobile Arena. On Sunday, Sharks coach Pete DeBoer wouldn’t go as far as Stevens, but if this sure sounds like rivalry coach-speak to me.

It’s great. It’s great for a couple reasons, one, it felt like an important game because of the environment, the situation the crowd so that’s always good to get you prepared for that. -Pete DeBoer, San Jose coach

Both San Jose and Vegas suited up most core players as if it were a meaningful game. The Sharks were looking forward to their final preseason matchup at Vegas.

We felt like it was our last chance to have a tune up for us, be ready and get ready. Parts of our game we think we’re ready and other parts there still a lot of room for improvement. -Joe Pavelski, Sharks forward

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Forever Vegas Strong

(Photo Credit: SinBin.vegas Photographer Brandon Andreasen)

One year ago today was the worst day the city of Las Vegas has ever experienced. 58 lives were senselessly taken, thousands of memories were forever tarnished, and millions of lives were affected. It was, is, and always will be, in a word, horrendous.

However, that day taught the world a lot about the greatest city in it. That day showed what a tremendous community we have. That day showed how we rally for our own and for our visitors. That day broke down a lot of the barriers and stigmas about what Las Vegas really is and who actually lives here.

That day showed that we are Vegas Strong.

Today, the Golden Knights will make their way around the city participating in a number of community visits that will touch the lives of hundreds who were affected by 1 October. The Golden Knights are Las Vegas’ team. They are beloved in a way that every sports franchise in the world dreams of, but very few have. They have become heroes after their awe-inspiring first season and today they will use that status to hopefully bring joy to the real heroes of this city.

at the T-Mobile Arena on October 10, 2017 in Las Vegas, NV. (Photo by Brandon Andreasen)

But today they will be seen much differently than they were this time last year. At that time, they had never played a game. Aside from Fleury, individual players were relatively unknown. They hadn’t yet connected with the city like they were about to a few days later and over the course of the next 12 months. They were not beloved sports icons. The words Wild Bill, Marchy, and Belly meant nothing to anyone. They were really just millionaire athletes who were dropped here, involuntarily in most cases, and were told to go help the city heal the worst tragedy it has ever seen.

Looking back, it was a ridiculous ask, and yet, somehow, they pulled it off, and they’ve been pulling it off ever since.

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Theodore Contract Furthers VGK’s Clear Identity On How They Deal With Players And The Salary Cap

These two have a plan, and no contract situation is going to get in the way of it. (Photo Credit: SinBin.vegas Photographer Brandon Andreasen)

Since the Expansion Draft the Golden Knights have run the gamut as to how, when, and why they’ve inked deals with players. UFAs, RFAs, in-season extensions, offseason extensions, qualifying offers, arbitration hearings, holdouts, you name the situation, the Golden Knights have probably signed a player in it.

That being said, George McPhee has managed to keep a level of consistency with his contracts. McPhee’s way of putting it was, “there’s no hocus-pocus,” and if you dive deeper into his contracts, he’s right. From Fleury to Pacioretty to Stastny to Marchessault to Theodore, they are all pretty much structured the same, and that is something the GM thinks will help his team win.

As long as you’re consistent then the players you have coming up next for deals will buy in to what’s been done because they know they are not going to get special treatment and people that signed after them aren’t going to get special treatment. It’s a pretty consistent thing that we have done with our group to make it fair. The salary will distinguish some players from others because their talent levels are different, but in terms of how the contracts are done everybody pretty much gets the same. -George McPhee

It’s about a mentality in the locker room. There isn’t a hierarchy because the organization truly doesn’t give “special treatment” to any player. The team does what is best for the team and in doing it they treat every player equally. Something other teams say, but the Golden Knights have proven to actually do.

I think when it was laid out and explained to the player on why we were doing that, I think again it helps us manage the cap better and if we are doing that better, I think are chances of winning are better. So, he bought in. -McPhee

This was a comment about Shea Theodore, but it could easily be applied to Jonathan Marchessault, Marc-Andre Fleury, Max Pacioretty, Brayden McNabb, Colin Miller, and pretty much every other player who has re-signed with the Golden Knights over the past year. McPhee has a plan and he will abide by it, for the betterment of the entire organization, including the players in it. He’s proven he’s not afraid to go down any path to ensure it too. Just ask Nate Schmidt, William Karlsson, and now Shea Theodore.

(Photo Credit: SinBin.vegas Photographer Brandon Andreasen)

It’s about setting a precedent, and it’s something this organization has done unbelievably well considering the short amount of time they’ve actually had players. It’s been 432 days since the Expansion Draft and when in a week the Golden Knights went from three (Shipachyov, Duke, and Hyka) to more than 40 players on the roster. Yet in that short period of time, the Golden Knights front office has a clear method of operation and it’s clearly on display for everyone to see.

I think when you explain what we’re trying to accomplish, why, and how we think it helps us build a better team (guys will buy in). -McPhee

And thus far, they seemingly have. Not only do the Golden Knights have an excellent, potentially Cup contending team, on the ice, but they have one of the cleanest salary caps in the league. Aside from David Clarkson, who they willingly took on to acquire a 1st round draft pick, there is not an albatross contract, there are not players the team is looking to get rid of, and not once has money held up anything the front office wants to get done.

Less than one year ago today, the Golden Knights had not played a single game and thus had no identity. One year later, the same cannot be said, and the identity that’s been established is about as perfect as any NHL team could ever wish for. That may be as impressive a feat as anything the Golden Knights achieved on the ice.

Which is crazy, but true.

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