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Injuries Aren’t An Excuse, They Were The Plan (And The Plan Failed)

(Photo Credit: SinBin.vegas Photographer Brandon Andreasen)

When the Golden Knights step up to the podium at 9:30am Tuesday to address the media in what is known as “locker-cleanout day,” the most common words that will be used are “injuries” and “health.”

In an attempt to excuse away the worst underachieving season of VGK’s first five, players, coaches, management, and the owner (if he chooses to speak), will point to the enormous number of “man-games lost” by the Golden Knights this season.

On its face, it’s true, the number is monstrous. By my count, the Golden Knights lost 508 games due to injury this season. A number rivaled only by some of the worst teams in the league, Montreal, Arizona, Philadelphia, and Buffalo.

However, that 508 number bothers me, because it’s self-serving. It acts as an excuse for a team that purposely positioned itself to rack up such an insane number.

When the Golden Knights entered the 2021-22 season, they did so with a roster that was nearly $5 million over the salary cap. They were allowed to do this because they came into the year with multiple players unable to play the very first game of the season. Alex Tuch, William Carrier, Nic Roy, and Brett Howden were all unavailable due to injury. In fact, Tuch’s injury dates back to May 2021 and it was well-known throughout the offseason that he would miss at least the first 30 games of the year.

Vegas saw this as an opportunity, not a pitfall. They knew that under the current rules of the CBA they could stash players on long-term injured reserve in order to bolster the roster beyond the allowable $81.5 million salary cap. So, that’s what they did to start the year.

Then, when Mark Stone and Max Pacioretty were sidelined early in the season, they sought out a trade for Jack Eichel, who was injured himself. Once again, in no way could, or would, the Golden Knights ever be able to field a legal roster with what the players they currently had under contract plus Eichel, but with multiple players on the shelf, the opportunity was ripe to continue utilizing LTIR to reinforce the roster.

The trade brought hopes and dreams that one day a roster of Eichel, Stone, Pacioretty, Alex Pietrangelo, William Karlsson, Reilly Smith, Jonathan Marchessault, Robin Lehner, and the rest of the Golden Knights would see the ice togehter and take the NHL by storm. But, it was never possible, or legal, in the regular season. The only way to keep that fantasy alive was to rack up massive numbers of man-games lost.

In many ways, the 508 man-games lost are the only reason the Golden Knights were considered a Cup contender in the first place. Without them, they would have had to trade away nearly $12 million worth of assets, completely shredding the deep roster that had everyone so excited in the first place.

I wanted to find a way to illustrate this concept to show exactly how many man-games the Golden Knights purposely lost based on their willingness to venture deep into the pits of LTIR. And I did it, coming up with a number of 202.

Here’s how I went about the calculations.

  1. HEALTHY SALARY: Add the total salary of the players in the lineup and available as healthy scratches
  2. AVAILABLE CAP: Subtract the salary cap from the total healthy salary number to show how much available room the team had to add players
  3. INJURED SALARY: Add up the total salary of the players unavailable for each game due to injury
  4. AVERAGE SALARY PER INJURED PLAYER: Divide the injured salary by the number of players unavailable to play in the game
  5. GAMES LOST UNDER CAP: Divide the available cap by the salary lost per injured player to show how many of the injured players the team could afford legally under the cap

Ex: Game 77 vs. San Jose

HEALTHY SALARY – $79,178,333
AVAILABLE CAP – $1,559,167
INJURED SALARY – $11,601,667
AVERAGE SALARY PER INJURED PLAYER – $1,933,611 (6 players)
GAMES LOST UNDER CAP – 0.8

Let me explain the thinking behind these calculations. The concept is simple in that at no time during the regular season could the Golden Knights have fielded a roster with all of their injured players. So, I wanted to find a way to show how many of them they could have used had they been healthy and how many they couldn’t.

Obviously, using an average for each player does not exactly maximize the possible usage of the injured players, but it does account for the idea that missing Mark Stone is more significant than missing Nolan Patrick. Of course, with $1.5 million of cap space, Vegas could have used two players making the minimum salary, but they could not use one making $5 million. Using the average kind of walks the line between both.

In the example, you see that in Game 77 the Golden Knights will be credited with six man-games lost. However, they only had a little more than $1.5 million in cap space available, so even if all six players were healthy, only two at league minimum salary could be used. Thus, using the calculation that I felt as the fairest way to illustrate the difference between true man-games lost and salary cap eligible man-games lost, there was a difference of 5.2 games. Vegas could only afford one player (or maybe two) due to cap constraints but will take credit for all six that we unavailable.

I went through and did these calculations for all 82 games. The total number of games the Golden Knights lost due to injury, COVID, or family leave was 508. The salary cap eligible man-games lost was just 306. That’s a difference of 202 games and would take the Golden Knights from having the 6th most in the NHL (behind MTL, ARI, PHI, BUF, and VAN) to 18th.

In 6th, the Golden Knights are in a group of non-playoff teams. In 18th, they are in a group with Tampa Bay, St. Louis, Pittsburgh, Washington, Colorado, and Seattle, and slightly behind Florida. That’s six playoff teams, all of which reached at least 100 points in the standings.

Now, there’s no denying that 306 man-games lost will affect any team and the Golden Knights clearly would have garnered more points in the standings had they not experienced these setbacks. Vegas missed the playoffs by just three points, had it been even 50 games healthier it likely would have made up those points.

Injuries played a factor in the Golden Knights’ demise this season. So did a miserable power play, a leaky defense, average to subpar goaltending, and an inability to score in pressure-packed moments.

Vegas’ front office wanted to be among the league leaders in man-games lost. They did it purposely in an arrogant attempt to exploit the LTIR rules in the regular season and ice a roster well above the legal salary limit in the postseason. Now, as it’s blown up in their faces, they will point to the injuries as a reason for their shortcomings when it’s really a manifestation of their desire to manipulate the system.

The fact is a healthy roster pushing right up against the salary cap for the final nine games of the season mustered up just three wins including a meaningless one after they were eliminated. Despite the purposeful amassing of man-games lost, the team was still alive and well with destiny in their own hands in the final weeks of the season.

This team has problems, lots of them, and simply excusing them away due to astronomical injury numbers is not going to lead to success in the future. Especially when you consider the team purposely brought 40% of the number upon themselves.


For those interested, I’ve attached the calculations to this Google Sheet.

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110 Comments

  1. Herby

    Great analysis!

    It is really important to consider that they had a roster that was way over the cap and that LTIR was part of their plan.

    Bet they will not talk about this fact.

    The worst performance was at the end of the season when the games mattered the most and when they had a team on the ice that was right at the cap.

    If they blame injuries and do not make the necessary changes to fix this team, they will miss the playoffs next season.

    • Chris

      Agreed

    • Pistol Pete

      You already made the “bold” prediction they will miss the playoffs. Why moderate now?

      • THE hockey GOD

        PP I thought the article right said there was no way they would NOT make the playoffs this year ?

        The article is flawed with equations that don’t add up.

        The only thing that matters is the win column. But author forgot to mention
        HOW MANY TIMES THE TEAM WAS FORCED to play short staffed because of being OVER the SAL CAP. I don’t believe they were forced to be short ONCE. Unlike last year when they were forced to be short multiple times.

        So the team ‘wanted’ to be injured, then why didn’t they want to put RL on the injured list at end of season ? This line of thought doesn’t stack up.

        So they wanted to get players injured in first place? They put players out on ice and forced them to get injured ? So they could put them on the injured list? Anyone believe that? I wonder what the player’s union has to say about that !

        Too much in this article to wrap your head around and not come away without shaking your head.

        The bottom line; the tampa bay route failed due to TOO MANY injuries. The next article should say what the NHL is going to do to fix this issue because the whole SAL CAP “thing” was never fully thought out in first place. Sort of like global cooling (1970s), then opps that didn’t work out Global warming (1990s), opps when Al Gore’s prediction of east and west coast being under 5 feet of water didn’t happen another oppsy. Climate change- well the climate has been changing for billions of years, and the main driver is energy / sun spots from the sun. Now they are calling it local temperature variations. Fake science. Enough already !

        • knights fan in minny

          the hockey dunce what does climate change have to do with this hockey article are you running for office i forgot you just like to babble

          • THE hockey GOD

            minny the analogy obviously went over your head

            neither the sal cap or climate change BS are fully thought out.

            DEAL WITH IT
            and your welcome because I spent he time to educate you.

            have a nice day

        • STEPHANIE

          Cmon you cant be that stupid can you ?

        • Daryl

          They couldn’t put RL on the LTIR…. and he was only worth $5m. Who would they have brought off? Smith would have been ready as soon as the playoffs started, only reason he was still on LITR was because they couldn’t take him off.

          As for playing short for Cap reasons, they didn’t need to because they used LITR to make room.

          Face it, you disagree with the article simply because it doesn’t fit your narrative you been crying about all season…. VGK lost because of injuries

        • J

          Love it when idiots rail against science and don’t even know how to spell “oops.”

        • Gnar

          You really struggled to understand the article. It is not pointing out that those injuries didn’t matter, its talking about how if those injuries didn’t exist, they wouldn’t have been able to play those players anyway because they were up against the cap. That’s what that calculation is looking at. It blew up in their face, and now they have to figure out how to move players out this offseason. Really no space to add unless you can dump a lot of people. Its a mess that they created, and they are trying to use it as an excuse. Well they got what was coming, and will be interesting to see what they do to get under the cap next year.

          • Daryl

            thg doesn’t want to believe it which is why he refuses to see it…. if he acknowledge those facts, e won’t be able to use them as excuses

    • Dean

      I don’t think they can make the necessary changes. They need to shed salary and all this does is make a faulty roster more depleted next year. They have no room to go out and spend to plug the holes. The antics done this year by management and coaching (I think DeBoer was in on the plan as well) will handicap this team for at least 2-3 years (when our lack of prospects and draft picks will bite us in the ass)

      • THE hockey GOD

        Dean I agree with first part on difficulty aspect of moving players, more like imagination required. Also, being able to talk to other GMs and get a good deal is unlikely because Mcphee fleeced so many other teams during the initial draft with so many shrewd part. However, McCrimmon tempers that because he is more well liked around the league.

        If they can move people and make deals, kudos to them.

        The one thing I hate that GMs do is always trade away next years draft pick for this year. That ploy works because there is always a next year draft pick to trade.

        • knights fan in minny

          the only thing you need to educate is the moron you see when you look in the mirror you know him the hockey dunce

          • THE hockey GOD

            go stalk someone else, loser in minny

        • STEPHANIE

          He is NOT more liked ..hahahaha

      • Dean,

        I agree with your comments. The fact we only have 18 players singed and we are 500,000 over the cap is a major problem. Most likely LB at 2.325 million is gone and everyone is speculating #63 at 5 million will be gone. I think #63 was the main reason we were in the playoff hunt but at 5 million he might be the odd man out. But who knows maybe someone will start the year on LTIR.

        • THE hockey GOD

          VGK fan
          funny how Boris badanov was trashed through out the season as GMGM failure and now we have people standing up for him!

          keep up the keen observations.

        • Dean

          I keep hearing LB is gone. I also hear people mention Lehner and Karlsson a lot. However, trading players not worth their salary is going to be a very tough task (especially if we don’t retain any salary). Just look at how bad the deal voided with Anaheim was for us and Dadonov is worth more than any of these other players. I think Reilly Smith is definitely gone (unless he takes a huge hometown discount) and we’ll likely have to trade someone like Marchy or Theodore as well.

  2. Chris William

    Yeh I think you are right. managing a professional NHL team is prepping for losing top players to injury but still keeping enough cap space or enough quality players in farm system to bring quality players to make up for injuries .
    They “family” organization turned into a crime family unwilling to show loyalty or keep their integrity. This was the most awful front office job I have ever seen and it completely destroyed a core that had legs and diehard fan support for what once was, for 2.5 years, the greatest expansion team in history.

  3. Pistol Pete

    The overriding point imo and one the bashers will downplay is the impact (ie. the lack of it ) of the late season return of Pacioretty and Stone, their overall lack of effectiveness (Stone in particular remains injured) and chemistry. Thanks for the time spent on a creative analysis Ken but part of your premise is fodder for the bashers lol!

    • Pistol Pete

      Ok I’ll substitute “naysayers” or “detractors” for “bashers” if it makes them less defensive lol (I get it they are actually “fans”). Look, injuries especially Pacioretty and Stone killed the season. This is not complicated. Any strategy to deploy an over-the-cap powerhouse in the postseason came to an ignominious end with the late season ineffectiveness of the still injured Pacioretty and Stone.

      • THE hockey GOD

        i will take “Bashers”, naysayers,but detractors no. How about nattering nabob of negativism ? Lots of nattering nabobs in the room !!

      • Daryl

        The fact is, everything Ken wrote in his article has some truth to it. Should Patches and Stone have stayed on LITR? If they aren’t 100% or whatever percentage they are is not effective, then maybe they should have stayed. But the team didn’t lose (fail to make playoffs) for anyone specific period of time, it was an accumulation of periods which caused this year’s failure.

        What I don’t understand from you is why every article that isn’t positive or go as you like, its nothing more than an article for bashers. If the article is in favor of your views, then you say you agree with the article. It’s like it has to be your view or its wrong. You sound very familiar to The Hockey Goof in his way of thinking

    • PP,

      Just because someone doesn’t share you opinion doesn’t make them a basher. I think it is fair to say if #61 wasn’t healthy and he clearly wasn’t just my opinion and he was hurting the team not helping then that’s on the coach or management not to play him.

      Maybe I’m wrong but its management and the coaches job to give the team the best chance to win. The people on this site are all VGK fans to call them bashers is insulting when all they want is the best for the team. I’ve been a season ticket holder for 4 years and attend over 40 games each year and I still have 2 years on my contract. I’m at every game cheering my ass for this team with my young boys and I will continue to do the same. I spent he drive home consoling my 8 who was crying on the drive home after our tough loss to SJ.

      Just know just because our opinion doesn’t always support PDB or Management doesn’t mean we are bashers it simply implies we care.

      • VGK Fan with all due respect if you go back and read my posts I walk the basher term back a bit offering naysayer or detractor instead and conceding they can be fans at the same time. I was reacting to Herby’s post where he sounds all the world like a lurker who is not a fan. He/she may well insist he/she is. Bear in mind one can be a basher, as in bashing the VGK management or ownership, and be a fan at the same time.

        “a person who criticizes someone or something severely”

        https://dictionary.cambridge.org/us/dictionary/english/basher

        • Pistol Pete,

          Sorry, but they were your words “the bashers”. I read Herby’s post mostly facts and one opinion his prediction for next year. Unless I’m missing something I saw nothing that was out of line.

          No need to walk it back if that is how you fell about the rest of us on this website we all have opinions and if they don’t support management like everyone of your post we are bashers. I guess I miss the positive Pistol Pete.

          To my fellow posters on this website I really enjoy reading your post while I don’t agree with all of them always they reflect what appear to be honest opinions of fans who care not bashers.

          Keep posting we are not puppets of the coach or management team. Thank you Gladom, Richie Rich, Blitz, Julie, Minny, Daryl, HD Biker, Frank S., Herby, TS, Tim and even THG for giving your honest opinions.

          • STEPHANIE

            Excellent ! Thats what i feel .You can love and support the team and be a fan and not like what the FO or organization or coaches are doing .It happens ALL THE TIME

  4. Pistol Pete

    I am in the camp that favored acquiring Eichel to fill the void of elite C. Imo this analysis downplays the importance to the FO of making the acquisition. By necessity Eichel joined the roster on LTIR because he required surgery. The acquisition can be debated on it’s own merit. I respect that. As I said I favor it.

    Stone’s freakin’ back was tweaked all the way back to the 2020-21 postseason and not getting better entering 2021-22. Due to this he became LTIR bound plain and simple. The LTIR stuff, the PP and anything else aside, the fate of the season came down to one thing and one thing only. Mark Stone and his back.

  5. Galdom

    Ken, thanks for not being a shill for this organization. This article is on point and 100% accurate. The question now are how are they going to fix this going forward.

    • Gladom,

      You are spot on correct! Unfortunately this site does have one shill for management and PDB.

      He has a right to his opinions but he doesn’t need to call the people who post on here that are not shills bashers. The individuals who are not the shills are the true VGK fans we call a spade a spade when we see it.

  6. Galdom

    Pistol Pete, I’m sorry that Ken didn’t lie and tell you that everything would be okay. The team did this to themselves.

    Again Ken, thanks for telling the truth, I’m a fan and will keep reading your stuff.

    Pistol Pete, Ken didn’t provide any fodder for bashers as you state, he just told the truth about what happened, the failed plan.

    • Galdom I did not mean Ken puposefully provided “fodder for the bashers” nor do I mean that in an extremely derogatory way. By fodder I just mean readers who tend to be more realistic than optimistic (I admit basher is probably too strong a word but does not Herby above sound like one?) will look at Ken’s analysis and conclude Stone’s back injury which began last postseason, Pacioretty’s recurring injuries and the move to acquire an elite C in the injured Eichel is all part of some grand scheme devised to exploit the postseason LTIR loophole. My own view is that it’s some kind of blend. Yes, they knew if they could delay bringing LTIR players back until the postseason they would have an edge but it did not even work out that way did it? They were forced to bring an injured Stone back in a last ditch attempt to make the playoffs. It did not work because he is still injured. This story began with Stone’s injury dating back to last season, Pacioretty’s early in the season and that Eichel was available. One of the differences I have with Ken is I favored the Eichel acquisition and he did not. Imo acquiring Eichel underpins the whole thing and LTIR was just a sideshow to the injuries themselves. The injuries DID prevent the team from making the playoffs. Everyone seems to agree on that. If that is the argument there is none,

      • So Galdom, the “plan” was that Stone would be injured most of the season? Does not make a lot of sense, like it’s worth risking the regular season in having your best player sidelined to create LTIR. That Eichel was acquired and was placed on LTIR was unavoidable given the decision to acquire him. If Stone became 100% healthy (which imo the FO preferred so they could make the postseason) they have to trade Smith and Dadonov to get within sight of the cap and today’s debate is moot.

        In all due respect to Ken’s work which I admire and is spot on most of the time, I find the notion the team exploited LTIR convoluted. Obviously when the rules permit the team to use LTIR relief in topping off the roster, most teams probably do it and that is mostly what the VGK did. We all agree if the team can make the playoffs without key players on LTIR then the rules allow those players to play the postseason over the cap if it can be shown their injury did not permit them to play earlier–this can be viewed with some justification as exploitation of the LTIR rules even if it is not against them. That never happened though because Stone was brought back injured to salvage the regular season and the move failed.

        Ken wrote:

        “Vegas’ front office wanted to be among the league leaders in man-games lost. They did it purposely in an arrogant attempt to exploit the LTIR rules in the regular season and ice a roster well above the legal salary limit in the postseason. Now, as it’s blown up in their faces, they will point to the injuries as a reason for their shortcomings when it’s really a manifestation of their desire to manipulate the system.”

        I do not think the FO had any desire to lead the league in man games lost, they simply had injuries and were putting the players on LTIR who qualified for it. You put eligible players on LTIR and use the relief–standard practice in the industry.

        He further wrote:

        “The fact is a healthy roster pushing right up against the salary cap for the final nine games of the season mustered up just three wins including a meaningless one after they were eliminated. Despite the purposeful amassing of man-games lost, the team was still alive and well with destiny in their own hands in the final weeks of the season.”

        The fact is they were NOT a healthy roster especially Stone who never came close to looking like himself getting a mere 1 G and 1 A in 9 games, nine games critical to the season’s outcome–nine games, the theory that said he would be kept on LTIR until the postseason, said he would not play in the first place.

        • THE hockey GOD

          ” do not think the FO had any desire to lead the league in man games lost, they simply had injuries and were putting the players on LTIR who qualified for it. You put eligible players on LTIR and use the relief–standard practice in the industry.” I agree, but they didn’t lead the league in man games lost, they were in top three. I think the play of 61 and 67 and 23 showed at end of season that they were not ready to perform as they did before and came back too early. So any one saying they kept them on IR longer than needed to avoid SAL CAP issues completely misses the point that three players SHOULD have stayed on IR even longer. Can’t have it both ways, folks.

      • Duckboy

        I don’t agree. Injuries didn’t prevent the team from making the playoffs, lack of roster depth did. Look no further than the kings in the playoffs.

        Also look at the last 9 games with everyone back.

        Where does that come from? The fo dealing away players that have potential at a lesser cost.

        And if they knew stones back was bad and they knew patches is made of paper mache their answer was to trade away more potential and make the roster even more top heavy?

        I mean if we stay steady state here with fo and coach huge risk to miss the playoffs again.

        • THE hockey GOD

          duck boy , i am getting to like your posts more and more

          “I don’t agree. Injuries didn’t prevent the team from making the playoffs, lack of roster depth did. Look no further than the kings in the playoffs.” I agree, I have said as much before.

          “Also look at the last 9 games with” everyone back.” well technically not every one, Smith , hague, howden out. RL was well.. MIA.

          “Where does that come from? The fo dealing away players that have potential at a lesser cost.” Fair enough, don’t know what you mean by “lesser cost”.

          And if they knew stones back was bad and they knew patches is made of paper mache their answer was to trade away more potential and make the roster even more top heavy?>>yep.

          I mean if we stay steady state here with fo and coach huge risk to miss the playoffs again.>>I’d give them six months into new season and see what off season personnel changes are made.

    • Gladom,

      Well said totally agree with your comments!

  7. Cass

    It’s the ugly plain truth that some fans do not want to hear but in reality the FO tried to do their best Tampa impersonation and failed miserably. This team should not have compared itself to Tampa because 1. Julian Brisbois isn’t the GM and 2. They do not have Nikita Kucherov to hide on LTIR.
    Facts are these. I didn’t want to believe by getting Eichel the team was trying to manipulate the cap but the more I thought about it the more sense it made that it was the plan all along. Tuch was going to miss 1/3 of the season we knew this already. Team is straddled against cap space already so why not trade for a player that was injured and give the team more cap space? Also think about this. Team has been saying they needed a 1C in the lineup. Had one and traded him to Montreal. Had a pretty serviceable 2C in Stastny. Traded him to make room for Pietrangelo who this team kind of didn’t need. Still no 1C. Traded MAF and instead of signing Danault that is now in the playoffs they signed LB and Dadadov .The FO never addressed the need for 1C and felt they could do that if they traded for Eichel while creating much needed cap space throughout the season. A somewhat healthy roster who had their fate in their own hands cannot go 0-17 in shootouts the last three games when it mattered most and yet they did. 95M payroll in the end buys you dinner at Delilah’s and a first round exit.

  8. You did the work I was itching to see. I’ve been having back and forths with the “cheerleaders” of this franchise that spew the FO corporate garbage and call it a day. The ONLY reason why the team had so many man-games lost was because of themselves and how they designed “cheating” the Cap this year. For this alone the FO should be on their way out.

    Thank you for not being like other VGK media that just parrots whatever line the org has given them. It’s time to hold this org accountable and it’s only when we tell the truth that changes can and should be made.

  9. Chessspirit

    For almost two years i read all the comments but i don’t write any.
    I am writing today to thank Ken for his increvable work and having the courage to speak the truth.
    If VGK lies to themselves about the problems they have, they will continue to sink. VGK must be aware of the mistakes made and deal with them immediately.
    Go Knights Go !
    A french fan

  10. Anyways let’s see how the press conference goes. As Ken so aptly put it:

    “When the Golden Knights step up to the podium at 9:30am Tuesday to address the media in what is known as “locker-cleanout day,” the most common words that will be used are “injuries” and “health.”

    “In an attempt to excuse away the worst underachieving season of VGK’s first five, players, coaches, management, and the owner (if he chooses to speak), will point to the enormous number of “man-games lost” by the Golden Knights this season.”

    “On its face, it’s true, the number is monstrous. By my count, the Golden Knights lost 508 games due to injury this season. A number rivaled only by some of the worst teams in the league, Montreal, Arizona, Philadelphia, and Buffalo.”

    When the Golden Knights step up to the podium at 9:30am Tuesday to address the media in what is known as “locker-cleanout day,” the most common words that will be used are “injuries” and “health.”

    In an attempt to excuse away the worst underachieving season of VGK’s first five, players, coaches, management, and the owner (if he chooses to speak), will point to the enormous number of “man-games lost” by the Golden Knights this season.

    “On its face, it’s true, the number is monstrous. By my count, the Golden Knights lost 508 games due to injury this season. A number rivaled only by some of the worst teams in the league, Montreal, Arizona, Philadelphia, and Buffalo.”

    On this we do not agree:

    “However, that 508 number bothers me, because it’s self-serving. It acts as an excuse for a team that purposely positioned itself to rack up such an insane number.”

    I just don’t get how having real injuries and putting them on LTIR is self-serving. The biggest injury salary entering the season was Tuch who was later traded away for Eichel. Eichel inflated the injury days but that was not by design unless one believes he was acquired to inflate the injury days vs. his asset as a player.

    Again the pivotal point to the season was Stone. He has a bad back and the team had trouble making the playoffs without him. Pacioretty too. We now know based on his performance the last nine games of the season he was not likely to be a difference maker in the postseason anyways. Personally I think the FO knew this all along. Stone had a nagging long term injury and there was a good chance he would be ineffective in the playoffs. If so their concern proved out.

  11. THE hockey GOD

    more changes coming, from VGK web site

    foley-family-wines-elevates-experience-at-t-mobile-arena

    • ThG, do you know if the PC will be broadcast live? Tia.

      • THE hockey GOD

        PP
        you read my mind, I have been looking. I am listening to 98.8 right now.

        But the national show is on. I could not find it. IT may be on VGK website, or their youtube or facebook site. Those are my next sources to look.

        Maybe twitter too ? But I don’t know is simple response to your post. Maybe someone else does know for sure.

  12. Galdom

    Respectfully Pistol Pete and THG, I guess we will have to agree to disagree on this one, which ofcourse is perfectly fine. I’m with Ken 100% on that article.

    I enjoyed watching some playoff hockey yesterday but I have to admit that I would prefer watching Vegas and being stressed out especially when they have overtime playoff games. Lol

    • THE hockey GOD

      ” being stressed out especially…” Galdom, take care of yourself ! I like to drink that kombucha peach/pineapple tea that always gets sold out in a NY minute at Costco. Probably because people like me buy them off the shelf. Does anyone here every agree on anything 100% of time.

      I didn’t watch the NHL games last nite, I rotated channels and kept on with scores (binge watching Ozark, which is sort of becoming predictable and mechanical, not impressed so far with second season of last season. But I am not done yet) . I sort of expected some of the results. But the series is long. I am not a hater of MAF playing last nite, like someone suggested. When a player leaves the VGK I sort of tune them out until when they play a game against VGK.

      • knights fan in minny

        something we could have lived without knowing you like watching ozarks and drinking some fruity drink

    • Pistol Pete

      Galdom I fail to see how you can’t agree on Stone. I believe they knew going into the Eichel acquisition
      they were potentially looking at a very long term injury or at the very least not expecting him to return to being a difference maker during the postseason. Also that they would need him and Pacioretty to even make the playoffs. This shoots down the LTIR postseason exploitation strategy. Explain how putting players on LTIR benefited the regular season as it did not and in fact made it nearly impossible to develop the chemistry necessary to make the postseason. In listening to the podcasts and Goalie Interference Ken made clear his belief he suspected a TBL play for the postseason. That seemed reasonable until come the homestretch when it became clear they needed a full and healthy roster just to make the playoffs. Now it’s clear the FO always knew it.

      • Daryl

        You don’t understand it because simply because you want to see it differently. That’s not a knock on you but when you are always being positive and not seeing the other side, that’s what happens. Stone couldn’t come off LITR unless others went on it. Same with Patches. VGK probably thought they could get enough points to make the playoffs. When that was in doubt, they probably felt Stone was healthy enough that he could help the team win. VGK put others on LITR in order to bring him off. Problem is, he wasn’t healthy enough to boost the team. Smith would have been available at the start of the playoffs which tells me he was healthy enough to come off LITR before the end of the season but there wasn’t enough Cap space and they had nobody else to put on LITR. If there was a way to get Smith in the games, I think VGK makes the playoffs. If all those players were eligible when playoff time started, nobody would be questioning what VGK was doing, they all would know exactly what they were doing. Unfortunately, VGK didn’t make the playoffs so 100% we won’t know what their plans were, but looking at it from the outside in, it looks like the tried to pull a TBL but it failed.

  13. mcart

    changing the 2-1-2 forecheck system from last season that allowed the fewest goals against, to this season’s 1-3-1 trap disaster is reason #1 to fire PDB.

    the refusal to admit the failure of his incompetent SJ buddy Spott, and then to finally replace him running the PP late in the season after it was too late, and then pretend it wasn’t a change, is reason #2.

    losing games to pisspoor non playoff teams 17 times, including many at home, is totally unacceptable and cost them a playoff spot.

    Notice that NONE of this has to do with injuries. Ken is right. it will be used as an excuse….hell it already has been used over and over by every pollyanna front office shill on this board.

    bottom line is this…if they just bring back the same cast and crew and the shitshow returns for another season, the response will be APATHY about the Vgk, and that is worse than criticism. When no one cares any longer, THEN you have a real problem Foley. Don’t listen to the Lawless shills who are paid to piss on the fans and tell them it’s raining.

    changes need to be made in 3 key positions, GM coach and goalie.

    the team needs to get younger, bigger, faster, hungrier and cheaper.

    Replicate season #1 misfit chemistry and attitude….and dump season #5 snooty, haughty, spoiled, lazy, overpaid, overbabied, and overgoldbricked attitude.

    3 major changes would be a real good start.

    but I predict that they will change very little, and that this season will be a rerun again next year. Excuses and Apathy will win out.

    • Pistol Pete

      An ineffective or absent Stone and Pacioretty played no part in losing those 17 games?

      So the 2-1-2 vs. 1-3-1 forecheck formation in the Dzone, your claim on the transition is accurate? It sounds like a potentially legitimate criticism but does it hold true when the coach is running the practices and do all successful teams simply run the 2-1-2 with no variations? I’m open to learning, but with all due respect not sure on the authenticity of the lesson being given.

      • The reason we saw so many odd man rushes against is a direct result of the system. I don’t recall in VGK history giving up so many odd man breaks (2-1, 1-0’s etc.). We had a great system the season prior that gave up the fewest goals in the league (not to mention better goaltending by both goaltenders). The system 1-3-1 obviously did not work and has to be one of the first things to go (coaching). PP and PK are atrocious and need to be fixed too (again coaching). We have the talent, just need to put them in the right position to succeed.

      • Daryl

        Other teams were without major players and still won…. you can’t use Stone and Patches as excuses.

    • How will they get “younger, bigger, faster, hungrier and cheaper”? They have fat long term contracts for lots of older guys. The guys anyone else would be interested in like Theodore or Stephenson are the younger faster guys on good contracts. They will have to package even more picks and prospects if they want unload guys like Karlson, Lehner, or Dadanov (who was one of the BETTER players to end the season).

    • THE hockey GOD

      11 3 trap system
      if you watched the games in second half of season, or last month you would have seen that they were trying but not executing the 11 3

      system, most of the time they were flailing in their own zone and couldn’t get the puck out, losing battles along the boards, giving up the puck, passing the puck to players on the other team. For all practical purposes they hardly played the 1 1 3 at all.

  14. This is great analysis and spot on evidence that KM should be fired if in fact he was using the LTIR to manage the CAP in an unethical way. Of course, guys like Gary Lawless are going to call bullshit on this and say it isn’t true. I point to Reilly Smith and Laurent Brossoit as two players who might have been part of the manipulation. Martinez might have been another. Sure, he took a deep slash but that injury would have healed quickly.

    30 minutes to the presser.

    I am hoping that KM and PDB will be packing their bags. Likely not, but I can hope.

    • Pistol Pete

      You’re right Gary Lawless would disagree with the assertion players were falsely put on LTIR to use the relief to stay under the cap to first activate Eichel and later Stone? I would side with Lawless. Stone was still injured so it’s not as though it mattered.

    • THE hockey GOD

      RR
      the fact that they didn’t do shit when they came back is a testimony to their injuries and that they came back too soon

      nattering
      nabob of
      positivism

  15. Ken,

    Great article the individuals who have made excuses all year because of the man games lost look kind of silly. But I’m sure they will find new excuses. Everyone knows who they are the two puppets for management who like to take shots at MAF and GG and the second and third seasons VGK.

    • Pistol Pete

      The health of Stone and Pacioretty had zero to do with this season’s outcome. Not.

      Cap manipulation using LTIR is the biggest excuse of them all!

      • VGK Fan

        “I want to be clear that I am very disappointed we didn’t reach the playoffs. I believe we could have and we should have. We had it in our control and we lost to teams we shouldn’t have. That’s on us.” -McCrimmon

        These are McCrimmon’s words no excuses from him!

  16. Tim

    Ken overall good article but to tell you the truth I didn’t get some of the concept to many numbers for me to digest. Stats have never been my thing and referring to players by there number not name again doesn’t work for me. In all my 70 years of watching sports I’ve always watched the player and rarely remember there number.
    On another note as I’ve been telling you we need Joel Quenneville as coach for how long now well low and behold yesterday I read an article he wants to coach again. The article also said there was a lot of interest for his services surprise surprise. Sometimes you have to think out of the box not take the company line.

    • THE hockey GOD

      quenneville is black listed, he will never coach again in NHL

      • Tim

        THG, Never say never I’m just telling you yesterdays news and I always believe where there’s smoke there’s fire.
        Your all back on the Lehner story give it a rest. We all know they lied about his condition and we have no idea after surgery if he’ll be any good next year or if he’ll even be on the team.

        • THE hockey GOD

          “We all know they lied about his condition ”
          I’d like to hear what RL has to say about this, I won’t believe anything from fake news until I hear it directly from RL and his doctors, and time frame that is verified against the news line.

      • Original 6 ✅

        where did u get your list from. lol. the commissioner already said if he wanted to coach again he will have to talk to him . That comment by him alone says your not black listed Hell evander Kane playing and there’s even worse behavior by players & coaches. Stan bowman was first to be told then president of operations. then Q who just finished beating Sharks to go to Hawks first finals in over 5 0 years so his focus was that. not a practice squad player 6’3 200 lbs accusation. and the accuse was let go ! then 11 years later it brought up by individual.

      • STEPHANIE

        He is already going to ask to be reinstated

  17. Daniel

    PDB demands that all players attempt to block all shots all the time. It’s an unbreakable rule of the VGK with PDB. How many injuries (Patchy’s hand) were a direct result of blocking shots?

    • THE hockey GOD

      @daniel, yeah the theodore shot to head of krebs was worst one of all.

      Oh wait, does that count as a blocked shot ?!?

    • Jeff

      Great comment, yea don’t block shots guys because you might get injured….brilliant…

  18. THE hockey GOD

    “I’d love the opportunity to have a chance to work with a healthy group here and see what we can accomplish. But that’s for other people to decide,” DeBoer said after Friday’s morning skate. “At the end of a season, there’s an evaluation of everybody, and decisions are made. You’re either part of the problem or you’re part of the solution. We’ll see what those results come out as.”

    • STEPHANIE

      Gag .Its hard i know to admit mistakes & your flaws but being humble and implementing actual real change gets far more respect and admiration than shirking blame elsewhere..it also usually gets better results than doing ZERO

    • JoeInHendo

      DeBoer revealed his hand, and it was just as I had previously theorized. DeBoer and McCrimmon are using Eichel as an insurance policy to keep their jobs at least until next season. If Eichel did well towards the end of the season, McC and PDB look good bringing him in. If Eichel fared poorly, PDB and McC could whine to Foley to give them a chance to show what they can do next year with a healthy Eichel (basically what PDB just did in this press conference). McC and PDB are incompetents just trying to save their own selves, all while shitting all over the fans in doing so. DeBoer is truly a “clown” as Coach Gallant so famously tagged him.

  19. Great article. It was obvious to anyone that Vegas was trying to copy Tampa but on a grander scale. The 508 games lost also includes Eichel who they knew wouldn’t play until Feb when they got him, so those games dont really count. Stones back may end his career or hinder him long term (anyone remember Mario Lemieux’s back? ) . This is a team with most of its core near or over 30 years old. Its never going to have low games lost to injury so another excuse is needed. With lots of long term contracts for players well into their 30s Vegas better win soon, they dont have much in the prospect pool!

  20. THE hockey GOD

    Said the way he views it as a coach is that if you can play you are “healthy.” He regrets using that term.

    Added that he wouldn’t have started Lehner is he thought he was compromised.

    • THE hockey GOD

      the fact remained that he didn’t “start” RL, he was dressed as a back up, with perhaps no intent of putting him in game ? Perhaps he means “start” as being dressed regardless of if start of game goalie or as back up goalie. English language is not too clear some times !

    • STEPHANIE

      Lie .i could see he wasnt 100% and i wasnt standing right there .keep drinking the kool aid bud

      • THE hockey GOD

        @ stephanie, you realize you are responding to quotes from the press conference today. I am just posting them, they are not my opinion. Sorry that wasn’t made clear to you in first place

  21. THE hockey GOD

    I asked if Pete was surprised when he found out that Lehner was going to be out for the season following the Washington game. He paused for a while, and then said “nothing surprises me anymore.”

    a better question perhaps was why was it reported that RL had season ending surgery on friday, miraculous recovered, only to have season ending surgery on his shoulder a few short days later without playing or practicing at any time during this time frame?

    • Daryl

      Weren’t you the one who called BS on the season ending injury stating that RL would be back on Sunday?

  22. Jeff

    This is the stupidest article you’ve written yet. Put the team on the ice that was on the ice at the end of the season trying to gel in a playoff run, plus add in a healthy Stone and tell me that team doesn’t make the playoffs. It’s really that simple.

    The team that was on the ice at the end of the season was cap compliant. It was probably one of the top 5 deepest lineups in the league. They were rolling out 3 lines that were all deadly and really could create mismatches. Give that team 20 games to get some cohesion and then tell me they don’t make the playoffs.

    You can try to downplay the injury situation all you want but the biggest factor of all the man games lost was not the fact they lost all those game to injury but WHO they lost. 3 out of the top 6 forwards/2 out of the top 4 defense and the two starting goaltenders.

    • from medieval to mediocre

      you mean the team that lost to the NJ Devils? at home? the team that lost twice to Van in one week of playoff run, and 17 times to non playoff stiffs? or the team that lost 3 straight in shootouts with zero goals in 17 chances?

      and did you see Stone skating? there is NO WAY that you can be confident that he could ever again be the old Stone after watching him gingerly hobbling around and giving about 20% effort. an injury to his back that occurred with NO contact at all.

      winning a meaningless game AFTER they were eliminated simply underscores the fact that they choked under pressure.

      • STEPHANIE

        Honestly has anyone thought that Stone will NEVER be Stone again and they are stuck with that salary?

    • Yup and we got a glimpse of that team vs. the Blues in a game where the Blues entered the game incentivized to gain home ice in the playoffs.

      • VGK Fan

        Yes, they showed up and played hard for a meaningless game and stuffed there stat sheets to finish the season by winning 4 of there last 11 games.

        I thought they also looked really good against the Avs in the Exhibition game on October 4th winning 7-4 probably there best meaningless game win.

    • Blitz

      Is your last name McCrimmon? Jeff McCrimmon? Or are you associated by marriage, so different last name?

      They lost to NJ who went 1-9 for the last 10 games of the year. NJ was thankful they played VGK cause otherwise they would have been 0-10 to finish the season.

      If only the would have gelled more they could have beat the sharks and possible even the world champion blackhawks.

      • Galdom

        Oh my God. I actually fact checked that. It’s true that the Devils only won One of their last nine games and it was against Vegas. They weren’t even trying to win and they beat Vegas. My goodness was the VGK ever shit this year even when healthy!! Wow!

      • Blitz,

        That’s funny I also had no idea NJD was that bad at the end of the season. Poor RL, I think he is still looking for where the puck went on that one goal.

      • Pistol Pete

        Lehner lost that one, right? It’s hard to believe PDB started him. That was a blunder given that Lehner looked injured in earlier games. Didn’t we speculate Lehner must have been insisting he was well enough to play essentially misleading the coach?

        • VGK Fan

          I think that was just you. LT deserved to start the game not sure what PDB was thinking he was clearly wrong.

    • Daryl

      Someone seems a little upset. Don’t you just hate legit articles that don’t conform to your ideas!!! This was a great article and it showed what a lot of us have said all year long in regards to the number of games lost to injuries. It’s easy to add up numbers for injured players knowing full well that you wouldn’t even have those injured players on the roster if they weren’t injured

  23. Well Ken you out did yourself again. People just have a difficult time dealing with the truth and their rebuttals to your analysis (not exactly scientific but it did provide a point of reference whether people like it or not) proves that once again. There is no question that injuries had a bearing on the performance of this team whether real or manufactured for the purpose of manipulating the cap situation. I don’t recall reading you suggested there were no real injuries you only pointed out how they were used and the subsequent result. There is no reason to take a million guy out of the lineup when it takes a couple of five million comply. The problem is the lack of integrity and creditability this organization has – they lie when the truth (which is always the case) would be a better answer. They got caught with their hand in the cookie and failed.

    • THE hockey GOD

      “their hand in the cookie”
      was it an orea cookie, a macaroon, or one of those big white/black cookies
      from Seinfeld that makes everyone sick when they eat it ?

  24. Galdom

    Ken, not only are you not a shill, you’re also not overly critical of the team and management either. You are simply fair and truthful.

  25. Good luck to Gerard Gallant tonight as his NYR battle my Penguins!

    • the Hockey God

      they had a spat of bad ice to deal with at start of OT, bad ice that really didn’t exist. Too much water on ice, the officials opted to wait for water to
      evaporate instead of getting squeegee’s out.

  26. “I want to be clear that I am very disappointed we didn’t reach the playoffs. I believe we could have and we should have. We had it in our control and we lost to teams we shouldn’t have. That’s on us.” -McCrimmon

    Thanks for an honest response Kelly.

    • the Hockey God

      yes he’s an upfront guy, I sat next to him during the rookie tournies. Very down to earth, easy to talk too. A regular guy.

      • JoeInHendo

        Yeah, a down-to-earth regular guy who couldn’t GM his way out of a wet paper bag.

  27. Daryl

    I’m a little late to the party, but this is a VERY good write up. Some of us have stated something similar several times (not in as much detail). The excuse of injuries is an excuse for not having a great season, but it’s not an excuse for having a season as bad as they did.

    Your article will probably piss off VGK FO and those on here who like to point to the total number of injuries and games lost to injures…. they know who they are

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