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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.

SinBin.vegas Podcast #216: Camp Is Underway

The Golden Knights are back on the ice and we’re coming in hot with a bunch of VGK topics from the play on the ice to the talk off it. Hosted by Ken Boehlke and Jason Pothier.

  • Early camp takeaways
  • Dreaming of Pierre-Luc Dubois
  • Tahoe talk
  • Easy path to the Western Conference Final?
  •  Ready to grade the 2017 Draft Class yet?
  • Kids vs AHL vets to win the yo-yo role

And much more…

We are on iTunesStitcher, Spotify, and Google Play. Subscribe now!

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

(Photo Credit: SinBin.vegas Photographer Brandon Andreasen)

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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Season Point Total Projections Against The William Hill Spreads (Plus Division Odds And A VGK Prop)

(Photo Credit: SinBin.vegas Photographer Brandon Andreasen)

New year. New season. New odds!

Hockey season is just two weeks away and our friends at William Hill have you covered with a few different options to bet on the Golden Knights and the NHL. They’ve listed season point totals for all 31 teams, plus division odds, Cup odds, and a special VGK prop for how many points the Golden Knights will amass in the month of January.

Let’s make some picks for the West Division.

Anaheim Ducks
O/U 57.5 Points

The Ducks are stocked full of young talent and have an incredible goaltender. Of all teams in the West Division, they are the one I see as the most volatile. I can see them putting up 65 points and challenging for a playoff spot, and I can also see them struggling for a long stretch and it burying their season. Last year they came up a bit short of a point per game, this year I think they can get there. Pick: OVER 57.5 Points

Arizona Coyotes
O/U 59.5 Points

There was a time last season when it looked like Arizona could win the division. They even made a mega trade to go get Taylor Hall. It kind of all fell apart after that but then the Pause hit, they were gifted a playoff spot, and made the most of it getting a series win. They did it in the most boring way physically possible though and now the most exciting player on that team is in Buffalo. In the end, they are the Coyotes and they always tend to find a way to underwhelm no matter what the expectations are. Pick: UNDER 59.5 Points

Colorado Avalanche
O/U 76.5 Points

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Can Vegas Put Postseason Scoring Drought Behind Them In 2021?

(Photo Credit: SinBin.vegas Photographer Brandon Andreasen)

Over their history, the Golden Knights have scored a total of 877 franchise goals, 738 in the regular season, 139 in the playoffs. In 238 regular season games, Vegas’ average comes out to 3.14 goals scored per game. In all three seasons, Vegas tallied more than the league average, and are ranked 8th in the NHL in goals since their inception.

The big offseason question was can the Golden Knights score enough in year four, and most importantly, in the playoffs?

2017-18: 268 Goals, 3.26 Goals Per Game (Regular Season) 57 Goals, 2.85 Goals Per Game (Playoffs)
2018-19: 246 Goals, 3.00 Goals Per Game (Regular Season) 25 Goals, 3.57 Goals Per Game (Playoffs)
2019-20: 224 goals, 3.15 Goals Per Game (Regular Season) 57 Goals, 2.85 Goals Per Game (Playoffs)

Coming into the Vancouver series, the Golden Knights were on a torrid offensive pace. Three round-robin games and a five-game whooping of the Blackhawks had Vegas scoring at a 3.75 goals per game clip. Then, it hit the skids. In 12 postseason games against Vancouver and Dallas, the #1 seed in the Western Conference averaged only 2.25 goals per game. In the last eight games, they scored just 12 goals or 1.5 per game.

After the season, it was mostly written off publicly by players, coaches, and the office as just a rough patch and a pair of hot goalies The offseason was centered around one major move, though one that should help the team offensively.

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DeBoer Thinks Easy Playoff Path May Have Hindered Golden Knights Chances Last Year

(Photo Credit: SinBin.vegas Photographer Brandon Andreasen)

The Golden Knights are going to get real familiar with a group of seven other teams this season. The new West Division which sees St. Louis, Colorado, and Minnesota replace Edmonton, Calgary, and Vancouver from the Pacific will be the only teams the Golden Knights face this year unless they are fortunate enough to reach the semifinal.

The additions of the Avalanche and the Blues certainly makes the division a bit trickier than it has been each of the past three seasons. Plus, expectations for a bounceback season are certainly there for San Jose and Arizona remains a bit of a wild card which could tighten things up even more. With four spots available in the playoffs, the division sets up well for the Golden Knights to reach the playoffs, but it’s not without its potential hazards.

Speaking on the VGK Insider Show on FOX Sports Radio, head coach Pete DeBoer chose to take a positive approach to taking on the new challenging division. He even harkened back to a storyline he denied in the moment but now sees it may have had some validity.

You don’t have any choice but to look at (the tough division) as a positive, and I actually do. When I look at the bubble and I look at the road Dallas had to the Final they didn’t have an easy series anywhere through. They didn’t win, but it didn’t hurt them that they had to go through some really good teams to keep advancing. And you could argue that we maybe had a little bit of an easier path and it might have hurt us a little bit when we got to a really hardened team. –Pete DeBoer on VGK Insider Show

Playing the 15th and 23rd ranked teams in points percentage certainly aided the Golden Knights in reaching the conference final, but DeBoer may have a point in how it affected his team’s performance against the 10th ranked team in the Stars.

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Introducing VGK Horology

VGK Horology Logo

2020 was a year filled with boredom. Boredom often leads to wacky, ridiculous, completely superfluous ideas. One day during quarantine I become obsessed with the concept of NFLScorigami and trying to find a way to bring it to the game of hockey. Of course, since every score is pretty much somewhere between 1-0 and 10-9, there really weren’t enough scores to do that. So, I looked towards something that has a slightly larger sample size. And that’s where I came to…

Time!

Every time a player scores a goal in a hockey game, the exact time in which that goal is scored is recorded. I thought to myself, I wonder how often goals are scored at the exact same second as other goals. So, like any bored blogger would do, I went back over every single goal in Vegas Golden Knight history to find out. With it came the birth of VGK Horology.

The word “horology” means the study and measurement of time. VGK Horology is the study of when the Vegas Golden Knights score goals.

An NHL hockey game is 60 minutes long, which breaks down to 3,600 seconds. We are counting until a Golden Knight scores on exactly every single one of them. (Well, technically since 20:00, 40:00, and 60:00 are impossible and the first five seconds of each period are incredibly rare, so we have reduced the number to 3,582 seconds.)

Each time a Golden Knight scores on a unique second in the game, the goal is deemed a “Horogoal.” Horogoals are only counted in the regular season and during regulation.

We’ve set up a Twitter account that has been backlogged with every goal ever scored by the Golden Knights (in the regular season) and will be updating it with every goal scored from here on out.

So far there have been 649 Horogoals scored over the first 235 Golden Knights games. That leaves 2,933 more until VGK Horology is complete.

VGK Horology now has it’s own page on the site and will be updated monthly. The Twitter account will be updated following every goal.

Check out the VGK Horology Page for stats, season breakdowns, and the complete log of Horogoals so farVG

Penalty Kill Success In Playoffs Set Up To Continue Into 2020-21 Regular Season

(Photo Credit: SinBin.vegas Photographer Brandon Andreasen)

Every time a coach gets fired special teams seem to be a focal point in evaluating the transition from one coach to the next. The move to go from Gerard Gallant to Pete DeBoer was no different in Vegas.

After the disastrous #NotAMajor penalty kill that ended the 2018-19 season, Gallant’s Golden Knights struggled on the penalty kill in 2019-20 which, at least in small, part led to his release. Vegas killed at just 78.9%, good for 19th in the NHL. When DeBoer came in, the system completely changed, and the results got even worse as the players tried to adapt on the fly. DeBoer’s VGK ended the regular season killing at a miserable 70.7%, worse than all but two teams in the league in that span.

Enter a global pandemic, the pause, the pre-playoff training camp, and a playoff run to the Western Conference Final, and the VGK PK turned elite. The Golden Knights killed at an 85.5% rate in the playoffs, by far the best penalty kill numbers the team has seen in a complete regular or post season.

If the Golden Knights continue to succeed at that rate while playing a man (or two) down, that alone would justify the coaching change. It seems unrealistic, but history shows us that it is possible. Over the past decade, 25 teams have killed at a rate of 85.5% or higher for a full season, including five who did it in the 48-game 2012-12 season.

The Golden Knights return each of their top seven skaters in shorthanded minutes from the dominant penalty-killing postseason. The only main player Vegas is losing is Nate Schmidt, who averaged about 90 seconds a game on the kill, but he’s being replaced with Alex Pietrangelo who should easily be able to fill that void.

Plus, the setup for this season bodes well for DeBoer’s pressure penalty kill. Not only does he get another training camp to further implement the system, but they only have to scout seven opponents as opposed to the normal 30. The decrease in number of unique opponents will allow the coaching staff to hone in on tendencies that should assist the penalty kill even more.

Also, the teams in the division don’t exactly boast electric power plays. Anaheim, LA, and San Jose each finished in the bottom 10 in the NHL last year, while Colorado and Arizona were both below the league average. St. Louis’ was elite, finishing 3rd in the NHL, but their leader in power play points just so happens to be on the Golden Knights now. (Minnesota was decent finishing 10th.)

The shorter the season, the more important a role special teams plays in any team’s success. The Golden Knights stack up well against the division at 5-on-5, but power play and special teams numbers could be the great equalizer. The Vegas power play needs work from last season, but if the penalty kill can continue the success they had in the bubble, this team should be in for a pretty dominant season.

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