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Unnecessary Preseason Game 1 Thoughts

If you’re looking for obvious notes from yesterday’s 9-4 victory including Hat-Trick Tyler Wong and Tallying Tomas Hyka, then move right along. If you’re looking for Ken predicting the future, click here or here.Tallying Tomas Hyka? But if you are looking for some hard-hitting, in-depth, analysis of the most important game in Golden Knights history, you’ve come to the right place.

Who needs a Captain?

George McPhee suggested last week the organization leans towards three alternate captains. That sorta came true Sunday, as two veterans were awarded the A. 32-year-old Clayton Stoner, and 23-year-old Griffin Reinhart played the role of VGK’s early preseason generals. Likely just a case of “somebody had to do it,” more than anything, but it definitely further cements the case that there won’t be a C on any Golden Knights jersey come October 6th.

The Kid’s Table

When the Golden Knights released their roster for Vancouver, I immediately felt bad for Stoner and Reinhart. McPhee and Gerard Gallant both mentioned Saturday, the preseason game would mainly feature young, system players. Stoner and Reinhart are veterans fighting for NHL spots. I’m sure the trip to Vancouver felt like a demotion. Possibly, the Golden Knight’s were ‘showcasing’ the defensemen for other teams, but even that feels like a stretch on the word showcase. In reality though, it means they are at the bottom of the VGK defensive log-jam totem pole.

Shea-H-L?

The Golden Knights’ prized defenseman played a major role in Vancouver. Shea Theodore led the Golden Knights with six shots and 23:12 TOI. The “Dilemma” continues to create headaches for the front office. But if you’re nit-picking, Theodore did spend four minutes in the sin bin. His third-period delay of game penalty put Vancouver on a two-man advantage. Canucks prospect Brock Boeser, took advantage and registered his second tally of the game.

Like I said, these are minor issues stiffs like me pay attention too. I have to remind myself, preseason means absolutely nothing. Bummer, 9-4 would look nice if it did matter. Plus, I can get used to hat-tricks.

Golden Knights Have Helped Keep The Integrity Of The Game

(Photo Credit: SinBin.vegas Photographer Brandon Andreasen)

Before the announcement of the Golden Knights in 2016, professional sports seemed like a long shot in Las Vegas. Baseless theories of legal, local gambling influencing the outcome of games were used as excuses. When in reality, the thought of millionaire athletes risking their careers and future contracts to fix one game is, and was always, far-fetched.

Rewind five years, surprising to some the NHL took the risk and became the first league to crack the Las Vegas market. However, as revealed by Sportsnet’s Elliotte Friedman the NHL is still concerned with gambling and the integrity of the game but has nothing to do with Nevada. The league proved that last week when they harshly punished veteran official Tim Peel. The last thing the NHL could afford was a corrupt official like infamous NBA referee Tim Donaghy.

There were deep conversations about how damaging it is to your league during a crisis of consumer confidence. The CBA between the NHL and its officials now contains specific code-of-conduct references: ‘Each official agrees to abstain from habits of intemperance, gambling, immorality or other conduct likely to bring himself and/or the NHL and/or the game of Hockey into disrepute or which results in the impairment of public confidence in the honest and orderly conduct of NHL games or the integrity and good character of its officials.’ -Elliotte Friedman, 31 Thoughts on Sportsnet

Last week the NHL quickly nipped a potential controversy in the bud when the official’s hot mic became a major story.

Initially, the story had absolutely nothing to do with gambling, but because of past issues in other sports, the NHL made a tough stand to ensure fans their product is genuine. Without transparency, gambling on hockey could be eliminated, and sadly to say, the interest in the sport would decrease significantly, not to mention millions in lost endorsement money for the league.

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Most Indispensable Golden Knights In 2020-21

(Photo Credit: SinBin.vegas Photographer Brandon Andreasen)

As the Golden Knights roster continues to churn, the balance of importance on that roster changes with it. Many guys who were once the most vital on the team are no longer here and other stars have stepped into their places.

So, when discussing which players are the most indispensable for the Golden Knights this season, the exercise is not as simple as it would seem. The great Kevin Iole, Jason, and I had a discussion about this very topic and realized the options are so plentiful that we had to bring it to the site. We each picked three and between us we came up with six different players.

3rd Most Indispensable
Kevin – Cody Glass
Jason – Robin Lehner
Ken – Mark Stone

Kevin – The 2017 NHL Entry Draft was loaded at the top. Nico Hischier, Miro Heiskanen, Cale Makar and Elias Pettersson are already elite NHL players. The Golden Knights’ thought Glass would be a player of that caliber and jumped on him when he was available at No. 6.

Now, Paul Stastny has been traded and they need someone to plug into that second line. The best way it could work out for the Golden Knights is if Glass could finally live up to his draft status. He showed glimpses last year, but wasn’t able to stay healthy and went long stretches while doing little.

If he comes up big and the Golden Knights can put Chandler Stephenson on a third line with Alex Tuch and Nic Roy, they can create a huge match-up problem with the third line while have two very strong top lines.

If Glass struggles, Stephenson moves up to center one of the top two and the third line suddenly isn’t as much of a scoring threat. Glass’ success will tell much about the kind of season the VGK will having in 2021.

Jason – Is this a trick question? Of course, it’s Lehner, without him the Golden Knights don’t have a goaltender. Sure, they have two now but by the time the season begins Fleury will be gone, leaving Lehner as the only starting goaltender in Vegas. I understand we were told by the Golden Knights that the plan on keeping both goalies but I don’t see that happening. In a shortened season, a condensed schedule may require a sturdy backup but how many nights do they plan on sitting Lehner? 10-15 games? The 29-year-old has started more than 34 games in the last four seasons, so it doesn’t make sense to relieve him with an expensive backup like Fleury?

Both sides have said the right thing over the past few months but in reality, keeping both isn’t good business. If the Golden Knights are seriously trying to win the Stanley Cup it won’t be by spending $12M in net. They’re too smart for that. And with that, Robin Lehner’s presence in the VGK lineup is paramount.

Ken – I originally had Lehner, for all the reasons Jason spelled out, plus the fact that losing him for any amount of time would further the lunacy of keeping them both. But, while both goalies are on the roster, I just couldn’t bring myself to rank Lehner above Mark Stone.

Stone has been the engine of the team since the moment he got here at the deadline in 2018-19. When he’s scoring or helping others score, the Golden Knights are basically unbeatable. Think back to the Sharks series. He drops 10 points in the first four games and VGK leads 3-1. Goes silent in Games 5 and 6 and they lose them both. (He had two points in Game 7, which still remains a win in my book.)

Yes, the Golden Knights have replacements, but no one can do what he can do. The season isn’t over if they lose Stone, but you can forget about winning the Cup if he’s not out there and dominating.

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Games Without Fans Create Problems For TV Networks

(Photo Credit: SinBin.vegas Photographer Brandon Andreasen)

With the continuation of uncertainty, one thing that seems certain is fans will not be able to attend games when the league resumes. The plan would be to broadcast the games on TV networks like NBCSN, TSN, or Sportsnet and feed them across the US and Canada. League and broadcast officials are still trying to find the best, safest way to pull it off.

We’ve had numerous meetings with the league… The first thing that we all talk about is safety. The existing broadcast enviornment is not a place where you can properly practise social distancing.-Rob Corte, VP of Sportsnet and NHL Production to Sportsnet

The safety concerns are not only for the fans and players but the people running the broadcast as well. Sure it’s important to produce the best broadcast, but outlets cannot put their own employees at risk while doing so.

Live trucks tend to have a large video switcher, audio, replay and video editors, chyron operators, producers, etc. It’s close quarters. It’s literally on the back of a truck. There’s the possibility that you can offload some of those editors and replay operators outside of the truck. The switcher needs to be there. As does audio and producer. Perhaps editing and replay could be done back at the studios, but then you are only getting replays of whatever was fed to them, not of alternate angles. So it’s not ideal. -Shawn Tempesta, Las Vegas Media Professional

Local broadcast media pro and good friend of the site, Shawn Tempesta, told us broadcasting games will be a challenge, but it is possible to work around certain problems. Maybe networks will scale back, limiting the number of employees working in the same areas.

Graphically it will be tough. Usually each game has two crews, two production trucks, etc. You could see graphics handled at their studios versus at the arena. Or maybe what Olympics do with generic graphics. Chances are they do a bare bones, clean broadcast and move the graphics to the home studio. -Tempesta

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SAN JOSE SHARKS 4 VEGAS GOLDEN KNIGHTS 3 (1-1) – 2 OT

The Golden Knights had a bit of an up and down first before finally breaking through late in the 1st. Directly out of the gate in the 2nd William Karlsson scored his second goal of the game to give the Golden Knights a 2-0 lead. However, a slew of penalties led to a ton of 5-on-4 and 4-on-4 play in the 2nd. San Jose took complete advantage of it and scored three straight. The Golden Knights killed a big penalty to start the 3rd which eventually led to a massive game tying goal by Nate Schmidt. Vegas had a chance late with a power play but the game headed to OT. Jonathan Marchessault appeared to win the game in the 1st OT, but the goal was called back due to goalie interference. In the 2nd OT, the Sharks drew two penalties and scored on the latter. The series is now tied and heads to San Jose on Monday.

Upcoming stories from the Vegas Golden Knights vs. San Jose Sharks in Game 2 of Round 2 of the Stanley Cup Playoffs at T-Mobile Arena.

  • Did the Sharks execute their game or did the Golden Knights give one up by losing their composure?
  • Stay at 5-on-5 and Vegas will win the series. It’s really that simple.
  • A closer look at the goalie interference. Sorry, but they may have just gotten it right.

Three Stars
*** Brent Burns
** William Karlsson
* Logan Couture

After the game Ken did a Periscope to get out all his thoughts about the game. (Link below) We are going to do a lengthier podcast on Monday while we drive to San Jose for Games 3 and 4. That’ll be posted before the game Monday.

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GOLDEN KNIGHTS SIGN DERYK ENGELLAND (D) TO 1 YEAR EXTENSION WORTH $1.5M

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Quick Thoughts – Vegas Golden Knights vs. Colorado Avalanche 9/19/17

  • Even more impressive than the three goals in the first eight minutes was the play of Oscar Dansk after coming in to begin the 3rd period. Dansk made 18 saves without allowing a goal and made a few special ones in a row during a power play.  -Ken
    • Note: After reviewing the game Dansk actually entered with 8:59 left in the second while VGK were on a power play. Official stats from the game are incorrect. He allowed the one goal the Golden Knights gave up. Nonetheless, one 5 on 3 goal doesn’t change the fact that he was still excellent between the pipes.
  • The VGK Alternate Captains on Tuesday night were; Deryk Engelland, Jason Garrison, and Reilly Smith. Each logged heavy minutes and made significant contributions in both zones. Garrison was very active offensively, collecting two assists in the first period. Smith added an assist and led the offense with 17:23 TOI. Early in the third period, Captain Concierge Engelland broke up an aggressive Avs attack. With under ten minutes to go, Engelland made a crucial neutral zone stop, allowing for a much-needed shift change. -Jason
  • Vadim Shipachyov really struggled on face-offs. He was thrown out of many draws (which is a much bigger deal now with the new stupid delay of game penalty) and the ones he did take were not pretty. Shipachyov lost six face-offs, mostly against Nathan MacKinnon before he finally got one. He finished 2-7 in the circle. -Ken
  • The Golden Knights have committed 19 penalties in two preseason games. That’s almost two full periods with a man in the box. On Tuesday, the officials called six slashing penalties. The Golden Knights committed four slashing minors in Colorado, and one in Vancouver. We’ve been warned about a crackdown after a few dangerous incidents last season, looks like they are going a bit overboard with it to make a point in the preseason. -Jason
  • Alex Tuch stood out passing the puck. He assisted on the first goal with an excellent pass to Brad Hunt from below the goal line. There were multiple other examples of Tuch’s passing throughout the game as well. Couple that with his willingness to shoot and his physicality and he absolutely looked like he belonged on the NHL roster. -Ken
  • During the second intermission report, an Avalanche TV analyst suggested the NHL needs more personality. He thinks, the league should allow players the chance to customize their equipment. Of course, it would look cool, but wouldn’t it distract the players on the ice? It’s much easier to separate goaltenders. Plus, it’s better to add flair to an otherwise boring mask. Adding more personal art will confuse players, coaches, refs, and fans. Watch, instead the league will add sponsor patches and call it personality. -Jason
  • There were a total of 14 power plays during the game which led to every Golden Knight except Tomas Hyka to get time on both the power play and the penalty kill. While it’s great to get chances a man up, a man down, and in this game multiple times two men up or down, Gallant would probably prefer more 5v5 time to evaluate his players. -Ken

“Just A Matter Of Me Not Playing A Game In A Long Time”

Clayton Stoner at training camp at City National Arena. (Photo Credit: SinBin.vegas Photographer Brandon Andreasen)

Instantly after seeing the roster for the first preseason game, our eyes went straight to the outlier on the list, Clayton Stoner. On a roster full of young players either headed back to juniors or to the AHL, the 32-year old, eight year veteran of the NHL stuck out like a sore thumb. Our thought was that it spelled bad news for Stoner’s future with the Golden Knights. But, what do we know, we are just some bloggers with a website that couldn’t even afford a .com domain. So, instead of playing “ask the 8-ball,” we went right to the source to see what he thought about his inclusion in the first preseason game.

I think it was just a matter of me not playing a game in a long time. I was hurt since November 15th last year. It was one of those things that they mentioned they wanted to get me in a game early and get on the ice. And get that game feeling back. -Clayton Stoner

The former Duck played 14 games last season, due to an abdominal procedure he had on November 17th. It’s no wonder Stoner was eager to compete on Sunday.

Right now I feel very good. I’m just trying to stay healthy. I’m not as young as I was, but injuries are something that are preventable. I spent a lot of time last season, and the offseason rehabbing. I feel, like I’m in a strong place right now with my body. I feel good. -Stoner

The only bummer to Sunday’s victory was that Stoner couldn’t keep his A-stitched jersey. To his knowledge, it doesn’t exist anymore.

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Final Thoughts From Frozen Fury XVII

The Colorado Avalanche reached double digits in shots midway through the third period but most of the Kings fans in attendance seemed to reach that mark way before game time.

I knew the fan in front of me had a few too many when he started a “let’s go Raiders” chant.  He left the game wearing a beer because his female companion finally had enough. The more I looked around the more I felt as if that chant was appropriate. (And to think they are going to end this series)

In two years, when our community piles into the Cox Las Vegas Arena, my personal guess, we need to understand that our team will need us loud and proud, but let’s also remember that no other city will be under the microscope as much as our city will be so let’s always remember to bring our class and perhaps keep our “shots” to single digits.

Carp: This Roster Needs An Upgrade

**Southern Nevada Sports Hall of Famer, Steve Carp’s returns to SinBin.vegas for the 2021 season. His weekly column publishes every Sunday during the Golden Knights season and is brought to you by the Jimmerson Law Firm.**

With the second half of the Golden Knights’ season starting this afternoon in Los Angeles, the team is sitting pretty in first place in the West Division with a 21-6-1 record, 43 points, and a league-best points percentage of .768. But we need to look at the big picture and the upcoming playoffs in May.

The NHL trade deadline is April 12. But it’s never too early to talk about potential deals, particularly in a year where the word “quarantine” comes into play.

As history has shown, the Golden Knights are usually major players at the deadline. In the first season, it was obtaining Tomas Tatar and Ryan Reaves. In Year Two, it was trading for Mark Stone. Last year, it was Robin Lehner. In each instance, it was about trying to make the team better and have a roster that can win the Stanley Cup.

Notice I said “win” and not “compete for.” The Knights roster, as currently constructed, is good enough to compete for the Cup. But is it good enough to win it?

I don’t believe it is.

The lack of consistent bottom-six scoring is the biggest issue. Defensive depth is a potential secondary hazard though I think the Knights could get by without a major move on the blue line given the play of Dylan Coghlan, Nic Hague, and Zach Whitecloud. And presumably, they’ll have Alex Pietrangelo back in time for the postseason. If they need to trot Nick Holden out there, they can get by with doing it.

Playoff hockey is different. There are no weaklings to beat up on and if your fourth line isn’t contributing, it puts you at a distinct disadvantage. In the playoffs, your opponents are geared to shut down your top line, and as we saw last year in the Edmonton bubble, nothing can hasten your exit from the postseason faster than a hot goaltender who prevents you from putting the puck in the net. The bottom line is you need contributions from all four lines on a consistent basis during the postseason if you’re serious about having a Stanley Cup championship parade in July.

GM Kelly McCrimmon told the RJ earlier in the week he didn’t anticipate history repeating itself and the team making a big splash at the deadline. Elliotte Friedman, Sportsnet’s respected insider, echoed similar comments, I assume after talking to either GMKM or Prez George, in his weekly 31 Thoughts column.

The big issue is the salary cap. Unless Pietrangelo’s LTIR for his left arm injury runs through the remainder of the regular season, which Pete DeBoer indicates isn’t likely, the Knights are limited in what they can do. The potential to grow the LTIR list ended Friday with the return of Chandler Stephenson and Alex Tuch, which is good news for the present.

So to make a deal, the Knights would likely have to move someone on the current roster to accommodate whoever they trade for. I doubt they want to break up the current band to add a backup singer, especially after going through what they went through in the offseason to construct this lineup.

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