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Everything That Was Said About Jonathan Marchessault At Locker Cleanup Day

(Photo Credit: SinBin.vegas Photographer Brandon Andreasen)

At the final media session for the year for the Golden Knights, everyone said the right things about pending UFA Jonathan Marchessault’s place within the organization. Now, it’s up to the team to take action to keep him here.

Here’s everything that was said about his situation from Marchessault himself, Bruce Cassidy, Kelly McCrimmon, and a bunch of his teammates.

I’ve done everything I can to stay here. I know I’m a big part of this organization and team and I’ve proven it along the years. I’m pretty confident. I would love to stay, it’s my home. I’ve been part of the group of guys that started this. It’s the most proud thing I’ve done in my life professionally for sure. I’m just happy to be a Golden Knight and I want to be one the rest of my life but that’s not necessarily in my control. It’s something my agent and Kelly are going to go through. I love it here, I want to stay here for sure, but we’ll see. -Jonathan Marchessault

I had a real good meeting with Marchy this morning. We talked with his representatives. Marchy is an original, he’s a core player, and he had a career year. So he’s done everything humanly possible to put himself in a good position. We really like the player and his value extends beyond what you see on the ice. He’s a really important leader and an important guy in our dressing room. There’s certainly a strong willingness from both sides to have real good discussions. That’s what we’re going to work on. With that said we’re not going to comment on the ongoing commentary of how it’s going or that type of thing, we’ll work diligently and see where we get to. -Kelly McCrimmon

I don’t know when it will happen. I talked to Kelly this morning and he wants me back, he likes me. And obviously the feeling is mutual. I love Vegas, I love my teammates, I love the organization, the coaching staff, all the staff working with us, they are family to me now. I could have had a rough season after doing everything we’ve done as a team and personally, but I had a good one still. So it just shows I left it all out there and things will happen I guess, we will see. -Marchessault

I love coaching Jonathan Marchessault. The progression we’ve made might be one of the best ones I’ve enjoyed from where we started to where we ended up. We started with how will we prepare for games, how will we practice, what do I need out of you, 200-foot player, what does he need, the back-and-forth, we’re both emotional. And then we win the Stanley Cup, he wins the Conn Smythe, he has a career year. For me, those are all rewarding things as a coach to see a player go through and you feel like you’ve done your small part as a coach when that happens. I enjoy my relationship with him talking honestly and openly. I love his energy around the room. He’s had great years as a Golden Knights. I can’t say enough good things about him. As a coach, you hope you can keep everybody together, him included. That’s between his party and Crim to try to get something done. I know the situation he’s in, we’ve got four or five of those guys. That’s my experience from day one til now. Love coaching the guy. Terrific guy for the room. When you see a relationship develop like that it’s nice. I’ve had it with other players where we become a little closer than some other guys, that you end up interacting with more for whatever reason. That’s how it went with Marchy. We’ll see how it leads. -Bruce Cassidy

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Above, Below, or Meeting Expectations: Far Too Many Golden Knights Fall Into The Wrong Category

Photo Credit: Ken Boehlke, SinBin.vegas

The Golden Knights are defending Stanley Cup champions.

For the last 11 months here at SinBin.vegas we’ve used that sentence to start just about every article, literally every podcast, and everywhere else possible. Tonight might be the last time we get to use it.

That is unless the Golden Knights get improved performances from a bunch of players in Game 6 and 7.

Being the reigning champions, and bringing back a roster that is similar, if not improved on paper, means Vegas doesn’t need anyone to exceed expectations. Instead, they simply need everyone to play to their ability and they should once again be the best team in the NHL.

Through 5 games in this first round series against the Stars, that is not happening. More than half of the roster is falling short of their expectations, while just a few are exceeding them.

To illustrate this, I’ve broken the team down into those three categories, exceeding expectations, meeting expectations, or below expectations. For the Golden Knights to retain their title as defending Stanley Cup champions for even one more day, a bunch of players are going to have to take a step up from the category they’ve resided in currently in this series to at least one step higher.

**These are listed in order. For “exceeding,” first is the player most exceeding their expectation. For “meeting,” first is the player closest to exceeding, last is the player closest to below. For “below,” first is the player closest to meeting, last is the player below by the most.

Exceeding Expectations
Brayden McNabb, Logan Thompson, William Carrier

There’s a legitimate argument that Brayden McNabb has been VGK’s best player in this series. If you told me that was going to be the case coming in, I’d be certain the Golden Knights are behind in the series, and that’s exactly where they are. He’s been offensively involved and even better than his already high level defensively.

Thompson and Carrier are in a similar spot as both have been very good but their best moments have come in losing efforts so they get lost a bit. Thompson was out of control good in Game 3, but the team was so bad it didn’t end up making a difference. Carrier scored a wraparound goal on a wonderful individual effort, but the game-tying 1st period goal was the last Vegas scored.

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It’s Time For Vegas’ Best Game

From ESPN broadcast

It’s time.

It’s time for Mark Stone. It’s time for Alex Pietrangelo. It’s time for Chandler Stephenson and Jonathan Marchessault and Shea Theodore and William Karlsson. It’s time for the roster littered with Stanley Cup rings. It’s time for the team that went all-in at the deadline. It’s time for the lineup so stacked it’s drawn the wrath of the NHL world.

Everything is in place. Now, the players have to do it.

The front office has restocked the team to give them every chance under the sun possible to repeat. The coach has presented them with a plan that has proven to work. He subsequently pressed all the buttons at the same time to see if he could shock the system.

In this series and especially in the last three games, Vegas’ best players have not been good enough. Stone, Hertl, and Stephenson have not been on the ice for a single 5-on-5 goal. Karlsson has been out there for just one. Marchessault hasn’t come through with a clutch  late-game goal. And let’s not even get started about whatever is going on with Alex Pietrangelo.

Simply put, based on the analytics, the Golden Knights are fortunate to still have a chance to rescue their title defending season.

They can’t wait any longer and the task is as tall as it’s ever been.

They’ll face their first elimination game since 2021 and have to beat a team (and goalie) brimming with confidence. Then, they’ll have to break Pete DeBoer’s perfect 7-0 record in Game 7’s.

But if there’s anyone that can do it, it’s the Golden Knights.

We’ve seen it, literally just seven days ago the reigning champions were the favorites to win the Western Conference. They’ve shown the ability to lock down the Dallas Stars powerful offense. They’ve shown the strength to hold the puck in the offensive zone and wear down a 5-man defense unit. And they’ve been able to break one of the better goalies in the league.

It’s going to take Vegas’ best game and then an even better game after it. And it’s going to take a great performance from the captain, a controlled one from their first alternate, and a step forward by the Conn Smythe, the trade deadline acquisitions, and the rest of the depth of the team.

There’s only one way forward and it all rests on the shoulders of the players. No more excuses.

Time to rise up like the champions.

VGK’s Shot Blockers Back To Frustrating Playoff Opponents

(Photo Credit: SinBin.vegas Photographer Brandon Andreasen)

In case you needed one, the Golden Knights reminded us on Monday night that they really enjoy blocking shots. They finished 3rd in the NHL this season with 1,506 blocks and got right back to it in Game 1. 

Game 1 game-winning goal scorer Brayden McNabb nearly set a record for the most blocks by a Golden Knight in a playoff game with 8 (Alec Martinez had 9 in Game 6 vs COL). William Karlsson and Nic Roy lead all forwards with two blocks a piece and eight different Golden Knights registered at least one blocked shot.

Blocked Shots In Playoffs Since 2018

  1. Vegas: 1,637 (89 Games)
  2. Tampa: 1,600 (99 Games)
  3. Dallas: 1,192 (67 Games)
  4. Boston: 1,189 (76 Games)
  5. Colorado: 1,138 (71 Games)

Since the 2018 postseason, the Golden Knights lead all franchises in blocked shots and blocked shots per game. Reserve defenseman Alec Martinez is second in the NHL in playoff blocked shots (194) since the 2018 postseason. McNabb is just behind him (192) and will likely pass Martinez tonight in Game 2. Fellow blueliners Alex Pietrangelo is fifth (173) and rounding out the Top 15 is Shea Theodore (129) and Zach Whitecloud (124) since the 2018 playoffs. All have raised the Stanley Cup, multiple times for some.

Vegas even added to their historical team average in Monday’s 4-3 Game 1 victory.

Blocked Shots Per Playoff Game Since 2018

  1. Vegas: 17.76
  2. NYI: 17.58
  3. NAS: 17.26
  4. DAL: 17.02
  5. NYR: 16.48

Even though they know it’s coming, the Stars will likely struggle finding shooting lanes tonight. Plus, once frustration sets in, Pete DeBoer’s team won’t be able to stop themselves. Dallas will take inaccurate, ill advised shots down the wing and from the point allowing Vegas to simply absorb the puck and quickly exit the zone. This isn’t the first time we’ve followed a Pete DeBoer coached team.

When shots can’t make it through to the net, the more annoying it can get for an offensively gifted team that relies on creating havoc in front of the goal like the Stars.

Of course, blocking shots can lead to injuries, obstructed goaltenders, or unlucky bounces so there’s no guarantee it’ll go as swimmingly for VGK in Game 2 ad it did Game 1 (and most of last year’s WCF). But, that’s not going to stop the Golden Knights. It was a large part of the championship success last season and continues to be in 2024. After all, Stanley Cup winning Golden Knights declared last summer ‘It Hurts To Win.” We’re still waiting for the new slogan, but the old one isn’t going away any time soon.

Injuries Affecting Golden Knights Defensive Continuity

(Photo Credit: SinBin.vegas Photographer Brandon Andreasen)

Continuity is crucial when it comes to defending in the NHL. Playing with the same defensive partner for an extended period helps in every aspect. Last year, the Golden Knights had that luxury to start the season and in the playoffs. This year, they haven’t, and it’s starting to show.

Last year, Vegas used the same set of six defensemen for each of the first 20 of the first 21 games. Those six defensemen then went on to play 21 of the 22 playoff games with the exact partnerships from the beginning of the year. This season, Vegas has been forced to cobble together their lineup from Opening Night.

Before the season even began, both Zach Whitecloud and Alec Martinez were sidelined. By the time Martinez returned, Alex Pietrangelo had gone out. When Whitecloud returned, Hague was out. When Hague returned, Martinez went back out and then Theodore followed right behind him.

Vegas has used their preferred group of six defensemen just one time this season. This has led to a major shift in the minute load each player has had to take on.

(Thru 31 games)2023-24 Minutes2022-23 MinutesDifference
Pietrangelo628540+88
McNabb622627-5
Theodore467633-166
Hague434505-71
Hutton40066+334
Whitecloud313500-187
Martinez270619-349
Korczak2470+247
Pachal22314+209
Miromanov0103-103

The minutes that were being eaten up by Theodore, Martinez, Whitecloud, and Hague last season have gone to Ben Hutton, Kaedan Korczak, and Brayden Pachal this year.

In addition, it has meant a ton of different pairings. Last year over the 82-game regular season and 22-game postseason run, the Golden Knights used 19 different defense pairings. This year, through just 31 games, they are already at 15.

The Golden Knights have remained a strong defensive team through all of it, but it’s clearly been slipping a bit in the last few weeks.

Call Me Crazy, But … (Jason’s 2023-24 Picks)

(Photo Credit: SinBin.vegas Photographer Brandon Andreasen)

Here we go, it’s Day 2 of making crazy predictions (here are Ken’s from yesterday). I truly believe a couple of my predictions will come true this season. Especially, the one about Jack Eichel squaring off against Connor McDavid.

Call me crazy, but Shea Theodore will pass his career high in goals in 2023-24.

There have been theories floating over the past several seasons that Alex Pietrangelo’s presence impacted Theodore’s growth. It’s an easy assumption, considering Theodore was the Golden Knights’ biggest threat in the 2020 postseason. The Original Misfit registered seven goals in the bubble and 12 assists to go along with his breakout performance. Months later Pietrangelo was acquired and appeared to slow Theodore down.

The 28-year-old flashed some skill in the Stanley Cup Final and there’s reason to believe it will carry over to October. After playing in Bruce Cassidy’s system for 76 games, Theodore is in a position to flourish offensively. Look for Theodore to top 15 or more goals this season. Maybe enough to earn a few Norris Trophy votes.

Call me crazy, but there will be a goalie controversy at some point during the season.

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VGK’s Top 6 Stanley Cup Playoff Quotes

(Photo Credit: SinBin.vegas Photographer Brandon Andreasen)

We’ve covered goal-scoring, playmaking and goaltending so let’s focus on off the ice. During their eight-week run, the Golden Knights had many memorable quotes throughout the postseason. In fact, there are enough comments from Golden Knights players to fill out a Top 26 list. However, let’s focus on VGK’s six most entertaining quotes of the 2023 Stanley Cup playoffs.

6. Pietrangelo Shrugs Off Slashing Suspension in the Second Round 

It is what it is, I’m not going to sit here and dwell on it. The league took care of it, so we’ll move on… There have been a lot of shots both ways, I’ll just say that. It’s pretty obvious what’s going on, there’s some premeditated stuff coming at me but (the Department of Player Safety) didn’t really seem to care in the meeting. I’ll get up and take it. I’m not going to lay on the ice like we’ve been seeing. I’ll get up and play the game the way it needs to be played. At the end of the day, we’ve got a job to do, they’ve got a job to do. – Alex Pietrangelo

When lead defenseman Alex Pietrangelo was suspended for his slash on Edmonton’s Leon Draisaitl in the second round no one was surprised. It was a heat-of-the-moment situation and unlike anything Vegas fans had ever seen before from #7. However, Pietrangelo stated his case to the NHL’s Department of Player Safety, and they required the d-man to sit for one game, much to the chagrin of the Oilers and their fans. When asked, Pietrangelo didn’t hold back.

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