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Thompson’s All-Star Bid Demonstrates Respect Among The League

(Photo Credit: Photographer Brandon Andreasen)

On Thursday, the NHL named Golden Knights goaltender Logan Thompson a league All-Star. Thompson was publicly invited to the annual festivity spotlighting the NHL’s biggest stars and players on the rise. Vegas’ #1 goaltender is the seventh different VGK player to be elected to the All Star Game.

In 2018, former Knights goalie Marc-Andre Fleury and James Neal were the Golden Knights’ first-ever representatives. In 2019, Fleury returned for the 4th time. A year later, Fleury passed and Max Pacioretty filled in participating in his 1st ASG. The COVID-19 pandemic forced the league to cancel the 2021 All-Star weekend, but it returned in 2022, hosted by the City of Las Vegas. The Golden Knights were deservedly awarded three spots on the Pacific’s roster. Jonathan Marchessault, Alex Pietrangelo, and Mark Stone were participants in the skills competition and the three-on-three tournament.

What does it mean to be selected? Well, most players always mention it as one of their goals when they reached the big leagues. Obviously, winning a Stanley Cup is the ultimate objective on their hockey bucket list. Thompson expressed his excitement on Friday.

I think it’s going to be a lot of fun. I wasn’t really expecting it, but I’m happy to be mentioned and I’m looking forward to it. It’s definitely special but at the end of the day I think the goal is to win the Stanley Cup. That’s my goal. -Thompson

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Engelland: Stanley Cup Finals Or Bust In VGK’s Minds

Earlier this month Sportsnet flooded Las Vegas for NHL All-Star weekend. While the network’s insiders and reporters partied away, their production crew documented some of the stops along the Strip. Over their 72 Hours in Las Vegas, Sportsnet wanted an insider’s tour of the city so they broke bread with one of the original Golden Knights.

You have the Strip, you have the best food in the world all wrapped up into one. You have the entertainment. The atmosphere in the rink is a show inside of a hockey game. –Deryk Engelland to Sportsnet

Sportsnet personality Cabbie Richards and former NHL’er Colby Armstrong sat down with retired Golden Knight Deryk Engelland for some fine dining at Carbone.

While their table-side Caesar was being prepared the trio reminisced about the unexpected 2017-18 Golden Knights run to the Stanley Cup finals. The original team’s early success caught everyone by surprise including the players. Engelland told Cabbie and Colby that by late December, his teammates were desperate to keep pacing for the playoffs because they didn’t want to get traded out of Las Vegas.

I don’t think anyone saw that coming. By Christmastime everyone kept saying ‘we gotta keep on winning’ because no one wanted to leave. The city is amazing. –Engelland to Sportsnet

Right about when the slow-cooked Spanish octopus was served the conversation shifted to the current Golden Knights roster. The Sportsnet crew asked about managing expectations in which Engelland stated past results swiftly changed the process. The time is now for this organization.

You go to the Finals and Bill’s five-year plan goes to a two-year plan. With the moves they’ve made this year and the guys they’ve signed, I think if they come up short of the Stanley Cup or the Finals it’s going to be a bust in their minds. –Engelland to Sportsnet

In between courses, Armstrong asked his former Penguins teammate about the truth behind the Vegas flu. Engelland compared it to “playing guilty” in the AHL.

You’ve played guilty. It means you go out the night before and have a few too many cocktails. It doesn’t mean you have to be out late but you have a few too many and the next morning you’re feeling it. –Engelland to Sportsnet

For timing sake, this interview was released this week but recorded before Mark Stone was placed on LTIR and Jack Eichel made his debut. It’s possible expectations have slightly dropped for some in the organization. However, it continues to show that this isn’t a ‘we’ll get them next year’, throw-away type season. Between injuries, lack of chemistry, defense, and goaltending issues this organization still believes they are a champion. Fans should as well.

They do have high expectations right now. –Engelland to Sportsnet

For those curious, Carbone served the three an array of timeless Italian dishes that included tuna calabrese, lobster ravioli, signature meatballs, their famous macaroni and veal parmigiana. After seeing the veal it might be time to hit up the SinBin expense account.

February Is More Than A Light Schedule For VGK

(Photo Credit: Photographer Brandon Andreasen)

Now that All-Star weekend is through, the Golden Knights will prepare for an extremely light February schedule. With only eight games this month Vegas will have a chance to take advantage of the unusual time between games. The Golden Knights’ first game of the month was last Tuesday’s 5-2 victory over the Buffalo Sabres and have six days in between their next game.

Six days is normally an eternity for NHL teams to wait between games, but for VGK, it’s going to start to fee normal.

February Schedule (Days In Between Games)

February 1st: 5-2 win vs. BUF
February 8th: @ EDM (6)
February 9th: @CAL (0)
February 16th: vs. COL (6)
February 18th: vs. LAK (1)
February 20th: @ SJS (1)
February 25th: @ ARI (4)
February 26th: vs. COL (0)

Too Much Healing Time?

Will time off help or prolong injuries? Might seem like a stupid question but with so few games this month it may impact a player’s progression. Let’s be honest, Mark Stone’s back could use an easy month. He may be having fun shooting pucks in the Bellagio drink but chances are his back still aches. With a lighter than normal schedule, his soreness should decrease. Then there’s the Jack Eichel situation. A light month makes for more games in March and April in which the star center can build chemistry with his new teammates.

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Ken vs. Jason: All Star Fan Fair 2022 Challenge

Ken and Jason compete in various events at NHL All Star Fan Fair at the Las Vegas Convention Center to determine who is the ultimate champion.

NHL Exec Details Skills Competition Plans, Including Scrapped Plan Involving Shooting Pucks Off The Strat

(Photo Credit: Photographer Brandon Andreasen)

By now you’ve probably seen the plans for the unique, Vegas-centric NHL All-Star events set on the Strip. The two additional skills competitions will take place outdoors, on a locked-down Las Vegas Boulevard, and will singlehandedly blow away every other All-Star event in history. Steve Mayer, the NHL’s Chief Content Officer joined 32 Thoughts yesterday to break down the events and why Las Vegas is the perfect location to have such a grand event.

We’re going to have two events outside the arena. What we’re doing is creating a rink, what will look like a rink, on the fountain. The faceoff circles, the goal, the middle faceoff circle will be hard surfaces on which the skill will be performed. Imagine that the water of the Bellagio fountain is the ice. So when you look from high above you’re going to think we built a rink in the Bellagio fountains. We’re using the fountain as an element to the game. –Mayer on 32 Thoughts Podcast

When the NHL asked for bright lights, glamor, and innovative entertainment, event planners knew there was only one location. Some ingenuity and a little elbow grease, the City of Las Vegas will make it happen.

We’re going to shut the Strip down. We’re going to take the Strip over and we’re going to do an event which accuracy shooting meets Black Jack. We’re going to roll it out on to the Strip. The players are going to shoot, every time they hit a card that’s their Black Jack hand. Closest to 21 wins. Another really cool big personality event. I think there’s going to be a lot of strategy, a lot of talking a lot of going after each other. –Mayer on 32 Thoughts Podcast

When the league staked claim in Las Vegas five years ago it was clear they were here for several reasons. The NHL’s suits correctly forecasted their product would not only survive but thrive in Southern Nevada. The Golden Knights have been a contender since their first season and the fan experience is better than all 31 other cities. So yeah, the NHL believed hockey would achieve success in Las Vegas. Also, it is a great place to throw league parties.

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Reliving Fleury’s Skills Competition Dominance Through GIFs

Leave it up to Flower to steal the show. (Photo Credit: Photographer Brandon Andreasen)

Marc-Andre Fleury participated in the GEICO NHL Save Streak on Saturday night at the NHL All Star Skills competition. Flower ended up winning the challenge defeating Pekka Rinne, but it was his antics along the way that were the real story.

After being scored on by the second shooter, Fleury was assisted by the crossbar for save number two of his 14 save streak. He says thank you.

A few shots later, Fleury goes classic Fleury laying out with a pad stack and robbing Brayden Point.

Against another home town hero Nikita Kucherov, Flower watched the post once again save the shot that beat him.

Again, Flower thanks his buddy, the post.

The seventh shot hit the final post, and yet again Fleury recognizes the assistance.

Save 14 gave Fleury the lead, and he let them know with a nice little kiss.

In the end, The House Always Wins…

Here’s the performance in it’s entirety.

Golden Knights Lead Conference At Break; Something Five NHL Franchises Have Never Done

It should come as no surprise at this point in the year that the Vegas Golden Knights have re-written, or are on the path to re-writing, just about every record in the expansion/inaugural season record book. As they head into the All Star break the Golden Knights sit atop the Western Conference with 68 points on 32 wins.

Hey James, we’re already better than the Coyotes, Hurricanes, Blue Jackets, Panthers, and Jets! (Photo Credit: Photographer Brandon Andreasen)

Since the NHL broke into two conferences in 1968 there have been 42 All Star games, which means 84 teams have led the conference in the standings at the break. Arizona, Carolina, Columbus, Florida, and Winnipeg have never done it.

Those teams were founded in 1996, 1997, 2000, 1993, and 1999 respectively. It goes all the way back to 1979 if you consider that neither the Hartford Whalers nor the first rendition of the Jets ever led the conference at the break either. The Minnesota North Stars never did it in their time in the league from 1967 to 1993. Nor did the Quebec Nordiques while in the league from 1979 to 1995.

By doing it in year one, the Golden Knights join the Ducks, Kings, Wild, Predators, Penguins, Sharks, Maple Leafs, and Canucks who have all only led the conference at the break a single time.

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