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Tag: Auston Matthews

Will Positive Tests Around The League Affect The Golden Knights Preparation?

Yesterday was a tough day for the NHL and their attempt to award a 2020 Stanley Cup champion. News broke that the Tampa Bay Lightning temporarily shut down their facilities due to three players and two staff members testing positive for Covid-19. The anxiety escalated even more when it was reported that Toronto Maple Leafs superstar Auston Matthews tested positive as well. Leaving fans concerned for the players and their return to the ice.

Locally, it’s been quiet. According to GM Kelly McCrimmon, none of the Golden Knights players have contracted or been exposed to the coronavirus.

Since NHL clubs were permitted to open their training facilities on June 8, all players entering these facilities for voluntary training have been subject to mandatory testing for COVID-19… All players who have tested positive have been self-isolated and are following CDC and Health Canada protocols. The NHL will provide a weekly update on the numbers of tests administered to players and the results of those tests. The league will not be providing information on the identity of the players or their clubs. -NHL PR

With the latest news from around the league, the question around Las Vegas is how will this affect the Golden Knights and their preparations?

So far 11 NHL players have tested positive since June 8th. However, over 200 players have been tested multiple times and results came back negative. While the positive test news may sound grim, it doesn’t appear it will delay the opening of training camps scheduled to begin on July 10th. Even if more players fall ill, according to the league it won’t impact the Golden Knights groundwork.

The league had a conference call with all of the general managers tonight, and I think the word is ‘let’s see where this goes.’ I don’t think there’s any movement at this point in time of changing the opening of camps on July 10th. I think they’ve set it so the final day of the Stanley Cup Final, if it happens on schedule is October 5th. -Elliotte Friedman, SportsNet

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Have The Golden Knights Gotten Better Since The First Time They Saw Toronto?

These guys think they are better now than before. (Photo Credit: Photographer Brandon Andreasen)

In early November the Golden Knights traveled to Toronto in the midst of their worst stretch in franchise history. It’s hard to believe Vegas lost five of of six games this season. In their first meeting on November 6th, the Maple Leafs survived in a shootout after giving up a 3-1 lead. Since then, the Golden Knights have won 17 of 22 games.

After the 6-3 Vegas victory, Leafs’ Superstar Auston Matthews went on to credit the Golden Knights consistency.

They’ve obviously been a good team all year. Maybe they surprised some people but I think they’ve got good players. Everybody works hard. They’re pretty well-coached. They’re a team that plays right. There’s a lot of depth all through their four lines and three pairs of defensemen. They’re a good team and I think they’ve played the same way when we played them earlier this year. They’ve got speed, they’ve got size, and they play a good team game. -Auston Matthews, Maple Leafs Forward

Pretty well coached?!? What the… nevermind, we’ll let him slide on that.

Teammate Morgan Reilly agreed with Matthews, nothing has changed since November. The Golden Knights were fast, smart and aggressive on November 6th and December 31st.

No. They are pretty consistent. When we played them in Toronto they play a lot like they did tonight. They’re deep, they have a lot of lines that roll over. I mean, they’re for real. -Morgan Reilly, Maple Leafs Defenseman

Jonathan Marchessault doesn’t agree.

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First Overall Pick From Non-Traditional Market, Sound Familiar?

Normally NHL number one draft picks come from Canada. Seven out of the last eight number one overall picks were Canadian, and 39 of the 50 number one overall picks have been from Canada. Dominant to say the least. However, history was made yesterday when the Toronto Maple Leafs selected Auston Matthews number one overall. Matthews, as we all know, grew up in Scottsdale idolizing Shane Doan and Danny Briere.

Story has it, the Zamboni was what really drew Matthews in. His father told Sportsnet Auston loved watching the Zamboni clean up the ice between periods, sparking his passion for hockey. By grade school Matthews was skating in local rinks playing in youth leagues. At six years old, Matthews favorite team the Coyotes were just seven years old. They were both babies growing up together. Fast forward 13 years and Auston is now the NHL’s number one overall pick. All while being influenced by an NHL team in a “non traditional hockey market.” Funny I think I know another place that’s been described that way?

Las Vegas will start playing regulation games in the fall of 2017. At that point, little kids across Nevada will be falling in love with the NHL. Kids who can’t skate, can’t shoot, and can’t pass are gearing up for a sport they don’t know yet. That was Auston Matthews at six years-old.

In 1997, the Coyotes had only been in Phoenix for one year, a relocated team that made the playoffs the first four years of existence. As Auston got older, the team started to fail and the hype had faded. It didn’t matter, it was the grittiness of guys like Doan that impacted Matthews to fall in love with the hockey. Young Las Vegas fans will learn about rules, players, and emotions of the NHL. Some of these kids will feel sports highs and lows for the first time. One goal games, OT, and shootouts make hockey thrilling every single night. Autographs, hockey cards, foam fingers, will have kids packing local rinks. Add in affection for players, and kids of Las Vegas will be hooked.

I’m not saying young tykes from Las Vegas will be drafted number one, but some local kids will eventually be drafted. The 2016 number overall pick found his calling being a fan of a southwestern NHL team. I’m sure the Las Vegas franchise will influence kids to dedicate themselves to hockey as well. Just like Matthews did a decade ago in Scottsdale, kids in Southern Nevada will be dreaming of making it to the NHL. Hopefully we never pick first again, but if we do, maybe he’ll be from an 891XX area code.

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