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Stanley Cup Headed To West Point

When The Creator made his declaration that the Golden Knights would win the Cup in Six, one of the promises he made was to bring the Stanley Cup to a place he’s called home for a long time, Whitefish, Montana.

It took a while to make it happen, but last week the Keepers of the Cup hopped aboard a chair lift with the Cup in tow and fulfilled another Foley prophecy.

He has one more on the bucket list before his team has to return to the Cup to the NHL though, and it’s one that’s near and dear to his heart.

It’s going to West Point. –The Creator to Hockey News

View from the poop deck. (Photo Credit: @WestPoint_USMA on Twitter)

Every aspect of the Golden Knights has been littered with military motifs, so it only seems right to bring the ultimate prize to the place that inspired so much of what VGK have become.

Ever the military man, The Creator has that visit meticulously planned.

The team is going up on the 24th of January for a day. We’ve got the Stanley Cup for that day and we’re going to take it up to the top of the poop deck and I hope to go up there with Mark Stone and hold the Cup up. They’ll go crazy for it. –The Creator to Hockey News

The team has a back-to-back with the Devils and Islanders the two days before and then have a pair of days off before another back-to-back with the Rangers and Red Wings. In between, they’ll embark on what will likely become one of the most memorable experiences since winning the Cup itself.

Can’t wait to see those photos.

**The quotes for this story came from an extended interview on The Graeme Roustan Show on The Hockey News. It’s an excellent listen for any VGK fan.**

National Media Expect Golden Knights To Be “Big Players” At The Deadline

(Photo Credit: SinBin.vegas Photographer Brandon Andreasen)

Blockbuster trades are exciting and Vegas is always rumored to be an interested party. It’s looking like that’ll be the case once again on March 3rd.

I don’t want to connect names to the Golden Knights but you lose a piece like Mark Stone for an indefinite period, we don’t know what that means. There’s so much uncertainty. I know that Vegas felt they would likely add a forward before the Mark Stone situation. I can’t imagine Kelly McCrimmon, George McPhee and Bill Foley, who’s as hungry as an owner as there is in NHL, not going to swing for the fences one more time. -Darren Dreger on TSN 690 Montreal

While many expect the Golden Knights to be in the mix, there’s no indication which direction the front office will go. With the devastating news of Mark Stone’s indefinite absence, which impact winger is Vegas targeting? Who are the in-demand players are the front office willing to risk picks and prospects for?

So who is that? I think it’s all of the above. Vegas is being real careful. I think for sure Vegas could be a big player here. -Dreger on TSN 690 Montreal

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Toronto Talking Heads Count Vegas Out For 2022-23

(Photo Credit: SinBin.vegas Photographer Brandon Andreasen)

When the news dropped that Robin Lehner was scheduled to have hip surgery and miss the 2022-23 season, the hockey world reacted.

Your season is done. I credit them for what they accomplished that first season. Ever since that success they’ve been drunken sailors. They’re in video game GM mode. Trade this guy, sign that guy, don’t need that guy, dump that guy, trade this pick, trade that prospect. It’s karma in a way, you’ve been too reckless. –Bryan Hayes on OverDrive radio show on TSN1050 Toronto

For the second time in team history, Vegas isn’t considered a Stanley Cup favorite. The first year was a shock to everyone, this time around, there is concrete evidence based on history for doubters to point to. The Golden Knights missed the playoffs, swapped scoring for dead money, and are without their starting goaltender for the entire season.

Losing Lehner was the breaking point for some around the sport.

I think somebody can really hold up Vegas right now. This is a team that’s built to win now. You can’t go a year without a goaltender if you’re built to win now. They have no money but they also have no goaltender. –Dave Poulin on OverDrive radio show on TSN1050 Toronto

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Patience Is The Right Way Forward For The Golden Knights

(Photo Credit: Ken Boehlke, SinBin.vegas)

Unpredictability, it’s what makes sports the best soap opera in the world. It’s also what makes the lives of the decision-makers so incredibly difficult. No matter what the data and history say, no one truly knows what is going to happen until the humans who put on the jerseys actually step onto the ice and compete.

From 100 points and competing for the Stanley Cup to barely hitting 80 and starting a rebuild and anywhere in between, opinions on what’s in store for the Golden Knights this season range wildly.

There are questions surrounding scoring, depth, health, goaltending, coaching, continuity, accountability, and more. And not a single person on the planet has even some of the answers, let alone all of them.

This volatility is why the Golden Knights must finish the offseason and enter the regular season with a patient approach.

It’s probably an oversimplified way to look at an extremely complex sport, but say you break the teams into a few different tiers. The tiers include bad, average, good, great, and elite. Teams in the bad and average tier will miss the playoffs, those in the good tier will fight for the final spots, while the great teams will compete with the Stanley Cup favorites, the elite.

As mentioned above, it’s not far-fetched to place Vegas in any of the five tiers. Reasonably though, they are likely to fall somewhere in the middle three, average, good, or great.

With the injury to Robin Lehner, Vegas suddenly have a bit more cap flexibility. Lehner’s $5 million can be stashed on LTIR, giving the Golden Knights room to add to the team. It’s possible with the perfect combination of moves, they could leap up one tier. With where we are in the calendar and the limitations of what $5 million can buy in today’s NHL, a two-tier leap is highly improbable. So, if they are average, they can become good. If they are good, they become great, but if they are average, they aren’t becoming great this season.

Here’s where the need for patience comes in.

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Pacioretty On Laid Back Atmosphere In Las Vegas

(Photo Credit: SinBin.vegas Photographer Brandon Andreasen)

If you’re looking for critical stories on the Golden Knights, there aren’t many places beyond this site to find them.

Between the adolescent nature of the Las Vegas professional sports media scene to the simple fact that there wasn’t much to criticize for the first few years the Golden Knights were here, the overall vibe locally on the city’s first major pro team is generally positive.

In turn, helped along by the fact that the team owns and operates the TV and radio broadcasts, and will go to great lengths to find the positive in even the direst of situations, the fan base strongly leans towards optimism as well.

One former Golden Knight wonders if that cushy environment could actually work against the team in some ways.

I’ve been thinking about this a lot lately. When I first got (to Vegas) it was weird that there was like no accountability. And I’m not talking about in the team I’m talking about like ever, you couldn’t feel pressure coming off anyone else, from the coach to the management. There was a relief when I got there but then I found myself being like I’ve got to reel this in and hold myself to a higher standard which I had always done but maybe I got away from it when I had everyone else holding me accountable (in Montreal). –Max Pacioretty on Raw Knuckles Podcast

When Pacioretty first arrived in Las Vegas, he couldn’t wait to shed the responsibilities that come with being the captain of an Original Six team. For months he spoke about how much easier it was coming to the rink without the weight of unreasonable expectations that come from Canadian media.

But then, after four full seasons in Vegas, and admitted growth in himself as a person, he feels quite differently about the situation.

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Female Fans Lead The Way In Vegas

Las Vegas was a starving sports city for decades before the NHL made it’s mark in Southern Nevada. The city had been turned time and time again by pro sports teams rumored to make the move to Sin City, unfortunately it was all talk and no action. In 2017, the landscape changed, and the Golden Knights took the sporting world by storm. In that cyclone the sport of hockey became incredibly popular in the valley and not just among men.

It’s estimated that VGK’s fanbase is made up of 40% of women. It could be as simple as the NHL being the first major professional league to operate in Las Vegas, or hockey is so damn entertaining that it draws in women just as much as their male counterparts.

According to NHL research, 37% of hockey fans are female, including an eye-popping 26% growth in that demographic since 2016. Most of those new fans are likely within the coveted 18-49 age demographic, too, since nearly 40% of all NHL fans are under 50.-Boston Globe

Any fan that has attended a Golden Knights game have witnessed groups of women enjoying a night at the rink. From season ticket holders, to casual or diehard fans, women are showing up in droves. While it might be a surprise in many NHL cities, it isn’t to anyone who has stepped in to T-Mobile Arena.

We’re seeing more player interviews, family moments and those heartfelt things that happen off the ice, as well as this mix of the great highlights that we’re also seeing. That’s been really great to help get more people in the game because people who don’t know the sport will connect more with the human moments. And then the highlights will keep their attention.-Kali Mack, NHL’s Youth Advisory Board

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Understanding Ownership’s Role In DeBoer Firing

(Photo Credit: SinBin.vegas Photographer Brandon Andreasen)

The Golden Knights have officially made their first big move of the offseason. Firing head coach Pete DeBoer is a clear sign that despite the consistent injury excuse Vegas found 2021-22 unacceptable.

Following the year, The Creator went on record saying he was going to be more vocal and proactive in helping his team regain their identity.

I’ve always been invited to all the meetings. They take my input, but I try and stand aside when everyone is convinced something needs to be done. This time, after all these years, I’ve got a few specific ideas of things that I believe need to be accomplished. If I’m being very transparent, I’m going to be active. –The Creator to LVRJ

In the same interview, he took one type of adjustment to the team off the table.

Foley said he met this past week with general manager Kelly McCrimmon, who will return for his fourth season in that role, and does not anticipate dramatic changes to the roster. –Dave Schoen, Las Vegas Review Journal

The biggest move a team can make from a non-player perspective is removing the head coach. Vegas did that, so naturally, it makes sense that it came from the big man himself. Those suspicions were confirmed in a recent article from The Athletic.

Several external sources suggested the main impetus for the coaching change came from owner Bill Foley. –Eric Duhatschek, The Athletic

But then there was the press conference with Kelly McCrimmon explaining the move. And in his words, it didn’t go that way at all.

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