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Tag: Bob McKenzie

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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Potential Realignment Shouldn’t Affect Golden Knights

The NHL pause has become the newest, most addicting daily soap opera. Every morning fans wake up to read the latest news on the NHL’s plans to restart the season. Yesterday, Commissioner Gary Bettman shared his optimism with the NHL network.

We have a great deal of flexibility in terms of when we can start. There’s no magic for next season of starting in October as we traditionally do. If we have to start in November or December, that’s something that will be under consideration. We’re going to try and make good, prudent, careful judgments. This isn’t a race to be first back. When we come back, we want it to be at the right time, for the right reasons, under the right circumstances. -Gary Bettman, NHL Commissioner

Now that the players and owners are engaging in daily conversations it shows the effort to recover the season from both sides. One scenario NHL officials have mulled over was originally conceived by Major League Baseball.

MLB is considering a three-division, 10-team plan in which teams play only within their division – a concept gaining support among owners and executives. It would abolish the traditional American and National Leagues, and realign the divisions based on geography.

The plan, pending approval of medical experts and providing that COVID-19 testing is available to the public, would eliminate the need for players to be in isolation and allow them to still play at their home ballparks while severely reducing travel. -USA Today

TSN’s Bob McKenzie weighed on the possibility of the NHL taking the realignment approach, specifically reducing travel which allows players to play in locations closer to their homes and families.

If they get four sites, and we kind of assumed it would try to be done divisionally if they try to get the 19-20 season finished up. Four NHL sites, one for each division. There is the possibility that they would just say ‘well the Atlantic division is going to based out of Toronto. We’re not going to do can’t that, Florida and Tampa Bay can’t get from Florida up to Toronto. We’ll put them with some of the Metro teams, and move one of those Metro teams.’ You could do some mixing and matching on geographical lines versus divisions. -Bob McKenzie, TSN Analyst

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The Golden Life After Hockey

The one downfall of being an NHL player is that it’s not a lifelong job. The average American retires around 65, but for the average pro hockey player it’s 33. While it’s a highly desirable job, earning high salaries, and entertaining millions, there’s still plenty of life after hockey.

TSN’s Bob McKenzie was asked which current player he thought could become a good NHL GM, and his answer was not surprising.

Sidney Crosby is a hockey junkie. He loves the game. He loves to talk about the game, he follows things closely. He has a great awareness of what’s going on. I don’t know if he’ll go into management but it won’t surprise me. If he did go in, he would be all in. He’s got a real passion for the game and that reflects in knowledge and a thirst for knowledge about all things hockey.-Bob McKenzie, TSN

So it got us thinking, which current/former Golden Knight would make a good NHL general manager?

Jason’s candidates: Max Pacioretty, Paul Stastny, Shea Theodore

Ken’s candidates: David Perron, Nate Schmidt, Pierre-Edouard Bellemare

Max Pacioretty

There are many elements that go into being a successful general manager, the biggest one is accepting the harsh reality of the business side of hockey. The Islanders Lou Lamoriello is a great example of being a stone-cold executive, even Vegas’ George McPhee has an icy side. Maybe it’s education, or it comes with experience. Pacioretty felt the chill up in Montreal where he was constantly made the scapegoat. From the fans, media, to team executives, #67 had a lot on his plate. However, he still managed to score 226 goals for the Canadiens. Pacioretty accepted his high-profile role as an American captain in Montreal, and professionally handled his daily responsibilities, no matter how combative they were. In the end, he was traded by the organization he gave it all for, and it didn’t phase him. By then, he had already been schooled about the dirty business.

(Photo Credit: Photographer Brandon Andreasen)

After one year at his local high school, Pacioretty moved on to a hockey prep school, then to the USHL, and lastly the University of Michigan before becoming an NHL player. Since the age of 15, the Connecticut native was heavily recruited and scouted, so he’s well aware of that process.

As captain, Pacioretty needed to work the room and find balance with all of his teammates. Even loud, overbearing teammates like PK Subban. Being captain allowed him insight on how the team was built. What the front office was doing right and what went wrong. With several failed seasons in Montreal, I’m sure the 31-year-old veteran took note of the poor decisions made by the organization.

His experience early on with the recruitment stage, witnessing of building up and tearing down rosters, adding in his tough skin and Pacioretty has the resume to become a future general manager. (written by Jason)

David Perron

Man, I miss David Perron. Perron is one of the most intriguing players both on and off the ice.

(Photo Credit: Photographer Brandon Andreasen)

His hockey mind is always on full display when he’s playing as he just seems to have a knack for finding holes in the offensive zone where he can hold onto the puck for a little longer than anyone else who has ever worn a VGK jersey. He sees the game at a different speed than most and I’d have to think that would translate well into scouting as well as team construction.

Off the ice is where he really made me believe he has what it takes to be a GM though. He’s one of the few players in Golden Knights history who really cared about stats and even advanced stats. He’d talk about Corsi, zone starts, through-percentage, and many other pieces of data that proved he’s a true hockey junkie.

The intelligence he displayed in breaking down complex game situations as well as his understanding of the salary cap and the business end of hockey has me believing he would be not only the most likely to become a GM, but also the best future GM of any current or former Golden Knight. (written by Ken)

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McPhee And McCrimmon Linked Up By Unlikely Matchmaker

(Photo Credit: Photographer Brandon Andreasen)

For the past three years, most of the success the Golden Knights have achieved on the ice can be credited to the “two-headed monster” of George McPhee and Kelly McCrimmon. As a pair, they’ve called all the shots that took Vegas from an expansion team to the Stanley Cup Final to a perennial contender in an incredibly short period of time.

From the moment I got here I was struck by (the fact that), we have two GMs. I like to call you guys the two-headed monster. I know you don’t like that and you said to me, ‘we’re not monsters Gary’ –Gary Lawless on SLGND Podcast

Whatever you call them, they are a heck of a pair atop the Golden Knights front office depth chart. So much so that in May of last year McCrimmon was promoted to general manager out of McPhee’s fear that he would leave for another job if he wasn’t.

It’s a partnership that has defined the Golden Knights, but it’s one that may have never been formed in the first place if not for an assist from an unlikely source.

As recently as July of 2016, McCrimmon and McPhee had never met. They knew of each other having both worked in hockey for the past few decades, but it wasn’t until a phone call in July, then a meeting in an airport in Austria in August that they actually linked up.

That phone call, the first one from McPhee to McCrimmon, may not have happened if not for a powerful recommendation from a man known in the hockey community as “The Bobfather.”

I had just finished reading Bob McKenzie’s book (Hockey Confidential) a few years ago and I thought jeez Bob would be a good guy just to call and say ‘here’s my list of guys I’m considering for assistant GM, do you have anybody I should put on this list?’ -McPhee on SLGND Podcast

So George asked me and the first thing I said to him, ‘is Kelly McCrimmon on your list? ‘-Bob McKenzie, TSN

I didn’t know Kelly. I do recall our amateur scouting staff in Washington always said good things about him. -McPhee on SLGND Podcast

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McKenzie: “Vegas Was Supposed To Be A Seller At The Deadline, They’re Not Selling”

“If those two players walk at the end of the season, they walk. Vegas will deal with that.” (Photo Credit: Photographer Brandon Andreasen)

If you have an hour or so, take a listen to TSN’s Hockey Bobcast with Bob McKenzie. It’s on my weekly must listen list. This week the Bobfather discussed the needs of all thirty-one NHL teams as he looks ahead to the February 26th trade deadline. Here’s what he had to say about the Golden Knights.

Vegas, my goodness what a story the Vegas Golden Knights are this season. Never seen anything like it in all my time covering the game. They’re not just a good team, they are legit. They look like a legitimate Stanley Cup contender. Now how the hell can we be saying that? -Bob McKenzie, TSN

McKenzie had been running in circles trying to figure out this Golden Knights team. Now he’s starting to sound like George McPhee. McKenzie is confident Vegas management won’t “derail” the team’s success.

This is a legitimate threat, they cannot weaken their team between now and the deadline. -McKenzie

According to the TSN analyst, any open rumors about McPhee listening to offers for pending UFA’s James Neal and David Perron are officially dead.

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“Every Team Goes Through A Losing Streak, Except For Vegas Apparently”

TSN’s Bob McKenzie was kind of joking, but inside of his little quip, he pretty clearly called the Golden Knights the most consistent team in he NHL.

All they do is win. (Photo Credit: Photographer Brandon Andreasen)

McKenzie was discussing the ebbs and flows of the regular season, and how all teams have dark periods. He used Tampa Bay as an example of a top team that found some mid-season struggles. In fact, it began after the Lightning lost in Las Vegas with 2.3 seconds left in the game. Tampa Bay went on to lose seven of their next 14 games, with two and three-game losing streaks thrown in. The Bolts had only lost two-games in a row once before their December skid.

Every team in this league except Vegas it seems, goes through a period where you’re not as good as you were. And you lose a little bit more than you win. -Bob McKenzie, TSN

McKenzie was simply implying that it’s a long season, and even the better teams play a stinker now and then. He amusingly noted the Golden Knights could be the one team not affected by the NHL midseason flu.

And as I said, Vegas seems to be immune from that so far. I keep going on radio stations across Canada and saying, oh they’ll hit a losing sometime. It’s just a matter of when. -McKenzie

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Coaches Vote: Gallant Unanimous Coach Of The Year; VGK Picked To Win Cup By One Coach

The Bobfather of TSN conducted a poll of all 31 coaches in the NHL asking questions such as player of the year, coach of the year, conference champions and more.

Pst, they already sent me the Jack Adams Trophy. Don’t tell Bettman. (Photo Credit: Photographer Brandon Andreasen)

The poll was dominated for the most part by the Tampa Bay Lightning, but there was only one category in which it was a complete sweep. All 30 other coaches voted for Gallant as Coach of the Year to this point. He was not allowed to vote for himself, which we know he wouldn’t have anyway. TSN’s report did not indicate who he voted for.

The Golden Knights received seven votes as Western Conference champions and were one of just six teams (TB, NSH, BOS, PIT, WPG) to receive a vote as Stanley Cup champions.

The full article and complete results can be found here.


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