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Unless The Third Line Produces Cody Glass Should Be The Center

(Photo Credit: SinBin.vegas Photographer Brandon Andreasen)

During the four games Cody Eakin was out to start the year the Golden Knights experimented with centers Cody Glass on the second line and Paul Stastny on the third. However, it was obvious based on Gerard Gallant’s answers that very little, if any, thought was necessary in figuring out where Eakin would play when he was ready to return. The moment he was ready to go, Eakin found his normal role as the third line center. This moved Stastny up to the second line and pushed 20-year-old rookie Glass to the wing.

Vegas is comfortable with Eakin as the third line center, and they should be as they’ve won 100 of their first 173 games with Eakin in that position for a majority of them. But, after five games of lackluster performance, the time has come for reconsideration from the Vegas coaching staff.

In five games with Eakin as the center between Glass and either Brandon Pirri or Valentin Zykov, the third line has scored just one goal in 42:39 of even-strength ice time. They’ve managed just 22 shots on goal and have created only five high-danger scoring chances. To make matters worse, the one goal came on a puck that was deflected by a Flames defenseman into his own net and happened with less than three minutes left in a three-goal game. Aside from it padding the stats, it really was meaningless.

In other words, the third line with Cody Eakin as the center has created absolutely nothing offensively over five games and 42+ minutes of ice time.

Just look at how they compare to the other three lines.

 G/60S/60SC/60HDSC/60
1st Line3.635.436.114.2
2nd Line2.136.027.59.5
3rd Line1.430.125.37.0
4th Line1.829.828.012.1

The third line is the worst in every single category except shots on goal, in which they are just one shot better than the fourth line.

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New Wrinkle On Power Play Providing Extra Element

(Photo Credit: SinBin.vegas Photographer Brandon Andreasen)

The Golden Knights power play was much maligned last year. They finished the season 25th in the NHL, converting on just 16.8% of their chances.

To make matters worse, it didn’t improve with the addition of one of the most dangerous power play weapons in team history, Mark Stone. After the deadline, Vegas hit on just 7 of 45 power-play opportunities or 15.6%. They picked it up dramatically in the postseason, running at a 27.5% clip, but it was all against the same team, and it fell off a cliff in Games 6 and 7 when they went 0 for 5 and gave up a shorthanded game-winner.

This year, the Golden Knights have connected on 6 of their 20, 30%, which has them in 6th place in the NHL through 6 games.

Last game in Los Angeles, the power play looked unstoppable, going 3 for 3 and creating opportunities consistently. I set out to figure out what, if any, differences there were on the power play between now and last year (especially in the playoffs when the personnel was most similar).

The first thing to focus on is the entry. Vegas consistently uses a drop pass which leads to a puck carrier with speed brinign the puck through the neutral zone. He then brings it in himself or drops it off to one of the two wingers standings at the blue line. The Golden Knights strayed from this entry for a bit in the playoffs, but returned to it by the end of the series. So, for the most part, that’s completely unchanged.

The units are not far off from what they were against the Sharks in the postseason. The better unit includes Max Pacioretty, Mark Stone, Paul Stastny, Shea Theodore. The other unit includes Jonathan Marchessault, Reilly Smith, and William Karlsson. The difference that Cody Glass in now in for Alex Tuch on the first unit, and Nic Hague and Valentin Zykov are in for Colin Miller and Cody Eakin on the second.

What this has done has created a small difference in the default layout the Golden Knights use once they enter the zone and are completely set up. It’s literally the only difference I can find, but there does seem to be a contrast in how the units operate due to the change.

To illustrate it, we head to the grease board!

Power Play setup last year with Tuch

Power Play setup this year with Glass

As you can see, the only difference is where Glass and Tuch play. Tuch is set up directly in front of the net with the idea of screening the goalie and picking up rebounds, while Glass is under the goal line as an extra passing option.

The main difference is the options that are presented for the two guys in the circles when they have the puck (Pacioretty and Stone).

Last year with Tuch

This year with Glass

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Carp: Managing Injuries A Tricky Proposition

**Southern Nevada Sports Hall of Famer, Steve Carp’s returns to SinBin.vegas for the 2019-20 season. His weekly column publishes every Sunday during the Golden Knights season and is brought to you by the Jimmerson Law Firm.**

Every hockey team has to deal with injuries. But the successful ones manage theirs better.

The Golden Knights have been tested earlier than most teams. They started this season without forwards Alex Tuch and Cody Eakin, two key components. Then they lost defenseman Nate Schmidt on opening night after he and San Jose’s Logan Couture collided in the 1st period.

And of course, no injury report would be complete without including goaltender Malcom Subban, who got hurt Thursday in Arizona and forcing Marc-Andre Fleury to work on what was supposed to be a night off.

The Knights’ ability to manage their injuries has varied in their brief existence. They somehow were able to survive after Fleury sustained a concussion early in the inaugural season and wound up missing two months. They also lost Subban and Oscar Dansk during that time too.

And they always seem to manage to compensate whenever William Carrier self-destructs and goes on Injured Reserve. Carrier’s style of play lends himself to getting hurt but to ask him to adjust and play it safe would make him ineffective. He was superb Saturday in the 6-2 win over Calgary, registering a goal and an assist in what was the first multi-point game of his career. He has to play the way he does so you live with the consequences.

You could look at Schmidt’s 20 games missed due to suspension last year as an injury because it forced others to fill the gaps, something the defense didn’t do a particularly good job of. The team struggled without him. And with Schmidt out for who knows how long, once again, the defense is under the microscope.

The hope was the youngsters — Nic Hague, Jimmy Schuldt, perhaps Dylan Coghlan or Jake Bischoff would step up and play well enough to solidify things. So far, that hasn’t manifested itself. Coghlan started the season in the minors, Schuldt joined him Friday, Bischoff got recalled from the Wolves, Hague has not distinguished himself and who knows how long Gerard Gallant sticks with him?

There was some good news from the infirmary. Eakin returned to the lineup Saturday against the Flames and the Knights will welcome his ability in the faceoff circle to win draws, to kill penalties and, most important, spearhead a tenacious forecheck and create turnovers.

If there was a common thread in the losses to Boston and Arizona, it was the lack of a strong forecheck game by the Knights’ forwards. When the forecheck is working, the game becomes vastly different. Opposing teams can’t transition as easily from defense to offense. Scoring opportunities suddenly emerge. The ice gets tilted in Vegas’ favor.

Eakin helps provide that with his tenacity.

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Eakin’s Return Will Shuffle Vegas’ Centers

(Photo Credit: SinBin.vegas Photographer Brandon Andreasen)

All signs point towards center Cody Eakin resuming the same role tonight he’s performed effectively for the past two seasons. Arguably, one of the better third line centers in the NHL, Eakin’s return to duty is integral to the Golden Knights and their Stanley Cup chase.

He’s a huge player to our team. He works hard, he’s quick and he wins a lot of draws. He’s an easy guy too play with. And on the ice he’s one of the leaders. I gladly welcome him back.-William Karlsson

A healthy Eakin completes Vegas’ depth down the middle. It allows Gerard Gallant to solidify his second line, by reuniting Paul Stastny with Max Pacioretty and Mark Stone. Unfortunately, it could be a harsh reality for young center Cody Glass. Who will either be on the wing or on the bench tonight against Calgary. (If practice Friday was any indication, it’ll be the latter.) (Update: It wasn’t any indication. Glass is headed to the wing.)

That so-called second line can play with each other, they’ve had a lot of success together. For our line, we get matchups that we can play against top lines because Cody [Eakin] can shut them down. It creates transition. -Brandon Pirri

Brandon Pirri will likely play on the third line anchored by Eakin. He quipped about Gerard Gallant’s ‘so-called’ expression, but there’s no question as to what the coach expects from his third line.

He’s so solid defensively and he allows creative guys a little more room to more to make plays. He can make up for the little mistakes here and there. With his speed he can get back and catch those guys. -Pirri

An underrated aspect to Eakin’s game is his speed. He has the ability to break out and create a rush, and quickly get back to defend. Eakin’s two-way play can greatly benefit offensive wingers like Pirri, and eventually Alex Tuch.

He creates a ton of speed, he’s one of the best skaters in the league. He pushes defenses back and creates a gap for guys like me who are looking for high ice a little more. -Pirri

We’ll see how Gallant sets his lineup tonight, but it appears Eakin is playing, and he’s almost certainly centering the third line. Which leaves questions about Glass’ immediate and long-term role this year. I’m sure it’ll be addressed eventually by the coaching staff and front office, but for now, it’s nothing but positive words in press conferences from the head coach and a spot on the wing for #9.

Max Pacioretty Remembers Specific Play To Illustrate Cody Glass’s Elite Hockey IQ

(Photo Credit: SinBin.vegas Photographer Brandon Andreasen)

It’s time for another edition of “Illustrating Cody Glass’s Hockey IQ.” About a week ago we broke down his ability to use the stick lift to harass opposing players, something he’s continued to do well through his first two NHL games. Today’s example was pointed out by Max Pacioretty following the home opener on Wednesday.

I really liked one play in the 1st period when – it might have been offside but – he got a puck bouncing by their bench and instead of just throwing it in with the (first game) jitters, he found Stone in the middle and Stone was able to make a play and it almost resulted in a good offensive chance. -Pacioretty

Glass loses the puck, then gets it back, and makes a perfect pass to Stone as he enters the zone. The play went for nothing, but it made a profound impact on Pacioretty.

It’s just little plays like that in your first NHL game, you have the puck and you don’t know where anyone is on the ice but you have your head up and hit Stone in the middle it just takes very good poise. He a gut that sees plays and he makes them, he doesn’t make hope plays, and that’s why he’s so successful. -Pacioretty

Bear in mind, I didn’t ask Pacioretty about this play. My question to him that spurred this response was about whether or not he saw any first game jitters from Glass. He instantly said “no,” then went on talk about this play, before finishing up by laying loads of praise Glass.

I went back to Glass to see if he remembered the play, which he did, but he gave all the credit for that play right back to his linemates.

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Cody Glass Stands Tall On Line With Max Pacioretty And Mark Stone

(Photo Credit: SinBin.vegas Photographer Brandon Andreasen)

Yesterday afternoon Cody Glass tried going through the same routine he always does on game day. On the day of his first career NHL game though, one particular piece of that routine was going to be tough.

After Morning Skate: I usually pregame nap, so that’ll probably be a little bit hard this afternoon. I’m just very excited. -Glass

After the game: Terrible. I couldn’t sleep. It was one of those sleeps where my eyes were closed but I still still wide awake.

Not only was Glass getting ready to play his first NHL game, he was set to become the first draft pick in Golden Knights history to suit up in a game, and to raise the stakes, his name was listed on the lineup card in between Mark Stone and Max Pacioretty as the 2nd line center.

It was a hell of an ask for a 20-year-old rookie who doesn’t even have a fraction of a professional season under his belt. There’s a ton of responsibility that comes with playing up the lineup with incredibly high-end talents like Stone and Pacioretty, and it takes a lot of confidence in a coach to make the call to put him there, especially on opening night against the team’s fiercest rival.

After one game, it was a rousing success.

Glass saw nearly 10 minutes of even-strength ice time with Stone and Pacioretty and didn’t share the ice with any other line for a full shift at any time during the game. Aside from a few defensive zone draws (literally one or two) that were taken by Paul Stastny, Glass centered the 2nd line the entire night posting a goal and not allowing one themselves.

Whenever that kid goes out on the ice he just goes out there, sees a play and makes it. You don’t see too many young guys with that mentality. I’ve never seen one to be honest and that’s what makes him so special and while he’ll keep improving. -Pacioretty

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Cody Glass Gets High Praise From VGK Nemesis Logan Couture

(Photo Credit: SinBin.vegas Photographer Brandon Andreasen)

For the Golden Knights fan base, public enemy number one when it comes to the San Jose Sharks is Evander Kane (and there could be more to that saga later today). But a close second is Logan Couture.

From saying he thought he lost a testicle when blocking a shot to the high-stick teeth incident to just terrorizing the Golden Knights in general by scoring goals in bunches, it’s not hard to dislike Couture if you choose to root for Vegas.

But now it’s time to make fans like San Jose’s #39, if only for a moment.

Following a wild preseason game that was highlighted by 114 penalty minutes including 20 separate penalties in the 3rd period alone, Couture took the time to say some incredibly nice things about Cody Glass.

He’s a good player, he’s going to be a very good player.  He’s smart, the way he sees the game, he’s creative with the puck. I like him as a player just from the two games I’ve played against him. -Couture

Couture and Glass shared the ice for 5:00 last night where the Golden Knights scored once. In the other preseason game, the two were out there together for just 2:46 and very little happened. Under eight minutes total and yet Glass made an impression on the 10-year vet.

The two will likely be seeing a lot of each other over the next two games, and certainly the next few years.

You don’t hear a Sharks player say nice things about a Golden Knight often, so we’ll take this one a cherish it.

Pacioretty Understands How Glass Is Feeling With Final Cuts Coming

(Photo Credit: SinBin.vegas Photographer Brandon Andreasen)

It’s fair to say Cody Glass is in limbo. The young center is clearly ready for NHL action but chances are the organization will send Glass to the AHL. Not ideal for an already patient prospect, but with Vegas’ center depth, it’s been the reality for him for the past two years and appears to be once again this year.

Years back another highly-rated NHL prospect was in the same situation as Glass.

Yeah my first year. They even told me when they sent me down that ‘you deserve to be here, but we just didn’t have room for you.’ -Max Pacioretty

Pacioretty was selected 22nd overall by the Montreal Canadiens in the 2007 NHL Draft. The following training camp, in 2008, that he found himself on the roster bubble.

Then I went down and I started off the season slow.-Pacioretty

Pacioretty was eventually pulled up that season and ended up playing almost half of a season with Montreal. He would go on to finish the year with 11 points (3 goals, 8 assists) in 34 games.

Whether you make the team out of training camp or not, there’s going to be so much made of the guys who do make and the guys that get sent down. All that can change in a matter of days, hours, minutes. So don’t get stuck on that decision and don’t let it affect the way you play. Whether you’re up or down take each day as a day to get better.-Pacioretty

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The Stick Lift: One Of The Many “Little Things” Cody Glass Does Well On The Ice

(Photo Credit: SinBin.vegas Photographer Brandon Andreasen)

When you watch Cody Glass play, you aren’t often going to see highlight reel dangles, top-shelf shots, or flashes of skill that will wow you. Instead, you really have to watch closely to see the things Glass does best on the ice.

His positioning as a center is basically flawless. His ability to see the game at such a high-level has him making the correct pass most of the time. And the way he skates allows him to cover massive amounts of ice making him a spectacular defensive player.

You’ll hear announcers, analysts, and writers refer to these skills as “doing the little things,” mainly because instinctively they know he’s a solid player, but it’s easier to use a cliche than to actually point out a tiny piece of the game when there are 100 other things going on. This often leads to these skills get overlooked, especially the most minuscule of them. That’s why today, I’m here to illustrate something Cody Glass constantly does on the ice that creates turnovers, opens up space for himself and teammates, and frustrates the heck out of opponents along the way.

It’s a skill he mastered while picking on unknowing defensemen while playing in the WHL with the Portland Winterhawks, and it’s called the stick lift.

(Zooming in on your computer or phone makes these much easier to see.)

 

It’s kind of a force of habit. I don’t even notice it anymore so it’s cool that you guys are noticing it. -Glass

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Rookie Game Takeaways – Game 3 vs. Anaheim

(Photo Credit: SinBin.vegas Photographer Brandon Andreasen)

The Golden Knights finished the Rookie Showcase in Irvine winless and looking rather listless for a majority of the three games. However, there were plenty of positives to take away from the tournament in terms of individual players. I wrote up recaps from Games 1 and 2 earlier, this one is a bit more of a recap of the whole weekend, but includes Game 3.

  • The standout of the entire weekend was Dylan Coghlan. His offensive game popped consistently no matter the situation, and he was one of the most responsible defensemen in his own zone. He personally scored three of the team’s seven goals and registered a beautiful primary assist on another. There’s still a long way to go, and rookie games probably hold the least weight in comparison to full training camp and preseason games, but Coghlan’s performance in Irvine will absolutely play a part in the final decision as to which defenseman stays with the team when camp breaks in a few weeks.
  • Paul Cotter did well to start the process of cementing himself as a pro. He was one of the few Golden Knights to play with an edge and it led to him being in the middle of a lot of the team’s best offensive plays. He still has a lot to prove over the next week or two before he’s sent out of camp and either to the OHL or the AHL, but those three games were a giant leap towards Chicago.

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