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Put To Bed Those Kelly McCrimmon Head Coach Rumors

Head coach rumors have been swirling for months and have included names such as Claude Julien, Mike Kitchen, Craig Berube, and Travis Green, just to name a few. But here in Vegas, and specifically in conversations between those following the team closest, there was this crazy thought in the back of just about everyone’s minds.

What if the coach is already on the staff? What if that coach is the second hire on the staff? Could Assistant General Manager Kelly McCrimmon have been brought in not only to build the team, but then coach them in the inaugural season?

Well, you can stick a fork in that idea. Speaking on Sportsbook Radio with Brian Blessing (about 1:20 in), McCrimmon himself denied any thoughts of coaching the team in 2017-18.

I love coaching and we had lots of success in Brandon, so that part was real enjoyable. For me, I’ve changed gears with the opportunity to work on the management side in the NHL. I always find if you are really enjoying what you are doing and if you are stimulated by the challenge you tend not to miss what you left behind. So as much as I loved every minute of coaching the Brandon Wheat Kings I’m really enjoying what I’m doing right now and looking forward to contributing as much as I possibly can to help this team get started. So it’ll be a different coach than this one and I’m sure I’ll have a hand in the process of selecting the coach. -Kelly McCrimmon, AGM

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Evander Kane Cleared Of Charges, Worth A Look In Vegas?

A few months ago a conversation on Twitter about Evander Kane got pretty animated. Some people posted that Las Vegas could never take on Kane if he was left unprotected by Buffalo. I couldn’t believe a talent like the Sabres power forward was being passed over by so many arm-chair GMs. We’re talking about a rare talent that’s physical, can score, and has solid puck possession skills. (C’mon, tell me those corresponding links don’t fit the double entendres perfectly) Not many players have all three attributes… we’re back to talking about hockey.

Now to be fair, the people against Kane don’t deny his capability, what scares them is his off-ice behavior. He’s no role model. Kane has never been convicted but he’s been twice investigated for criminal behavior. Late last year Buffalo cops dropped charges for sexual assault. Now, a New York judge dismissed charges against Kane for a reported physical incident at a Buffalo bar. And let’s be serious, the name of the bar was Bottoms Up. A bar in Buffalo, NY named Bottoms Up has seen plenty of physical incidents.

Understandably, the two investigations listed above don’t make Kane look like a good guy. In fact that same New York judge called him out as being, “arrogant, boorish, and surly.” (Kind of reminds me of this guy actually) He also told Kane to make sure he keeps his nose clean for six months, something the power forward needs to do if he wants to stay in the NHL anyways. It’s tough to make the case for the 25 year-old forward with his off-ice behavior.

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Local Team Lacking Local Flavor

As we head toward November and the Las Vegas NHL franchise to be named on the 22nd’s fifth month of existence, there are 45 members on the team’s staff. These range from the majority owner to scouts to ticket executives.

A full hockey organization, not including the players, usually has about 200 people on the club, so the league’s newest team is far from being fully staffed. However, after the 45th member, Director of Global Partnerships Steven Duffy, came on board, something dawned on me.

There is a total of one person (unless I’m missing someone) who has ever worked in Las Vegas on the current staff. His name is Jeff Kaminski, a ticket exec who previously worked for IMG/Learfield at UNLV. David Seiden, another ticket exec attended UNLV, but immediately left town upon graduation to work with the Los Angeles Dodgers. But that’s it. One out of 45.

Now, before you jump down my throat, let me just say this, I know Las Vegas has never had a major professional sports team before. I know that means very few currently living, and absolutely no one currently working, in Las Vegas works for a major professional sports franchise. I’m also not picking on anyone currently on the staff, every single one of them has a resume that absolutely qualifies them to be in the building.

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The One Troubling Expansion Draft Rule

The NHL Expansion Draft contains a web of rules both on the side of who can be protected by the 30 existing teams, as well as many requirements of which unprotected players can be selected by the league’s newest club.

There are simple rules like, “only one player can be selected from each team.” Slightly more complex rules like “Las Vegas must hit at least 60% of the salary cap.” And then there are the super in-depth ones, in some cases which we still don’t have all the answers.

On it’s face, this rule seems simple, but it’s really not.

The Las Vegas franchise must select a minimum of 20 players who are under contract for the 2017-18 season. –

Originally we thought that simply meant, George McPhee and his staff can only select 10 UFAs (unrestricted free agents). But in a recent interview with Brian Blessing on Sportsbook Radio, McPhee mentioned that his team was limited by how many RFAs (restricted free agents) they could select as well.

There are limits on how many of those you can take. Right now I think you can only draft 10 RFAs. But as we went through it, I think that’ll be the only real issue to keep an eye on, the number of RFA and contracted players you have because we met all the other requirements first time through, and there are a lot. -McPhee

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Every Step You Take, Every Move You Make

The next line of the song is “I’ll be watching you,” but as new team President Kerry Bubolz knows, for his new organization, it’s not just the eyes of one creepy stalker (seriously, that’s what that song is about), it’s the eyes of the entire sports world. And those eyes are going to make everyone in that building feel like they are the baby panda at the zoo. Every step they take, every move they make, everybody’s watching you.

I really think this applies to this type of scenario. All of the folks that purchased season tickets, the NHL, they’re going to be watching. We have a level of visibility that I think creates an extra level of responsibility that we need to take very seriously. –Bubolz to

Step one is admitting there’s a problem. Oh wait, did I jump to a conclusion there? Well, whether that was an admission or not, it’s true, there is a problem.

There are two sides to professional sports franchises. In this case, there’s the hockey operations side and there’s the business side. One has gotten the kind of praise piled on an honor roll first-born, while the other has drawn nothing but the stern looks reserved only for the middle-child who has all the talent in the world but just doesn’t want to exert the effort.

It’s literally impossible to find a bad word about the staff George McPhee has put together in his front office. It’s diverse (now), it has experience, there are proven winners, and the resumes carried by every single person in the room are exemplary. In many ways, it’s the expansion front office dream team.

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Forget About LA, SJ, And ANA, Vegas May Have To Worry About EDM

I’m going to get crap for this but what the hell, go ahead and pile on. When Las Vegas enters the NHL next season maybe they won’t be chasing the Sharks, Kings, or Ducks in the Pacific division. Possibly the newly formed Knights could be looking up at the high-flying Edmonton Oilers. In six games played, the Oil has 10 points, the second most goals in the NHL, all with a solid +7 goal differential. Yeah, they’re pretty slick.

Obviously, after six games I’m jumping the gun a bit. We have no idea if this team can sustain their early success and break the postseason drought. Edmonton fans haven’t seen a playoff game since the Game 7 Stanley Cup loss against Carolina. So you can only imagine their desire to get back. However, the 2016-17 Oilers are on pace to score over 100 more goals than they did last season. Edmonton hasn’t scored more than 250 goals since that 05-06 Western Conference Championship team. In fact, this year’s team is projected to score the same amount of goals as Edmonton’s last Stanley Cup winning team in 1989-90. Scary, right? The Oilers have been so irrelevant over the past 25 years it’s been sad, but the end is near.

Leading the charge is obviously McJesus. Connor McDavid is lighting it up as we all expected. Edmonton’s Captain is on pace for over 120 points. Silly right? Granted, McDavid won’t play 82 games, will hit a drought, and has had a relatively weak schedule thus far. Either way, his video game like numbers at 1.5 points per game are getting everyone’s attention. Next on the list is right wing Jordan Eberle who’s averaging a point per game, and same for center Leon Draisaitl. Also, making a difference is bruiser free agent signing Milan Lucic with four points early on. Overall, every forward has a point, and only two defenseman remain pointless. Really good point distribution. Compare that to the woeful LA Kings, with 14 goals for and 18 goals against. If it wasn’t for Tanner Pearson‘s four goals, the Kings might not even have the measly two wins they do have. Is this article making any sense yet?

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The Case Of The Missing Name

One of the coolest things about running this website has been the incredible interaction I’ve had with some insanely talented people. Graphic designers, Photoshop wizards, videographers, website owners who end up employed by the teamt-shirt designers, domain name geniuses, lawyers, popcorn poppers, you name it, you guys have reached out to me and it’s been really awesome.

Whether on Twitter, Facebook, email or in person, you wouldn’t believe the number of conversations I’ve had with fans of a team that didn’t exist and now does but still won’t have a player for another eight months. Honestly, I’ve had my doubts about how successful this team is going to be, there have been tough days trying to drum up interest to a fan base I feel is growing at a snail’s pace, but it’s those interactions that will always keep me optimistic.

So, why am I saying all of this? Well, I got an email about a month and a half ago with something I wanted to share with everyone who visits this site, but we’ve been waiting for the perfect time to do it. When we broke the news that November 22nd is the date of the team name unveil, the story I was sent got it’s necessary conclusion, and now it’s time to share it to the world.

The author’s name is Michael Shevlane and he sent in what he dubbed “a dectective noir” about the team name saga the Las Vegas franchise has gone through since the announcement of the team. Without further ado, I present you,

The Case of the Missing Name

So there’s this wise guy here on the west side of town, goes by the name of Freddie Four Fingers, on account of losing his thumb in a hitch-hiking accident. Anyways, Freddie comes to me and drops the scoop on this new hockey club, said to be muscling into town just off the Boulevard.

Their don, a big-money type called Foley, or how he’s know on the streets, The Creator, is said to be putting his feelers out all over town, finding drones for his clan, if you get me. His lair is a big old place they say is in between the boroughs of New York and the jewel of Monaco, whatever that means, and he has space for thousands of minions. A real takeover, as they say. He has some overlords up in the Big Apple who give him the thumbs up to get set up, and they’ve been seen around town, pressing flesh and handing dimes under the table, so as to get their guy off to a bright start.

Anyways, as soon as Freddie caught wind of all this he had come to me, as he owes me for a couple of jobs I did for his people back in the day, snooping round some deals gone bad, that kind of thing. When I hear about this new organization, my ears perk right up, and I rinse him for the low down till he’s Mojave dry. Seems they were already dug in, with their new hires in tow, and were building up to some kind of big job next year.

Read More Podcast #41: Unhuddled Mass

Discussing the unveil party from the perspective of the “unhuddled mass.” Hosted by Ken Boehlke and Jason Pothier.

  • The “HELLO” open. Is it annoying?
  • Ken and Jason checked out the UNLV hockey game.
  • Jason isn’t really a dad, despite having a 7-month old son.
  • How many people will show up to the unveil party?
  • Ken explains the best way to sell jerseys.
  • Winter Classic at West Point, good idea?

And much more…

We are on iTunes as well as Stitcher. Subscribe now!

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Team Name Unveil Ceremony Date Officially Set

Put your pencils away, take out the Sharpie, and circle Tuesday, November 22nd. Team sources confirmed this is the final working date and late last night man in charge concurred.

Locked and loaded. Everything should be ready. -The Creator

That’s the day they’ll finally reveal the identity of the Something in Something Knights. Not only will we learn the missing adjective, but we’ll also get to see the logos, the colors, and even the home and away jerseys.

The team name unveil event will take place on Toshiba Plaza just outside of T-Mobile Arena “at night” on the 22nd.

Merchandise such as shirts and hats with the new team name and logo will be available for sale, but you’ll have to get in line behind me. Jerseys however are not expected to be available for sale.

The Creator will be joined by GM George McPhee, and NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman is expected to be on hand as well. 

The end is near people! Vegas’ first major professional sports franchise is finally getting it’s identity. Here’s to hoping we don’t hate what they went with.


We’ve gotten wind of a few other secrets about the big party and it’s participants, but at this point the only thing in stone is the date. 

Pens Extend Matt Murray, But Give Away A Lot About Marc-Andre Fleury

Pretty much every article you find regarding Matt Murray‘s new three year $3.75 million per year deal references Las Vegas in some form or fashion. That’s because the deal makes Marc-Andre Fleury expendable, but there’s a problem, he has a no movement clause in his contract, meaning he MUST be protected in the Expansion Draft…unless he waives it.

Are the Penguins telling us they have a guarantee from Fleury that he will indeed waive that clause?

In my eyes, they have to be.

Let’s say Fleury does NOT intend on waiving his NMC therefore forcing them to protect him and leave Matt Murray exposed. Assuming the Pens want to keep Murray, they would then have two choices. 1) Trade Fleury before June 17th when the Expansion Protected Lists are due. 2) Make a deal with Las Vegas to not select Matt Murray.

Of the two options, it’s clear the first would be the better route for Pittsburgh. However, there are major hurdles to completing a deal for Fleury.

First off, Marc-Andre Fleury has a limited no trade clause. There are 12 teams listed on his contract in which he can not be traded to. Therefore, the pool of eligible trade partners sits at just 17. Problem number two lies in his contract. He’s scheduled to make $5.75 million each of the next three seasons (thru the 18-19 season), a number many teams would not want to take on and/or cannot afford under the cap. Problem three, he has an NMC in which he’s not willing to waive (in this hypothetical), so he must be protected by whichever team acquires him.

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