One day we are going to get a player to admit that this is the reason they are so good at home. (Photo Credit: SinBin.vegas Photographer Brandon Andreasen)
Exactly two years before the Vegas Golden Knights hosted their first home game, superstar center, and mortal enemy for the next 10 hours, Steven Stamkos was predicting their future. On October 10, 2015, Tampa’s captain joined an NHL roundtable with Sidney Crosby and Erik Karlsson. Host George Stroumboulopoulos served up easy one-timers, chatting everything from the league’s best goaltenders to Lebron James. Near the end of the discussion, the trio was asked about the NHL’s best cities to play in, and that’s when Stamstrodamus was born.
(The whole video is great, but the the moment of interest is at 7:15)
What’s the best arena to play in, if it’s not yours? -Stroumboulopoulos:
Yeah that’s probably me too. -Stamkos
Will your answer change if there’s a team in Vegas? Stroumboulopoulos
They might have the best home record in the league. -Stamstrodamus
There you have it. Nine months before the Golden Knights were awarded to The Creator and Las Vegas, a prophet in Tampa hinted at a flu that would only effect visiting NHL teams. Not only does Vegas hold the league’s best home record, but Stamkos and the Lightning were one of the 18 teams to aid VGK’s home-ice advantage.
Yeah, that’s a crappy way to lose a hockey game. We fight back to tie the game. I don’t think anyone would’ve complained if he doesn’t call that penalty on them at the end. That’s an iffy call. Then I think he feels the need to make up for a mistake. At that point in the game, the puck’s in the corner, there’s a battle going on. I know it’s tough. I just think it was the wrong call at that time in the game.- Steven Stamkos after December 19th game at T-Mobile Arena
Tampa will try to avoid a season sweep by the Golden Knights. Heck, it could’ve been the other way around had present-day Stamkos listened to himself from 2015.
In the last episode of Puck Daddy’s Marek vs. Wyshynski podcast (must listen radio) the guys answered emails as they normally do. One email question that stood out was “What player wearing #91 is the best the NHL?”
Let’s face it players that wear #91 are studs. Okay not all of them, sorry Oleg Saprykin. However most are successful, and it made me realize that Las Vegas needs a #91. It’s not your traditional superstar number, but nothing about Las Vegas is traditional. Automatically having a #91 on the team could fear opposing goaltenders. Plus it’s only eight away from Gretzky’s number which no one can wear.
Our friends at NHLNordiques.com recently wrote a fine piece highlighting The National Post asking NHL’ers about expansion. I got to give it to NHL players, most pay attention to league news. So when asked what city they would rather play in (video at the bottom of this post), players seemed to favor Quebec. However, looking deeper I found some fuzzy math with their methodology. Most of the players asked were Canadian, and one of the Americans asked James van Riemsdyk, plays for the Maple Leafs.
Let’s try and break this down a little more fairly.
Van Reimsdyk is basically forced to say Quebec or the whole country will hate him. Also if you notice, Van Reimsdyk says “so I guess I’ll go with that one” not a huge endorsement for Quebec. So I’m gonna call it a wash. No goal. LV 0 QC 0
Next Steven Stamkos chose Quebec over Vegas but Stevie S. has good reasons. Stamkos played Pee Wee hockey in Quebec. Anyone who played Pee Wee’s will never forget those days. Pee Wee’s in America is when checking is introduced, probably earlier in Canada. I’m convinced Canadians were born knowing how to hit. You never forget playing youth hockey and apparently Stamkos doesn’t either. Goal.LV 0 QC 1
I’m nauseous after watching Leafs Dion Phaneuf play both sides like a cheap suited politician. It’s fairly obvious that Dion is well trained by his smoking hot wife‘s PR team because he barely gave an answer. He said it would be great for both cities. Yeah we know that Mr. Cuthbert, give us a real bleeping answer! Phaneuf’s answer is so diplomatic that it doesn’t cross the goal line. No goal.0 LV 1 QC
Okay now things get real. Nashville’s Roman Josi is neither American nor Canadian, so his answer might be the purest. When asked Josi quickly blurted out Las Vegas while wearing a huge smirk. You hear a follow up question “any reason for that?” which the Swede shakes his head and laughs. It was one of those secretive, ‘I had the best time of my life in Vegas but I can’t tell you why’ type grin. You can’t buy a grin like that in Quebec. And even our friends at NHLNordiques.com would admit it. I heard Swedes like to party and Josi doesn’t look like he’s missing the net on the Strip. Goal.1 LV 1 QC
Next is Patrice Bergeron, the one Bruin everyone can like. However, he’s from Quebec, played their growing up so… See above Steven Stamkos. Goal.1 LV 2 QC
Here we go, now things get interesting. The Russian Vladimir Tarasenko was up next and he was wearing the same smirk as Josi. This time however when asked he blurted out Quebec and started laughing. Vladimir gave the same secretive laugh and grin as Jossi, meaning only one thing. Tarasenko also had the time of his life on the Strip but can’t tell anyone about it. I believe Tarasenko smartly chose Quebec because he couldn’t handle the Vegas. It’s an understandable reason to pick Quebec, I might not like it but… Red light. Goal.1 LV 3 QC
Lastly we have Dallas Stars Center Tyler Seguin. I thought this was an easy one based off Tyler’s reported partying. Seguin was outed by the pathetic Bruins smear campaign as an avid booze and skirt chaser. Hmmm, that kinda sounds like Las Vegas. However, knowing that his reputation was on the line, Sequin cleaned up his act in Dallas. Tyler smartly toed the party line on the question. Leaving Las Vegas empty on a last minute 6-on-5. No goal.1 LV 3 QC
Final: Las Vegas – 1 vs. Quebec – 3
I love that The National Post asked players this question and hope they continue to do it throughout the league. Considering the partying some LA King players have done in the past, and the players that show up at the award show I think Las Vegas might get more votes. If you take out Stamkos and Bergeron, this was a much closer contest. In fact Josi and Tarasenko’s answers are the most credible which means we should be heading into 3-on-3 overtime.
Series Price VGK -1000 SJS +650
Game 3 VGK -105 SJS -115
VGK To Western Conference +220*
VGK To Win Stanley Cup +450*
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