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Entries with the tag: las vegas

It’s all fun in Vegas for GM GM

USA Today's Kevin Allen caught up with Vegas Knights GM George McPhee, who's thoroughly enjoying himself as he builds an NHL franchise in the Nevada desert:

General manager George McPhee knew it would be the biggest challenge of his career when he took over as architect of the expansion Vegas Golden Knights organization.

What he didn't know was how much he would enjoy it.

“It’s been the most fun I’ve ever had in hockey,” said McPhee, a former Hobey Baker Award winner, NHL player and long-time general manager of the Washington Capitals.

The NHL has grown from six to 31 teams over the past 50 years, and yet it seems as if the Las Vegas-based team is the most important expansion club in league history.

“We’ve been overwhelmed by the interest in our franchise,” McPhee said. “Vegas is a worldwide brand and it is the tourism capital of the world. Forty-two million people come here every year. Now it’s becoming a destination for pro sports teams, and we have the unique opportunity to be the very first.”


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Questioning the expansion draft’s format

From the New York Post's Larry Brooks:

“AND as the first pick in the 2017 Expansion Draft, the Vegas Golden Knights select PLACEHOLDER.”

Last week’s unveiling of the NHL’s 31st franchise’s name and logo replete with technical malfunctions was almost charming in an amateur-hour type of way. But at least we saw it unfold, which is maybe the problem.

Because, you see, while this fiasco of a celebration of colors and shield was presented live on every one of your screens, the expansion draft itself will be conducted behind closed doors on June 20, the results of which won’t be announced until the following day. That leaves 24 hours for every selected player’s name to be leaked in haphazard fashion.

Come to think of it, VGKGMGM (The acronym by which Vegas Golden Knights general manager George McPhee will be known) might make his picks with the doors open, for all any one will know. What, the league (or maybe the NHLPA) doesn’t want the order of selection made public, for fear the last pick will be insulted?

A one-team expansion draft may not make for great theater but it is, you know, news. And as such, and of course, the selections should be revealed in real time, even if pretty much every single one of them selected by VGKGMGM will indeed be a placeholder.

Continued, with the usual assortment of topics...

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Afternoon Line- Eric Stephens

The official announcement comes later tonight.

Filed in: NHL Teams, | KK Hockey | Permalink
  Tags: las+vegas

Las Vegas Set To Announce Team Name And Logo

LAS VEGAS (Nov. 16, 2016)  – The Las Vegas NHL franchise invites the Vegas community to be a part of history as owner Bill Foley, general manager George McPhee and NHL commissioner Gary Bettman unveil the team's name and logo on Tuesday, Nov. 22, 2016, at 5:30 p.m. PT  on the Toshiba Plaza, outside of the T-Mobile arena.

This exciting and fun-filled event will feature live entertainment, activities for children, local youth hockey players skating on an outdoor rink, appearances by former NHL players and the sale of official team merchandise

“The Las Vegas community has been with us throughout this incredible process–from the ticket drive to the awarding of a team--and I hope everyone will join us once more as we announce the name and unveil the logo for Las Vegas’s first major professional sports team,” said Foley. “We have a name and logo that not only reflects the city’s unique environment, but that signifies strength and a team culture that never accepts defeat.”

The press event will be televised live on NHL Network and will be streamed live on NHL.com starting at 6 p.m. PT.

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‘Rumblings’ from LeBrun: Vegas gets a leg up on free agency

Among ESPN's Pierre LeBrun's "Rumblings':

The Las Vegas expansion franchise will be given a head start when it comes to free agency.

Sources told ESPN.com that as part of these fascinating expansion-draft rules we keep learning about, the Vegas organization will have a 48-hour window ahead of the expansion draft in June to speak with and sign any pending unrestricted or restricted free agents whom the 30 teams left unprotected for the expansion draft.

So, for example, let's say for whatever reason Brent Burns remains unsigned by the San Jose Sharks by June (and I’m not saying that’s going to happen, just using him as an example). Would the Sharks want to protect Burns in the expansion draft if they feel he’s walking out the door July 1?

Let’s pretend they don’t, and Vegas has the opportunity to negotiate with Burns ahead of the expansion draft and sign him. Pretty unreal, right? But it’s possible, according to these rules.

Now, one can’t imagine Vegas would want to launch its franchise by overpaying a number of UFAs. But for a real difference-maker? Who knows.

And the same goes for RFAs, who obviously are younger. Any RFAs left unprotected for the expansion draft can become property of the Vegas franchise if they agree to terms on a new contract within that 48-hour window.


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Goodbye General Fanager

from Frank Seravalli of TSN,

General Fanager quickly became the go-to resource for all financial aspects of the game, including player contracts, known no-trade or no-movement clauses, waiver and arbitration eligibility, historical earnings and even insider details such as specific performance bonus thresholds in player contracts.

GeneralFanager.com was rendered inactive with Monday’s news, leaving competitor CapFriendly.com as the top remaining salary cap reference point on the web.

Other online hockey contributors have been hired by NHL teams in recent years, including War-on-Ice.com co-creator Sam Ventura, who helped the Pittsburgh Penguins to a Stanley Cup last season. Prominent analytics writer Eric Tulsky was hired by the Carolina Hurricanes as a hockey analyst after his work was popularized on BroadStreetHockey.com.

The NHL has declined to integrate salary data into their website, with commissioner Gary Bettman repeatedly saying there is not an “appetite” from fans for the information. The metrics and online buzz would beg to differ: teams used General Fanager as a reference in a sport where personnel moves are sometimes entirely dictated by dollars.


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  Tags: las+vegas

Las Vegas hires General Fanager founder as analyst

This is intriguing...


added 7:52pm, Las Vegas release is below...

Continue Reading »

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Everything Going As Planned For The Las Vegas NHL Franchise

from Ed Graney of the Las Vegas Review-Journal,

It’s a process that already has begun, with McPhee and assistant general manager Kelly McCrimmon in lead positions.

“I don’t think there has been any surprises,” McPhee said. “We’re delighted with how quickly it all got done. We can sort of step back now and take a breath. These are real quality people and scouts. I thought it went extremely well with Kelly and I vetting people. He knew a lot of guys on the way up, and I knew a lot of guys at this level.

“We got a real nice cross section of people. We don’t have a bunch of clones. We have young up-and-comers, and we have veteran guys that wanted one more chance. I believe it’s a tremendous staff.”

McPhee spent 17 years as general manager of the Washington Capitals, longer than any other GM in franchise history. He has been a director of hockey operations for the Vancouver Canucks, a senior adviser with the New York Islanders and was the co-general manager for Canada’s gold medal team at the 2016 World Championship.

But while he will begin painting his Las Vegas adventure from a spotless canvas, those characteristics and qualities McPhee searched for when running and helping to run other franchises haven’t changed. That will include when he pursues the team’s first coach, who probably won’t be hired until the spring.


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When Your Team Doesn’t Play Until Next Year, You Practice The Draft

from Steve Carp of the Las Vegas Review-Journal,

June 20, 2017, is coming and George McPhee promises he is going to be ready.

The general manager for the Las Vegas NHL expansion team has had the date circled on his calendar ever since he accepted the job July 12. That’s the day Las Vegas has to turn in its 30 selections, one from each team, for the NHL expansion draft.

The first of what will be several mock drafts will be held Saturday and Sunday at the team’s temporary offices in Summerlin. McPhee and his professional scouts along with other members of the team’s hockey operations staff will meet and go through the process of selecting players.

“It’s a chance for us to get comfortable with the procedure and the rules,” McPhee said Wednesday after the groundbreaking ceremonies for the team’s headquarters and practice facility adjacent to Downtown Summerlin. “It’s our first time doing this so there are going to be a lot of questions and get a feel for what the process is like.”


Filed in: NHL Teams, | KK Hockey | Permalink
  Tags: las+vegas

Kerry Bubolz Named President Of The NHL Franchise In Las Vegas

LAS VEGAS (Oct. 3, 2016) – Bill Foley and Black Knight Sports and Entertainment, LLC, announced today that Kerry Bubolz has been hired as the team’s president.

Bubolz joins the new Las Vegas NHL team after spending 13 years with the National Basketball Association's Cleveland Cavaliers and Quicken Loans Arena organization. Since 2013, Bubolz served as the president of business operations, where he was responsible for the oversight of ticket and suite sales; corporate sponsorship revenue; broadcasting, marketing and communications; fan and community engagement; digital and social engagement; and box office operations. Bubolz also served as president and alternate governor for all franchise property teams owned by the Cavaliers Operating Company, including the Cleveland Monsters of the American Hockey League (AHL), the Canton Charge of the NBA Development League and the Cleveland Gladiators of the Arena Football League. 

Continue Reading »

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  Tags: kerry+bubolz, las+vegas

Murray Craven Named Senior Vice President Of Las Vegas Franchise

LAS VEGAS (Aug. 18, 2016) – Bill Foley, majority owner of the newly awarded NHL franchise in Las Vegas, and Black Knight Sports & Entertainment, LLC, announced today that Murray Craven has been hired as a senior vice president for the team.

In this role, Craven’s responsibilities include the development of the team’s practice facility in Summerlin, a Las Vegas community, and the build-out of team and league facilities at the T-Mobile Arena. Craven will also be involved in identifying the team’s American Hockey League (AHL) affiliate and will be responsible for establishing and fostering a relationship with the AHL team. Additionally, Craven will oversee projects at the request of George McPhee, general manager for the Las Vegas franchise.

Craven played 18 seasons in the National Hockey League between 1982–83 and 1999–2000, and has played for the Detroit Red Wings, Philadelphia Flyers, Hartford Whalers, Vancouver Canucks, Chicago Blackhawks and the San Jose Sharks.

Craven has served as an advisor to Black Knight Sports & Entertainment’s for the past two years and coaches youth hockey in Whitefish, Mont.

Filed in: NHL Teams, | KK Hockey | Permalink
  Tags: las+vegas, murray+craven

The Latest On The Name Search For The NHL Team In Las Vegas

from Steve Carp of the Las Vegas Review-Journal,

Owner Bill Foley refuted internet reports Friday that the team has decided against “Hawks” in the name after it was reported Thursday that Black Knight Sports and Entertainment had legally secured the three names.

“Not true,” Foley said from California. “Nighthawks is still a name we’re considering, though we are probably not going to go with the others (Red Hawks and Desert Hawks).”

Foley added that two other names have been submitted for copyright, trademark and domain rights with the United States Patent and Trademark Office. Those names, which he would not reveal, also would be in play pending a final decision in the coming days.

“Somebody will eventually figure it out, but I want to wait for the paperwork to be processed,” Foley said, alluding to those who are attempting to poach possible nicknames and then sell them back to him. “I hope we’ll have that paperwork done fairly quickly. I want to spend my money on hockey players, not on team names.”

Foley said he’s not sure where the idea emerged that he had eliminated names with “Hawks,” other than some Chicago Blackhawks fans had voiced displeasure on social media.


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The NHL Franchise In Las Vegas Closing In On A Team Name

from Bill Bradley of the Las Vegas Review-Journal,

Bird might be the word for the Las Vegas NHL franchise.

Franchise owner Bill Foley said Thursday night that he has registered domain names for the nicknames Red Hawks, Nighthawks and Desert Hawks. Foley said he is close to registering two other names as well.

SportsLogos.Net, which has a reputation for finding newly registered sports nicknames and logo changes, first reported the names Thursday.

The three “hawks” names for the team, which is scheduled to open play in 14 months, are registered as several different domain names by Foley’s Black Knight IP Holding Company, LLC.

 While the red hawks and desert hawks do not actually exist, the nighthawks are birds that are indigenous to the state, according to the Nevada Department of Wildlife. Also, Nighthawk was the name of the Air Force’s first stealth bomber plane, which made its maiden voyage from Groom Lake and was based out of Nellis Air Force Base.


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Misha Donskov Named Director Of Hockey Operations For Las Vegas Team

from Vegas is Hockey,

Bill Foley, majority owner of the newly awarded NHL franchise in Las Vegas, and Black Knight Sports & Entertainment, LLC, announced today that Misha Donskov has been hired as the team’s Director of Hockey Operations.

Donskov joins the Las Vegas NHL team from Hockey Canada’s Men’s National Teams where he served as Manager, Hockey Operations/Analytics & Video. On July 1, 2016, he was appointed Assistant Coach/Hockey Operations for the Men’s National Teams.

He has won a gold medal with Canada at the 2016 IIHF World Championship in Russia, the 2015 IIHF World Championship in the Czech Republic, the 2015 IIHF World Junior Championship in Toronto and Montreal, and with the 2013 Under-18 Team at the Memorial of Ivan Hlinka tournament in the Czech Republic and Slovakia. In addition, Donskov won a bronze medal with Canada’s National Men’s Under-18 Team at the 2014 IIHF U18 World Championship in Finland. 


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  Tags: las+vegas, misha+donskov

Front-Office Team “Falling Into Place” In Las Vegas

from Alex Prewitt of Sports Illustrated,

Among the many big picture plans he made upon becoming general manager of the NHL’s new Las Vegas team—a blueprint for the org chart, lists of candidates for front-office positions, a schedule for upcoming amateur scouting events, to name several—George McPhee forgot all about employee benefits. “That’s the one thing I overlooked,” he says. “Are we going with 401ks or some sort of pension or à la carte? These people are moving to Vegas. How are they doing it? Are we covering their expenses? Are we putting them up in a hotel until they can find a house? Things of that nature, people have to know.”

As T-Mobile Arena installed its first sheet of ice and the sparks of an expansion franchise have begun shooting from the dessert dust, these matters have become increasingly important. The first big hire after McPhee—assistant GM Kelly McCrimmon—was finalized last weekend, bringing aboard a longtime junior hockey executive whom McPhee calls both “experienced” and “a rising star.” Five more contracts have been signed to fill various high-level roles, McPhee told SI.com via telephone, including a salary cap expert, a director of hockey operations, a director of player development, and an organizational goalie director. He hopes that directors of pro and amateur scouting will be found within the week.

“We’re just announcing them as they start rolling into the office,” McPhee says. “We’re doing pretty well. Everything is falling into place.”


Filed in: NHL Teams, | KK Hockey | Permalink
  Tags: las+vegas

Defining The Las Vegas Hockey Fan

from Ed Graney of the Las Vegas Review-Journal,

Who is the Las Vegas hockey fan?

“Hopefully, we can help mold that,” said Murray Craven, the former NHL player and adviser to team owner Bill Foley. “It’s almost a direct challenge to the local fan base. Who are you? Our best salesman for the casual fan who might not know the game is going to be that person sitting next to them or all around them that does.

“All of sudden, you catch the fever and start asking questions and that’s how you learn as a fan. Don’t be afraid if you don’t know much about the game. We will have those people. Come and be entertained, because we will definitely entertain you. When you have fans that learn the game and become passionate about it, that’s how you develop a lifelong love for it.”

Hockey fans are among the most passionate and knowledgeable in sports. They know the game’s history, its nuances, its creative nature. But this isn’t Detroit or Chicago or Philadelphia — all cities Craven played in during his 18-year career — and there is no telling the level of understanding many Las Vegas fans will own at the outset.

There will be transplants, those season-ticket holders who grew up on the game elsewhere and will now shift their loyalties to the local side. There will also be some who don’t know the difference between a blue line and a crease.

Fact: Las Vegas needs all of them to build a sustainable franchise following the initial wave of elation for merely having a team. The witness test for fan support isn’t Opening Night in 2017. It’s Opening Night in 2020.


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Fans Visit T-Mobile Arena

from Steve Carp of the Las Vegas Review-Journal,

Steve Struve and his wife Sue looked down on the pristine ice surface below from the top of T-Mobile Arena and marveled at the view.

“This is a cathedral,” he said.

The building, which will seat 17,500 for hockey, opened its doors Monday to the city’s hockey fans, particularly the 15,500 season ticket-holders for Las Vegas’ NHL expansion team, giving them their first look of the rink.

The 200-f00t-by-85-f00t rink, which was constructed Saturday, had its boards, protective glass and netting set up. The lines were painted so there was no guessing where you might want to sit when the seat selection process is done this fall.

continue, incldes pictures...

Filed in: NHL Teams, | KK Hockey | Permalink
  Tags: las+vegas

Meet the Las Vegas NHL team’s Mr. Everything

Yahoo Sport's Josh Cooper profiled Murray Craven, whose role with the Las Vegas NHL franchise is...Well, complicated:

Murray Craven doesn’t have an official title with the Las Vegas NHL team but that’s because he doesn’t have one specific role in one specific area.

He’s helping the team design their locker room. He’s working on the Summerlin-area construction of the practice facility, which also includes the team’s office space. He guided billionaire owner Bill Foley to hire George McPhee as the team’s general manager.

“At this point I just do the work,” said Craven who played 1,071 games in his NHL career between the Detroit Red Wings, Philadelphia Flyers, Hartford Whalers, Vancouver Canucks, Chicago Blackhawks and San Jose Sharks. “I know what’s out there. I know what needs to be done and that’s what I do.”

The 52-year-old Craven is a living, walking embodiment that timing can help in the successes of life. If he hadn’t met Foley while playing golf in Whitefish, Montana in the early part of last decade, he may not have had this opportunity – to help mold and create the first major pro sports team in Las Vegas.

But his ability to successfully do his job is more than just luck. Through those trips to the golf course and personal time with Foley the two have built up a level of trust and understanding where Craven has quickly become one of the few people who can help build this team in Foley’s image.


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  Tags: bill+foley, george+mcphee, las+vegas, murray+craven

Discussing expansion draft-eligible players

From ESPN's Tal Pinchevsky:

George McPhee hasn't been on the job long enough to hire a scouting staff. But the general manager for the NHL's Las Vegas expansion franchise is already formulating his strategy for next year's expansion draft.

"Teams will still do their best to not give us anything," McPhee said. "We'll have a better opportunity to build a foundation than in previous expansion drafts. But we're going to have to work hard to find great players."

McPhee figures he will be lucky if he selects one or two players who stick with the franchise for the long term. But that doesn't necessarily mean he'll be staying away from players with long-term deals.

"I think we'll have to evaluate every team on a case-by-case basis and see what they have," McPhee said. "I'll take a longer contract if it's a good player."

Before McPhee got the job, the other 30 general managers were already shuffling their rosters so as to have options entering the expansion draft. With teams allowed to protect one goaltender, that's the main reason Frederik Andersen and Brian Elliott were dealt this summer and why the Pittsburgh Penguins, Tampa Bay Lightning and Detroit Red Wings are expected to make similar moves with goalies.

Teams will be able to protect seven forwards, three defensemen and one goalie OR eight skaters and one goalie in the expansion draft. They must also protect players with no-movement clauses as well as first- or second-year pros.


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All George McPhee

from Tal Pinchevsky of ESPN,

ESPN.com: How many resumes have you received so far?

GM: I'll bet that I've had 600-700 texts, 300-400 emails, 60-70 phone calls. It's been unreal. What's difficult is you let people know you'll get back to them when we get organized. If they haven't heard from you in a week, they start texting and emailing again.

ESPN.com: What is it you'll be looking for in a coach in Las Vegas?

GM: We haven't even started [looking] and probably won't until the new year. There are lots of coaching changes in a season, so we want to take a look at what might be there later in the year. A coach has to obviously understand the X's and O's, but more importantly he has to be someone the players really respect. Not only as a coach but as a person. You want a guy that's a lot of things: smart, approachable, unflappable, confident, hard-working, organized, all of those things. Good with the community, good with the media. That's the sort of thing we'll be looking for.

ESPN.com: Have other GMs contacted you about staying away from their players in the expansion draft?

GM: I called [Islanders GM] Garth Snow to say, "Thanks for everything, it was a great experience and you really helped me get the other GM job." He said, "Just remember that during the expansion draft." Then he said, "Now that you're back to being a manager, I can't wait to see you look old again."


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  Tags: george+mcphee, las+vegas

Trademark Issues Causing Problems When Choosing The Name Of The Las Vegas NHL Franchise

from Steve Carp of the Las Vegas Review-Journal,

“The issue we’re having is there are various trademark issues and trade name issues that are issued,” he said. “And so we’re fighting, we’re working our way through that process.

“But it’s various athletic teams, entities that may have a name that we’re interested in.”

“Black Knights?” Even with the supposed blessing of those at Foley’s alma mater at West Point, that’s probably not happening. Too complicated when you consider the United States government would be involved in giving the final OK. Even the school’s colors of black, gold and gray may not be used in the final product for the hockey team.

The team has spent the past couple of weeks working with adidas, which owns Reebok, the NHL’s official uniform supplier, and league marketing officials, to come up with something that Foley likes. He said he has seen and heard every name imaginable, including the ones the Review-Journal has been running in its informal bracket poll on its website. But he has yet to find the one name that really wows him and is obtainable without paying ransom to someone who has secured the rights.

“We have a lot of names in mind but a lot of the ones I really liked are trademarked, so that’s a little bit of an issue,” Foley said.


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Evening Line- George McPhee

"Our mission here is clear: We're going to build an organization and a team that people in Nevada and Las Vegas will be proud of, and we're going to do it quickly and we're aiming at the Stanley Cup, it's that simple."

-George McPhee, GM of the Las Vega franchise.  More on the hiring from the CP at TSN.

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George McPhee Named First General Manager Of The Las Vegas NHL Franchise

from NHL.com,

George McPhee was named the first general manager of the Las Vegas NHL expansion franchise on Wednesday.

McPhee, 58, who was serving as special adviser to New York Islanders GM Garth Snow, will begin his new job immediately. The Las Vegas team will begin play in 2017-18.

McPhee was GM of the Washington Capitals from 1997-2014. Washington advanced to the Stanley Cup Final in his first season but lost to the Detroit Red Wings in four games. During his tenure, the Capitals won seven Southeast Division titles, had eight seasons of 40-plus wins, and won the Presidents' Trophy in 2009-10, when they set their record for most points in a season (121).

Prior to joining the Capitals, McPhee was vice president and director of hockey operations for the Vancouver Canucks from 1992-97. The Canucks won the Smythe Division in 1992-93 and made it to the Stanley Cup Final in 1994 (a seven-game loss to the New York Rangers).


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Good Bet George McPhee Will Be The GM In Las Vegas

Press conference in Vegas at 4:00pm ET on Wednesday.


Filed in: NHL Teams, | KK Hockey | Permalink
  Tags: george+mcphee, las+vegas

Las Vegas Close To Naming Their GM

from Steve Carp of the Las Vegas Review-Journal,

“We’re hoping to have an announcement in a few days,” Foley said Monday. “We’ve got two primary candidates and we’re trying to get this done. We need to get a scouting staff hired and whoever we hire as our GM will be responsible for putting the (scouting) staff together.”

While Foley would not reveal who the finalists are or who the pool of seven interviewees were, he said they were all solid hockey people who have a wide range of abilities and expertise.

“I can tell you the people we talked to are all well-known in the hockey community and are well-respected,” Foley said. “They’re all very smart and they’ve done different things for different teams. Some are strong on the (salary) cap. Some are strong when it comes to assessing talent. But they all have strong backgrounds.”

Foley said some of the candidates he interviewed currently work for NHL teams and to make their names public could cause potential problems with their current employers.

“We don’t want to cause any distractions,” he said. “We tried to be very careful and do it the right way. We worked with the NHL on how to contact teams for permission and I know we did it the proper way.”


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  Tags: las+vegas

No Pushovers In Florida Plus Vegas Must Sell The Game On Speed And Talent

from Fluto Shinzawa of the Boston Globe,

Like their West Coast counterparts, the Panthers and Lightning used to be pushovers. Four points were as guaranteed as a rejuvenating dose of Vitamin C. Not anymore. In 2016-17, the 28 other teams will require a handful of aspirin to accompany their glasses of orange juice following what could be back-to-back poundings. Florida and California are now the toughest states in the NHL, which would never have been spotted in any crystal ball.

But that’s the reality after the infrastructure that Tampa Bay general manager Steve Yzerman built convinced Steven Stamkos the grass wasn’t greener elsewhere, even if the dollars were. Stamkos left stacks of cash on the table by signing an eight-year, $68 million extension when he could have scored a double-digit average annual value on the open market....

Yzerman’s offseason work isn’t finished. He will re-sign Kucherov, Alex Killorn, and Vladislav Namestnikov. Yzerman would be in better cap space to do so if he trades Ben Bishop, who has one year remaining on his contract. But wheeling the goalie this summer isn’t automatic. The Lightning would be best served with Bishop and Andrei Vasilevskiy backstopping one more Cup push in 2016-17 before they part ways with the ex-University of Maine netminder.

A two-goalie net is the plan for the Panthers, who supplemented Roberto Luongo by signing James Reimer to a five-year, $17 million contract. It was one of eight deals the Panthers signed in an 11-day span. Between June 23 and July 3, the Panthers committed $203,600,000 in salary to Reimer, Aaron Ekblad, Keith Yandle, Vincent Trocheck, Reilly Smith, Jason Demers, Derek MacKenzie, Colton Sceviour, and Jonathan Marchessault.

General manager Tom Rowe wore out his hand while signing all the contracts. Owner Vincent Viola, meanwhile, monitored his checking account to make sure it wasn’t overdrawn. It was a thunderous announcement by the Panthers: that a first-round playoff loss to the Islanders was only the beginning of their renaissance.

more on this plus other hockey topics...

from Kevin Paul Dupont also of the Boston Globe,

Continue Reading »

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  Tags: las+vegas

Donald Fehr weighs in on expansion

The Las Vegas Review-Journal's Steve Carp spoke with two intriguing people regarding the state of expansion in the NHL. One of them is Bill Foley, the man in charge of the Las Vegas expansion franchise-to-be, and the other is NHLPA executive director Donald Fehr.

We haven't heard from Fehr regarding the intricacies of expansion as of yet, but from Fehr's point of view, expansion is a good thing...

"As a general rule the players are in favor of expansion because it creates additional revenue and additional jobs," Fehr said. "If you were to be in a situation where expansion had a detrimental effect on revenue and it was impacting salaries, then it wouldn't make sense."

But Fehr's not going to budge regarding players with no-move clauses being drafted by an expansion team:

Fehr said he doesn't believe the current agreement that allows players to have a no move clause in their contract would change were there to be expansion.

"If a player has a no move, then it's a no mover," he said. "I would anticipate it would be the same if there is an expansion draft."

Carp and Fehr continue, discussing the salary cap's implications upon expansion from a spending perspective:

Continue Reading »

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  Tags: bill+foley, donald+fehr, las+vegas, nhlpa

Board of Governors receive salary cap update, discuss centennial season & expansion’s…status quo

The NHL's Board of Governors met on Monday, and NHL.com's Dan Rosen reports that the Board of Governors received an estimate as to where the 2016-17 salary cap's upper limit might lie...

The NHL's salary cap for the 2016-17 season could go up approximately $3 million, Commissioner Gary Bettman said Monday at the Board of Governors meeting.

The salary cap for the 2015-16 season is $71.4 million. It increased $2.4 million from 2014-15 to 2015-16.

"We gave them a very, very, very rough projection on what the cap could conceivably be next season, which will be somewhere between where it is now and up $3 million, in that range," Commissioner Bettman said. "That will depend on a variety of factors."

And the Canadian Press's Stephen Whyno reports that the NHL is considering its options for its centennial season...

Plans for the NHL's centennial celebration are ongoing, and Bettman said the NHL had hired former IMG executive producer Steve Mayer as executive vice-president and executive producer, programming and creative development. Even though no announcements were made about what's to come in 2017, Toronto and Montreal are expected to be focal points.

"We think it's important to recognize the 100th anniversary of the league, which happens to be in conjunction with the 375th anniversary of the founding of Montreal, Canada's sesquicentennial and the 125th anniversary of the Stanley Cup," Bettman said. "We're looking forward to that."

But what are the plans regarding expansion? That's harder to determine, as the Associated Press notes:

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  Tags: bill+foley, board+of+governors, expansion, gary+bettman, las+vegas, quebec+city, salary+cap

Friedman’s 30 Thoughts: On ‘expansion limbo’

From Sportsnet's Elliotte Friedman:

[A] few things haven’t stopped nagging at me since the commissioner’s afternoon media conference. If you go back to the June announcement explaining the process, Bettman and Deputy Commissioner Bill Daly confidently revealed a defined plan.

Now, we’re in a kind of limbo. No one — aside from Bettman, Daly and a few confidants — really understands where it stands and, more importantly, when (or how) it ends.

The obvious answer is: look, there’s at least $500 million to be made here, so don’t kid yourself. Money talks. But Tuesday’s announcement did create some doubt. In three months, we’ve gone from “Step Right Up!” to “Hold Your Horses.”

Despite that, there are some who privately believe Las Vegas is a slam dunk. I won’t go that far, because anything can happen, so put me into the “I believe it’s going to happen” category. It’s in the west, which is shy two teams right now. It’s bold, it will create major buzz, it’s got an owner who wants to get going already and it’s the anchor tenant in an arena owned by people who know how to stage events. If the NHL doesn’t do it, the NBA eventually will.

No matter the concerns about how many hockey fans are there and who will actually attend the games, I’ll be shocked if they don’t say, “We’re going to try it.”

Friedman continues with "30 Thoughts"...

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  Tags: bill+daly, expansion, gary+bettman, las+vegas

Don Cherry waxes nostalgic about the Nordiques-Canadiens rivalry

Don Cherry engaged in some story-telling on Wednesday afternoon:

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  Tags: bill+foley, don+cherry, las+vegas, montreal+canadiens, quebec+nordiques

Vegas waiting on the NHL

From John Branch of the New York Times:

In a city built on chance, it feels like a safe bet that the N.H.L. will become the first major professional sports league to plant a franchise in this gambling and entertainment oasis in the desert.

The outer walls of a new arena are going up behind the New York-New York casino, and the interior is perfectly configured for hockey, from the dressing rooms to the press box.

The wealthy businessman Bill Foley is leading the way for an expansion team, bolstering his bid group with the Maloofs, a family of market-savvy former N.B.A. team owners with long ties to Las Vegas.

A goal of securing deposits on 10,000 season tickets was met this spring faster than anyone had expected, with the number sitting at 11,500, according to Foley, plus another 1,000 unpaid commitments from casinos and other businesses.

Now, N.H.L. owners are headed here for meetings and the league’s annual awards gala Wednesday at the MGM Grand, part of the same resort company that owns New York-New York and is building the arena.


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  Tags: bill+foley, las+vegas

Gary Bettman attends opener of Las Vegas season ticket drive

On Tuesday, something a little puzzling happened: the NHL's commissioner visited a season ticket drive for a franchise that does not exist--not yet, anyway--while insisting that he's not necessarily supporting Bill Foley and the Maloof family's Las Vegas expansion plans. ESPN's Scott Burnside noted the strangeness of the situation:

NHL commissioner Gary Bettman, who attended a news conference at the MGM Grand Casino to kick off the drive, insisted that the NHL hasn't made any commitment to anyone regarding becoming the first major professional sports league to venture into the gambling and tourist mecca.

"We're not in the expansion process and I need to keep making that clear,'' Bettman said.

Still, the optics of Bettman's presence for many observers were more powerful than words and seemed to indicate the NHL was in fact ready to make the expansion plunge provided the ticket drive is as successful, as a number of sources expect it to be.

Even before potential owners Bill Foley and the Las Vegas-based Maloof family started taking deposits on season tickets from interested fans on Tuesday afternoon, sources told ESPN.com that more than 9,000 individuals had reached out to organizers to express interest in paying to watch NHL hockey in Las Vegas.

Continued, and this is the important part:

Bettman told ESPN.com that Foley and his group have committed a lot of time and money (close to $2 million, a source told ESPN.com) and that Foley had invited him to attend the media event to see the level of enthusiasm and support for hockey in the city.

"I figured why not go out and see what he's got?" Bettman said shortly before boarding a flight back to New York.

"The event was well done," he added. "There was a big turnout and a high level of enthusiasm."

Edit: The Las Vegas Review-Journal's Alan Snel also provides the Nevadan perspective:

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Intriguing observations from the ‘Hockey World’ and ‘Three Periods’

The Edmonton Journal's Jim Matheson's main Hockey World column is a good read, discussing the post-firing life of coaches who rebounded in their own ways in Tom Renney and Rick Bowness, but his "Short Shifts" are probably more pertinent:

- St. Louis Blues phenom Vladimir Tarasenko, who just turned 23, has 20 goals on the year, but he might have scored 30 if he had shot more. He’s got 113 shots but that only puts him seventh behind Ovechkin, Karlsson, Seguin, Giroux, Pavelski and Pacioretty. “He could be more selfish,” said an NHL pro scout, marvelling at the Russian youngster’s release. Tarasenko, who may get to the $5-million to $6-million per season range in a new contract this summer, has 16 even-strength goals, second only to Tyler Seguin’s 17. “Twenty goals before Christmas? That’s special,” said teammate Steve Ott.


- If Vincent Lecavalier is playing right wing with Zac Rinaldo and French rookie Pierre-Edouard Bellemare in Philly, this is the end of the line for him, no?

- It should be noted that Roberto Luongo has a much better (2.35) goals-against average and way higher (.925) save percentage than Ryan Miller (.267) and .900 in Vancouver right now, but Miller has 16 wins. His team gives him way more run support than Luongo’s (11 wins) in Florida. Miller’s numbers are five-alarm stuff, but he is in the first year of a three-year, $18-million deal and he’s 34, not, say, 28.

This is probably true of more general managers (and coaches) than not, too:

-New Jersey Devils general manager Lou Lamoriello is almost always around his team, home and away, but he knows exactly what’s going on with his farm team and their prospects. “He gets tapes of the games and the practices,” said former Devils defenceman Mark Fayne.

Matheson continues, and while we're doing short quips and quotes, Yahoo Sports' Nicholas J. Cotsonika penned a superb "Three Periods" column discussing the Blue Jackets' resurgence and Patrik Elias' pluck, but the "Third Period" sticks:

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  Tags: bill+daly, bob+hartley, buffalo+sabres, calgary+flames, dallas+eakins, edmonton+oilers, florida+panthers, las+vegas, lou+lamoriello, new+jersey+devils, philadelphia+flyers, roberto+luongo, ryan+miller, st.+louis+blues, toronto+maple+leafs, vincent+lecavalier, vladimir+tarasenko

Talking Las Vegas

from Bucky Gleason of the Buffalo News,

“I think it’s a very viable location,” Buffalo-based Bruins owner Jeremy Jacobs told the Boston Globe. “I think the league would be interested if the time came when it made itself available.”

Early estimates suggest expansion costs, which were $80 million a few years ago, could soar to $250 million or more. The money would be distributed among the 30 teams, minus the 54 percent for the players, not a bad take. Bettman doesn’t see the gambling issue as a major obstacle because hockey makes up such a small percentage of bets.

“We’re small potatoes on the sports book,” Bettman told reporters in Florida. “If we were going to Vegas, we would have to focus on that issue. But I don’t think it’s nearly the issue for us as it may be for [another league].”

read on plus much more NHL talk…

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  Tags: expansion, las+vegas

“A Sure Thing”

from The Maven at MSG Network,

There will be another NHL expansion and you can put your money on Las Vegas as being the 31st team. The reasons why Sin City has the lead are many. Start with the fact that it would be very difficult for ownership to reject a HUGE entrance fee which would top anything the league has known. Plus a new rink is going up in LV and the very influential Phil Anschutz is behind the move.

more bits from Stan…

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  Tags: las+vegas


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