Las Vegas Gets a Hockey Team

Written by :
Published on : June 24, 2016

 

Well, it finally happened. Las Vegas is getting a pro sports team. Maybe not the one they wanted, but it’s a start. I had previously explained why Vegas should never get a franchise but apparently, the NHL, its commissioner and its Board of Governors aren’t listening. Some of you may be asking “hockey in the desert?” but Las Vegas doesn’t care, they just want their own toys to play with. Plus, there are already teams in Tampa, Phoenix, Los Angeles and where ever the hell the Florida Panthers play.

 

First, can we just acknowledge that this hockey team is a big test for Las Vegas. Like if they do well here then maybe the MLB, NBA or even the NFL may see it as a realistic option for the future. It’s kind of like Home Economics class when they used to make kids take care of a baby doll as a weird parenting test. I still don’t think it’s a good idea to have pro squad in Sin City. So if Vegas wants to prove me wrong then it better take good care of that fake baby.

 

baby cart

 

There are just so many pitfalls in Las Vegas that could sink a player, coach, team or whole organization. Maybe the NHL was the easiest league to land but they are now the crash test dummy, and I don’t know if you’ve heard this before, but hockey players like to party. Most of them are crazy, fighting, drinking, millionaires from other countries who are here to work and have fun. They routinely get into brawls, destroy hotel rooms and engage in all-manner of wild debauchery. Let’s just remember Jarret Stoll from the Los Angeles Kings and his fun time at the Vegas pool.

 

Second, this is a new expansion team. That means the NHL will grow to 31 teams. That seems odd. Literally. Adding only one new outfit still doesn’t balance the realign they did not long ago. The last expansion teams were in 2000 but they added both the Minnesota Wild and the Columbus Blue Jackets to keep things even. This big Vegas win is all thanks to billionaire, Bill Foley, who paid $500 million to the NHL to get a team in Nevada.

 

 Bill Foley

 

The Las Vegas crew won’t start playing until the 2017-18 season. But they will name the team near the start of next year so they can start selling merchandise. That means they don’t have an official name yet. This is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to pitch some ideas for what the Las Vegas team should be called. They didn’t listen before but they can totally make up for it by using one of my great ideas for a name.

 

-The Las Vegas Hitmen

-The Las Vegas Skating Slots

-The Las Vegas Hotel Rooms

-The Las Vegas Buffets

-The Las Vegas Magic Shows

-The Las Vegas Pawn Shops

-The Las Vegas Street Walkers

 

Let’s keep the brainstorming going. Maybe the team can get a corporate sponsor so the whole rink is just frozen Smirnoff Ice. The Russian players will love it and all want to play there. Maybe then Pavel Datsyuk will stay in the NHL. Also, there should be slot machines in the stadium themed after each player on the roster. Did we mention every seat has bottle service? You got it, for $600 you get a bottle of vodka and some Red Bulls and maybe a few hotdogs. Classy.

 

This has disaster written all over it. But someone paid half a billion dollars to make it happen. In somewhat unrelated news, the city of Quebec’s application for an NHL team was deferred. They had all the credentials and correct paperwork but maybe lacked the palm-greasing capital. So hockey moves from Canada to Vegas, baby.

 

The Las Vegas team will get to enjoy an expansion draft where they can buy the contracts of players from your favorite team. Each organization can save a certain number of players but that will leave many on the trading block. Details of the expansion draft rules and other info can be found in this article from NHL.com.

 

Bust.

 

 


April Without the Red Wings

Written by :
Published on : March 18, 2016

 

An April without the Detroit Red Wings. That’s something that’s pretty hard for me to comprehend. The last time that happened was 1990 and I was four years old. For almost my entire life, the Red Wings have had a presence in the postseason of the NHL. 24 years in a row they have had a shot to win the Stanley Cup. Whether as President’s Cup winning favorites or the last team in, they’ve always been in the conversation come April.

 

The Wings currently sit one point ahead of the Philadelphia Flyers for the second wildcard spot. When the two teams met last Tuesday, the Red Wings defense got off to an abysmal start where they allowed 23 shots against their 3 in the opening period. The team wound up losing the game 4-3 because they were never able to recover from that first period and get a much needed win. The Flyers are one of the hottest teams in the league and briefly overtook the Wings for that 2nd wild spot before that win against the Blue Jackets yesterday. The Wings are going to need some very strong performances to close out the season if they hope to make the playoffs from the 25th straight year, and keep the longest current postseason streak in all of sports alive.

 

Now all of that is in jeopardy and I’m not sure what to do. So let’s explore why the Wings are in the predicament they’re in.

 

Defense and Goaltending

 

When you allow as many shots as the Red Wings did in the first period of that Flyers game, it becomes obvious that the defense is a big problem area for the team. It’s been that way for a while now. Actually, it’s been a problem ever since Nicklas Lidstrom left back in 2012. The team hasn’t had a stud defender since and the good players that they do have haven’t been able to get the job done. With the team’s most experienced defensemen, Niklas Kronwall, sidelined for 1-3 weeks with a knee sprain, they really need the other guys to step their game up or there is a very big chance that they will not be in the playoffs.

 

 Mrazek can’t continue to let himself be caught out of position.

 

The defense also isn’t being propped up by the goaltending like it was in earlier parts of the season. There are times when the goaltending looks down right amazing, especially when you consider how many shots are getting thrown at the net. But Petr Mrazek has been looking pretty shaky as of late and Jimmy Howard, who the team is paying $5.3 million for each of the next three seasons, looks like a shadow of what he once was. From what I have seen this season, Jimmy Howard has no business being in the net and should only be looked at to give Mrazek rest. So that means Mrazek had better find some of that early season magic that he displayed if the Red Wings have any hope maintaining their shaky hold on a playoff spot.

 

 

Put the puck in the net

 

The defense shouldn’t get all of the blame for the state of the team because the offense has been anything but prolific. Despite having a stable of young stars and some aged but crafty veterans, they have not been able to get the puck in the net nearly as often as necessary to stay competitive. The Wings are 24th in the league in goals per game, with 2.5. That is not good enough. They need Pavel Datsyuk and Henrik Zetterberg to turn it up a notch and help the young guys out. But more than anything, they need to score some goals. Some way. Any way.

 

 The Red Wings are going to need more than just Larkin to make it to the playoffs.

 

I’m not going to lie, from what I’ve seen recently, the Detroit Red Wings will not be making the playoffs. They just look too flat all around, despite the dazzling play of Dylan Larkin and other youngsters like Andreas Athanasiou, Tomas Tatar and Gustav Nyquist. The future is bright and I’m really hoping that they can hold it together long enough to make it 25 straight playoff appearances. Then who knows what’s possible. Anything can happen in the Stanley Cup Playoffs, but first they’ve got to make it to the dance. And I’m not as sure about that happening as I was a month ago.

 

 


Dylan Larkin seems destined to be the Captain of the Red Wings

Written by :
Published on : January 19, 2016

 

 

 

I’m here to talk about the next big thing in Hockeytown and his name is Dylan Larkin. By now, the rest of the NHL has taken note of the talented rookie, but many of us Red Wings fans have been on the hype train since very early this season. This kid optimizes the term “local boy makes good.” That should be the front page headline on the Detroit Free Press and Detroit News when this young man inevitably becomes the one wearing that coveted ‘C’ on his jersey in the coming years.

 

This story is just too good for it not to happen. I’m not sure many casual fans in Detroit were familiar with the 19 year old Larkin when he became the first teenager to play in a Red Wings uniform in 15 years. Fans in the Motor City are well aware of him now and he is the first rookie All Star for the Red Wings since Steve Yzerman. That’s pretty good company for a kid from Waterford, Michigan who grew up rooting for the team and probably dreamed of one day donning that red and white uniform. Well his dream is now a reality and he has grabbed the bull by the balls, so to speak, and is making the most of this opportunity.

 

 Celebrating with the boys after setting up Danny DeKeyser for the game-winning goal in overtime against the Coyotes.

 

He is currently tied for first on the team in points (30) and goals (14), and tied for second in assists (16). This is a team with the likes of Henrik Zetterberg and Pavel Datsyuk still playing on it. Not to mention he has a plus-minus of 22, which is far ahead of the number two player on the team (Datsyuk with 9) and good for third in the entire NHL. He also has 4 game winning goals which leads the Red Wings and all rookies in the league. Dylan Larkin can do it all and in my opinion has been the Wings most valuable player this year. That’s why he is the only Red Wings in the All Star Game. While he may not be able to catch up to Artemi Panarin for in points (43) and assists (27), I still think his goals and plus-minus make him a strong candidate to win the Calder Trophy.

 

Some people think there are other players on the team that deserve to be named Captain before Larkin, and I respect that but I think this makes too much sense. In such short time he has already become so valuable to the team and that value will only increase as he develops as a player. Henrik Zetterberg’s contract runs until 2o21 but most people believe that with the wear and tear his body has endured throughout the years that he will likely retire before the end of that contract. When that fateful day finally comes and our Swedish Prince hangs the skates up for good, I think it is Dylan Larkin who should be handed the torch to lead his team into it’s next era of greatness.

 

 The look of a captain, the eye of the tiger.

 

He has received heaps of praise from coaches and fellow players alike for his natural athletic talent, as well as his desire to improve every day and be the best player he can. He’s got speed and grace. He can handle the puck, pass it, and shoot it as well as anyone on the team right now. He can play all over the ice and if he continues to develop at this rate, he could be one of the best players in the league by the time he is old enough to have a legal drink at a bar in the States.

 

Barring any major injury or other career derailing incident, Dylan Larkin is the future for the Detroit Red Wings. The team is on the verge of a major roster shift as its aging stars continue to decline and eventually retire or leave the team. Dylan Larkin should be the centerpiece of the new Red Wings as their Captain and lead them to the playoffs for another 24 years.

 

 

 


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