Second Round Playoff Preview

Hello hockey fans and welcome to the blog! This posting will serve as our usual “show “summary” post for our fourth episode of the podcast. After a very successful first round pair of previews and picks that saw Mark hit on six out of 8 and The Buffalo Kid nail it at a five and three pace, we look ahead to the second round with the hope our luck holds up.

Just to do a quick recap, The Kid had winners with the Rangers, Caps, Bolts, Wild and Flames and Marked flipped on the Senators at the last minute adding Les Habitants to the winner list on his side of the ledger.

We started the podcast looking at the Rangers and Capitals series. Buffalo had the hardest time with this one out of the four remaining series. Tom ultimately decided that Coach Trotz has the Caps finally playing playoff hockey. He noted that they only allowed the Isles 11 shots on goal in a dominating, shut down performance in their Game 7 victory. Mark goes the other way here, calling the goalie match up for he Rangers, and home ice carries New York into their second straight conference finals.

Next bouncing to the West we looked at the Anaheim Vs. Calgary series. Mark thinks that the Ducks are just too deep for the Flames to get past, despite their great young talent and speed. The Ducks defense corps is their deepest in years with Vatanen and Lindholm maturing into good solid two way defensemen. Tom agrees, and cites the depth and experience of the Ducks. Both take the Ducks.

Moving back to the East, Montreal Vs. Tampa both Tom and Mark end up Riding the Lightning. The season series was so lopsided, going 5-0-0 to Tampa Bay. Mark thinks Tampa Bay has been waiting for this matchup since being swept by the Canadiens last year, and will be playing angry. Tom calls the depth of Tampa Bay’s scoring to the fore, citing Tyler Johnson’s three two goal games against Detroit. If Montreal pays too much attention to Stamkos, there are others that can hurt them. Bishop being healthy, while not Carey Price, should be good enough.

Lastly, we head West for what might be the most fun series to watch, Minnesota and Chicago. Tom straight up calls out former Sabre Thomas Vanek to stand up and be counted. If he can regain his scoring touch, maybe the Wild can pull the upset. Mark loves the way the Wild have been playing for two straight months.,but also thinks the Hawks might have the pedigree to get past the Wild into another Conference Finals.

Who did we pick? You gotta go listen to the show to find out!

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Mark and the Buffalo Kid

Vegas Hockey Podcast

Q and A with Mr. Bill Foley

Hello hockey fans and welcome to the blog! Today we are going to relay to you all that went down at last Tuesday’s meet and greet with Mr. Bill Foley. 920 AM’s Brian Blessing hosted the event along with The Game Sports Bar inside the Suncoast Casino. On hand representing The Game was Mike Lewis, and a great host he was. Especially with more people there than probably should have been!

Brian led off with some background on Mr.Foley, about how he grew up playing hockey in Ottawa when he was five years old with his USAF Dad stationed there. By now, everyone knows he spent time in Texas as a child as well, (wait, hockey doesn’t work in… oh sorry, never mind, lol)  He graduated from West Point too, so thank you Mr. Foley for your service to our country.

Then Brian started talking hockey to the overflow crowd. He said they couldn’t talk specific numbers but noted that NHL Commissioner Bettman had spent the Lion’s share of his time the night before in Winnipeg talking about how “Very, very impressed” he  was with the Las Vegas ticket drive and that the model for success as a new franchise was in Winnipeg. Brian thought it was extremely telling that during the first playoff game for the Jets 2.0, that the Commish spent so much time on Las Vegas.

Mr. Foley: Absolutely, he and Vice-Commissioner Daly have both been very supportive and positive of the work we’ve done, the further we go along with the ticket drive, and the founding 75, that I believe we are on the one yard line here with this whole thing.

Brian Blessing: The story came out yesterday saying that if a team is awarded to Las Vegas, we might have to wait until 2017-18 to begin play. People felt a little chicken little maybe, but it’s not a bad thing really, you’ve proven your point, we’d like to play in 2016, but it’s in the league’s corner now.

Mr. Foley: There’s no question we want to play in 2016, but with so much left to do with all the hiring left to do, the General Manager, the scouting and development staffs, starting a whole other franchise with the minor league team and finding a place for them to play, that we could really use the extra time. I need to be patient because I don’t want to rush things and bring a loser in here.

Brian Blessing: You have talked about your goals with the franchise and with the expansion draft and the depth of talent coming through the Junior ranks and into the Amateur Draft, that you think you can be competitive very quickly.

Mr.Foley: Yes I’ve said our goals will be playoffs in three years and a Cup in Eight.

That last answer brought loud cheers from the crowd and then Mr.Blessing opened things up to questions from the crowd. Here are the highlights.

Guest: What are you going to name the team..

Mr. Foley: The season ticket holders will get to submit their favorite names, and then the top ten most popular names will be voted on. But I hope you guys will let me have at least ONE veto vote if I just really don’t like the name.

Loud laughter ensued..

Guest: What about the team colors?

Mr. Foley:  Well I kinda like Black,Gold and Gray,.

Take note those are the West Point colors.

We at The Vegas Hockey Podcast reported that Live on Twitter, so we will take credit for breaking that bit of news first. Then we got to ask Mr.Foley a question.

VHP: With yesterday’s announcement concerning the 2017-18 timeline, how do you maintain the momentum you have created during another year of waiting, if the reports are true?

Mr:Foley:  Well, what we have to do is stay active in the community and in the media with you guys making sure everything we do and every hire we make from the GM, to the Scouting Staff, when and where the minor league team is going to play, when the expansion draft will be, that we keep communicating with the fans what’s happening and i think those are some ways to keep this thing moving ahead.

Then Mr. Foley introduced the crowd to Murray Craven, 20 year veteran of the NHL and adviser to the ownership group. Murray played twenty years in the NHL with the Flyers, The Canucks, Whalers, Blackhawks and the Sharks. He played in 1,071 games totaling 759 points. He added another 118 playoff games, tallying 70 points and reaching the finals three times.  His latest contribution to the Las Vegas effort was to tour the under construction arena, specifically the locker rooms, according to Mr. Foley.  Mr. Craven then redesigned the rooms to be NHL ready when the time comes. With Murray that night was Rod Buskas, also a long time NHL player. He spent his 11 years in the league with Pittsburgh, Vancouver,LA, and Chicago. He finished his career playing with the Las Vegas Thunder in 93-95. He said he loves it here and he came for a year, and never left. We hope that both Murray and Rod, with his previous experience playing here in Las Vegas and both of their long NHL histories find a permanent home with the brand new Las Vegas NHL franchise!

So that wraps up the Q and A with Mr.Foley edition of the blog. Thanks to all you listeners and readers who keep reaching out to the show. You guys are awesome, and we have met some great friends right here in Las Vegas too! Keep it up, we answer everything ourselves, so no matter what, you know you are hitting us direct. You can follow us on Twitter , and listen to the show on Soundcloud or ITunes. One honorable mention of the week. Stephane, from Quebec, has reached out to the show and offered to translate our blog into French for all the French speaking hockey fans out there! How awesome is that??? We have titled the page The French Connection, after the great Buffalo Sabres line of yesteryear. So if you speak or read French share the link to that page here on the blog and spread the word. Thanks Stephane, you are the best!!!

Episode 2 Western Conference Preview

Hello hockey fans, welcome to the blog! This is the VegasHockeyPodcast blog and this post will summarize our second episode for you. You will have to listen to the show, (https://soundcloud.com/vegashockeypodcast) to hear all the particulars, but The Buffalo Kid and I break down all the first round match ups for you, with our usual flair and style!

In the first series we looked at the Anaheim and Winnipeg match ups. Tom and I both went with the Jets. We looked mainly at goaltending and the physicality of both teams, touching on the coaching matchups,  speed and scoring depth as well.

In the second series, we looked at Minnesota and St Louis. We both went with the Wild, with Mark’s vote really a vote against St Louis based on the previous three years, while Tom focused on the goaltending in the series

Third up was the all Canadian series in the West Calgary at Vancouver. Tom again went right to the goalie situation in Vancouver as his key to the series, while Mark again let history be his guide. Both of us picked Calgary in 6 games.

To close out the first round in the West, we looked at Chicago and Nashville. Mark looked at the pedigree of the Blackhawks and the X factor of Patrick Kane, while Tom checkmarked goaltending and home ice as factors in his pick. The first series we disagreed on, with Mark taking the Hawks in 5, while Tom takes Nashville to win the series.

There you have it, our breakdown of the Western Conference first round match ups. For the in depth analysis we are not so famous for, check it out on the podcast! Thanks for stopping by, hit the like button if you did and we will see you next time!

Mark and Tom

VegasHockeyPodcast

https://soundcloud.com/vegashockeypodcast

Episode 3 Eastern Conference Preview

Hello hockey fans and welcome to the blog!  In this post, we will summarize our third episode where we break down the first round in the Eastern Conference. This is the second part of a two-part first round breakdown so let’s get to it !

We started this episode looking at the Rangers Vs. The Penguins.

In the first round Tom and I both think the Rangers will finish the Pens early. With the Pens defense decimated with injuries, the Rangers should have plenty of opportunities at the offensive end, and they can finish! In net… no real contest. Rangers sweep.

Next up was the Lightning and the Red Wings. Tom thinks the Tesla Coil at the arena in Tampa is the deciding factor here, as well as the unsettled state in the pipes for the Wings. Mark believes that hockey does work in Florida, and the Lightning will be wearing a chip on their shoulders in this years playoffs. Both pick Tampa.

Third in the East we looked at the Washington and New York Hockey Islanders. The second series we disagree on. Mark loves the defensive  corps on the Islanders with their experience and the mix of mobility and stay at home styles. Tom thinks Holtby and Ovechkin will carry the Caps.

Finally. What may be the most anticipated series in the first round, Montreal and Ottawa. Wow. The second of the all Canada playoff series here in the first round, the story lines are plentiful. The Canadiens sport the Vezina Trophy favorite Carey Price in net, while “The Hamburglar” holds down the crease for the Sens. Andrew Hammond was the hottest goalie down the stretch, going 20-1-2 since being called up. With Max Pacioretty and his 37 goals questionable for the series, Tom wonders where the scoring comes from for Le Habs. Mark thinks the youth of the Senators and the experience of the Habs should be a factor. Who did we pick? You’ll have to listen here www.Soundcloud.com/VegasHockeyPodcast to find out!!!

As always we love the feedback, so keep tweeting at us over @VegasHockeyPod and E-Mailing us at VegasHockeyPodcast@Yahoo.com We will answer all of your questions or comments ourselves so let them rip!!!

Welcome to The Show!

Hello hockey fans, and welcome to The Vegas Hockey Podcast! Since publishing our first episode featuring special guest Clint Malarchuk, https://soundcloud.com/vegashockeypodcast/clint-malarchuk  the feedback from everyone has been great. Many of you have reached out to engage us in some great conversation about the NHL expansion possibilities in Quebec, Seattle, and right here in Las Vegas. Tom and I hope any city that wants an NHL team gets one, and you won’t see or hear us discrediting any other city or fan base just to make a case for Las Vegas. if our city is attacked, however, we will defend her with vigor, so let it be known the gauntlets will be thrown down! (GoodWill Hunting reference) lol

In our first Vegas Hockey Podcast show, we interviewed ten year NHL vet Clint Malarchuk about his new book and his time spent playing hockey here for the IHL Las Vegas Thunder during the mid 90’s. The conversation was amazing, and we can’t thank Clint enough for taking so much time out of his schedule to spend with us. His new book, his first, A Matter of Inches, How I Survived in The Crease and Beyond, or in Canada the title is The Crazy Game, Published by Triumph Books, details a lifelong struggle with OCD, anxiety disorders and depressions that nearly killed him. His openness and humble frankness when talking about these sicknesses he dealt with is not to be missed. His reflections about his time in the NHL with the Quebec Nordiques and later, with the Las Vegas Thunder as a player, Assistant Coach, Head Coach and Assistant GM will definitely surprise most hockey fans!  Here are some outtakes from the show:

People ask me if it was therapeutic to write the book, and no, it was almost counter productive in some ways.-Clint

Yes, masking all those things I was going through was difficult, but it became almost second nature.- Clint

It’s a sickness and not a weakness and there is help.- Clint

I’m often asked if Vegas could work as a hockey market, and my answer is yes.- Clint

Vegas is a hockey market.- Clint

The people there weren’t there on casino ticket giveaways, they were there to see Hockey… The arena was alive.- Clint

Bob Strumm would be my front man right now… It’s a no brainer to have Strummer involved in a Vegas franchise.- Clint

The people in Quebec were huge hockey fans and it ended up being a great experience there.-Clint

I really think Vegas is a hockey town that needs to tapped by the NHL.- Clint

The thing with Quebec is, it’s a sure go there.-Clint

Quebec was a great environment, but with that being said, so was Vegas.-Clint

In Vegas we had great crowds and great fans.-Clint

They will support a team in Vegas.-Clint

Now, I’m not here to give the whole thing away, you will have to listen to the podcast for the other 25 minutes of our talk with Clint, but as you can see, the content comes across as amazing. Coming from someone with 35 years in and coaching pro hockey, and who played in Quebec and Las Vegas, his opinions on the Las Vegas fan base should speak to the question of “interest” or “support” in our city, quite powerfully.

Give the show a listen, lots of good stuff in there. If you like it, please hit the subscribe button, as there are lots more episodes to come! Thanks again to everyone who has reached out to the show with all the positive feedback, it’s been great speaking and tweeting with you all, keep those cards and letters coming, and if you tweet the show, and we might use your tweets in a future segment!!!

Mark and Tom

The Vegas Hockey Podcast @VegasHockeyPod