George McPhee Ready To Add First Members To His Staff

Mark Warner

July 24, 2016

 

Speaking exclusively to the Vegas Hockey Podcast, McPhee said he would start adding to his staff by the end of this coming week.

“I talked to a lot of people this past week, and I expect some things will come to a head this week.” McPhee told us, “We’ve had a lot of conversations for the first round of what we want to do, and next week we have to start signing a few of them up.”

One of those conversations may have been between Las Vegas and Washington Capitals Assistant GM  Ross Mahoney. As reported by Elliote Friedman, the new team has asked for permission to speak with him.

With the upcoming junior tournaments showcasing the top players available in next year’s entry draft, McPhee looks at putting the right people into the scouting department as the biggest challenge he faces. “That process, I’d like it all done now,” McPhee said, “I know what I want, and I know what I’d like to do, but it takes time to go through this process.”

While the full contingent of Pro and Amateur Scouts for the newly minted NHL franchise won’t be in place for some time, the first round of hirings will begin later this week.

 

Look for our full conversation with George McPhee on iTunes, Soundcloud and TheHockeyWriters.com

 

Advertisements

George McPhee, First General Manager of the Vegas Golden Knights meets Las Vegas for the First Time

July 13 2016

Bill Foley introduced George McPhee as the first General Manager in franchise history today at the T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas, saying simply, “You’re the GM.”

After a “pretty exhausting search” where Foley and assistant Murray Craven interviewed seven candidates, they spent roughly two days each with three finalists. Foley said he was looking for “a guy who was dedicated, focused and with a take no prisoners attitude… and I found that person… George McPhee is our guy.”

Opening with a round of thanks to his former employers in New York, Tom Renney with Hockey Canada, and to Bill and Carol Foley “who have done the unimaginable in delivering an NHL franchise to Las Vegas,” his tenure had officially begun.

Expressing his vision for the team McPhee made it crystal clear. “Our mission here is clear, we are going to build an organization and a team that the people here in Nevada and Las Vegas will be very, very proud of. We’re going to do it quickly and we’re aiming at the Stanley Cup. It’s that simple.” He made it very obvious throughout the day his passion for the game and for the job in front of him was at full capacity.

When looking ahead to the expansion draft next June, he seemed optimistic that there would be some quality players available to him. “We have an opportunity that expansion teams in the past haven’t had, to get better players.” He plans to build an exciting, fast roster from day one. “We will play a brand of hockey that people will like, I’ve never enjoyed that sitting back style of hockey. We’ll be a team that’s attacking all the time and pressuring the puck all over the ice.” McPhee said. “You have to have talent, size, leadership and depth to win and players who want to show up and compete every day to win. It’s a process. You have to develop that culture and if you do, the results will be there.” This blueprint sounds taylor made for Las Vegas.

We asked McPhee whether he had thought about the challenges in building that culture in a non traditional market when it is tough to do in the traditional markets he said  “The buzz here has been phenomenal. They’re going to love this game and they’re going to love these players… I’ve learned a lot over the years about culture, vision, and the process and it’s about having the right roots and letting them grow deep. When you do that, you’ll get rewarded.”

In a moment that showcased his desire to win and a sense of humor, George was asked by Sin Bin’s Ken Boehlke about his son being drafted into the Pacific Division in last months entry draft. McPhee said simply “Keep your head up son.”

After a 17 year run with the Washington Capitals, McPhee is eyeing  a fresh start here in Las Vegas. With a clean slate in front of him, the fire that obviously still burns inside of him, and 23 years of front office  experience in the NHL behind him, the future just got brighter in Las Vegas.
 

Stanley Cup Final Preview With Zachary DeVine

In this episode of the Podcast, Zachary Devine, Hockey Department Lead for  LastWordonSports jumps in the box to break down the Final matchup between the Sharks and Penguins. In this episode we explore

  • How the Sharks beat the Blues and the Penguins moved past the Loghtning
  • The outstanding play of two goalies making their first runs through the playoffs
  • The Sharks unstoppable power play
  • Forward depth of both squads as a key to the series
  •  How Peter DeBoer and Mike Sullivan turned their teams seasons around
  • Zachary’s insight into the one key to the series you overlooked

A great episode to get you fired up for what is sure to be a classic Stanley Cup Final, don’t miss it!!!

Follow Zachary on Twitter @zakkthebear

Follow us on Twitter @VegasHockeyPod

iTunes and Soundcloud

Bruins Talk

Cam Hasbrouck of The Hockey Writers jumped in the box to talk about a whole lot of topics with us. Among those are;



Podcast

  • The surprising season the Boston Bruins are putting together.
  •  The improved offensive numbers, especially the Power Play numbers, and what changed in special teams philosophy
  • Two trades went down last week and we talk about the effects to come on the teams involved
  • Up and coming young talent in the Bruins system and their contributions this year
  • The hit on Adam McQuaid and the repercussions

Plus we get into a lot of other hockey talk as well!!  Check out the Podcast!

https://itunes.apple.com/us/podcast/vegashockeypodcast/id987189439?mt=2&i=360613885

 

The World Awaits… NHL Expansion: Who’s In… And Who’s Out

Mark Warner

July 17 2015

With the NHL Announcement on June 24th that it will begin accepting Official Applications for new franchises, speculation has run rampant on which cities would formally apply. This report on CBSSports.Com sums up the announcement:

     NHL commissioner Gary Bettman announced that the league’s board of governors has approved the opening of a formal expansion process. This does not necessarily mean the league will definitely expand, but this will allow the league to more formally gauge interest from various markets and explore all possibilities.Formal applications for expansion will start being accepted on July 6. They will have to be submitted no later than August 10

By “more formally gauge interest” we assume they mean collect the application fee from as many cities as possible. It is reported  to be 10 million dollars, 2 million of which is non-refundable.

         As first co-reported by thn.com and The Seattle Times last week, the price just to apply for a team is a minimum of $2 million. But wait, there’s more. Prospective owners are required to put down $10 million when they formally apply for a team. If they do not get a team, in a best-case scenario, they’d have $8 million returned to them.

This fee, and the cost of a franchise, which is reported to be variable by market, is certainly having its effects on who will apply.  The following is from a Sporting News article

Applying for an NHL expansion franchise will cost $10 million, an unidentified NHL source confirmed to the Seattle Times, not the $1 million that has been reported by media outlets in the U.S. and Canada. Additionally, $2 million of that fee is non-refundable, presumably a big enough number to prevent groups that might not be fully committed to the process from applying.

And this from THN.COM

 Conversely, Las Vegas wants in the NHL badly and the team will be owned by a billionaire, so the price tag there might be closer to $500 million, whereas Seattle, a place where the NHL would like to place a team, might be in the neighborhood of how much it would cost Quebec City to get a team.

Kansas City Out 

These fees have eliminated Kansas City, a city many thought would apply. As reported in the Kansas City Star, the likely ownership groups will not materialize.

     Lamar Hunt Jr., who owns the ECHL’s Missouri Mavericks, a minor-league hockey team that plays in Independence, called the NHL’s $500 million price tag for an expansion franchise “a ridiculously big fee,” and said that he is not aware of anyone in Kansas City who will make a push for a team.

“No, it’s not on my radar,” he said. “It’s not on this team’s radar, and it’s not on my radar.”

Cliff Illig, a billionaire and part of the ownership group of Sporting Kansas City, is also not involved with a bid for Kansas City, and does not know of anyone who is. “You could say that,” he said. “That’s certainly the truth.”

Seattle In AND Out 

With early reports out of the Pacific Northwest that two and possibly three  separate groups would be applying, excitement from the NHL To Seattle groups on social media was peaking.

In our conversation with Paul Rogers from the Seattle Sin Bin, the excitement appeared to be giving way to uncertainty, as the various groups around Seattle jockeyed for position. The Vegas Hockey Podcast show is quite interesting, give it a listen!

With yesterday’s reports on the SB Nation page SonicsRising detailing the withdrawal of Chris Hansen and the SODO Arena plan, as well as the mysterious Bellevue group, The Puget Sound NHL hopes rest squarely on the shoulders of  the Tukwila/Bartozek group. From Sonic Rising:

     A source involved from the Seattle effort said Friday the Coleman group had told the NHL it wanted to finalize the arena site before submitting an application. The same source also indicated Vancouver, B.C., native Coleman hoped to “fast track” the expansion process once a land deal is completed. Coleman’s camp, according to sources, also indicated it is still committed to bringing an NHL franchise to Seattle.

So, there is still optimism  in Seattle, but the initial excitement is turning into frustrated hope.

Las Vegas Still The Favorite

From the privately funded arena on schedule to open in the spring of 2016,  the ownership group privately paying any expansion/application fees, the very successful ticket drive, the lease agreement in place, everything points to an NHL expansion team starting play in Sin City for the 2017-18 season. As CBS Sports says:

       There is no market right now that appears as ripe for expansion as Las Vegas. They have the building — a 20,000-seat arena being built by AEG and MGM slated for completion in 2016. They have the ownership group — billionaire Bill Foley and Las Vegas magnates, the Maloof family. They even have had the season-ticket drive, for which they’ve received pledges well over the 10,000-ticket goal they set. People put down real-money deposits for a team that doesn’t exist yet. With all of that in mind, Las Vegas is No. 1 for expansion right now.

Quebec City Closing Strong

With the ownership group of Quebecor Media and their billions, the beautiful new Videotron Centre, and the apparent unraveling of things in Washington State, Quebec Cities bid to reignite the Nordiques flame is gaining steam. The Globe and Mail reported Quebecor’s intention:

     “Quebecor has consistently stated that its objective is to establish an NHL franchise in Quebec City and it intends to make every effort to achieve that goal,” the statement said. “Out of respect for NHL authorities and the process that has been established, Quebecor will maintain its policy of discretion as it proceeds.”

The fan-base is fanatical about hockey, something it holds above any other market applying for a team. With the city and province shifting from their political stand against financial help to the original Nords, to one where they jointly financed the new arena, all the questions appear to have been answered in Quebec.

The Long Shots

Portland, Toronto, Milwaukee, and Houston have all been linked to NHL rumors at one time or another recently. Each city has their pros and cons, but are viewed as secondary options.

Portland would be a great option if the Seattle groups can’t get an arena project approved. They have an NHL sized arena already. The problem there is lack of an interested ownership group. Paul Allen owns the arena and the NBA Trailblazers, and is not an enthusiastic hockey guy.

The lack of an arena seems to eliminate putting a second team in the greater Toronto area. The Maple Leafs and Sabres both have voiced proximity concerns.

Milwaukee is having their own political quagmire concerning a new arena and the NHL must be hesitant to enter another publicly  funded arena minefield.

Houston would create a nice local rivalry with the Stars, but doesn’t expand the league footprint the way the efforts of Seattle, Portland and Las Vegas would.

With the new deadline of June 20th looming and only Quebec City and Las Vegas believed to have submitted their bids, the hockey world waits with baited breath to see who else will join the expansion party. The more time passes, the more the pretenders are separated from the real contenders. In September, Gary Bettman and the NHL Board of Governors will announce the winners of the expansion lottery, if any. Stay tuned.

Follow us on Twitter and subscribe to our Podcast on iTunes for all the latest expansion news!

NHL Conference Finals Mid Point, What Have We Learned?

Hello hockey fans, welcome to the blog! We are half way through the NHL Conferences Finals and it is time to take a look at what we have learned so far.

In the Eastern Conference Final, the Tampa Bay Lightning have taken a 2-1 series lead, with Game Four tonight. There were three or four main points in our Eastern Conference Preview Show with handicapper Dana Lane that we made before the series started. The first was the Rangers scoring. They have not been able to keep up with the Lightning giving up 6 goals in back to back games. That’s not Rangers hockey. Before the series started, Henry Lundqvist had a 1.6 goals against average, but four of their top six defenseman had a minus rating. That indicates that Henry had bailed them out, and that trend couldn’t continue. The Lightning goalie  Ben Bishop, was mostly being overshadowed by his opponents goalies, Mrazek, Price, and now Lundqvist. We can argue he has outplayed them all.  Then we looked at the Lightning scoring and decided they were to deep for the Rangers to contain. In the past, if a team could shut down the Stamkos line, they had a good chance at success. That’s no longer the case. The “triplets” line of Tyler Johnson, Ondrej Palat, and Nikita Kucherov have out worked the Rangers at both ends of the ice. It is showing up on the score sheet and in their plus minus ratings as well, with a combined plus fifteen in the playoffs. With Killorn and Stamkos heating up, this poses big problems for Alain Vigneault. We talked about the coaching matchup and ended up in a draw. With Vigneault’s experience in the NHL and Coach Coopers championship pedigree at every level both making strong points. Alain Vigneault has to find answers for Tampa’s scoring depth. That was our thought going into the series, and so far that has not happened. If Tampa wins tonight, don’t look for the Rangers to win three straight against this club. The Lightning are too deep.

In the west, the Ducks and Blackhawks are playing a decidedly tougher series. With the triple OT game two, and last nights 2-1 Ducks win, this series just feels closer than the east. We highlighted the Ducks defensive scoring in our Western Conference Preview Show and that has been the difference so far, with Simon Despres netting the game winner in Game Three. Hampus Lindholm assisting on the Ducks opening goal and Cam Fowler assisting on the Despres goal, they have not slowed down a bit. In fact, nine of the Ducks seventeen points in this series have come from the blue line. Better than fifty percent.   This while still maintaining a great plus minus with not one member of the defense carrying a minus rating. Can you say dominant? We can. The forwards for both teams have been almost a wash, with the Ducks depth tipping the scales to the 2-1 series lead. If the Blackhawks could start burying the chances they are getting from Shaw, Saad, Hossa, and Sharp they can still make a series of it. But with their combined two goals, both in the Game Two classic, we continue to say more will be needed if they are to advance. Both goalies have been at the spectacular level so far, so the onus falls on the forwards, and the Ducks have the edge.

At the midpoint of the NHL Conference Finals, it looks like we are heading to an all warm weather Finals, as we predicted in our podcasts. With the league looking at a possible Rangers Vs Blackhawks ratings bonanza, we hope the refs let the teams play this out, because we are seeing a classic changing of the guard in the West and an offensive Dynamo in the making out East.

Thanks for stopping by, for more NHL content, look for us on the ITunes Podcast or follow us on Twitter !!!

“2015 Stanley Cup playoffs logo” by Source. Licensed under Fair use via Wikipedia – http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:2015_Stanley_Cup_playoffs_logo.png#/media/File:2015_Stanley_Cup_playoffs_logo.png