Let’s All Laugh At Vegas
Let’s all laugh at Vegas and here is why… Last year when the Tampa Bay Lightning used the Long Term Injured Reserve (LTIR) to circumvent their cap situation, you knew that other teams would follow suit in their quest for a Stanley Cup. And why wouldn’t they? By placing Nikita Kucherov on LTIR the Lightning were able to stay within the Salary Cap, give Kucherov the whole season off and activate him for the playoffs to help them win a second Stanley Cup in as many years. It might be against the spirit of the game but well within the rules that every team plays by.
Fast forward to this season and the Vegas Golden Knights decided to do a little cap circumventing of their own. They offloaded Marc Andre Fluery, the goaltender who brought them to the finals in their inaugural season, to the Chicago Blackhawks for a deep dish pizza and a Chicago-style hot dog, before placing Mark Stone on LTIR after the All Star Break.
The timing couldn’t have been better with Jack Eichel, a November trade from the Buffalo Sabres, getting ready to come off LTIR. With the $81.5 million salary cap the Golden Knights would have been over by nearly $8 million with both on the roster. Coincidence? Surely not. Plus it’s Vegas. There’s no chance they’re going to miss the Playoffs right!?! Might as well do a little lightning maneuvering and have Stone return just in time for the playoffs.
Fast Forward to Sunday April 24th and the dumpster fire that is the Golden Knights is ablaze. Outside of the wildcard playoff places they need to maintain a 100% record to end the season and also hope the Nashville Predators or Dallas Stars slip. They welcome old rivals the San Jose Sharks into T-Mobile Arena and take a commanding 4-2 lead into the third. Surely they’ve kept their end of the bargain!?!
With 2 minutes 6 seconds remaining the Sharks pull one back to make it a very nervous finish for the Golden Knights. One it looks like they are going to see through until Timo Meier tied the game with 0.6 seconds remaining. Yes the Golden Knights were zero point six seconds away from keeping their playoff hopes in their own hands. Let’s all laugh at Vegas. It’s the right thing to do. ZERO. POINT. SIX. SECONDS!!!!!
The Golden Knights then squandered the chance to get all two points by losing in a shootout. I mean I don’t wanna say it was fantastic. But IT WAS FANTASTIC!! I never thought I’d cheer for the Sharks but there you go.
Fast forward to Tuesday April 26th. The Golden Knights play the Dallas Stars in what has become a must win game. And they must do it in regulation to stop Dallas picking up any points. A 1-0 and 2-1 lead are squandered and we head to overtime. And then to a shootout. Seven rounds of a shootout. Before… MIRO HEISKANEN SCORES!!!! Vegas’ whole season rests on the shoulders of William Karlsson. Wild Bill himself. AND HE SHOOTS STRAIGHT AT OETTINGERS PADS! Oh the Jubilation. Let’s all laugh at Vegas!
Despite the Stars needing one more point from their two remaining games to mathematically confirm their playoff berth, the end looked nigh for the Golden Knights. It would take a near on miracle. A miracle that wouldn’t happen. A miracle that was confirmed dead on Wednesday April 27th when the Golden Knights fell to the Chicago Blackhawks, minus Fluery who they traded for a nice conditional first round pick at the deadline. Let’s all laugh at Vegas!
Jack Eichel, Mark Stone, Alex Pietrangelo, enjoy your summer at the golf course while some of your peers play meaningful hockey. And look it’s not like I even really despise the Golden Knights. I don’t. They’re just like that friend who doesn’t pay up on his losing bets but expects you to pay up on yours. Annoying and finally getting what they deserve. One last time, with feeling… let’s all laugh at Vegas. They deserve it.