Golden Knights fun to watch, but can a losing streak derail them?

Updated December 29, 2017 - 2:01 pm

They’re getting ready to throw parades, and the balloons are up. But here’s a message to the Vegas Golden Knights. You haven’t accomplished anything until you’ve had some boos to go with the cheers.

That doesn’t come from me. Take it from someone like a coach who has been to the Stanley Cup Final. ESPN’s Barry Melrose was on “My Guys in the Desert” Thursday on VSiN, and he told me, “The test will come when the Golden Knights lose five or six in a row. It will happen. It happens to every team in the National Hockey League.”

But that probably wasn’t the statement that will resonate the most this week for the Golden Knights. The loudest words came from Drew Doughty of the Los Angeles Kings after they lost at home to Vegas on Thursday. Doughty told The Los Angeles Times that the Knights “frustrate you with their forecheck. You make turnovers — they get chances that way, BUT there’s no way they’re going to be a better team than us at the end of the season.”

The gauntlet is thrown down. The windows are open.

Let’s say the Golden Knights shock Melrose and Doughty and the rest of the hockey world. What if they don’t suffer a five-game losing streak? What if they keep frustrating teams with their forecheck through the Stanley Cup Final? If they pull that off, the books around here are going to take a bashing. It will make the bath that the Houston Astros gave the books on Nov. 1 look like a kiddy pool.

On Sunday afternoon the Golden Knights host the Toronto Maple Leafs, who beat them 4-3 in a November shootout north of the border. Auston Matthews had three shots and an assist that night, and that was it. You can’t count on him being so quiet when he visits the T-Mobile Arena.

Matthews grew up in Scottsdale, Arizona, and that provides a lesson in another non-hockey part of the world. The story goes that before he could even remember, Matthews got hooked on hockey by watching the Zambonis clean the ice at Coyotes games. He grew up on a growing youth program in the Phoenix area, and that’s exactly what’s going to happen with the Golden Knights here in Las Vegas.

Youth programs in new markets have not only spread the word, they have provided a wealth of hockey talent. It happened in St. Louis, which was not a hockey town until the Blues arrived 50 years ago. Now it is sending players to the NFL the way Phoenix has with Matthews. It will also happen in Las Vegas.

The Vegas flu is also spreading, and even though the Maple Leafs have to play Friday night in Colorado, they’ll have all day to catch the bug on Saturday. There’s a reason that those T-shirts in the VSiN on-line store that say “Vegas Flu, Puck Yeah” are selling like crazy.

But it’s not just here. When the Golden Knights beat the Ducks and the Kings on back-to-back nights on the road this week, coach Gerard Gallant showed that he has two viable goaltenders. Malcolm Subban made 27 saves in Wednesday’s 4-1 win at Anaheim, and Marc-André Fleury had 26 in his 700th game, Thursday’s 3-2 overtime win at L.A. Having those two makes back-to-back games much more manageable.

Whether or not Melrose and Doughty end up being right with their predictions, there’s no doubting now that the Golden Knights just keep coming. They dig into the corners. They forecheck. No one player ever stands out. It’s just a team effort.

Let’s just say it, folks. The Golden Knights are really fun to watch.

Bowl game picks

The New Year’s Six bowl games have arrived, meaning we are in for the best college football that winter has to offer. These are the games that will attract the most betting attention in Las Vegas and globally with five more stops on the road to Atlanta and Jan. 8 finale.

— Fiesta Bowl, Saturday at Glendale, Ariz.

Washington (o/u 55) vs. Penn State (–2½)

All eyes will be on Saquon Barkley, who went from being the Heisman favorite to not even getting an invite to New York. He is expected to be an early choice next spring in the NFL Draft. He is a very powerful young man with an impressive burst of speed. Not only must Barkley face a Husky defense that is the nation’s best at stopping the run, but he and quarterback Trace McSorley will not have offensive coordinator Joe Moorhead. That’s because he is the new head coach at Mississippi State. I like Washington and the over.

— Orange Bowl – Saturday at Miami Gardens, Fla.

Wisconsin (–5) at Miami-Fla. (o/u 45)

The question about this game has always been how interested will the Hurricanes be playing at home, where they’ve been there and done that? Meanwhile, the Badgers are celebrating another outstanding season under Paul Chryst, and they have one of the most overlooked running backs in the country in Jonathan Taylor. If quarterback Malik Rosier looks more like he did in the middle of the season than at the end, the Hurricanes will have a chance to at least cover. I picked Miami and the under.

— Peach Bowl – Monday at Atlanta

UCF (o/u 67) vs. Auburn (–9½)

New Nebraska coach Scott Frost will coach the Knights this last time. It says here that that presents an awkward situation, and so did Frost’s running back Adrian Killins. He told the Orlando Sentinel that SEC players “don’t have a lot of speed. Auburn hasn’t seen any speed like we have here.” Clearly this young man doesn’t know a thing about the SEC. Just ask Alabama. If any of these games has blowout written on it, it’s this one. Since Killins opened his mouth, I like Auburn to take care of business and the drive the score over.

That brings us to college football’s final four.

— Rose Bowl – Monday at Pasadena, Calif.

Georgia (–2) vs. Oklahoma (o/u 60)

This game comes down to whether the Bulldogs secondary can stop under-the-weather Heisman winner Baker Mayfield. I broadcast the Sugar Bowl last January, when the Sooners carved up Auburn 35-19. The ’Dawgs haven’t faced a downfield attack like that all year. Mayfield comes to play, and I love his moxie. On the other side Jake Fromm is an excellent, freshman quarterback for the Bulldogs. I picked Georgia and the under for this one, but I don’t have a strong opinion. I think I’m just going to watch and enjoy this one.

— Sugar Bowl – Monday at New Orleans

Alabama (–3) vs. Clemson (47)

Beware of a Nick Saban team that has been disrespected by much of the nation and given five weeks to prepare. Conventional wisdom says that this Clemson team is as good as the one that beat ’Bama in last season’s national championship game. I say prove it. If the Tide can cobble together its injured linebacking corps, the ’Bama defense will be fierce. It will be a fistfight all the way, but I’m leaning to the Tide and the under.

It looks like the betting public and the sharps are all-in on an all-SEC final. If only they could convince Adrian Killins.

Brent Musburger’s betting column appears Saturday in the Las Vegas Review-Journal. His show on the Vegas Stats & Information Network can be heard on SiriusXM 204 and livestreamed at reviewjournal.com/vegas-stats-information-network.

ad-high_impact_4
Golden Knights Videos
Fleury on his three-year extension: To stay in Vegas a long time was big
Vegas Golden Knights goaltender Marc-Andre Fleury said he's glad he'll be a part of the team for a long time. Fleury spoke about signing a three-year contract extension at a news conference at the City National Arena in Las Vegas on Friday.
Las Vegas Morning Update - Thursday, July 5
Las Vegas Morning Update - Tuesday, July 3, 2018
Golden Edge: Free Agency Update
Golden Edge host Bryan Salmond and Golden Knights beat writer David Schoen go over the latest free agency news from the Vegas Golden Knights.
Golden Edge: Knights Host Scrimmage
Golden Edge host Bryan Salmond goes over the Knights second day of scrimmage at City National Arena.
Golden Edge: Prospects Prepare For Scrimmage
Golden Edge host Bryan Salmond goes over the Knights getting ready to participate in a scrimmage for the next few days.
Golden Edge: Previous Prospects Fight For Spot
Golden Edge host Bryan Salmond goes over day two of the Golden Knights development camp.
Golden Edge: One-On-One With Reid Duke
Golden Edge host Bryan Salmond interviews Golden Knights prospect Reid Duke.
Las Vegas Morning Update - Wednesday, June 27
Golden Edge: Golden Knights Development Camp
Golden Edge host Bryan Salmond goes over the Golden Knights development camp and how the prospects are looking to improve their game.
Las Vegas Morning Update - Tuesday, June 26, 2018
David Perron, James Neal set to leave Golden Knights
David Perron, James Neal set to leave Golden Knights Perron and Neal were key contributors on the second line for the Knights, helping the expansion team to the Pacific Division and Western Conference championships. Perron’s agent, Allan Walsh, told the Review-Journal on Sunday that the Knights have not made a new contract offer since the season ended. Neal turned down a five-year, $25 million offer from the Knights at the trade deadline, according to the Calgary Sun.
Golden Edge 2018 NHL Draft Recap
Bryan Salmond Recaps The Vegas Golden Knights 2018 Draft picks Rounds 2-7.
Golden Edge : NHL Draft Round 1
Golden Edge host Bryan Salmond goes over the first round of the NHL Draft picks and the rumors surrounding the Knights recruiting Ilya Kovalchuk.
Golden Knights 2018 NHL Draft Preview
Golden Edge video host Bryan Salmond provides a preview heading into the 2018 NHL Draft and Golden Knights General Manager George McPhee discusses how the team has prepared for it.
Golden Knights Release Schedule For 2018-19 NHL Season
Golden Knights release schedule for 2018-19 NHL season. The Golden Knights will play five of their first six games on the road. The Knights are at Washington on Oct. 10 in a rematch of the Stanley Cup Final and face Pittsburgh the following night. The NHL previously announced the Knights open the season at home Oct. 4 against Philadelphia.
Las Vegas Morning Update - Thursday, June 21
Golden Edge: Knights Take Home Four Awards
Golden Edge host Bryan Salmond recaps the NHL awards where the Golden Knights won in four of the categories.
George McPhee On Winning General Manager Of The Year
Golden Knights General Manager George Mcphee talks about winning General Manager of the Year and the Golden Knights.
Deryk Engelland On Winning Mark Messier Award
Golden Knights defenseman Deryk Engelland talks about winning the Mark Messier award how much impact a team can have on a community.
Gerard Gallant On Winning Jack Adams Award
Golden Knights head coach Gerard Gallant talks about winning the Jack Adams award at the NHL Awards.
William Karlsson On Winning The Lady Byng Memorial Trophy
William Karlsson goes over the Golden Knights season and him winning the Lady Byng Memorial Trophy.
Bark-Andre Furry meets Capitals superfan Ovie the Bulldog
Two of NHL's furriest fans met at the Forum Shops in Caesars Palace on Tuesday, June 18, 2018, in Las Vegas. Vegas Golden Knights superfan Bark-Andre Furry and Washington Capitals superfan Ovie the Bulldog shared a plate of meatballs and spaghetti with help from Logan, "The Girl with the Hat." (Marcus Villagran/Las Vegas Review-Journal) @brokejournalist
Las Vegas Morning Update - Tuesday, June 19
Golden Knights release 2018 preseason schedule
The Golden Knights will be back on the ice at T-Mobile Arena Sept. 16. The team’s 2018 NHL preseason schedule was announced Monday. Scheduled is a matchup with the L.A. Kings — Sept. 20 at Staples Center and Sept. 28 at T-Mobile. Two games against the Colorado Avalanche — Sept. 18 in Denver and Sept. 24 at T-Mobile. Two games against the San Jose Sharks — Sept. 22 at San Jose and Sept. 30 in Las Vegas. The team also announced it will hold its training camp at City National Arena beginning Sept. 13.
Golden Edge Look Ahead: What The Knights Next Season Will Look Like
Golden Edge host Bryan Salmond, Review-Journals sports columnist Ed Graney and Adam Hill go over what to expect from the Golden Knights next season.
Las Vegas Morning Update - Thursday, June 14
Golden Edge: Golden Knights Stick Salute To Fans
The Vegas Golden Knights host a fan fest on Fremont Street to celebrate the teams achievements throughout the 2017-2018 season. Fans were treated to live entertainment, free Golden Knights merchandise and the players came out to see fans.
David Perron talks about becoming a free agent
Vegas Golden Knights winger David Perron talked to the news media a day after their season ended in the Stanley Cup Final. Perron said he wants to stay in Las Vegas. (K.M. Cannon/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Knights' season ends, but accomplishments stand
Take a video tour through the Golden Knights' accomplishments in their inaugural season.
Golden Edge: Knights Reflect On Stanley Cup Loss
Golden Edge host Bryan Salmond recaps the Knights emptying their locker room and how the team feels about their season ending with a Stanley Cup loss.
Golden Knights fans give advice to their team
Golden Knights fans give advice to the team as they head into Game 5 of the Stanley Cup Final down 3-1 against the Washington Capitals. (Rochelle Richards/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Knights fans swarm T-Mobile Arena for Game 2 of the Stanley Cup Final
Vegas Golden Knights fans party at Toshiba Plaza outside T-Mobile Arena before Game 2 of the Stanley Cup Final against the Washington Capitals on May 30, 2018 in Las Vegas.
Crowd goes crazy moments before puck drop
The crowd at T-Mobile Arena goes crazy moments before the puck drops in Game 1 of the Stanley Cup Finals against the Vegas Golden Knights and the Washington Capitals, Monday, May 28, 2018 in Las Vegas. (Benjamin Hager/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Golden Knights fans swarm T-Mobile Arena before Game 1
Golden Knights fans swarm T-Mobile Arena before Game 1 of the Stanley Cup Finals against the Washington Capitals, Monday, May 28, 2018 in Las Vegas. (Benjamin Hager/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Ryan Reaves becomes Golden Knights' latest unlikely hero
Ryan Reaves has become the Golden Knights latest unlikely hero. Reaves scored the series-clinching goal in the Western Conference Finals. It was his first goal with the Golden Knights. It came after Reaves sat for Vegas' first nine playoff games. Now he's become a integral part of the team's forecheck. He gets his chance and he goes in there and he played great hockey. It’s not surprising.
Golden Knights’ Fleury tickles Wheeler’s ear during Game 3 scrum
Golden Knights goalie Marc-Andre Fleury tickled Jets' Blake Wheeler during a scrum in Game 3. The scrum occured behind Vegas’ net with 2:34 left in the second period of the Golden Knights’ 4-2 victory over Winnipeg on Wednesday night Wheeler, whose helmet was off and had his back to the goalie, somehow seemed unfazed. The Golden Knights lead the Western Conference final series 2-1, and host Game 4 on Friday night.
Voices of Golden Knights players welcome visitors at McCarran airport
Four Golden Knights players will start delivering recorded messages this week as part of the “Voices of Vegas” program at McCarran International Airport.
Sports Betting Spotlight Videos
TOP NEWS
News Headlines
ad-infeed_1
ads_infeed_2
Local Spotlight
Add Event
Home Front Page Footer Listing
Circular
You May Like

You May Like