ad-fullscreen

The wait is almost over — for NBA, NHL and here in Vegas

When it comes to being a sports fan, patience is truly a virtue.

We have been waiting nearly a year for the inevitable rematch of the Cleveland Cavaliers and the Golden State Warriors. And so we must wait a few more days to get part three of this trilogy.

The way this postseason has gone in the NBA, our patience has really been tested. The average margin of victory has been 13½ points with 61 percent of them decided by double digits.

While we have been trying to muster some sort of interest on the endless road to Cavaliers vs. Warriors III, it is very easy to forget that the real drama has not been in the NBA but in the NHL, where there has been one great drama after another.

Before and after the Cavs and Celtics went through the motions of their fifth game on Thursday, the Pittsburgh Penguins and Ottawa Senators were putting on an unforgettable Game 7 show that went double overtime. The only patience testing going on there was finding out if we would be able to get through each successive rush up the ice without a dash to the refrigerator or the bathroom.

Here in Las Vegas, sports books found themselves with more money tilted in one direction on Thursday’s night’s hockey game than there was on the basketball game. Bettors pounded the Penguins, and their patience was certainly rewarded.

But it is not just the casinos. In just 4½ months the NHL opens for business here in Vegas. The Golden Knights will play their first home game Oct. 10, according to team owner Bill Foley. The question now is whether the community will turn Las Vegas a passionate hockey city.

Between betting, showroom entertainment and just plain going out, there are so many things competing for your dollar in Las Vegas. Because of that I hope that the Golden Knights organization realizes it is going to take hard work at the grassroots level to develop the fanbase necessary to make hockey a success here.

The good news is that the best ambassadors for the sport are the players themselves. Hockey has a culture of attracting and even breeding wonderful citizens who are genuinely nice guys. Getting them out in the community should be the easy part. They will be great lures to get thousands of sports fans in Vegas to see their first NHL game in person at the T-Mobile Arena – a sensational facility that I enjoyed during the Pac-12 Basketball Tournament.

What will be slow in coming is victories. The most successful expansion team in NHL history was the Florida Panthers, who got to the Stanley Cup Final in their third year. But even with a sensational goalie in John Vanbiesbrouck, they missed the playoffs by one point in their first season 23 years ago.

It can be worse than that. Much worse. In 1974-75 the Washington Capitals won only eight games all season and were a horrendous 1-39 on the road.

The model for this city should be Nashville. When we tune in to see the Penguins go down there for Games 3 and 4 of the Stanley Cup Final we will see perhaps the most passionate hockey fans we have come across in some time. That passion did not flourish overnight. Amid rumors the Predators might move, it took them seven years to produce a winning record. They did not sell out their entire home schedule until this their 20th season – their first getting to the Stanley Cup Final.

Some things should break in the Golden Knights’ favor. The way the expansion draft is set up, they should be able to get a quality goaltender to build around. Who knows? He may be the next John Vanbiesbrouck. And that would go a long way toward a few more home-ice victories to keep a new fanbase from having its patience tested too much.

Another thing is that hockey may not be easy to follow on television – even in HD – but it is 10 times better to see a game in person. It is difficult to appreciate the speed of the game when it is confined to video framed in your living room. All things being equal, there may be no better arena experience than there is for the NHL. And once you have been there, it is that much more fun to then watch games on TV.

So while we wait to get that experience first hand here in Vegas, we will whet our appetites with the drama of the Penguins’ attempt to become the first back-to-back NHL champion since the Detroit Red Wings in 1997 and 1998. And we will let that tide us over while we await — patiently await — the debut of the Golden Knights.

Expect Penguins to prevail

It is hard to see the Penguins losing the Stanley Cup Final to the Predators. As a -150 favorite to win the series I think Pittsburgh is the play. They will have to find a way to score on Pekka Rinne, the NHL’s hottest playoff goaltender, but they certainly have the firepower. Both teams have suffered significant injuries, but the biggest of them all may be the Predators’ loss of their best centerman Ryan Johansen. I don’t see a sweep, but I can see the Penguins winning it in six .

In the NBA I will make like the coaches and players and take it one game at a time. With the total set at 225 for next Thursday’s opener I do like the under. Only once in last year’s championship series did the Cavs and Warriors combine for more than that; that was 230 in a Game 3 victory by the Cavaliers in Cleveland. Three of the four games in Oakland finished under 200. I realize Kevin Durant could make a difference, but that works on both ends of the floor.

If nothing else we should be happy that the NBA and NHL have arranged it so that they are not playing any games of their finals on the same night. It makes a lot of sense, and it makes for a great couple weeks of entertainment. At least we hope so.

Good value in Indy 500

There is a great American tradition being renewed Sunday with the 101st running of the Indianapolis 500. It is always fun to have a few small bets on a handful of drivers led by 6-to-1 favorite Scott Dixon, a former winner who will be on the pole and hopefully not too shaken from being a victim in an armed robbery. Keep an eye out, too, for defending champion Alexander Rossi, a 22-to-1 bargain who is on the front row, and three others who have been to Victory Lane – Tony Kanaan, Ryan Hunter-Reay and three-time winner Hélio Castroneves – all at 9-to-1.

You can follow that with a bob or two on the Coca-Cola 600, where Kevin Harvick (7-to-1) and Las Vegas’s own Kyle Busch (11-to-2) will be on the front row. Harvick has won three times before at Charlotte, so he could be the play.

But whether you are watching the races or going to a barbecue, don’t forget the true meaning and significance of this holiday that goes back more than a century. A lot of brave Americans paid the ultimate price to make sure we are able to enjoy holidays like this. Do pause to give a moment of thought for the men and women who have fought for this country – and who continue to protect it.

Veteran sports broadcaster Brent Musburger writes a weekly column for his Vegas Stats and Information Network, which simulcasts his show Monday through Friday from 3 to 5 p.m. Follow @BrentMusburger on Twitter.

section-ads_high_impact_4
Golden Knights Videos
Golden Edge Look Ahead: Pittsburg Penguins
Golden Edge host Bryan Salmond, Review-Journal reporters David Schoen and Steve Carp look ahead to the Golden Knights game against the Pittsburg Penguins.
Golden Edge: Deryk Engelland Sit Down
Golden Edge host Bryan Salmond sits down with Golden Knights' defensemen Deryk Engelland to talk about the fans and when he used to play for the Las Vegas Wranglers.
Marc-Andre Fleury talks about return from injury, playing Pittsburgh
Golden Knights goaltender Marc-Andre Fleury talks about what he expects when he plays against his former team as well as how he feels returning from a long injury layoff.
Golden Edge: Knights Lose In Overtime To Hurricanes
Golden Edge host Bryan Salmond, Review-Journal reporters David Schoen and Steve Carp go over the Golden Knights loss to the Carolina Hurricanes.
Engelland: The lack of intensity cost the Golden Knights
Golden Knights Deryk Engelland says that the team's lack of intensity coming out of the gate against the Carolina Hurricanes cost them.
Gallant on the Golden Knight loss to the Hurricanes
Vegas Golden Knights head coach Gerard Gallant discusses the team's loss to the Carolina Hurricanes which snapped a 4 game win streak.
Golden Knights coach Gerard Gallant on injured forward Will Carrier
Golden Knights coach Gerard Gallant talks to the media on Monday, Dec. 11, 2017, on injured forward William Carrier. (David Schoen/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Golden Knights coach Gerard Gallant on the upcoming 5-game homestand
Golden Knights coach Gerard Gallant talks to the media on Monday, Dec. 11, 2017, about the importance of the upcoming five-game homestand that starts Tuesday vs. Carolina. (David Schoen/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Golden Knights goaltender Marc-Andre Fleury on his concussion
Golden Knights goaltender Marc-Andre Fleury talks to the media on Monday, Dec. 11, 2017, about why he stayed in the game Oct. 13 and about his concussion symptoms after second-period collision. (David Schoen/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Golden Knights goaltender Marc-Andre Fleury on his return
Golden Knights goaltender Marc-Andre Fleury talks to the media Monday, Dec. 11, about how hard it was to be away from his teammates while he was injured. (David Schoen/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Golden Knights marketing VP says team has big plans to grow the game
Golden Knights marketing VP Kim Frank said the initiatives already launched by the team have been well-received. (Steve Carp/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Local youth hockey coach impressed with Golden Knights’ commitment
Local youth hockey coach Jeff Bruckner is impressed with the Golden Knights' commitment to growing the game. Bruckner says the Golden Knights wants more kids to play. (Steve Carp/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Murray Craven confident youth hockey will grow in Southern Nevada
The Golden Knights senior VP Murray Craven says patience is the key to long-term success. Craven says he is confident that youth hockey will grow in Southern Nevada. (Steve Carp/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Golden Edge: Knights Sweep Two-Game Road Trip
Review-Journal reporter David Schoen recaps tonight's Golden Knights game against the Dallas Stars.
Golden Knights coach Gerard Gallant on Saturday's win over Dallas
Golden Knights coach Gerard Gallant on the team's win over Dallas on Saturday, Dec. 9, 2017. (David Schoen/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Golden Knights' Gerard Gallant on sitting Shea Theodore at Dallas
Golden Knights coach Gerard Gallant on Shea Theodore, who was scratched Saturday, Dec. 9, 2017, against Dallas. (David Schoen/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Golden Knights coach Gerard Gallant on Friday's 4-3 shootout win at Nashville
Golden Knights coach Gerard Gallant on Friday's 4-3 shootout win at Nashville. (David Schoen/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Golden Knights forward Reilly Smith on Malcolm Subban
Golden Knights forward Reilly Smith on Malcolm Subban's performance Friday at Nashville. (David Schoen/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Golden Knights forward Reilly Smith on his shootout goal
Golden Knights forward Reilly Smith on his shootout goal Friday at Nashville. (David Schoen/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Golden Edge: Knights Win In Overtime Against Predators
Review-Journal reporter David Schoen recaps the Golden Knights game against the Nashville Predators.
By the numbers: Expectations, challenges for Las Vegas’ WNBA team
The newly relocated Las Vegas WNBA franchise will begin play in the 2018 season. New owners MGM Resorts will integrate a professional franchise into Las Vegas’ busy sports landscape that’s shared with the 51s, Lights FC, Golden Knights and Raiders. Here are some of the expectations and challenges the team will have. 1. Ticket prices: The key to any sports franchise is selling season tickets and group outings. For Las Vegas’ team, that starts with locals. "(You don’t) just open the doors and tell everybody you’ve got a game and stand there waiting to sell tickets," 51s president Don Logan said. "You’ve got to get out, you’ve got to get out into the community and you’ve got to do everything we do. There’s no easy way." Last year, San Antonio charged $12 to $165 for single-game tickets for 17 home games. 2. Creating an identity: Coach Bill Laimbeer inherits a team from San Antonio that hasn’t made the playoffs or had a winning season since 2012. Las Vegas' team is also a franchise that lost its first 14 games last season before finishing a league-worst 8-26. 3. Patience will be required: Will they have to fill all 12,000 seats at Mandalay Bay for the season to be deemed successful? "They have to be realistic," Connecticut Sun CEO Mitchell Etess said. "If they could get 5,000 bodies into every single game, that would be pretty good for the first year."
Golden Knights coach Gerard Gallant on facing Nashville
Golden Knights coach Gerard Gallant on facing the Nashville Predators on Friday, Dec. 8, 2017. (David Schoen/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Golden Edge: Important road trip coming up
Bryan Salmond, Steve Carp and David Schoen discuss the Golden Knights recent overtime victory, how their defense is holding up as well as what to expect on the upcoming road trip.
Golden Edge: Knights secure first shootout win
Bryan Salmond, David Schoen and Steve Carp discuss the Golden Knights' shootout win over Anaheim — the first in franchise history — including Malcolm Subban's overtime performance, Alex Tuch's game-winner and upcoming games on the road against Nashville and Dallas.
Malcolm Subban enjoyed getting the win in the shootout
Golden Knights goaltender Malcolm Subban stopped all three Anaheim shooters to get the 4-3 win Tuesday night at T-Mobile Arena. (Steve Carp/ Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Alex Tuch grateful for redemption in Golden Knights shootout win
Vegas Golden Knights forward Alex Tuch scored the only goal in the shootout win over the Anaheim Ducks on Tuesday at T-Mobile Arena. (Steve Carp/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Golden Knights coach Gerard Gallant on injured forward David Perron
Golden Knights coach Gerard Gallant on injured forward David Perron after practice Tuesday at City National Arena. (David Schoen/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Golden Knights forward David Perron on his collision with San Jose's Timo Meier
Injured Golden Knights forward David Perron talks about his collision with San Jose's Timo Meier. (David Schoen/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
VGK University: Introduction to hockey, and much more
Vegas Golden Knights officials Misha Donskov and Murray Craven chat about VGK University, a five-course instructional for hockey fans, at T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas, Dec. 3, 2017. (Ron Kantowski/ Las Vegas Review Journal)
VGK University: Introduction to hockey, and much more
Vegas Golden Knights officials Misha Donskov and Murray Craven chat about VGK University, a five-course instructional for hockey fans, at T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas, Dec. 3, 2017. (Ron Kantowski/ Las Vegas Review Journal)
Golden Edge: Knights Beat Coyotes In Overtime
Golden Edge host Bryan Salmond, Review-Journal reporters Steve Carp and David Schoen recap tonight's Golden Knights game against the Arizona Coyotes.
Vegas Golden Knights Jonathan Marchessault interview after defeating Arizona Coyotes in overtime
Vegas Knights center Jonathan Marchessault is interviewed after defeating the Arizona Coyotes 3-2 at T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas, Sunday, Dec. 3, 2017. (Joel Angel Juarez/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Nate Quote
Golden Knights defenseman Nate Schmidt is leading the team in time on ice. He talks about the adjustment to the style of play in the Pacific Division, as well as his pregame "Magic trick" ritual. (Steve Carp/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Golden Knights goaltender Maxime Lagace on starting in goal
Golden Knights goaltender Maxime Lagace talks about his journey to becoming the starting goaltender Saturday, Nov. 12, 2017 at City National Arena. (David Schoen/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Golden Knights defenseman Nate Schmidt
Golden Knights defenseman Nate Schmidt talks about goaltender Maxime Lagace at City National Arena. (David Schoen/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Golden Knights forward William Karlsson
Golden Knights forward William Karlsson on the team's blue-collar mentality. (David Schoen/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Golden Knights coach Gerard Gallant
Golden Knights coach Gerard Gallant talks about his team's accountability in the locker room. (David Schoen/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Golden Knights players stand ready to help Las Vegas heal following Sunday's mass shootings
Vegas Golden Knights defenseman Jon Merrill discusses what it means to him and the team to offer help to the community following the mass shooting that took place on Sunday.
Sports Betting Spotlight Videos
Sports Betting Spotlight: College Bowl Edition
Todd Dewey, Kelly Stewart and Las Vegas Wynn Sports Book Director Johnny Avello go over their picks for the college bowl games.
Sports Betting Spotlight: NFL Week 15
Todd Dewey, Kelly Stewart and Las Vegas Wynn Sports Book Director Johnny Avello go over their picks for week 15 of NFL football.
Sports Betting Spotlight: NFL Week 14
Review-Journal reporter Todd Dewey, handicapper Kelly Stewart and TI sports book director Tony Nevill preview NFL Week 14.
Sports Betting Spotlight: NFL Week 13
Review-Journal reporter Todd Dewey, handicapper Kelly Stewart and The Mirage sports book director Jeff Stoneback preview Week 13 of the NFL regular season. (Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Sports Betting Spotlight: College football Week 14
Review-Journal reporter Todd Dewey, handicapper Kelly Stewart and The Mirage sports book director Jeff Stoneback preview Week 14 of the college football season. (Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Sports Betting Spotlight: College Week 13
Todd Dewey, Kelly Stewart and Matt Holt give their picks for week 13 of college football.
Sports Betting Spotlight: NFL Week 12
Todd Dewey, Kelly Stewart and Matt Holt give their picks for week 12 of NFL football.
Sports Betting Spotlight: College football Week 12
Todd Dewey, Kelly Stewart and Bob Scucci go over their picks for college football week 12.
Sports Betting Spotlight: NFL Week 11
Todd Dewey, Kelly Stewart and Bob Scucci go over their picks for NFL football week 11.
Sports Betting Spotlight: NFL Week 10
Review-Journal reporter Todd Dewey, handicapper Kelly Stewart and CG Technology Sports Book Vice President Matt Holt preview Week 10 of the NFL.
Sports Betting Spotlight: College Football Week 11
Review-Journal reporter Todd Dewey, handicapper Kelly Stewart and CG Technology Sports Book Vice President Matt Holt preview Week 11 of the college football season.
Sports Betting Spotlight: College Football Week 10
Review-Journal reporter Todd Dewey, handicapper Kelly Stewart and Boyd Gaming Sports Book Director Bob Scucci preview Week 10 of the college football season.
Sports Betting Spotlight: NFL Week 9
Review-Journal reporter Todd Dewey, handicapper Kelly Stewart and Boyd Gaming Sports Book Director Bob Scucci preview Week 9 of the NFL season.
Sports Betting Spotlight: NFL Week 8
Review-Journal reporter Todd Dewey, handicapper Kelly Stewart and The Mirage sports book director Jeff Stoneback preview Week 8 of the NFL season.
Sports Betting Spotlight: NFL Week 7
Todd Dewey, Kelly Stewart and Alan Berg go over their picks for NFL week 7.
Sports Betting Spotlight: NFL Week 6
Todd Dewey, Kelly Stewart, and Boyd Gaming sports book director Bob Scucci make their picks for NFL Week 6. (Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Sports Betting Spotlight: College football Week 7
Todd Dewey, Kelly Stewart, and Boyd Gaming sports book director Bob Scucci maker their picks for Week 7 of college football. (Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Sports Betting Spotlight: NFL Week 5
Todd Dewey, Kelly Stewart, and CG Technology Sports Book Vice President Matt Holt go over their picks for week five of college football.
Sports Betting Spotlight: College Football Week 6
Todd Dewey, Kelly Stewart, and CG Technology Sports Book Vice President Matt Holt go over their picks for week six of college football.
Sports Betting Spotlight: College Week 5
Todd Dewey, Kelly Stewart (@kellyinvegas) and Wynn Sports Book Director John Avello go over their picks for week five of college football and their best bets.
Sports Betting Spotlight: NFL Week 4
Todd Dewey, Kelly Stewart (@kellyinvegas) and Wynn Sports Book Director John Avello go over their picks for week four of the NFL and their best bets.
Sports Betting Spotlight: NFL Week 3
Todd Dewey, Kelly Stewart (@kellyinvegas) and Caesars Oddsmaker Alan Berg go over their picks for week three of NFL football and their best bets.
Sports Betting Spotlight: College Football Week 4
Todd Dewey, Kelly Stewart (@kellyinvegas) and Caesars Oddsmaker Alan Berg go over their picks for week three of college football and their best bets.
TOP NEWS
ad-315×600
News Headlines
pos-2 — ads_infeed_1
post-4 — ads_infeed_2
Local Spotlight
Events
Home Front Page Footer Listing
Circular
You May Like

You May Like