42°F
weather icon Clear

One bad weekend does not make a Las Vegas sports curse

It started Thursday night, when the Golden Knights skated like Adrian from the pet store on her first date with Rocky Balboa.

After division and conference championship banners were hung from the rafters with care, the Knights to remember were soundly defeated in their second season opener by other Philadelphians more nimble on their skates.

The malaise would get thicker:

■ On Saturday afternoon, the UNLV football team suffered another crushing defeat, this one 50-14 to a previously inept New Mexico side. Last year, the Rebels lost to small fry Howard as 45-point favorites. How low can you go? The limbo bar is running out of notches.

■ Later that evening, Conor McGregor fought Khabib Nurmagomedov at T-Mobile Arena. It was billed as the biggest showdown in the martial arts since Bruce Lee as Kato squared off against Burt Ward as Robin the Boy Wonder on the old “Batman” TV series. Alas, more punches were thrown after the fight than during it, and now the UFC has some esplainin’ to do.

■ On Sunday, the eventually to be Las Vegas Raiders lost again, 26-10 to the Los Angeles Chargers. The Raiders tossed an interception on first-and-goal from the Los Angeles 1-yard line. The guy who drew up that one in the dirt, Raiders coach Jon Gruden, will still have eight years remaining on his $100 million contract when the team matriculates down the field to Las Vegas, to paraphrase Hank Stram.

■ After eking out a shootout victory at Minnesota on Saturday, the Golden Knights lost 4-2 on Monday afternoon to a team of Buffalo frozen pond skaters who won 25 games last season, finished last in the Atlantic Division and yielded a league-high 81 more goals than they scored.

■ Adding insult to other insults, Tiger and Phil said they were serious about playing golf against each other at Shadow Creek in November.

It was the longest of long weekends for Las Vegas sports fans.

However …

Feeling Cleveland’s pain

This wasn’t Brian Sipe throwing an interception in the end zone on “Red Right 88” against the soon-to-be Los Angeles Raiders, costing the Browns a chance to play in the Super Bowl.

This wasn’t Earnest Byner fumbling on the Broncos’ 2-yard line, costing the Browns another chance to play in the Super Bowl.

This wasn’t Michael Jordan sinking that shot over Craig Ehlo in the NBA Playoffs; this wasn’t Willie Mays making that catch to rob Vic Wertz in the World Series; this wasn’t Jose Mesa blowing that save in Game 7.

This wasn’t Lake Erie or its tributary, the Cuyahoga River, catching on fire.

This wasn’t 52 years of futility, which was how long the Cleveland sports curse endured in the major sports until LeBron led the Cavaliers back from a 3-1 deficit to defeat the Warriors in the 2016 NBA Finals.

This was only one long weekend.

Relax Las Vegas. There’s no need to climb Hoover Dam and take the Knights’ third line with you.

Bowled over

But upon further review, a refereeing Hochili would confirm that UNLV losing by five touchdowns to a team it should have beaten with one hand tied behind its collective back has become a theme. Remember when buff Ed Hochili famously said over his microphone: “There was no hold on the play. The defender was just overpowered.”

That pretty much sums up the Rebels vs. New Mexico.

Only UNLV could hypothesize that a trip to the Heart of Dallas Bowl was just what the program needed to finally turn the corner — and then fire the coach who took them there after the next season.

Only UNLV (and maybe Norfolk State or North Carolina A&T) could lose to Howard in football.

Only UNLV could fail to raise enough money to put a roof on its long overdue training complex, turning a “game-changer” into something that will be used against the Rebels in recruiting.

As for the Knights stumbling out of the block — including a 5-2 loss Wednesday against the Capitals — and the Raiders being listless and the purses of the human cockfighters, to use John McCain’s term, being withheld, these things tend to run in cycles.

Win some, lose some, withhold some. It’s the essence of being a sports fan.

As of this writing, the Las Vegas sports curse has reached six days.

Willie Mays has yet to turn his back on home plate.

Earnest Byner still has both hands wrapped around the football. And those planning to take the boat out this weekend needn’t worry about Lake Mead catching on fire.

Contact Ron Kantowski at rkantowski@reviewjournal.com or 702-383-0352. Follow @ronkantowski on Twitter.

Don't miss the big stories. Like us on Facebook.
Golden Knights Videos
Peter DeBoer makes Golden Knights debut - Video
New Golden Knights head coach Peter DeBoer spoke to media Thursday morning in an introductory press conference ahead of the team's game versus the Senators.
Golden Knights head coach Gerard Gallant fired, replaced by ex-Sharks coach Peter DeBoer - Video
The Golden Knights fired coach Gerard Gallant on Wednesday and hired former Sharks coach Peter DeBoer. Golden Edge crew Cassie Soto, Adam Hill and Ben Gotz discuss the recent news and how players are reacting to it.
Golden Knights React to Gallant's Firing
Golden Knights players Marc-Andre Fluery, Reilly Smith and Deryk Englland and Reilly Smith react to the firing of Head Coach Gerard Gallant.
Kelly McCrimmon Addresses Gerard Gallant Firing - Video
Golden Knights general manager Kelly McCrimmon speaks to the media after the firing of head coach Gerard Gallant on Wednesday.
Golden Knights' coach says team didn't compete hard enough in loss to Blue Jackets - VIDEO
The Vegas Golden Knights lost their third game in a row, falling 3-0 to the Columbus Blue Jackets to end their 7-game homestand. The team will head out to play their next 8 games on the road. (Heidi Fang/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Golden Knights kick off renovation of new Downtown Summerlin restaurant - VIDEO
Golden Knights forward Alex Tuch took time to tour the construction zone for a new restaurant in Downtown Summerlin. (James Schaeffer/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Golden Edge Nate Schmidt Podcast 1.10.2020
The Golden Edge crew is joined by Golden Knights defenseman Nate Schmidt to talk about his first practice with the team, his time in Austria and much more. (Rochelle Richards/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Golden Edge Nate Schmidt Podcast 1.10.2020
The Golden Edge crew is joined by Golden Knights defenseman Nate Schmidt to talk about his first practice with the team, his time in Austria and much more. (Rochelle Richards/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Golden Knights say first period play must improve - Video
After a 5-2 loss to the LA Kings, Vegas Golden Knights Max Pacioretty, Reilly Smith and head coach Gerard Gallant spoke about the team' need to step up their play in the first period to get back into the win column. (Heidi Fang/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Ryan Reaves discusses Max Pacioretty
Golden Knights forward Ryan Reaves talks about teammate Max Pacioretty and the All-Star Game. (David Schoen/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
CES 2020: Golden Knights analyst puts electronics to the test - VIDEO
Former NHL player and Golden Knights TV Analyst Shane Hnidy put electronics to through a torture test to see how durable they are along with CNET's Jeff Bakalar. They revealed their results at CES 2020. (Heidi Fang/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Golden Knights fall to Penguins, 4-3 - Video
The Vegas Golden Knights fell to the Pittsburgh Penguins, 4-3, snapping a four-game winning streak. After the loss, head coach Gerard Gallant and players said their first period play was part of the problem. (Heidi Fang/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Knights coach Gallant abruptly left after Review-Journal question - VIDEO
Gerard Gallant answered questions after a 5-4 victory over the Flyers before he abruptly left a press conference. (Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Foley says West Point values have carried over to Golden Knights - VIDEO
During the Fortress Invitational at the T-Mobile Arena, Vegas Golden Knights owner Bill Foley, a West Point graduate, talked about how he's tried to instill the Army values into his hockey franchise, how his experience at West Point made him want to give back to the community. (Heidi Fang/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Golden Knights Dads Read Mean Tweets - Video
Dads of various members of the Golden Knights read mean tweets about their sons.
Golden Knights Edge Out Flyers with 5-4 Win - VIDEO
The Vegas Golden Knights remain on top of the Pacific Division after the team pulled through with a 5-4 win over the Philadelphia Flyers. Jon Merrill scored his first goal of the season and Max Pacioretty scored twice in the victory. (Heidi Fang/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Alex Tuch on Theodore-Comtois scuffle: "I wish he went off on me"
Vegas Golden Knights defenseman Shea Theodore and Anaheim Ducks forward Max Comtois got into a fight during the third period of their game. Golden Knights forward Alex Tuch talks about the scuffle and says he wishes Comtois had come after him instead. (Heidi Fang/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Golden Knights Coach says "Puck Luck" is Going Team's Way Right Now
After a 5-2 win over the Anaheim Ducks, the Golden Knights head coach said "puck luck" is starting to go the team's way because they're playing harder right now. The players talk about their performances and what they think has given them an edge in their last two games. (Heidi Fang/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Fleury to represent Golden Knights at 2020 NHL All-Star Game - Video
Marc-Andre Fleury was the lone Golden Knights representative named to the 2020 NHL All-Star Game on Monday.
Meet Elvis, the giant Golden Knights helmet
Elvis debuted during Game 1 of the Stanley Cup playoffs against the Los Angeles Kings in 2018. It’s been a staple in the team’s pregame arena show ever since. (Cassie Soto/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Golden Knights Look Ahead After Loss To Avalanche - Video
The Golden Knights look ahead toward their next game after suffering a 7-3 loss against the Colorado Avalanche.
Gallant talks about the win against San Jose
Gerard Gallant talks about the Golden Knights and Malcolm Subban playing confident on the Fathers Trip.
Nate Schmidt on the rivalry with San Jose
Golden Knights win third straight, defeat the Minnesota Wild 3-2
The Vegas Golden Knights won their third straight game defeating the Minnesota Wild 3-2 at home. Gerard Gallant, Max Pacioretty, Shea Theodore and Chandler Stephenson discuss the win and what's helped to spark the team in their recent games. (Heidi Fang/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Gerard Gallant On Getting Home And Division Wins - Video
Golden Knights head coach Gerard Gallant goes over the importance of getting home and division wins.
Golden Knights On Better Performance At Home - Video
The Golden Knights talk about their win against the Canucks and how much better their performance has become after the last few wins at home.
Marc Andre Fleury Returns To The Ice Against Blackhawks - Video
The Golden Knights get an emotional win against the Blackhawks as Fleury returns to play on the ice.
Golden Knights On Big Win For Fleury's Return - Video
The Golden Knights get a 5-1 win against the Chicago Blackhawks as emotions were high for the team to ensure a victory for the return of Marc Andre Fleury.
Fleury save poster among ‘Gold Friday’ deals from Golden Knights - Video
The Knights announced Monday information regarding “Gold Friday” at The Arsenal at City National Arena and The Armory at T-Mobile Arena on Black Friday. Fans can get their hands on a special poster of Marc-Andre Fleury’s spectacular save against the Toronto Maple Leafs last week. Only 450 copies of the poster will be available, commemorating Fleury’s 450th NHL career win.
Cosmopolitan Tree Lighting Starts the Las Vegas Holiday Season - VIDEO
With a flip of an actual switch the Cosmopolitan lit their tree to signal the start of the Las Vegas holiday season. Golden Knights favorites Marc-Andre Fleury and Max Pacioretty were on hand to help with the event and skate around the rink with fans. (James Schaeffer / Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Golden Knights' Max Pacioretty, Paul Stastny Host Street Hockey Clinic for Kids - Video
Golden Knights forwards Max Pacioretty and Paul Stastny hosted a street hockey clinic for local kids on Monday, Nov. 18 at Doc Pearson Community Center.
Golden Knights fans shut out of free doughnuts - VIDEO
Golden Knights fans drove up to Krispy Kreme stores on Monday morning, Nov. 18, 2019, but the stores were closed. Company officials said the promotion with the Golden Knights for fans with tickets to get free doughnuts with a shutout win at home will be honored through Sunday. (Elizabeth Page Brumley/Las Vegas Review-Journal @EliPagePhoto)
Golden Knights fans denied doughnuts morning after shutout - VIDEO
Golden Knights fan Todd Levings was out of luck when he tried to get his free doughnuts Monday, Nov. 18, 2019, at a Krispy Kreme store. When the Golden Knights have a shutout win at home, the doughnut chain gives a dozen free doughnuts to fans who present tickets from the game. (Glenn Puit/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Golden Knights Movie Premier Remembers Why the City is 'Vegas Strong' - Video
Golden Knights fans will be treated to an exclusive viewing of 'Valiant,' on Sunday, Nov. 17. The documentary highlights the Vegas Golden Knights' remarkable run to the 2018 Stanley Cup Final after the team unified Las Vegas in wake of tragedy.
Golden Edge Mailbag | November 14th, 2019
The Review-Journal's Ben Gotz and Adam Hill are back for a new rendition of the Golden Edge mailbag! Send in your VGK questions, and they'll answer them live on the stream.
Golden Knights to honor "Miracle on Ice" team
The Golden Knights will honor the 1980 USA Olympic men’s hockey team on the 40th anniversary of its “Miracle on Ice” victory against the Soviet Union next year. On Feb. 22, a public event with the 1980 team will take place at the Thomas & Mack Center that will include video of never-before-seen moments from its implausible run at Lake Placid, New York. (Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Alex Tuch Returns to Practice After Second Injury - Video
Golden Knights right wing Alex Tuch returned to practice on Tuesday afternoon. Tuch missed the last four games due to an upper-body injury sustained in the team’s 4-3 overtime loss to the Winnipeg Jets on Nov. 3.
Golden Knights Know They Need to Play More Dominant Style of Hockey - Video
The Golden Knights recent road trip turned out to be an unsuccessful one, as the team went 1-3 away from home. Golden Knights forward Alex Tuch says one of the problems lately has been that his team is just trying to win games, instead of completely dominating their opponents.
Alex Tuch And Nate Schmidt Return To The Ice - Video
Alex Tuch and Nate Schmidt return to practice as the team becomes more energized after their win against the Anaheim Ducks.
Golden Knights Watch Party At Las Vegas Ballpark - Video
The Golden Knights host a watch party at the Las Vegas Ballpark where fans gathered to watch the game against the Pittsburg Penguins.
Covering The Cage Videos
McGregor: "All Their Eyes Are Lighting Up When The Notorious' Name is Mentioned"
Conor McGregor says he knows that other fighter's eyes light up at the chance of facing him as it usually means a dramatic increase in pay. Welterweights Jorge Masvidal and Kamaru Usman spoke about why they'd face McGregor next and Donald Cerrone explained how he's affected his payday for UFC 246. (Heidi Fang/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Conor McGregor says he'd be honored to be the first to fight at Allegiant Stadium
;
Maycee Barber Doing All She Can to Become the UFC's Youngest Champion - VIDEO
As 21-year-old Maycee Barber begins her quest to become the youngest champion in the UFC, she must first face a competitor in women's flyweight Roxanne Modafferi - a veteran of the sport who is often regarded as one of the pioneers of women's mixed martial arts. (Heidi Fang/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
UFC 246- Media Day Staredowns
With UFC 246 fight week underway, fighters from five featured bouts, including the co-main event women's bantamweight contest between Holly Holm and Raquel Pennington, faced off at media day in Las Vegas. (Heidi Fang/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
UFC 246 Press Conference: McGregor vs. Cerrone Highlights and Staredown - VIDEO
Ahead of their welterweight bout at UFC 246 on Jan. 18, Conor McGregor and Donald Cerrone were respectful of one another, despite having traded barbs close to four years ago at another press conference. Their bout will serve as the five-round main event at the T-Mobile Arena on Saturday. (Heidi Fang/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
UFC Champ Usman "Love and Unity Does Win Sometimes"
Kamaru Usman retained the UFC welterweight title when he knocked out Colby Covington in the fifth round of their title bout at UFC 245. After a heated lead-up to their bout, Usman says sometimes love and unity wins. (Heidi Fang/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
UFC 245 Ceremonial Weigh-in Staredowns
Here are the staredowns from the ceremonial weigh-in featuring all fighters competing at the UFC 245 fight card on Dec. 14 at the T-Mobile Arena. There are three title fights on the main card with the main event featuring a middleweight title bout between Kamaru Usman and Colby Covington. (Heidi Fang/Las Vegas Review-Journal).
Kamaru Usman explains the origin of the Colby Covington rivalry ahead of UFC 245
Ahead of their welterweight title fight, division champion Kamaru Usman explains where the rivalry with his opponent, Colby Covington originated and discusses what he thinks about the challenger's persona. (Heidi Fang/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Covington: I enjoy the boos, that gives me extra inspiration
UFC welterweight title challenger Colby Covington discusses his upcoming fight taking place on Dec. 14 at the T-Mobile Arena against Kamaru Usman and says he is fueled by those who boo him at events. (Heidi Fang/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
THE LATEST