Golden knights vs wild                
Photo Credit: Knights On Ice

FSM Presents: 2 Minutes with Gawlik – Weekly VGK Update – Vol 11

Franchise Sports Media

 

Welcome to “Two Minutes with Gawlik, Volume 11.” Bit of a rough week for VGK as they had issues with injuries, a suspension, and not the best of results.

 

Golden Knights vs Kings
Photo Credit: NHL

Monday, March 29th vs. Kings: Best game of the week, by far. The Kings got to an early 1-0 lead, but it felt like it was just a matter of time until VGK would break this one open. VGK rattled off three goals in the second period and one in the third.  Robin Lehner shut the Kings down after giving up the early first-period goal. Smooth sailing as VGK cruised to a 4-1 victory.

Wednesday, March 31st vs. Kings: Here is where the wheels started to come off. Ryan Reaves could not play after suffering an injury during warmups which left VGK with eleven forwards. Chandler Stephenson was assessed a game misconduct penalty late in the second period. Tough game all around as VGK played short, and Marc Andre Fleury had his worst performance of the year. 4-2, the  Kings in a game that VGK wants to forget quickly.

 

Golden Knights vs Wild
Photo Credit: TSN

Thursday, April 1st vs. Wild: Reaves remained injured, and Stephenson served the first of his three-game suspension. VGK would need to dig deep as they used just ten forwards and sixteen total skaters.  With the game tied in the third, Brayden McNabb scored early. A third-period lead is usually a good spot for VGK to be in. However, the Wild could tie the game in just less than fifteen minutes remaining in the third. The game remained tied and went to overtime.,

VGK overtime hero Max Pacioretty had some good looks but could not get the puck behind Cam Talbot, and a shootout was needed to determine a winner. Lehner’s struggles in shootouts are widely known and continued in Thursday’s game. The Wild went on to win via shootout 2-1. Keegan Kolesar is going to have nightmares about TalbotTalbot put up not one but two “save of the year” entries on back-to-back shots from Kolesar. I feel for Kolesar; he is snake-bitten. Kolesar seems to get good looks every game, and goaltenders rob him night after night. Credit VGK for a gutsy effort playing short.

Saturday, April 3rd vs. Wild: “Shot blocked by Minnesota, another block by the Wild, that one failed to get through the traffic in front of Talbot.” That is all I heard during the broadcast. Again, VGK carried a third-period lead, but unlike Thursday, they would lose this one in regulation by a score of 2-1. No one is going to miss Minnesota when the divisions go back to normal next season. Talbot has our number and rookie, Kirill Kaprizov may develop to a top ten forward. The less we see of both, the better.

 

VGK has $12M of their $81.5M (30.5%) of their salary cap allocated to Fleury and Lehner. As a result, VGK has had elite goaltending and Fleury is becoming an ageless wonder.

 

Golden Knights vs Kings
Photo Credit: KTNV

I have said this many times when things are going well, the high salary allocated to the goaltenders is not an issue. When things happen like last-second injuries, suspensions, and other challenges, the money allocated in net becomes a problem. Rewind to earlier in the season, VGK had to dress five defensemen and thirteen forwards to be cap compliant.

This past Wednesday, Reaves suffered an injury in warmups, and VGK was unable to dress another forward.  This past Thursday was a roster disaster. Reaves was unable to go, and Stephenson was serving the first of his three-game suspension. As a result, VGK dressed just 10 forwards. It does not matter who you play each night; winning in the NHL is tough.

VGK is now spotting teams’ roster spots because of all the money they have tied up between Fleury and Lehner. Starting with tonight’s game, VGK has twenty games remaining in the regular season that will be played across thirty-four days. VGK must find a way to free up some cap space to avoid playing short.

Cody Glass has logged some miles this week. After what was possibly his best game of the season for VGK, Glass was sent to HSK and joined the team in Tucson. Glass was the best player on either side of the ice in Wednesday’s game against the Roadrunners. In his first shift, Glass knocked down two opposing players and assisted on HSK’s first goal. Glass later scored a nifty goal by dangling the puck between his legs to beat a defender. It seems like Glass is above the AHL level and not quite ready to contribute at the NHL level daily.

If I had to guess, Glass was sent down to get a confidence boost and learn more about becoming a two-way player. Glass was also used a lot on the penalty kill in Wednesday’s AHL game and looked comfortable doing so. Roster issues for VGK forced his HSK stint to be a short one, as he was called up to VGK Friday afternoon.

 

I was able to take my family to Arizona for a little Spring Break getaway. The plan was to take in Wednesday’s HSK / Tucson Roadrunners game on Wednesday night. We had so much fun Wednesday, we also attended Friday’s game.

 

The Tucson Arena is a tired and more worn-down version of the Orleans Arena. Both venues have similar lower bowls and are in the shape of a horseshoe. However, the Tucson Arena does not have any boxes or second-level seating. The bigger thing that the arena and Tucson Roadrunners were missing was an effort. I am not talking about their on-ice performance; I am referring to the fact that there is really no production or entertainment factor beyond what is happening on the ice.

They have a Roadrunner mascot that has what looks like an office about twenty feet over the end of the ice with no seats. But the Roadrunner is no Lucky or Chance. The public address announcer took no effort to learn how to pronounce names like “Leschyshyn” and “Dorofeyev.” No arena hosts to keep the crowd engaged and energized, and no big show to welcome the home team to the ice. If the only thing that excites you about attending a hockey game is the game on the ice, then you will love attending a Tucson Roadrunners game.  If you are looking to be entertained while enjoying an American Hockey League game, which is the expectation for most markets, then look elsewhere.

We are lucky for what we have in the Golden and Silver Knights. A trip to a Tucson Roadrunners game will quickly remind you of that. All was not lost; I am very thankful for an interaction with a staff member of the Roadrunners. He was nice enough to give my kids some game pucks and even allowed us on the ice for a photo after the game. Everyone I interacted with from the Roadrunners organization was extremely nice and expressed gratitude for us attending the game. I guess they have a different way of doing things down there.

 

Here is a key stat for HSK fans: When the Gawlik Family attended games the week of March 29th, VGK and HSK had a combined record of 3-0. When the Gawlik Family did not attend VGK and HSK games the week of March 29th, VGK and HSK combined for a record of 0-3-1. Maybe we’re the Gaw-LUCK family for VGK & HSK?!

2 Minutes with Gawlik                 2 Minutes with Gawlik                 2 Minutes with Gawlik                 2 Minutes with Gawlik                 2 Minutes with Gawlik                 2 Minutes with Gawlik                 2 Minutes with Gawlik                 2 Minutes with Gawlik                 2 Minutes with Gawlik                 2 Minutes with Gawlik                   2 Minutes with Gawlik                 2 Minutes with Gawlik               2 Minutes with Gawlik          

-Chris Gawlik – Franchise Sports Media

Follow Chris on Twitter @TDChrisG

Follow The Franchise on social media

Twitter

Instagram

Facebook

YouTube