So after many interminable months of hype and an almost unconscionable amount of pointless drama, the NHL’s 31st franchise and newest expansion team has a name - The Vegas Golden Knights.
That’s not a typo, by the way. There’s no "Las" in this Vegas, which means the first thing I think of when I see the name written out is the image of wannabe hipsters Vince Vaughn and Jon Favreau screaming in a car headed towards a gross casino in the middle of the night.
The Golden Knights logo is a fearsome knight’s helmet that’s already getting plenty of praise for its use of negative space (can you see the "V"?") and evoking memories of the late, great Hartford Whalers crest. The Knights helmet also looks like Magneto’s telepathy-repelling helm, which is also kinda cool.
The long-awaited name announcement drew a crowd of a few thousand people to T-Mobile Arena and went off in the most NHL way possible: with hilarious technical difficulties. Before the event, there were online leaks aplenty. Then, when their pre-made video couldn’t be played for some reason, owner Bill Foley and NHL commissioner Gary Bettman were forced to stall for time like they were waiting for an old vaudeville act to hit the stage. After an awkward countdown, a few seconds of video managed to come to life and some fireworks and streamers went off with only a slight delay, finally putting a gold, steel gray, black and red bow on everything.
There’s no telling who will be on the inaugural roster next season (although TSN’s Craig Button gave it a shot), but if you think their games against the Islanders might be cakewalks for our guys, think again.
The Islanders’ record against expansion teams is a spotty one, although in fairness, a lot of the losses came in the mid-to-late 1990’s, when they were basically fielding expansion rosters themselves.
|1974-75||Kansas City Scouts||5||4||1||0||0||8||0.800||20||10|
|1991-92||San Jose Sharks||3||2||1||0||0||4||0.670||18||12|
|1992-93||Tampa Bay Lightning||2||1||1||0||0||2||0.500||11||7|
|1993-94||Mighty Ducks of Anaheim||2||1||1||0||0||2||0.500||4||6|
|2000-01||Columbus Blue Jackets||2||0||1||1||0||1||0.250||8||10|
That’s a record of 3-13-1 since 1993-94, when the Panthers and then-Mighty Ducks joined the league. The five (5!) losses to Florida that year have thankfully left my memory banks. I bet inaugural Panthers and former Islanders Mark Fitzpatrick and Tom Fitzgerald remember them all.
One of those losses to the 1999-2000 Atlanta Thrashers was a shutout at Nassau Coliseum, which was the first win, road win and shutout in that franchise’s history. I know all this because I was there and I have never shaken that out-of-body feeling of morbid horror ever since. "Surreal" doesn't even cover it.
And, of course, no one will ever forget the 1992-93 Ottawa Senators' lone road win, a 5-3 victory in Uniondale that included a hat trick from noted pugilist Laurie Boschman and 42 saves by the legendary Peter Sidorkiewicz.
Anyway, welcome to the NHL Las Vegas. Good luck next season, especially whenever the Canadian media shows up and tells you everything you’re doing is wrong.