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I wanted to be aggressive

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PostPosted: Thu Nov 08, 2018 2:57 am    Post subject: I wanted to be aggressive Reply with quote

LAS VEGAS (AP) Just before the most improbable of Stanley Cup Final in the most improbable hockey city around Shayne Gostisbehere Jersey , Gary Bettman and Bill Daly put on a little show of their own.As lounge acts go, it probably wouldn’t play on the Las Vegas Strip. Then again, no one ever thought the Vegas Golden Knights would be playing on the Las Vegas Strip – and certainly not as late as Memorial Day.But play they did, in a wild 6-4 win over the Washington Capitals that officially ended with Elvis singing ”Viva Las Vegas” and the Golden Knights taking a 1-0 lead in the series.The greatest expansion team ever against a classic underachiever was already a story that has played well even among those who wouldn’t think of watching anything but playoff basketball this time of the year.But a thrilling Game 1 couldn’t have been scripted any better even if Bettman and Daly had spent their pre-game writing it instead of sitting in front of the media, sharing laughs and a few inside jokes. They completed each other’s sentences, and seemed to be having so much fun that they didn’t want to leave.And why not? They could have taken a victory lap outside the T-Mobile Arena and no one would have seemed to mind.They are the architects of NHL expansion, the gatekeepers who decide which cities are in the league and which cities must watch from the sidelines. They came up with the plan – hatched privately a decade ago – for billionaire Bill Foley to pay $500 million to put a team among the gamblers, degenerates and, yes, upstanding citizens of the city where fun never stops.They then made sure it would work, despite all the naysayers who said hockey would never catch on in the desert and certainly not in a city where there are a lot of other things to do than watch hockey players race up and down the ice.But even the top league execs didn’t expect this.”No one saw this coming,” Bettman said.They didn’t in New York, and they didn’t in Las Vegas. A generous expansion draft helped set the Knights up to be competitive, but competitive doesn’t mean scoring 109 points in the regular season and then going 13-3 in the playoffs.Competitive doesn’t mean taking the ice on Memorial Day with nearly 19,000 crazed Knights fans cheering them on inside the arena on the Strip and thousands more partying as the game unfolded on big-screen TVs outside.It was, as Bettman pointed out, 342 days since the expansion draft in the same arena. And what a 342 days it has been for not only the new franchise but a league that took a chance on Sin City when no other league would.Bettman and Daly rolled the dice that Las Vegas would raise the league’s profile and not just because it isn’t, well, Columbus or Ottawa.”We thought being in Las Vegas would give hockey a greater presence and make the game stronger,” Bettman said.The results, at least so far, show that bet paying off. Las Vegas has gone mad over the Golden Knights, and hockey is thriving in a town where most ice is made for drinks, not rinks.And the NHL is on a bit of a roll itself. The controversial decision not to halt play during the middle of the season for the Olympics paid off in increased attention for professional hockey and television ratings for the playoffs, while not nearly up to NBA levels, are up across the board.And so far no one has said a word about the evils of sports betting and how a major sports franchise can’t exist in a city that allows it.”This commissioner wasn’t scared by the things other sports leagues may have been scared about,” Daly said.No one, of course, could have expected a hockey team to help heal a city in the wake of the Oct. 1 massacre that killed 58 people just down the street from the hockey arena. But the Knights helped that cause Valtteri Filppula Jersey , too, adopting the Vegas Strong name and honoring victims not only at the opener nine days after the shooting but at games since.The players – who call themselves the Golden Misfits – have also done their part, both on and off the ice.”They seem to be playing with the emotion of a higher purpose,” Bettman said.That’s one reason why the bookies had them favored to beat the Caps and win the iconic trophy before the first puck dropped in Game 1. So far they’ve not only run through every obstacle in their way, but smashed through them.Good times in Las Vegas, and good times for the NHL.Little wonder that Bettman and Daly couldn’t stop smiling.—-Tim Dahlberg is a national sports columnist for The Associated Press. Write to him at tdahlberg(at)ap.org or http://twitter.com/timdahlberg DENVER (AP) The Colorado Avalanche stayed relatively quiet at the NHL trade deadline. Now that Nathan MacKinnon is healthy, maybe that’s all they need for a playoff push.MacKinnon had two goals and an assist, Mikko Rantanen added a goal and an assist and the Avalanche beat the Vancouver Canucks 3-1 on Monday night.Semyon Varlamov made 31 saves and came within 1:16 of his third shutout this season. Colorado won for the 11th time in 12 home games and moved within two points of idle Calgary for the second wild card in the Western Conference.The Flames are in town Wednesday night.”Yeah, it is (a big game),” MacKinnon said.Daniel Sedin scored and Jacob Markstrom stopped 25 shots for the Canucks.On a day when big names were on the move all over the league, Colorado general manager Joe Sakic opted not to make a major trade to bolster his team’s playoff charge. He completed one minor deal, shipping Chris Bigras to the New York Rangers for 22-year-old Ryan Graves.Sakic said he didn’t want to trade one of his young assets for a rental player even though Colorado is chasing a postseason berth. He also didn’t want to deal away a veteran and disrupt team chemistry with a chance at making the playoffs.”If we were 10 points out we probably would have had a different approach,” Sakic said before the game.Sakic already made a blockbuster move in early November when he traded disgruntled center Matt Duchene to Ottawa in a three-team swap. Colorado got four players and three draft picks in the deal.Vancouver, which entered Monday 18 points out of a playoff spot, traded a couple of veterans before the deadline Monday afternoon. The Canucks acquired forwards Tyler Motte and Jussi Jokinen from Columbus for Thomas Vanek and later sent defenseman Philip Holm to Vegas for forward Brendan Leipsic.”He definitely loosens the locker room a bit,” Vancouver forward Jake Virtanen said of Vanek. ”He talks a lot in the room. He’s a great teammate and it (stinks) to see him go. Columbus will be lucky to have him.”Canucks coach Travis Green said Jokinen, Motte and Leipsic will meet the team in Vancouver.MacKinnon had four goals and 10 assists in 14 games before Duchene was traded and has 24 goals and 31 assists since the Nov. 5 deal. A shoulder injury that cost MacKinnon the first eight games of February hasn’t slowed him. He has four goals and four assists in the five games since his return last week.”There is all this talk of MVP. I have seen him a few times and for me, I think it’s got to be him,” Sedin said. ”He’s impressive.”MacKinnon gave the Avalanche a two-goal lead at 7:52 of the third period, moments after Virtanen hit a post at the other end. MacKinnon beat Markstrom on the ensuing rush.Sedin scored with Markstrom pulled, but MacKinnon scored into the empty net at 19:15.”I had a lot of really good looks,” said MacKinnon, who has career highs in goals (2Cool and assists (41). ”I wanted to be aggressive and I’m not sure how many shots I finished with, but definitely enough to score.”Rantanen scored his 20th goal with 24 seconds left in the first period to give Colorado the lead. He had a second one disallowed after Vancouver challenged for goaltender interference.Green challenged that Gabriel Landeskog interfered with Markstrom, and the goal was disallowed after a video review.NOTES: MacKinnon had nine shots on goal and 19 overall attempts. … Colorado claimed D Mark Alt on waivers from the Philadelphia Flyers. Sakic said Alt adds depth to the blue line, which is currently without Erik Johnson, Mark Barberio and Anton Lindholm. … Jokinen and Leipsic were listed as scratches. … Avalanche D Nikita Zadorov was back in the lineup after being a healthy scratch for two games.UP NEXTCanucks: Host the New York Rangers on Wednesday night.Avalanche: Host the Flames on Wednesday night.—
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