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NHL set for golden night in Vegas

Norm Clarke
VSiN Columnist

June 21, 2017 01:55 AM

The NHL serves up a doubleheader of drama Wednesday in Las Vegas.
 
Sharing the spotlight at T-Mobile Arena will be the NHL Awards Show and NHL expansion draft for the Vegas Golden Knights.
 
The party moves to Chicago’s United Center this weekend, with the NHL entry draft playing out on Friday (7 p.m. ET, NBC Sports Network, Sportsnet) and Saturday (10 a.m. ET, NHL Network, Sportsnet).
 
Actor Joe Manganiello, an ardent Pittsburgh Penguins fan, will host the awards show, which start at 8 p.m. ET on NBCSN.
 
The hottest news Wednesday will be who’s going where as the newly-minted 31st franchise stocks its roster.
 
The Golden Knights have to select 30 players, one from each team: 14 forwards, nine defensemen and three goaltenders. The other four players can be from any position. Here’s some of the expansion draft drama to watch for:
 
* Adam Vingan, USA Today Network: “Among the hundreds of NHL players left vulnerable to the Vegas Golden Knights in the ongoing expansion draft, few are more intriguing than Predators forward James Neal.
“There’s plenty of incentive for the Golden Knights to nab Neal, one of six active NHL players to score at least 20 goals in each of his first nine seasons. 
“More attractive to Vegas than Neal’s scoring ability next season might be his expiring contract, which can be dangled at the trade deadline for future assets from a contending team. Neal has $5 million remaining on his six-year contract.” 
 
* Tal Pinchevsky, ESPN: “With the NHL coming to Las Vegas, some general managers put their chips on the table and took calculated risks Sunday. The Ottawa Senators did just that when they made forward Bobby Ryan available for the expansion draft, likely figuring his $7.25 million cap hit would make him a prohibitive pick for Vegas Golden Knights general manager George McPhee.
“The Wild certainly made an interesting move by leaving defensemen Matt Dumba and Marco Scandella unprotected. General manager Chuck Fletcher either figured he would lose a defenseman regardless or has been on the phone with Vegas ironing out a side deal.”
 
* Mike Chambers, Denver Post on why the Golden Knights might take a long look at Avalanche goalie Calvin Pickard, 25: “An outstanding person…he certainly goes against the grain of your typical nutty goalie. His compete level is very high.
“Not the quickest guy from post to post but his compete makes up for that. Never gives up on a shot. Best thing about the guy is, you want him on your team. Ideal teammate. Ideal backup goalie (so many goalies can't handle that).
“Don't get me wrong, the guy is a fierce competitor -- but he's smart and sophisticated enough to play the cards he is dealt and try to beat out the other guy without being a distraction to the team. 
“The goalie who isn't playing can be a distraction to the team. Pickard will never be that guy. But inside, he'll never settle being the backup, either.”
 
The scene and heard
Posted on Scott Roeben’s VitalVegas.com blog site: “Reliable tipster says Golden State Warriors had six bottles comped Friday, three on Saturday at Drai’s. Total gratuity: Zero.”…
Oregon State’s streaking baseball team has a Las Vegan providing steady output. Cadyn Grenier of Bishop Gorman High having started all 60 games this year. OSU has won its past 23 on the way to a 56-4 record that includes wins over Cal State Fullerton and LSU in the College World Series. Grenier, a sophomore, took a .280 batting average into the CWS, sixth best among starters. He’s fourth in RBI and fifth in hits. He was Nevada Gatorade Player of the Year in 2015 after batting .471…
I wouldn’t be surprised to see Celine Dion’s son, Rene Charles, 16, at the awards event/expansion draft today. His late father, Rene Angelil, was a huge hockey fan and passed along his love of the sport to his son. Also likely to be in the crowd: former Colorado Avalanche president Pierre Lacroix, who helped lead the Avs to the Stanley Cup title in 1996 and 2001. Lacroix was best man at the Angelil-Dion wedding in 1994. Lacroix’s son, Eric, who spent eight years in the NHL also lives in Las Vegas and was hired last year as the Nevada Storm’s head coach of the Bantam AA program.
 
Hot links
Chef David Chang goes on unhinged racist rant; reveals food critic he really hates. Hint: He’s from Las Vegas http://bit.ly/2rOKePf
Schwarzenegger will be in town for Mayweather-McGregor http://bit.ly/2tHLTmi
Carrie Fisher’s brother reacts to her autopsy http://usm.ag/2tM6yWc
Ta Da! Vegas Golden Knights unveil uniforms http://bit.ly/2rTKZl8
 
On this day…
June 20, 1947: Bugsy Siegel (born Benjamin Siegelbaum), the mobster whose Flamingo Hotel is regarded as the first luxury resort in Las Vegas, is murdered in Beverly Hills. He was 42. The killing was widely believed to be a Mob hit, but no arrests were ever made.
June 21, 1950: Hank Greenspun publishes the first edition of his newly purchased Las Vegas Free Press, vowing to “always fight for progress and reform.” He renamed the paper the Sun and becomes a power broker as a crusading journalist and real estate developer. He dies in 1989.
 
Sightings
At Tao (Venetian) over the weekend: Actor Matthew McConaughey and wife Camila Alves, with actress Ali Larter, country music artist Jack Ingram and entrepreneur Butch Gilliam…  
At the Marquee Skydeck at the Electric Daisy Carnival over the weekend: Paris Hilton and Drew Carey, in separate parties.
 
The punch line
“Having children is like living in a frat house: Nobody sleeps, everything’s broken, and there’s a lot of throwing up.” – Ray Romano.

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