Deryk Engelland

PHT Morning Skate: Sharks’ Labanc helped his father’s dream come true over the weekend

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–Check out the highlights from Buffalo’s 1-0 win over Detroit. Benoit Pouliot scored the only goal of the game and Robin Lehner came up huge for the Sabres. (Top)

Jonathan Quick was forced to come out of Monday’s game against the Leafs after an opponent made contact with his head. A concussion spotter asked for him to be checked and he was. All he missed was 36 seconds, which proves that the entire process still needs some work. (The Hockey News)

–Tough blow for the Canucks, as they’ll be without defenseman Troy Stecher for four to six weeks. He was injured on Sunday when he collided knee-on-knee with Detroit’s Tomas Tatar. (TSN.ca)

–Jake Virtanen has been living every young Vancouver hockey fan’s dream lately. He grew up cheering for the Canucks and watching the Sedins do their thing on a nightly basis. Now, he gets to skate on the same line as them. Oh and Virtanen scored the only goal in a 1-0 win over Minnesota last night. (Vancourier.com)

–Here’s a cool story about the Islanders. When the Islanders usually have alumni reunions, they invite a dozen or so of their former players. But they had one last weekend and they welcomed anyone who put up an Islanders jersey. Even Mike MacWilliam, who played six games with the Isles, was there. (SNY.tv)

–Golden Knights defenseman Deryk Engelland wrote a letter for Las Vegas in The Players’ Tribune. Engelland discusses how he ended up calling Vegas home and how difficult it was to watch the mass shooting that happened a few weeks ago. (The Players’ Tribune)

–Sean Avery has written a new book out! Not only does he talk about his career and his dating life, but he also roasted a couple of former teammates and opponents along the way. (Sports Illustrated)

–Predators forward Filip Forsberg has been one of the better scorers in the NHL over the last few years, but there’s a good chance he’s about to reach a new level over the next little while. He’s off to a hot start right now, and don’t be surprised if he scores 40 goals sometime soon. (fanragsports.com)

–The Ottawa Senators are a lot more comfortable in Guy Boucher’s system and it shows. As a team, they’ve been producing as a top notch offensive squad so far this season. (silversevensens.com)

–The Calgary Flames have taken quite a few penalties this year. And although their penalty-kill hasn’t given up too many goals, there is cause for concern, according to flamesnation.ca, who used advanced stats to show where they could get better. (flamesnation.ca)

–Roman Polak got a one year contract from the Leafs earlier this week, and most of the fan base seems to be split on him. Some like his hustle, while others who prefer analytics, feel like he’s nothing more than a liability. Is he still a useful player or should the leafs have taken a hard pass? (faceoffcircle.ca)

–Here’s a really nice story about Sharks forward Kevin Labanc and his father, Milan. Last weekend, Labanc played in his hometown of Brooklyn, where his father immigrated to 23 years ago. Watching his son play there was a dream come true for the older Labanc. “I have tremendous happiness to see Kevin reach the level of NHL hockey and play in his home town,” Milan Labanc said. “Whatever I started in hockey, when you see your kid continue it and you see your kid go further, that’s what every parent wants.” (Mercury News)

–The St. Louis Blues have had a decent start to the season, but it’s pretty clear that their special teams is holding them back. Their power play is ranked 24th, while their penalty-kill is ranked 27th. It needs to be better. (stlouisgametime.com)

–Team USA’s 1998 women’s hockey team was inducted into the Colorado Spring Sports Hall of Fame. As you may remember, that team which had Cammie Granato, Katie King, Sara DeCosta and many others, won the gold medal. (usahockey.com)

–Lucas Sbisa has emerged as an important blue liner for the Golden Knights this season. He’s the player that has gone up against the opposing team’s star forward on most nights. Believe it or not, it’s worked out pretty well so far. (sinbin.vegas)

Sidney Crosby started a trend when he put on number 87 because he was born in 1987. There’s a long list of players that have done that, but that’s going to be coming to an end in the very near future. (puckjunk.com)

Joey Alfieri is a writer for Pro Hockey Talk on NBC Sports. Drop him a line at phtblog@nbcsports.com or follow him on Twitter @joeyalfieri.

Golden Knights win emotional, historic home opener

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The evening started with an emotional tribute to the victims and first responders in the wake of the mass shooting in Las Vegas earlier this month.

It ended with fans inside T-Mobile Arena coming together to celebrate a thrilling and historic 5-2 home victory for the expansion Vegas Golden Knights over the visiting Arizona Coyotes.

The Golden Knights improve their record to 3-0-0.

Tomas Nosek got things started with the first Golden Knights regular season home goal in franchise history.

By the midway point of the first period, Vegas had built up a four-goal lead, with Deryk Engelland and James Neal also scoring for the home team, which resulted in Arizona’s starting goalie Antti Raanta getting the hook after three goals allowed on five shots.

It was, for the Golden Knights, a perfect start in their highly anticipated home opener almost a year and a half since getting awarded an NHL franchise, and they continued from there to the delight of the crowd.

This night, however, wasn’t solely about a hockey game.

This was about a community continuing to come together, and its professional sports team hoping to be part of the healing after what occurred on Oct. 1.

Before the puck dropped to begin this chapter in the Golden Knights’ history, the organization paid tribute to Las Vegas first responders by introducing them to the crowd and bringing them onto the ice where they were accompanied by a member of the Golden Knights during the ceremony.

The Golden Knights then held a 58-second moment of silence for the 58 victims that lost their lives in the tragedy.

Engelland also addressed the crowd.

“Like all of you, I’m proud to call Las Vegas home,” he said. “I met my wife here and my kids were born here and I know how special this city is. To all the brave first responders that have worked timelessly and courageously throughout this whole tragedy, we thank you. To the families and friends of the victims, know that we’ll do everything we can to help you and our city heal.

“We are Vegas strong.”

Video: Tomas Nosek scores first Golden Knights home goal

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It didn’t take long for the Vegas Golden Knights to score their first regular season goal on home ice at T-Mobile Arena.

After a tremendously well done pre-game ceremony, in which the Golden Knights honored first responders and victims and their families in the wake of the deadly mass shooting earlier this month, Vegas jumped out to a quick lead on the Arizona Coyotes.

Tomas Nosek scored the historic franchise goal, beating Antti Raanta with a wrist shot to the glove side just 2:31 into the game.

The first period wasn’t even seven minutes old by the time the Golden Knights had a 3-0 advantage, leading to a frenzied celebration.

Deryk Engelland and James Neal also scored to give Vegas that three-goal lead.

Related: More than anything, Vegas Golden Knights’ home debut is chance to heal

‘We’re a part of Las Vegas’: Golden Knights trying to boost community after shooting

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LAS VEGAS (AP) The NHL’s fledgling Golden Knights understand Las Vegas is in need of inspiration and hope after last weekend’s deadly shooting and they’re trying to provide some.

Golden Knights players have visited the Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department headquarters, United Blood Services, and the Las Vegas Convention Center, where a family assistance center has been set up. The team will also acknowledge the victims of the deadliest mass shooting in modern U.S. history and their families at the inaugural home opener, though the franchise is still finalizing details.

“Sports are a great thing, it can help take people’s minds off of things,” defenseman Nate Schmidt said during a media day Wednesday. “As much as the city has embraced us, we’re a part of Las Vegas.”

Center Jonathan Marchessault said the players were honored to meet with officers when the team visited police headquarters earlier this week.

“We’re nothing compared to those guys,” Marchessault said. “What they’ve done and what they do for our community and our country, it’s amazing. If you think about it we’re just entertainers, that’s it. They save lives, they make sure everything goes properly around us. They’re survivors, they’re warriors.”

The expansion Golden Knights are the city’s first major sports franchise and they’ve generated a lot of excitement before playing a single game. They open the season on Friday in Dallas and they play their first home game next Tuesday.

Defenseman Deryk Engelland has lived in the city since 2003, however, and the shooting has left his family shaken.

“My wife is still shaken up, she’s almost scared to go to the games, take the kids to the home opener,” said Engelland. “It hits hard and it hits in a lot of different ways. You see these things happen all over the world and no one ever thinks it’s going to happen in their backyard. For it to happen here, it’s horrific.”

Vegas GM doesn’t appear to be in any hurry to move extra d-men

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The Vegas Golden Knights currently have 10 defensemen under contract — and that is without Nate Schmidt signed.

Schmidt and the Golden Knights have an arbitration hearing scheduled for Aug. 3, so there is still plenty of time for them to negotiate a new deal for the restricted free agent blue liner without having a neutral third party decide the matter.

Schmidt’s agent, Matt Keator, told the Las Vegas Review Journal that talks with the Golden Knights have been positive, which lends to optimism that perhaps the club and player will avoid this whole process with a deal.

A new contract between Schmidt — left unprotected by Washington in the expansion draft — and Vegas would put the Golden Knights at 11 d-men less than two months before training camp opens.

Granted, that number is considerably less than what Vegas had following the expansion draft, when they stockpiled 15 defensemen and eventually moved players like David Schlemko, Trevor van Riemsdyk and Marc Methot.

While it seems more moves are likely on the back end for Vegas, general manager George McPhee doesn’t seem to be in any particular hurry right now, per the Vegas Review Journal.

“We’re at a manageable number right now,” said McPhee. “We’re pretty close to where we want to be and we’re comfortable with the roster we have.”

Their blue line also includes five players — Jason Garrison, Luca Sbisa, Clayton Stoner, Brayden McNabb and Deryk Engelland — that are pending unrestricted free agents at the end of next season. As far as Vegas’ defensive group is concerned, this could mean future trades during the season as other clubs, perhaps playoff bound, look to possibly add a rental late in the year.

One thing McPhee has made clear in the past: He planned on keeping Schmidt and fellow d-man Shea Theodore (only 21 years old). Now, they just have to get Schmidt under contract.

Related: Vegas has more ticket revenue than Boston, Philly and Pittsburgh, says Foley