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Knights on Ice – Nolo Contendere, Or in Vegas Terminology — No Call No Show
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For Immediate Release:
Dateline: Las Vegas, NV
Sunday, May 9, 2021


Nolo contendere isa legal term that comes from the Latin phrase for “I do not wish tocontend.” It’s also referred to as a legal plea of no contest. In Las Vegas,it’s called “no call, no show” when you fail to show up for your scheduled workshift without calling in, which will usually lead to your termination. Lastnight the St. Louis Blues used their option and declared nolo contendere intheir game against the VGK. Who could blame them? They had zero toplay for. Whether they won or lost their remaining 4 games, their 4th-placeposition in the Honda West Division wouldn’t change one bit and their lack ofeffort showed in the 4-1 VGK win. The Blues came to town looking for just 1point to lock up the final playoff spot and they accomplished that inthe OT loss Friday night

Last night’s win keeps the VGK 4 points ahead of the Colorado Avalanche, who also won last night. It also sets up the most important regular season game in the VGK’s entire franchise history on Monday night. 

The Blues registered just 3 shotson Marc-Andre Fleury in the first period; they didn’t register their first shotof the game until 9:30 had been played. This continued for the first 40 minutesas St. Louis had only 8 shots total after 2 periods. They registered onlytheir 4th shot of the game 7:30 into the 2nd period.They actually scored a goal on their 7th shot whenColton Parayko picked the pocket of Shea Theodore and cut in front ofthe net to slip in the only puck that would get behind Fleury. Shea Theodore isa gifted offensive defenseman, no question about that. But lately he’s havingdefensive breakdowns which are leading to opposition goals. He had one on theBlues shorthanded goal on Friday night when he overcommitted to the boards,only to see Tyler Bosek beat him to the inside and then swoop in on RobinLehner before dishing the puck to Ryan O’Reilly for the shorthanded goal. Theteam system that DeBoer uses is geared for the defensemen to join in on theoffensive portion of the game, but it also calls for some defensiveresponsibility, and lately, Shea hasn’t held up that part of the bargain. Comeplayoff time, goals will be hard to come by as the ice will shrink. Notliterally, but teams will lock things down. These last 2 goals that Shea waspart of cannot happen if this team wants postseason success. 

St. Louis did finally decide toplay the last 20 minutes following Parayko’s goal, which came with just 37seconds left in the 2nd period. The Blues wound up with moreshots in the last 20 minutes of the game (13) then they had for the first 40minutes (8), with 5 of them coming on 3 power plays. Accordingly,Fleury wasn’t very busy last night, but some of his saves in the3rd period had the crowd buzzing. He’s now won 8 games in a rowand I believe he’s given coach DeBoer enough to break the rotation and startFleury on Monday night. No disrespect to Robin Lehner, but remember theEdmonton bubble, when DeBoer claimed that he was playing the goaltender thatgave the team the best shot to win. Well, Pete, you have a chance to keep yourcoaching philosophy intact. Don’t deviate now.We won’t have to wait long to find out if DeBoer makes whatseems to be the right choice for the team.

Talk about getting it right! Justat the right time, Reilly Smith, who’d never had a hat trick in 628 NHL games,got his first last night. Smith has 5 goals in his last 3 games. Here’s astrange occurrence: Smith, who plays almost exclusively on theoriginal misfit line with William Karlsson and Jonathan Marchessault, somehowscored his 3 goals without an assist from either of his line mates fromthe 2017-2018 season. 

Once again, the VGK played withonly 17 skaters of 11 forwards and 6 defensemen, and wound up finishing thegame with just 10 forwards when Peyton Krebs took a puck to the face. He wascut and never returned to the game. His status for Monday, along with that ofPacioretty, Nosek, and Reaves, remains uncertain. Vegas, who was0-4-1 when playing without a full roster ,has now won their last 3 games. 

Other Game Notes

Alec Martinez, who is quietlybecoming one of the top 2 defenseman on this team, had an incredible 9 blockedshots last night. His shot-blocking streak of 50 games continues. Martinez alsohas 2 goals and 3 assists in his last 5 games. Alec does pose a problem for theVGK, his contract expires on Wednesday after the VGK’s final game against theSan Jose Sharks. He’ll become a UFA (unrestricted free agent) in theoff-season. The defensive core for the VGK right now is solid and everyone isunder contract for next season except Martinez. Somehow the VGK must avoidlosing him to free agency. This team is built to win right now and for at leastthe next 3-4 years.  

My 3Stars of the Game 

1) ReillySmith (hat trick) 

2) AlecMartinez (primary assist on Reilly Smith’s PPG and 9 blockedshots) 

3) Chandler Stephenson (1shorthanded goal, which was the GWG and the first shorthanded goal St. Louishas given up all season) 

Next game is Monday vs. Colorado @ 7 PM PacificTime at T-Mobile  

If you want to hear and see more VGK content,please check out the podcast I do with Eddie Rivkin on YouTube. It’s calledHockey Knights in Vegas. Here is a link toour previous podcast. Enjoy.  

Hockey Knights in Vegas – YouTube 

Yourcomments and opinions are welcome here at Las Vegas Advisor or you may contactme directly at [email protected] or on my Facebook page or the Facebook page ofVegas Hockey Guy or on Twitter @TheRealJoePane 

One other note: If you’re reading this blog from Facebook or Twitter and would like to access it earlier in the morning before I share it on social media, it’s usually published by 8 a.m. the morning after a game at LasVegasAdvisor.com. What better way is there to enjoy your morning coffee than reading my take on last night’s VGK game. 

Reilly Smith 3 goals
Stephenson’s shorthanded goal
A huge save by Fleury on a breakaway

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