Ahhh….the Golden Knights. Those hungry whippersnappers from Las Vegas are responsible for one of the greatest Cinderella stories in sports history. Not since the 1968 St. Louis Blues has an expansion team reached the finals of the NHL, NBA, NFL, or MLB.
I confess, I thought the roster GM George McPhee chose at the expansion draft last summer was one of the worst I’ve seen. I thought he passed on several opportunities for selecting better contributors; I thought his team would be light on scoring and was heavy on mediocre defenseman. Instead, they were fifth in the league in scoring and eighth in expected goals against, per The Athletic. They found players that were stuck on minimal roles in other teams that blossomed in more playing time and have a roster full of players either performing or over-performing their contract values. And that’s without mentioning Number 29 in net.
I’m happy to say that I was wrong. Las Vegas will surely be rocking with one of the best pre-game theatrics in the league before Game 1 Monday night.
But we care about injuries here, so we’ve put together a Stanley Cup Health Preview. NHL injury reports are famously tight-lipped and vague, but we’ll do our best to deduce what’s going on and make some predictions.
In this preview, we’ll discuss the Vegas Golden Knights’ injury issues going into the Finals.
The whole NBA world (myself included) cringed when Houston Rockets guard Chris Paul landed on his back after a spin move and grabbed his right leg in the final minute of Game 5 of the Western Conference Finals against Golden State. I knew immediately what had happened, and given Paul’s history, it should be no surprise that he suffered a right hamstring strain. Take a look at the video. I’ll wait.
There were 19 defensive tackles that signed with teams in free agency. The player that got the lengthiest and most expensive contract was Star Lotulelei, who got five years, which was two more years than the next closest player, and $50 million, which was almost double to the next closest player, to move from the Carolina Panthers to the Buffalo Bills. In terms of guaranteed money, he’s getting $24 million, which is $10 million more than the next closest player, Ndamukong Suh.
It’s also worth noting that last summer he had shoulder surgery and also has a history of a foot fracture. So given that, are the Bills making a wise investment injury-wise?
They finally did it! The Washington Capitals have advanced to the Stanley Cup Finals. Twenty long agonizing years for Caps fans filled with immense promise and expectation (full disclosure: die-hard Caps fan). The realization has yet to sink in for me, but come Monday night, the Capitals will play their first Stanley Cup game since 1998 (Editor’s note:die-hardRed Wings fan here. Sorry we beat you in ’98 and caused your lifelong misery). Storylines abound for this Cup Final: Ovechkin and Backstrom finally getting to the Finals. GMGM somehow getting an expansion Vegas Golden Knights team to the ultimate stage for a chance at Lord Stanley, something he failed to do with a loaded Washington Capitals roster for years. And “The Flower”, Marc-Andre Fleury, getting to showcase the huge mistake the Penguins made by letting him go.
Do you remember watching Mark McGwire and Sammy Sosa destroying baseballs? Maybe I was naïve then, but I thought it was “real”….hey, I was 13. But as a collective group we were all transfixed on the home runs and the possibility of record breaking greatness. Well, the Maris record was “broken”, but greatness? Debatable. Since then we have gone from the Mitchell Report to a full fledged documentary that inadvertently stumbled onto a state-sponsored doping program (not a plug).
In between we have had significant denials. Authored books by Lance Armstrong and Floyd Landis (full disclosure: I bought them both, and believed them… for a time) to some ridiculously can’t-make-up stories, as one such great ball player was caught with a whizzinator. Have fun on the Google machine with that one.
Andre Iguodala has a knee contusion. What does it mean? (Credit: Keith Allison, Flickr).
If you watched Game 3 of the Western Conference Finals between the Warriors-Rockets, you may have noticed Andre Iguodala leave midway through the fourth quarter with an injury that was initially called a “left lateral leg contusion”. Heck, even if you didn’t watch, you probably have heard by now if you have even passing interest in the series, considering Iguodala is vital to unlocking Golden State’s three of their five best lineups this postseason (in lineups that have played together at least 15 minutes), including their most heavily used lineup. And Golden State is already facing decreased wing depth.
On March 31, 2018, Golden State Warriors guard Patrick McCaw had a scary fall that potentially put his career in doubt.
The highlight of the play is on Youtube. McCaw goes up for a dunk and lands on his back and is visibly in pain. He clutches his lower back, is immobilized in a cervical collar, and taken off the court on a stretcher.
Afterwards, we learned that McCaw experienced numbness in his legs. So how is this different than Michael Porter Jr.’s injury that has the NBA Draft world abuzz?