With the Stanley Cup final around the corner, many are painting Las Vegas as a story worthy of Disney. However, this is not a legitimate Cinderella Story. As highlighted in the articles below, this was a set up from the beginning- even before the draft.
1. The story linked below details how the Vegas draft was a very sweet deal- like none seen previously. It predates the 2017-2018 NHL season:
NHL expansion draft working in Vegas team's favor
2. The following article addresses Vegas toward the end, beginning as follows:
But hasn’t every team underachieved this season? Isn’t every team mediocre compared to the Vegas Golden Knights, a Frankenstein team that you created out of your own Sin City fantasy...Woe to you, NHL
3. Finally, the N.Y. Post had an article that addressed the Vegas saga back in December 2016. The first part of the article calls out the ridiculous nature of a 'stacked deck' for the Golden Knights. the following is a quote from the article:
Will the Vegas Golden Knights be the best expansion team in history? If that comes to fruition in the 2017-18 season, the reasons will be: 1) Because owner Bill Foley has paid for it in full by pushing the new arena in Vegas and then plopping down half a billion dollars for the league fee; 2) Because the league, led by commissioner Gary Bettman, wants it to work more than any other expansion in history.
NHL is stacking deck for Vegas expansion team to be great
Reasons this was a disgraceful move by the National Hockey League:
1. It undermines the integrity of the league by promoting favoritism
2. The players obtained by Vegas were as close to an all-star team as you can create without being blatant.
3.The future will tell: if the league does not continue to favor Vegas every year they will eventually come down to Earth. Will the fans stick? Will this be professional hockey's version of the tortoise and the hare as far as success goes?
4. It devalues all the hard work legitimate Stanley Cup contenders and champions put in over the years to earn their way deep into the playoffs.
Did the players and coaches of the Golden Knights put together a stellar season? Yes. Was a trip to the Stanley Cup finals guaranteed? No. Was the head start given to the Vegas team more than the N.H.L. envisioned? Possibly. They may have just wanted Vegas to be respectable. However, in so doing they showed disrespect to the other teams as well as the fans of every team but Las Vegas.
I wonder if this was a "too important to fail" moment for the NHL (Vegas is not too important to fail- it is one city out of many, though the gambling money is plentiful there), or was it bribery (basically the cut of the $500,000,000 each team would receive)?
Hopefully history will tell. For now, I will pull for history to soon record the defeat of the NHL's precious stacked Frankenstein team.