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WWJD #39: This Week’s Divisive Sports Issues

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In this WWJD, Joe gives his thoughts on some hot topics in the world of sports.

 

The amount of sports stories taking place right now from the teams Franchise Sports Media covers is crazy! From the Golden Knights to NIL, and finally, Las Vegas high school football, it’s a never-ending cycle of sports news, and I LOVE IT! But I’m going to be honest, there is a bunch of bulls**t in there as well, and it has me fired up to talk about it.

 

Where should I begin? Let’s start on the ice and talk about the Golden Knight’s new head coach, Bruce Cassidy, and how his hire affects more than what happens on the ice.

 

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Photo Credit: KTNV

Let me start by giving credit where credit is due. I believe VGK president George McPhee and GM Kelly McCrimmon took their time and hired the right person to coach the Golden Knights. Now, the pressure is on them, especially McCrimmon. I’ll get to that in a minute.

Bruce Cassidy has a lot of former head coach Gerard Gallant in him, especially his honesty, which will be refreshing. He does things his way and isn’t afraid to speak his mind to his players and the media. Last season, Cassidy led the Boston Bruins to the playoffs. While they battled through injuries, he didn’t make excuses. His team just went out and played.

Cassidy was surprisingly let go after being told his job was safe a few weeks earlier. This didn’t sit well with some of his players because they felt he was the scapegoat. It took less than a week for him to be named the third head coach in VGK history, but he will also deal with some issues in Las Vegas.

The Golden Knights have earned a reputation around the NHL and the media. The thought is that they feel they are the smartest people in the room and can intentionally mislead the public without being held accountable.

Just look at how they used the LTIR (long-term injured reserve) this season to circumvent the salary cap. Did they have a ton of injuries? Yes, but so did other teams who didn’t use that as an excuse (look at the L.A. Kings, for example). Having former head coach Peter DeBoer come out and be the only one addressing injury issues, only to have those proven to be lies, was a bad look on the organization. They were not and have not been transparent. Management knowingly and maliciously told the media and fan base those lies and hung DeBoer out to dry.

 

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Photo Credit: Vegas Hockey Knight

They also tied themselves into bad contracts that put VGK in salary cap hell and have seen little return from “core players.” There is a mistrust that VGK players are starting to have with the organization, as the team was essentially forced to trade Marc-AndreFluery last offseason and will be again forced to make tough decisions this offseason.

If you think other NHL teams will help, think again, they’re reveling in seeing VGK squirm.

But back to McCrimmon. Am I the only one who thought he looked shook and uncomfortable at the Cassidy introductory press conference? For example, McCrimmon and Cassidy were asked about the coaching staff, and McCrimmon said that they would be working together on putting it in place. A short time later, Cassidy said he would be deciding who to bring in on his staff.

On June 28th the team announced that the hiring of Sean Burke as their director of goaltending, and John Stevens as an assistant coach. Oddly, the Golden Knights already had a goaltending coach on staff in Mike Rosati, who the team announced will “an influential role across the organization.”

That doesn’t sound like working together. Am I reading too much into this? Time will tell.

VGK, are now on their third coach in six seasons, which is another bad look for the organization. At some point, and I think that point is now, Bill Foley will have to start to look at his brain trust, and McCrimmon would be the first to go if it meant McPhee saving his job. The honeymoon is over for the Golden Knights, and the excuses also need to be.

 

Las Vegas high school football news and notes

 

las Vegas High school football - Bishop Gorman - Franchise Sports Media
Photo Credit: T.Q. for Franchise Sports Media

MaxPreps came out with their high school rankings late last week, and Bishop Gorman got screwed. The website had the Gaels come in at #6 in the country, which is too low for one of the nation’s best high school football teams. Ahead of Bishop Gorman is St. Thomas Aquinas at #5, IMG Academy at #4, Saint Francis Academy in Baltimore at #3, Mater Dei at #2, and at #1 St. John Bosco in Bellflower, Ca.

Gorman’s roster is STACKED and LOADED for this year and the next few years. They are preparing to make a run at multiple national titles. But I guess my biggest beef with Gorman being so low is that they’re playing the nation’s most demanding schedule. Bosco is ranked #1 after they ducked playing Gorman, yet they have the nerve to say it’s “Trinity League vs. the Nation.”

Not true. Gorman was negotiating with Bosco and had a verbal agreement to play on September 17th, in late January or early February. The following morning, Gorman received an email from Bosco asking them to “hold tight, and we will get back to you.” A few hours later, Bosco backed out of the agreement and decided to play Kahuku (HI) instead. They then went dark and never responded to repeated calls, emails, and texts from Bishop Gorman.

Gorman’s 2022 non-league schedule is brutal. Corner Canyon (UT) and Mater Dei come to Las Vegas in the Gael’s first two weeks. They then hit the road to Hawai’i to take on St. Louis before coming back home to take on Chandler (AZ) and finally Brookwood (GA). THAT is a schedule you play if you want to win a high school national championship. Being rated 6th in the country is fantastic for some schools, but not Gorman. Max Preps did them dirty.

 

FSM Prep Rally
Photo Credit: T.Q./Franchise Sports Media

Lastly, I know the NIAA is working hard to get NIL regulations in place for high school athletes before the start of the Fall season. Not having something in place now hurts athletes in Las Vegas, and some are transferring to states that allow high school athletes to get compensated for their name, image, and likeness.

I commend the governing body on their due diligence and the thoughtful work they are putting in place, but they need to pick up the pace.

I’m not just talking about players playing high-profile sports and considered the best at their position. I’m talking about the young women playing flag football who have multiple college offers and could use some extra money for training, equipment, or everyday life. States like Texas, Oklahoma, Florida, California, and Georgia got in early and reaped the benefits. It’s time for Nevada to do so as well.

While NIL is controversial to some, it isn’t going anywhere. For some states, the days of being reactive instead of proactive will only hurt student-athletes. I know the NIAA is doing all they can, and as I said earlier, I appreciate all the hard work they do to put NIL guidelines in place for Nevada student-athletes. They have to move faster. I know it’s an arduous task, but this is why you are leading the way for amateur athletes in our state, and I hope the athletes don’t get left behind.

 

Thank you for checking out this edition of WWJD. Make sure you continue to come to Franchise Sports Media for all your Las Vegas sports coverage.

 

Peace✌

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– Joe Arrigo

Follow Joe on Twitter @JoeArrigoFSM

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