The season is over but the Vegas Golden Knights are still pulling down some significant awards hardware.
Coach Gerard Gallant won the Jack Adams Award, which is essentially coach of the year, and George McPhee was named the NHL's general manager of the year in recognition of the Knights' immediate growth into champions of the Pacific Division and the Western Conference.
High-scoring Knights forward William Karlsson won the Lady Byng Trophy for the player best combining sportsmanship and ability.
Defenseman Deryk Engelland also won the Mark Messier NHL Leadership Award for his actions during his team's breakthrough season in the wake of the shooting massacre on the Las Vegas Strip shortly before their first game.
What surprised Mitch Moss with VSIN, the Vegas Stats and Information Network, was not that the Knights keep winning - it's that one person didn't put Gallant on his ballot at all.
"It's personal," Moss said.
Gallant received 102 of the 108 votes.
As for Karlsson winning the Byng Trophy, Moss believes hockey fans will rally around someone who plays well but isn't a cocky superstar.
And Moss believes the fans will keep rallying around the Knights. He said sports books are already taking bets on the Knights and he knows people who can't wait to "fast forward" to the first regular season game in October.
“I think what happened in year one won over so many people in the valley,” he said, “They have lifelong friends now, maybe generational fans they built in one year. I don’t think it is going away any time soon.’
The big question is just how far will the Knights go next year. Moss believes a playoff run is likely but no one should hold their breath for another chance at the Stanley Cup.
“It is not easy to make deep runs or advance and win multiple series every single year. That is just the way it is," he said.
Plus, the Golden Knights are likely to have a target on their back this year and they may not have the Vegas Flu on their side. The Vegas Flu was when teams came in to play but instead of getting ready to hit the ice they enjoyed all that our city had to offer and showed up at the T-Mobile exhausted and probably hungover.
With all the focus on the Knights, does anyone really remember there is another professional sports team in the middle of its season.
The Las Vegas Aces of the WNBA are not doing well in their first season here. Their record is 4 wins and 9 losses.
Moss doesn't know a lot of people who want to brave the Strip traffic to see a losing team in the WNBA.
“If they had 9 or 10 wins right now it might be a different story,” he said.
He's not entirely sure a lot of people will come out to see the team play this year or in the future.
“I don’t know this is going to be a great sell this year or years beyond it,” he said.
A team that seems to be working is the Las Vegas Lights, the professional soccer team that plays at Cashman Field.
“I think a lot of the locals have taken to it,” Moss said.
And speaking of soccer, the World Cup is going on right now, which Moss points out is bigger than any other sporting event in the world, including the Super Bowl.
And Moss pushed back against people who say they don't like soccer because the score is so low.
“I think the scoring opportunities that’s what makes soccer so exciting,” he said.
Like hockey, soccer may have a low score but there is drama in watching those attempts on goal. Plus, he points out the athletism of the players is incredible to watch.
Mitch Moss, host, VSIN
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