The Vegas Golden Knights are only halfway through their inaugural season, and they’ve already redefined what anyone thought was possible for an NHL expansion franchise. Against all odds, the Knights are currently 29-10-3 with 61 points, good for the best record in the Western Conference — and only 4 points shy of the Tampa Bay Lightning for the best record in the entire league. It’s enough to make the Knights hockey’s greatest debut team ever, hands down.But that’s not all: Vegas is also lapping the field of expansion teams across every major pro sport. Even after adjusting for the way records are distributed in other sports, no other brand-new club in modern history came close to doing what the Knights have done so far. Expansion teams just aren’t supposed to have this kind of success this early.Constructed as a Frankenstein’s monster of unwanted parts from the rest of the league, a new club is usually very bad indeed. In a franchise’s first season, merely being “competitive” — code for losing but keeping things close most nights — is an admirable goal. And going into this season, there were plenty of people who had trouble seeing the Knights even reaching that modest level of success. Most outlets picked Vegas to finish either last or next-to-last in the Pacific Division.That was a reasonable expectation based on the past performance of first-year clubs. Our own analysis found that Vegas had dredged more talent out of the expansion-draft pool than normal — but that was just supposed to mean the Knights would exceed historical expectations. It didn’t mean we thought they’d make the playoffs, much less that they’d contend for the Stanley Cup.So far this season, however, Vegas has picked up 73 percent of the maximum number of points in its games and outscored its opponents by 0.7 goals per game. To compare those marks across NHL seasons, we converted them to z-scores, or the number of standard deviations they sat above or below league average. (This helps us account for changes in the league’s spread of talent over time and allows us to make comparisons between different sports — which will come in handy later.) In both categories, Vegas’s z-scores are easily the top marks for an NHL expansion team since the league blew up the Original Six and added six new teams in 1967-68:1Excluding the four World Hockey Association teams (the Edmonton Oilers, New England Whalers, Quebec Nordiques and Winnipeg Jets) that merged into the NHL in 1979. Although those teams held an expansion draft, they were also able to keep some of their existing players, and they had existed in the WHA since its founding, making them different from brand-new franchises starting from scratch. 1962Houston Colt .45’s-0.8-1.040.0-1.0 Vegas vs. NFL expansion teamsScore DifferentialWin percentage YearTeamValueZ-ScoreValueZ-Score 51994Mighty Ducks of Anaheim-0.3-0.37 Vegas vs. NBA expansion teamsScore DifferentialWin percentage 12018Vegas Golden Knights+0.7+1.28 1966Miami Dolphins-10.6-1.221.4-1.4 81968Los Angeles Kings-0.3-0.62 61968Minnesota North Stars46.6-0.40 1968Cincinnati Bengals-8.1-0.821.4-1.1 Vegas is destroying its NHL expansion competitorsBest z-scores (standard deviations relative to average) for point percentage and goals per game differential, NHL expansion teams (1968-2018) Vegas beats other sports’ expansion teams, tooHow the Vegas Golden Knights stack up against top expansion teams in each league by z-score* of winning percentage, 1961-2018 The Florida Panthers used to be the model for a successful NHL expansion team. Florida was more than merely competitive in 1993-94 — it finished one win shy of a .500 record and scored exactly as many goals as it allowed. Then, with the good core of talent they had picked up in the expansion draft, the Panthers made the Stanley Cup final three seasons into the franchise’s existence. Before Vegas came along, that was the gold standard for brand-new clubs: solid in the first year, outright good within a couple seasons. But the Knights’ debut has flipped those expectations on their head.(Yes, it should be noted that the 1967-68 St. Louis Blues made the Cup final in their first season. But that was solely because the NHL dropped all six of its new teams into the same division, the winner of which had to make the final. Every team in the new West division, which housed all the expansion clubs, had a negative goal differential during the regular season, but someone had to win it — and the Blues were that team. They were also swept by the mighty Montreal Canadiens when they played for the Cup.)2In fairness to St. Louis, it was as close a sweep as you’ll see; each game was decided by a single goal.Vegas’s season becomes even more impressive when you compare its z-scores to those of the top expansion teams from other sports. No modern MLB expansion club finished a season any better than the 70-win 1961 Los Angeles Angels; no debut NBA team ever topped the 33 wins of the 1967 Chicago Bulls; no NFL expansion team could beat the 7-9 Carolina Panthers from 1995. Hockey does tend to see its teams’ records more tightly bunched than in such sports as football and basketball, but even after adjusting for that with our z-scores, the Golden Knights’ current season blows away any would-be challenger from the NFL, NBA or MLB since the early 1960s: 1967Chicago Bulls-3.7-0.740.7-0.5 YEARTEAMPOINT %–Z-SCORE 41968St. Louis Blues-0.2-0.36 21994Florida Panthers+0.00.00 31968Philadelphia Flyers-0.1-0.15 Goal differential 71973Atlanta Flames-0.6-0.58 61968Pittsburgh Penguins-0.3-0.54 2018Vegas Golden Knights+0.7+1.372.6%+1.7 41968Los Angeles Kings48.7-0.16 YEARTEAMGPG DIFF.–Z-SCORE 1967New Orleans Saints-10.4-1.221.4-1.3 2018Vegas Golden Knights+0.7+1.372.6%+1.7 12018Vegas Golden Knights72.6%+1.73 81973Atlanta Flames41.7-0.57 Vegas vs. MLB expansion teamsScore DifferentialWin percentage 71968Pittsburgh Penguins45.3-0.57 1995Carolina Panthers-2.3-0.443.8-0.4 1993Colorado Rockies-1.3-2.141.4-1.2 1969Kansas City Royals-0.6-0.842.6-0.8 YearTeamValueZ-ScoreValueZ-Score 51968St. Louis Blues47.3-0.32 2018Vegas Golden Knights+0.7+1.372.6%+1.7 1969Milwaukee Bucks-5.1-1.132.9-1.1 91971Buffalo Sabres40.4-0.65 1961Los Angeles Angels-0.3-0.343.5-0.7 101994Mighty Ducks of Anaheim42.3-0.76 1971Portland Trail Blazers-4.5-0.935.4-1.0 21994Florida Panthers49.4-0.06 Full-season statistics are used for all teams except Vegas.Source: Hockey-Reference.com 1990Minnesota Timberwolves-4.2-0.926.8-1.3 Point percentage YearTeamValueZ-ScoreValueZ-Score 1961Minnesota Vikings-8.7-0.921.4-1.3 101971Buffalo Sabres-1.0-0.85 91971Vancouver Canucks-0.9-0.77 31968Philadelphia Flyers49.3-0.08 1968Seattle SuperSonics-6.5-1.328.0-1.3 1969Seattle Pilots-1.0-1.339.5-1.1 *Z-score is the number of standard deviations above/below average, relative to the overall league that season.Sources: Baseball-Reference.com, Basketball-Reference.com, Pro-Football-Reference.com One thing that jumps out is that many NHL expansion teams had better z-scores than the best expansion teams in the other sports. But why is it so much easier to build a strong NHL expansion team (relative to the league) than in the other Big Four North American sports? I don’t have a great explanation.Hockey is the sport with the least reliable individual stats — while scouts’ eye tests can be swayed by recency and other biases — so it may be that the caliber of players left available in the expansion draft is higher than in other sports. Or perhaps the outsize value of goaltending means one good pick between the pipes is enough to carry a team of talent-strapped skaters to respectability. Or maybe good coaching deserves more credit than it sometimes gets around the league. Whatever the reason, expansion teams have done better on ice in general, even before Vegas started to blow the doors off the league.We know that, in the NHL, it takes a lot of games to tell who’s good and who’s bad — which is why even a hot half-season can turn cold overnight. For Vegas, the heat has been generated by MVP-candidate seasons from the likes of William Karlsson and Jonathan Marchessault and a near Vezina-worthy performance from Marc-Andre Fleury — all players who were considered expendable as recently as seven months ago. Peeking under the hood, the Knights’ ratio of shots taken to shots allowed at even-strength is nothing special, even after adjusting for score effects and other factors. And let’s face it: Few teams can sustain this pace for an entire season: Of the 24 teams with at least 60 points in their first 42 games since 2005-06,3Excluding the lockout-shortened 2012-13 season. only one (last year’s Capitals) had a second-half point percentage as good as it did in the first half of the season.So it would be logical to assume that a second-half regression could be lurking around the corner for the Golden Knights. But the advanced stats don’t suggest that Vegas has been particularly lucky. In terms of expected goals (which measures where a team’s chances come from in addition to their volume), the Knights have the ninth-best ratio in the league.Regression or no regression, various projection systems consider the Knights all but a lock to make the playoffs, which would make Vegas the first expansion team to claim that honor since the 1968 season’s standings guaranteed that four new clubs would qualify. Even the in-town sportsbooks are paying attention to the possibility of playoff action in the desert: The Knights are currently tied for the second-best Stanley Cup odds of any team in the league.For an expansion team, all of this seemed unthinkable going into the season. New franchises aren’t supposed to be instant contenders. They’re supposed to struggle, to require years of building before achieving this kind of success. Vegas clearly doesn’t care about any of that. And now we have an entirely new yardstick with which to compare every other expansion club that comes along in the future, no matter the sport.
Facebook Twitter Google+LinkedInPinterestWhatsApp#Bahamas, January 11, 2018 – Nassau – At the recent Opening Reception for “Medium” and the Unveiling of the Gates Commission at the National Art Gallery, Minister of Youth, Sports and Culture the Hon. Michael Pintard said in his view culture can have a calming effect if applied to issues of concern currently being dealt with in society.For example, in the ongoing fight against crime Minister Pintard said: “If you take the young man who has a case of self-hatred – which enables him to take the life of someone who looks identical to him, who sounds just like him – and you were to introduce him to a setting like this, where he is able to recognize skills that he has that have never been validated in the society, he begins to see the world differently,” Minister Pintard said. “He begins to explore certain things in his mind and, more importantly, in his heart, he – or she – has an epiphany.”Minister Pintard said that what his Ministry is doing is asking individuals in society to embrace the creative within themselves. He added that it could aid in taking the thousands of “disconnected” young people and reconnect them to themselves through the Arts, presenting Bahamian society with a reasonable chance of “doing something transformative” in The Bahamas.Minister Pintard reiterated that it was important to use art as a “national development tool” that helps Bahamian society see the value of the industry, and an image of themselves that they could be in love with and embrace.“It is art that helps us to dismantle the xenophobia that exists in so many societies in The Bahamas, that helps us to look beyond the socio-economic brackets and embrace people from all strata,” he said.Minister Pintard also suggested that art is the “glue” that helps to bring Bahamian society together. “Let us continue to fund the Arts,” Minister Pintard said to patrons, in particular, that evening.“I honestly believe that we can start a revolution in this country,” he said. “We wish for our young people to pursue their passion and, of course, to make their passion pay their bills.“We have far too many surgeons holding a scalpel when they would really rather be holding a paintbrush or a torch to cut a piece of iron – far too many persons who are displaced because they have not had enough ‘face time’ with themselves, quiet time, and courage to pursue their passion.”By: Eric Rose (BIS) Facebook Twitter Google+LinkedInPinterestWhatsApp Related Items:
How did music come calling to you?Music is not a mere profession to us, it is a legacy we are carrying which has been blessed to us by our ancestors.Have qawali and sufi music got their due in the music circuit?Qawali and sufi music has its own place in the music circuit. Sufi and qawali are not commercial rather they are integral to our tradition.Are you open to Bollywood offers after Rockstar?After the success of music of Rockstar we got a brilliant response from the audience and critics. Yes we are open to work on more Bollywood assignments, infact we are working on few things, will soon announce when something positive develops. Also Read – ‘Playing Jojo was emotionally exhausting’What does music mean to you?Music to us is our passion and obligation to do justice everytime we perform. As our ancestors has earned respect on the basis of this only, so its our responsibility to take it further.Do you follow any other Indian or foreign musicians. If yes, what do you like in them?We do not to name of any artist but we really follow sufi songs, shayari and chants of Amir Khusro.Have you thought about coming out with your own label or album? Also Read – Leslie doing new comedy special with NetflixCurrently we are planning something, but is it has a long way to go.Would you ever like to experiment with your genre of music or try fusion?It’s great to be a versatile and we respect all the genres of music be it fusion or some other. But right now we are not planning to experiment with our genre.How has the journey been for all these years?Our journey, right from the start, was tough. Firstly to maintain the name of our ancestors was a big challenge for us. The love and admiration we got from the audience just cannot be expressed in words.How does the audience react to your music on international shores. Do they accept it well?It really makes us proud that people in other countries love sufi music and its amazing to see their attendance at the concerts. Sometimes it happens that they don’t understand the music and lyrics completely, but is really great to see their admiration towards us.