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While the Washington Capitals celebrated their first Stanley
Cup title amid strewn sticks and gloves Thursday night Womens
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 , the T-Mobile Arena fans rose and gave
one more stirring ovation to the bowed, kneeling figures in grey sweaters on the
other end of the ice.

The Vegas Golden Knights didn’t win the Stanley Cup Final in their inaugural
season. Just being there was a stupendous feat – and their fans quickly reminded
them that it will feel even sweeter when the immediate sting of losing
subsides.

”You come to Las Vegas thinking you’re going to play hockey,” Knights forward
Pierre-Edouard Bellemare said. ”Instead, you find a home.”

After playing a significant role in healing a city scarred by a mass shooting
shortly before their regular-season opener, the Knights went farther and
accomplished more than any expansion team in modern sports history. Vegas blew
past the NHL expansion records for victories (51) and points (109) while winning
the Pacific Division, and the upstarts then cut a swath through the Western
Conference playoffs with 12 wins in 15 games.

About six months later than even their most optimistic new fans could have
reasonably expected, the Golden Knights finally ran into an obstacle they
couldn’t surmount.

”When you’re that close, it hurts. It hurts a lot,” defenseman Luca Sbisa
said Friday Authentic
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 , emotion evident in his voice. ”Right now,
I’m speechless. But we can be proud of what we did.”

When owner Bill Foley proposed a six-year timetable for the Knights’ first
Stanley Cup title, he was gently laughed off in the hockey world. Now that his
team almost beat his projection by five years, general manager George McPhee is
in charge of figuring out another daunting task.

What in the world will Vegas do for an encore?

Keeping the core of the NHL’s 31st franchise intact will be challenging, but
definitely possible. The Knights also must figure out what pieces to add to a
franchise that’s already looking like a desirable destination for veteran
players who like warm weather and lots of winning.

The Knights’ most prominent unrestricted free agents are Sbisa and forwards
James Neal and David Perron. They have several key restricted free agents,
including goal-scoring star William Karlsson and defenseman Shea Theodore.

Although they don’t get another expansion draft, they’ve also got leftover
assets from last summer to make moves for veteran players, both in free agency
and in trades. McPhee has already begun work, but he said it’s likely the
Knights won’t make major changes.

After all http://www.dallascowboysteamonline.com/demarcus-ware-jersey ,
they’ve got a pretty good thing going.

”Sometimes a great story, book or movie doesn’t have a perfect ending,”
McPhee said. ”But it’s still a great story.”

Here are more things to know about the Knights and their upcoming
offseason:

LONG TERM: Although McPhee took his job with a stated goal to build a
foundation, the Golden Knights’ immediate success demonstrated that the future
could be now. McPhee might not need to choose between the two courses of action,
as he reiterated during his immediate comments Friday while the players packed
up their lockers for the summer. McPhee should have the salary cap room and
financial resources to make almost any personnel decision, and he also has a
stockpile of two first-round picks and six second-round picks in the next three
drafts.

FREE-AGENT FORWARDS: Neal has been a dependable NHL goal-scorer for a decade,
and he scored 25 goals for the Knights while serving as a valuable veteran
leader. McPhee seems eager to sign Neal, and Neal repeatedly said Friday that he
wants to be back. A deal seems probable. The Knights face a tougher decision on
Perron, who set a career high with 66 points in the regular season. He didn’t
score a goal between March 4 and Game 5 of the Stanley Cup Final http://www.officialsabres.com/authentic-adidas-jack-eichel-jersey ,
getting relegated to a depth line. Perron revealed Friday that in-season talks
with the Knights didn’t result in a new contract. ”I had a good year,” Perron
said. ”I deserve what I deserve, but I’m willing to work with them to make sure
I stay here.”

PRECIOUS FLOWER: Despite a middling Final, goalie Marc-Andre Fleury was the
backbone of Vegas’ success with 29 wins and a .927 save percentage in the
regular season before three solid postseason rounds. He’s still a year away from
unrestricted free agency, and if the three-time NHL champ gets his way, he’ll
finish his career in Nevada. ”A couple of years ago, I was told I was getting
too old to play,” Fleury said. ”I still love it. Vegas gave me an opportunity to
continue doing what I love and I wouldn’t want to go anywhere else.”

KARLSSON’S WORTH: Karlsson is one of McPhee’s biggest assets going into the
offseason, and also one of the GM’s biggest challenges. The former Ducks and
Blue Jackets prospect had never scored 10 goals in an NHL season before Columbus
asked the Knights to pick him in the expansion draft. The Swede promptly scored
43 goals in Vegas and established himself as an elite talent. He made $1 million
in the just-completed season Reilly
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 , and he clearly deserves a fat raise. Given his
unusual accomplishments and unclear market value, Karlsson also seems a possible
candidate for another team to sign to an offer sheet, although that strategy is
rarely used in the modern NHL.

NO PARADE: Despite their record-setting season, the Golden Knights say they
won’t participate in any postseason parade or celebration after falling short of
the Cup. Clark County and the Las Vegas city government had discussed throwing a
parade even if the Knights didn’t win, but

The Broncos haven’t landed a new naming rights sponsor for their stadium, but
it will have a new name for the 2018 season.

Mike Klis of KUSA reports that the team will present the name Broncos Stadium
at Mile High to the Metropolitan Football Stadium District board on Wednesday.
The name is designed to be a temporary one until the team secures another naming
rights sponsor.

The stadium has been known as Sports Authority Field at Mile High for the
last couple of years despite Sports Authority going into bankruptcy and the team
regaining control on the naming rights in 2016. The team took down signage for
the defunct company earlier this year.

Per Klis, the naming rights deal that was held by Sports Authority has $19.9
million left on it. The Broncos make quarterly payments to the board rather than
the annual payment that the company was making before going out of business.

UPDATE 1:15 p.m. ET: The Broncos announced the name change has been
approved and that they continue to look for a permanent naming-rights
sponsor.

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