If hockey does return this year then the Vegas Golden Knights can rest easy knowing that their superstar forward will be ready to go.
The NHL and the rest of the sporting world is on lockdown due to the COVID-19 pandemic and, like us, the Vegas Golden Knights are waiting to see whether the 2019-20 regular season can be salvaged.
To their credit, the National Hockey League are exploring every single possibility as they remain determined to crown a Stanley Cup Champion in 2019-20.
And, should the league get their wish, both Mark Stone and the Golden Knights will be ready to go when they are needed to.
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Stone was watching from the Press Box when the NHL went on hiatus after sustaining a lower-body injury in the shutout win against the Edmonton Oilers on Feb. 26.
He missed six games before the sports world went on lockdown and, while it was hoped that he could return for the final few games of the regular season prior to the COVID-19 pandemic, a recent interview revealed that wouldn’t have been possible.
Speaking to nhl.com/goldenknights, Stone shed some light on his recovery, stating that his rehab took 10 weeks rather than the expected four that was initially projected.
However, the good news is that the elite winger will be good to go and firing on all cylinders should the 2019-20 season resume this year.
That is massive news for the Golden Knights given Stone’s impact on this franchise, with the superstar game-changer sitting on 21 goals and 42 assists for 63 points in 65 games this season with a plus/minus rating of +15.
Furthermore, Stone is one of only two players in the NHL this year to have at least 75 takeaways (78), 60 points (63) and 20 goals (21), joining elite company in Toronto Maple Leafs stud Auston Matthews who had 78 takeaways, 80 points and 47 goals prior to the league going on hiatus.
So, it doesn’t take a rocket scientist to work out that Stone will be a huge factor for the Golden Knights should they get the opportunity to fight for the right to win the Stanley Cup this year.
And, the Vegas Golden Knights will also be ready and raring to go no matter what form hockey comes back in.
Speaking on Vegas Hotline Hockey, Golden Knights President of Hockey Operations George McPhee eased fears that it would take substantial time for players to get back into the swing of things.
In a nutshell, McPhee, who is a hockey savant and knows what he’s talking about, doesn’t believe that NHL teams will need a month-long Training Camp before jumping back into games.
Check out the full quote below:
"“I think after a week or 10 days of skating they’d be fine. Are they really going to want four weeks? I don’t think so. After a week of hard skating, they’ll probably be saying ‘You know what, I’d rather be playing than practicing, so let’s get going.’ If the league says you’ve got two weeks or a week to 10 days, ok, let’s go. It doesn’t matter to us, we’ll just be ready to go.”"
Now, I’m no expert but McPhee has a wealth of experience having been involved at the top level of hockey for a lot of years, so I will trust his judgement in this instance.
We all know that preseason becomes a drag very quickly, so a week or two weeks of intense skating may be enough to get the players back up to speed and ready to go once games return.
And, let’s be honest, all teams will be a bit rusty for the first week or two, which is why a bevy of players want the regular season to return so they can hammer off that rust before getting into the important business of the postseason.
It is also encouraging to hear McPhee state that Training Camps don’t need to go on as long as a month, which provides more hope for the NHL returning this year without impacting 2020-21.
Overall, if we all get our wish and the NHL is able to complete the 2019-20 season, then the Vegas Golden Knights will be ready and waiting as will their franchise game-changer in Mark Stone.
And that’s all we need to know.