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Mark Stone Cleared For Full Contact at Golden Knights’ Practice

Mark Stone was cleared for full practice on Saturday and is trending towards playing Game 1. Of course he’s way ahead of schedule.

Now that the drama in Arizona seems to have been resolved (at least for now), the longest-running joke in the NHL has to be the injury status of Mark Stone and the Vegas Golden Knights’ continual abuse of an LTIR loophole that allows Stone to return every year for Game 1 of the playoffs. Right on cue, GM Kelly McCrimmon revealed that Stone was cleared for full practice on Saturday. It’s not been confirmed, but the belief is that Stone is trending towards being available for the opening night of the playoffs.

This, of course, all comes after Stone was ruled out long-term with a lacerated spleen in February and it was said he would likely be out for three or four months. Less than two months later, he’s back.

Alex Pietrangelo and William Carrier were also back at practice for the team.

How the Golden Knights continually make a mockery of the LTIR rules that allow teams to rule players out for the season, only to bring them back for the playoffs when the cap doesn’t count is beyond ridiculous. At this point, Vegas isn’t even pretending to care that things look extremely fishy. Other GMs have voted against changing the LTIR rules because it benefits their teams too, but the Vegas Golden Knights are so blatant about the grey area of what’s legal that it’s become laughable.

The NHL Has To Look Into This… But They Likely Won’t

Vegas is daring the NHL to take a closer look at how this can happen every season with the Golden Knights. The organization knows the league probably won’t. It’s a known fact that countless players battle through injuries and stay in the playoffs. Many of them could qualify medically for LTIR. The Golden Knights also know they aren’t the only team using the rules to their advantage. They’re simply the most aggressive. Look at them and the league has to look more closely at everyone.

Mark Stone Golden Knights injury update

Until the NHL puts their foot down, the Golden Knights will continue to play the game, both on and off the ice. The hope for many is that their strategy eventually backfires. Vegas is sacrificing picks and prospects to load up at each respective NHL Trade Deadline. Still, there’s no guarantee they’ll be able to beat the series favorite the Dallas Stars. A quick exit might force the Golden Knights to revisit their willingness to sacrifice their future for the now.

Next: Projected Game 1 Lineups For Maple Leafs vs. the Bruins

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