The Las Vegas Golden Knights are hitting hockey’s jackpot

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CALL it the fundamental law of expansion teams: when new franchises join North America’s closed team-sports leagues, they aren’t supposed to be very good. Cobbling together their initial rosters from the detritus incumbent clubs choose to make available, expansion teams typically need several years to develop young talent and acquire appropriate veterans. As the National Hockey League (NHL) has grown from 21 teams in 1990 to its present membership of 31, it has delivered few exceptions. Even the San Jose Sharks, a perennial contender for most of their 26-year history, won less than one-fifth of their games during their first two campaigns.

The latest addition to the NHL ranks, however, is the Las Vegas Golden Knights, who are charting a new course. Making their debut in October, they won eight of their first nine contests. Now, 32 games into their inaugural season, they remain well ahead of the typical expansion team′s path. Their record of 21-9-2—the NHL counts overtime victories as wins, but overtime losses separately—places them…Continue reading

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Personal pronouns are changing fast

NOT so long ago a man could be jailed in Texas for sex with another man. In 2015 a county clerk in Kentucky was jailed for refusing to certify the marriage of two men. Gay rights in America proceeded at an extraordinary rate between Lawrence v Texas (2003), in which …

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Esther Kinsky muses on a river in England

Esther Kinsky goes with history’s flow River. By Esther Kinsky. Translated by Iain Galbraith. Fitzcarraldo; 368 pages; £12.99. To be published in America this autumn by Transit Books. IN HER post-war childhood beside the Rhine, the narrator of Esther Kinsky’s third novel learns that “every river is a border.” Flowing …

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Giorgio Vasari, the man who created art history

Vasari made craftsmen into stars The Collector of Lives: Giorgio Vasari and the Invention of Art. By Ingrid Rowland and Noah Charney. Norton; 432 pages; $29.95 and £23.99. TOWARDS the end of his life Michelangelo Buonarroti, the most famous artist of the Italian Renaissance, began burning his drawings. He did …