The time has finally come for the #87 Center of the Pittsburgh Penguins to make his triumphant return to the line-up at home against the NY Islanders.
And his return to the ice was nothing short of spectacular and was just about everything anyone who is a fan of his or the Penguins could’ve hoped for. Scoring two goals and adding two assists after missing nearly a year of action makes for a pretty special night no matter how you look at it, what team you cheer for and I mean it.
Earlier, SportsRantz asked if Sidney Crosby could match the kind of magic that Mario Lemieux exhibited during his comeback from retirement in 2000. Sure there are some differences – particularly the quality of the teams they faced – but the 2011-12 Pittsburgh Penguins produced a remarkably similar night as Lemieux’s team did on Dec. 27, 2000. Let’s take a look at the shared qualities:
- Crosby and Lemieux made big plays in their first shifts, although Mario was the one who scored a goal while Crosby’s setup for Chris Kunitz didn’t hit the net. Crosby didn’t take much time to correct that and in dramatic fashion.
- Both had big nights overall, as Crosby scored two goals and two assists while Lemieux produced a tally and two helpers. The part that is especially impressive is that Crosby produced those points in far less ice time than Lemieux; Crosby played a little under 16 minutes while Lemieux logged 20:46 in his retirement return.
- The scores were an identical 5-0; Garth Snow stopped 40 shots while Marc-Andre Fleury turned aside 29. Both the 2000-01 Toronto Maple Leafs and last night’s NY Islanders could do little to slow the Penguins down, even if their shot totals showed that they weren’t just rolling over…OK, I lied the Islanders rolled over some..
- Lemieux and Crosby’s famous partners in crime showed up in a big way in those games, too. Jaromir Jagr had the same results as Crosby (two goals and two assists) while Evgeni Malkin generated a goal and an assist.
Now that goes to show that Crosby and Lemieux have a ton of similarities; but enough comparing of the two! Lets return to how Crosby played last night and showed that he may have missed almost an entire year but still has the magic to be the top player in the league.
Crosby’s speed hasn’t faltered from his off-time at all and The speed in which Crosby got around Andrew MacDonald to score his first goal must’ve taken MacDonald by surprise because he was slow to react on the play and got blown right by before Sid finished with a backhand roof shot to beat Anders Nilsson, the Islanders rookie goaltender.
Penguins Head Coach, Dan Bylsma stuck to his game plan for Crosby as well. He let Crosby “run wild” in the first period which led a lot of people to believe that he would log more than 12-15 minutes of ice time. But that was not the case, to preserve Crosby and ease him back into it, Bylsma held Crosby to a total of 15:54 minutes, 21 shifts, 8 shots, 4 points and ended the night with a +3 rating. And out of 103 games, last night was on the 3rd in which Crosby, Malkin and Jordan Staal all played together.
Sid may have looked winded at times in the night but who wouldn’t be after being knocked out of action for nearly a year with a serious concussion. It happens to the best of the players out there and definitely happened to Crosby. The Penguins might be most thankful to Travis Hamonic for not treating Crosby with kid gloves.
Well, Crosby may have lit it up against an emotionless wet blanket of a team in the Islanders who were more than happy to throw out 21 year-old rookie Nilsson in goal to deal with that circus atmosphere last night. We’ll get a slightly better judgment of how far along Crosby is when the Pens face the Blues on Wednesday night and Ottawa on Friday. But none the less the Kid is back and the Penguins look to be the team in the East to beat and everyone’s eyes are on the #87.
Flyers Remove Statue of Kate Smith
The Philadelphia Flyers have joined the New York Yankees in the removal of ties to singer Kate Smith, whose famous rendition of “God Bless America” was played at both Flyers and Yankees games.
Earlier this week, the Yankees decided to suspend the use of Smith’s rendition, which was played during the seventh-inning stretch, while they investigated allegations of racism against the later singer.
According to a report from the New York Daily News, there are conflicting claims about Smith’s 1939 song “That’s Why Darkies Were Born” which
originated in the 1931 Broadway revue “George White’s Scandals” and was considered satire but includes racist language, including the line;
“Someone had to pick the cotton. … That’s why darkies were born.”
The song was recorded by Smith and Paul Robeson, who was black.
The Flyers put out the following statement on Sunday (h/t ESPN):
“The Flyers have enjoyed a long and popular relationship with ‘God Bless America,’ as performed by the late Kate Smith, a woman who was awarded the Presidential Medal of Honor for her patriotic contributions to our nation.
“But in recent days, we learned that several of the songs Kate Smith performed in the 1930s include lyrics and sentiments that are incompatible with the values of our organization, and evoke painful and unacceptable themes.”
Smith, who was popular during the WWII era, recorded the offensive jingle, “Pickaninny Heaven,” which she directed at “colored children” who should fantasize about an amazing place with “great big watermelons,” among various other treats.
Smith also endorsed the “Mammy Doll” back in 1939 which was based on a racist caricature of a black woman similar to Aunt Jemima.
“The Yankees have been made aware of a recording that had been previously unknown to us and decided to immediately and carefully review this new information,” a club spokesman said. “The Yankees take social, racial and cultural insensitivities very seriously. And while no final conclusions have been made, we are erring on the side of sensitivity.”
The odds aren’t good that Smith’s songs will return to their prominent places during sporting events such as they were with the Yankees and the Flyers.
There is a lot of cleaning up to do when it comes to racism in sports, and weeding out songs attached to artists with questionable, and controversial, backgrounds such as Smith’s, is important in pushing forward towards the future.
The New World of Sports Betting in the United States
Earlier this year a monumental breakthrough was achieved when the United States Supreme Court ruled against the Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act, known as PASPA, allowing each state in the nation to decide if it wants to allows legal sports betting or not.
That led the nation, and all of the states, on a new path, with a lot of lucrative opportunities in an industry that has operated underground for decades.
With casinos and eSports thriving, sports betting adds a brand new element to the gambling industry and presents one of the richest outlets for businesses, the government, and the nation.
There will likely be a boost in employment rates, a growth spike in business, and an influx of money that no longer has to be hidden from the eyes of the government.
As of now, a number of states have already started their journey, and another, Utah, has decided not to act on the United States Supreme Court’s ruling in favor of sports betting, opting to maintain their stance on forbidding sports betting, at least for the time being.
As the world of sports, eSports, and gambling embark on this industry shifting journey, let’s take a deeper look at what has been going down so far, and what is in store for the sports betting industry, thanks to an info graphic from NJGames.org.
The info graphic will take a look into the impact that sports betting legalization is expected to make on the nation’s economy.
The info graphic takes into account that the United States’ gambling industry already generates around $28 billion. The legalization of ports betting legalization is expected to increase tat number dramatically.
Additionally, sports betting operations will also result in a higher number of jobs, and the info graphic will provide you with an estimated number of both direct and indirect jobs that will open with the introduction of sports betting.
As the fantasy football season is ready to kick off for many of you, we should start seeing a lot of changes to the sports betting landscape and it will be interesting to see just how companies in fantasy sports navigate through the implementation of these changes.
The future of the sports betting industry seems bright, and there seems to be quite the trickle down effect that will have an immediate benefit to numerous industries.
Whether you’re ready or not, legalized sports betting is on the way, if it hasn’t arrived in your state already, and big things are on the horizon.
Capitals owner Ted Leonsis Pays for 200 Employees to go to Stanley Cup Final Games
Washington Capitals owner Ted Leonsis is celebrating the team’s first trip to the Stanley Cup Final for the 1st time in 20 years in a special way.
According to the Washington Post, Leonsis surprised 200 employees of Monumental Sports & Entertainment with tickets and a chartered flight to Vegas for the first leg of the Stanley Cup Final.
The employees were chosen based off how closely they work with the Capitals, as well as seniority, and they received an email last week from a senior VP that had the subject line: “Let’s go to Vegas.”
The selected employees received tickets to Games 1 & 2.
“It’s truly amazing and out of this world,” Omar Castro, a guest relations manager, said.
“I never expected an owner of the company to do this. We get to share in this with them. … He’s thinking of us as part of a family, as part of the experience. There’s no reason for him to do it. All I can say is a big thanks to Ted and his family for the opportunity, and for truly making this into something memorable for all of us here in the company.”
Not only did Leonsis provide tickets, but he also organized two chartered flights and is putting the employees up at the Excalibur.
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