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Nashville Predators Team to Beat After Adding Alexander Radulov

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In a slideshow predicting the 2012 Stanley Cup playoffs written just 10 days ago, I had the Nashville Predators making it to the Finals after an epic Western Conference run involving three seven-game series.

 

So much has changed in 10 days that I will be doing all new predictions by the end of the week.

 

The Detroit Red Wings are spiraling out of control and have a better chance to finish fourth than first. The Dallas Stars have had their winning streak snapped and the San Jose Sharks may have turned a corner from their disastrous five weeks that began in early February. The Calgary Flames have cooled off and the Colorado Avalanche are red hot.

 

KHL standout Alexander Radulov is set to rejoin the Nashville Predators for their 2012 Stanley Cup run

 

Then the Predators, who had already added Hal Gill, Andrei Kostytsin and Paul Gaustad at the trade deadline, received big news: Alexander Radulov, a 26-goal, 32-assist NHL forward in 2007-08 that they lost to Russia’s Kontinental Hockey League that summer, is on a team eliminated from his league’s playoffs. He wants to come back to the NHL to fulfill the last year of his entry-level contract.

 

Radulov is in a unique situation: Because he is under contract and remained on the roster as a suspended player, he can be added to their active roster after the deadline without having to clear re-entry waivers and be eligible for the playoffs. He is expected to be active as soon as Thursday.

 

In other words, the Predators get a top-six forward for the playoff run without having to give anything up and no one can stop them from adding him. While they will have to count nine games and the playoffs as a full year and allow Radulov to be eligible for free agency, it is well worth it.

 

Shea Weber and Ryan Suter make up arguably the best defensive pair in the game and the Predators have enough serviceable players on the blue line behind them. They have one of the best goalies in the world. The one weakness they had was a lack of top-six forwards.

 

They still do not have any truly elite forwards. But David Legwand, Martin Erat, Mike Fisher, Patric Hornqvist, the Kostytsin brothers and Gaustad already gave them enough skill to bleed to their third line. Adding Radulov gives them more forward depth than any other team in the league.

 

They already have the best work ethic and receive the best coaching. They are hungry. They have learned to win playoff series.

 

This team may not finish better than the fourth seed, but they no longer have to pull off the big upset to make it through the Western Conference. Thanks to their intangible advantage over the Canucks, they are now the team to beat out west.

 

The trade-off for allowing Radulov to count two-plus months as a full season is it obviously improves their best chance ever to win a Stanley Cup. Yet this move could pay dividends down the road, too: A deep run and proximate payday makes him and both blue line studs more likely to stay this offseason. The extra revenue and excitement generated might even help them afford at least two of them next season.

 

For a decade, this team could not get out of the first round and was on the verge of bankruptcy. Even for the first half of this season, they had the lowest payroll in the league (currently they are fifth-lowest). In a few months, they may have a set themselves up to be contenders for years to come.

MLB

Flyers Remove Statue of Kate Smith

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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.

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MLB

The New World of Sports Betting in the United States

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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.

 

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NHL

Capitals owner Ted Leonsis Pays for 200 Employees to go to Stanley Cup Final Games

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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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