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2012 Stanley Cup Playoff Predictions for the First Round

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Few preseason predictions turn out to be accurate. Part of this is related to time zone differences: I have repeatedly found how little understanding there is of the Western Conference for countless hockey fans, many more of whom live in the Eastern Time Zone than any other.

On the other hand, my own predictions for the Eastern Conference (just five of eight teams right, and two of them on opposite sides of the bracket) are unreliable because my focus is on the West. As a writer for the San Jose Sharks, I had seven of the eight teams correct in a Western Conference in which no seed was determined until the last day of the season.

But looking back on my predictions for the final standings just 16 days ago, you get an idea of how transient this season was. I had two of the six division winners wrong and even had one team wrong in the West. Thus, one should view the following first-round predictions with skepticism:

  1. Rangers over Senators in five: New York held off the hard-charging Pittsburgh Penguins and earned the top seed in the Eastern Conference. They are a strong defensive team that can finally back it up with scoring. The Ottawa Senators are one of the weakest teams in the playoffs—the only one in the bottom half of the NHL in record, with the third-fewest wins, fourth-fewest regulation and overtime wins, and third-worst goal differential despite playing in the second-weakest division (just 31 points over .500).
  2. Bruins over Capitals in six: Washington is a far better team on paper than they were on the ice, and that is always dangerous. They played well down the stretch and narrowly missed capturing their fifth straight division title. For once, they enter the game with lower expectations, and that could be of benefit to them. But they benefited from being in the worst division in hockey (as they have for all their title years) and have injury problems in net. Boston has the league’s best goal differential and has the ability to win at this time of year that Washington has yet to show.
  3. Devils over Panthers in five: Despite winning the pathetic Southeast Division, the Panthers are the least likely team to win the Stanley Cup in the 2012 playoffs. They have the worst goal differential, fewest total wins and fewest regulation or overtime wins. They played poorly down the stretch and made it in by taking weak competition to overtime, leading the league in OT losses with 18, a whopping eight more than any other playoff team. I would not pick them to win a single game if not for the fact that their opponent got a league-high 16 wins via the shootout, something unavailable to them now.
  4. Penguins over Flyers in six: I will keep saying it—Ilya Bryzgalov is not a big-game goalie and cannot carry a team. With the return of Sidney Crosby and continued absence of Chris Pronger, I would take all three Pens units over their Flyers counterparts, plus coaching and proven ability to win at this time of the year.
  5. Canucks over Kings in seven: L.A. is much better than its record indicates, becoming a team that can score and play defence after the trade for Jeff Carter. But he may not be at 100 percent, and as much as Vancouver does not know how to finish teams off under .400 winning percentage with the other team facing elimination last year), the Kings have yet to learn how to win a series. Vancouver is just too talented to lose this.
  6. Blues over Sharks in six: This year, Lou has bested Joe easily in the four battles of the saints, with a whopping 11-3 edge in scoring and two shutouts. But the Blues were not playing their best hockey down the stretch and lack the playoff experience of the Sharks, who ended the season with a .700 point percentage over their last 15 games. Ultimately, the Blues play suffocating defence, have almost as good a power play and have a great penalty kill while San Jose’s is atrocious. St. Louis also puts out consistent effort their opponents have lacked, and that is just too many pros on the Blues side to pick the Sharks; however, should this series go to Game 7, San Jose is the better bet playing without pressure.
  7. Blackhawks over Coyotes in six: Phoenix plays good fundamental hockey, but everyone plays better at this time of the year. The Coyotes comparative lack of talent is why they have never has won a playoff series, and this year they are facing a team that finished with a better record in a better division. The one place the Coyotes seem to have the advantage is in net, but that never paid off in previous seasons (see Bryzgalov comment in No. 4, above) and is not enough, even coupled with their superior pluck, to get them more than two wins in this series.
  8. Predators over Red Wings in seven: Detroit’s age will actually be less of a disadvantage for them this season because some of those players missed time. Of course, they also may not be at 100 percent. Nashville finished with a better record despi

MLB

The New World of Sports Betting in the United States

Anthony DiMoro

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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

Anthony DiMoro

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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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How Will the Dallas Cowboys do in 2018?

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How will the Dallas Cowboys do in 2018? That is tough to answer. Last season, it was a turbulent season for the Dallas Cowboys. In 2017, the Cowboys finished with a record of 9-7 which placed them second in the nFC East. However they did not make the playoffs. RB Ezekiel Elliott missed five games due to his domestic violence suspension. When he returned, he was a very productive member of the team.

Entering the 2018 NFL season, the Dallas Cowboys are looking to return to the playoffs and ultimately looking to go to the Super Bowl. To start the 2018 campaign, the Dallas Cowboys had to go through Free Agency. During the Free agency period, the Cowboys signed six players which include Joe Thomas of the Green Bay Packers and Allen Herns of the Jacksonville Jaguars. OG/C Joe Looney re-signed a 2-year contract with the Cowboys while LS L. P. Ladouceur resigned with Dallas for a 1-year deal.

For the players that have departed, a total of 15 players have left the Cowboys. Since their departure from the Dallas Cowboys, some players have either signed with other teams, looking for work, or retired from the NFL. Here is the breakdown:

QB Kellen Moore, TE James Hannah, and Jason Witten retired from the National Football League. WR Bryce Butler, OT Benson Mayowa, and CB Bene Benwikere all signed with the Arizona Cardinals. FB Keith Smith, OLB/MLB Kyle Wilber and WR Ryan Switzer all signed with the Oakland Raiders. OG Johnathan Cooper signed with the San Francisco 49ers, OLB/MLB Anthony Hitchens signed with the Kansas City Chiefs, and CB Orlando Scandrick signed with the division rival Washington RedskinsAs for players looking for work, that honor goes to RB Alfred Morris and WR Dez Bryant. 

Once Free Agency had finally concluded, it was time for the 2018 National Football League Draft. This years Draft will be held at AT&T Stadium in Arlington, Texas. It is the first draft to be done in a NFL stadium. For the Dallas Cowboys draft board, the Cowboys will have eight picks this year. During the draft, 6 out of eight players were offensive players. Also during the draft, the Cowboys traded their pick to the Los Angeles Rams for WR  Travon Austin. 

With the players the Dallas Cowboys wanted to draft now on the Dallas Cowboys roster, it’s time to take a look at the 2018 Dallas Cowboys regular season schedule. This season, the Cowboys will start the 2018 season on the road against the Carolina Panthers on September 9. The Cowboys first division test comes in the second week when the New York Giants come to AT&T Stadium. The Cowboys bye week comes during week eight. After the thanksgiving game against the Washington Redskins, the Cowboys will have another Thursday Night Football game. This time it’s at home against the New Orleans Saints. The Dallas Cowboy regular season finale will be on November 30, 2018 at MetLife Stadium against the New York Giants.

So after breaking down the 2018 offseason and upcoming schedule, I believe it will be a tough season but I believe that the Cowboys will do better in 2018.

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