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Just what went wrong?

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Let’s just be real, did anyone here really think that the Philadelphia Flyers would actually sweep the Pittsburgh Penguins in their round 1 series?  Did anyone really consider that the Penguins would just pack it in and go back to Pittsburgh without a game to play? On Wednesday night, the Penguins avoided elimination, by winning game 4 by a score of 10-3. No it was not the Pittsburgh Steelers vs. the Philadelphia Eagles. This wasn’t really a touchdown and a field goal to a field goal. This was NHL playoff hockey. This was the same team that days ago, lost 8-4 and was quickly unfolding. This was the team that had so many questions to answer, and so many doubters that they were indeed the team that was picked by any and all odds makers, as the team most likely to have the best odds to win, not only the series, but the Stanley Cup. On the flip-side, was this the real Philadelphia Flyers team, the team that asserted itself as offensively dominate, defensively average in games 1,2,and 3? Was this the team that had the swagger on the ice for those aforementioned games? What went wrong? Where did it go wrong? and can it be fixed, before Fridays game 5? Some will tell you game 5 is the most important of games, if the Pens win, it’s back to being “a series”, if the Flyers win, well its adios for the Penguins. I will try to answer these questions, and try to evaluate what the chances are that the Penguins have of making history and coming back from being down 0-3

Jordan Staal

Jordan Staal scores enroute to a 10-3 thumping of the Flyers in Wednesdays Quarterfinal matchup- Getty Images

                       What went wrong?  Was it the Penguins just fired up, and a little embarrassed by their recent play, or was this the REAL Pittsburgh Penguins, that had the highest goals per game average throughout the regular season? Or was this an overconfident Philadelphia Flyers team, that got a bit of their own medicine after being up 1-0 and watching as time and time again the Penguins tie it up and     ultimately take the lead? I would have to say this was a bit of both. The Flyers seemed  a bit shell shocked at the Penguins actually firing back, then after the Penguins took over for good, increasing their lead to 4 goals, the Flyers seemed to have stopped playing the game, and turned it into a circus. The Penguins severely outplayed the Flyers in every facet of the game..Offense, Defense, Goaltending, and Special Teams. Does this account for the lopsided win alone, no! What it does account for is that the Penguins came to play Wednesday night, and the Philadelphia Flyers did not. Some may argue possible injuries to Ilya Bryzgalov as the main reason the Penguins won, but the Penguins scored 5 against Bryz, and then 5 against Bobrovsky. The fact of the matter, is that the Penguins for 60 minutes played their game, and the Philadelphia Flyers for a better part of 50 minutes did not. I don’t think it really gets any more simple than that!

 

              Where did it go wrong?  Plain and simple, on special teams. While the Pens struggled games 1-3 on the power play, they feasted on the power play in game 4 going a lofty 4 for 9 on the power play at a incredible 44%. Its really that simple folks, special teams has been the so-called “x-factor” for the series. Taking a look back at games 1-3 the Flyers feasted on the Pens PK, and then wanting more decided to feast on the Penguins PP, scoring multiple short-handed goals. So anyone can give you a moment within a game, but the truth of the matter is the reason the Pens won, is because they owned the special teams play in game 4. I wouldn’t look any further to why teams win games in the playoffs, then to the special teams. At this point in the season, most of these teams are pretty equal at 5 on 5, so of course the biggest factor would be special teams play! The Flyers did convert on both of their PP oppurtunities, but after period one, it was ALL Penguins. The Flyers played reckless, on both ends of the ice, and that really is what led to 9 PP’s for the Pens. Even though it was tightly officiated game, the Flyers played role-reversal with the Penguins and became the team oft penalized, oft frustrated, and often outplayed.

             Can it be fixed? Yes, it sure can. Will it be fixed? I undoubtedly know it will. Flyers coach Peter Laviolette, had the Flyers working at practice just today on PK, PP and 4 on 4 drills. He also had a long talk, with the team, at center ice about staying disciplined, not taking bad penalties, and being aware of time, space and score. Time, space and score you say? What TSS means is, being aware of game conditions, protecting leads, but not sitting on them, pushing play when space is allowed, eliminating cross ice passes, and being aware where each player is on the ice. It really is referring to being accountable for every pass, every shot, every shift, and every period. Laviolette also spoke about playing with “more jam”. Playing with more jam, means, standing up the blue line, making the other team dump the puck in, instead of allowing them to skate into the offensive zone freely. It mean tightly checking each guy, making it difficult to get an offensive flow going for the opposition. It means being defensively accountable (even forwards). What bothers Laviolette the most is lack of accountability. Give him effort, and play the system and you will earn your ice time.  These are all thing that can be fixed, and fixed pretty quickly. The Flyers all know what is at stake, and they know that giving ANY team any kind of breathing room when they are down 3-1 in a series, can be dangerous…after all the Flyers were in the exact same position the Penguins now find themselves, in 2010 when they came back from a 0-3 deficit against the Boston Bruins. Can it happen again? Yes it can. Will it happen again? If the Flyers don’t fix what ailed them in game 4, yes it will!

 

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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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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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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