Las Vegas took another important step in it’s journey to taking the ice as the league’s 31st franchise in 2017-18 by hiring George McPhee who spent 17 seasons as GM of the Washington Capitals. McPhee’s contract was not renewed after Washington went 38-30-14 and failed to qualify for the Stanley Cup Playoffs in 2013-14.
But Las Vegas is a welcomed challenge and a fresh slate for McPhee.
“Our mission here is clear,” McPhee said during an introductory press conference on Wednesday. “We’re going to build an organization and a team that people in Nevada and Las Vegas will be very, very proud of, and we’re going to do it quickly, and we’re aiming at the Stanley Cup. That simple.”
Las Vegas owner Bill Foley called the search for the right GM an “exhaustive” process. Foley and special adviser Murray Craven interviewed seven candidates and narrowed their list to a select few before making their final decision, which was McPhee.
“I just felt like we had a relationship almost from the first telephone conversation that I knew that I felt confident that we could both be honest and forthright with each other and always transparent, and that’s really important,” Foley said. “We all want to win and he is going to win for us, but I like to have people that I really get along with and that I can communicate with. We had great candidates. They were all good. I just felt there was a little something extra with George.”
“[Foley] started talking about everything that Las Vegas has to offer and all the great things they’ve done, and about eight minutes into it I was hooked,” McPhee said. “I was really inspired by Bill and told my son that that’s the kind of guy I want to work for.”
As for the search for Las Vegas’ first head coach, McPhee said he is in no rush to make that move.
“We don’t have to do anything there right away,” he said. “We can take our time with that.”
In fact, McPhee plans to dedicate his time scouting professional players for the expansion draft and amateurs for the 2017 NHL Draft.
“We have an opportunity here that other expansion teams haven’t had to put a good team on the ice a lot quicker than in the past, and I’m going to do everything I can to make them good real fast,” he said. “It’s as simple as that. There’s no magic to it. You have to find elite players in the draft. You look at any good teams in this league [and] their best players are their draft picks. So we’ll get a nice squad together from the expansion draft, but our elite players will come through drafting.
“We’ll sign some free agents and that will help, but it always comes down to drafting.”
Foley said that picking a team name is next on his to-do list.
“It needs to be a name that people hear the name and say, ‘These guys are tough. These guys are going to win. These guys are dedicated,'” Foley said. “So it needs to have that kind of momentum, that sort of philosophy behind the name. … So, we’re working our way through it. I’ve got my GM. Now, I need to get my name. That’s the next step.”
It may be a while before we see Las Vegas take center ice, but they are moving along in their journey to their NHL debut.
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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