With around 28 games left in the regular season, there is no team in the NHL playing at a higher level than the Washington Capitals. Since a 4-3 loss to the New York Islanders on December 27th, Washington has gone 19-2-2. The Capitals have vaulted into first place in the NHL over the last 23 games. They currently have 84 points and a record of 39-11-6. They even went on a 14 game point streak during this stretch
Over the last 23 games, the Capitals have been remarkable at both ends of the ice. Since this stretch began they have scored 102 goals for an average of 4.43 per game. Meanwhile they have only given up 47 for an average of 2.04 per game. Washington has now scored 191 goals and only allowed 117, giving them the largest differential in the league at plus-74. They are second in goals scored averaging 3.41 per contest and are first in goals against with an average of 2.09 per contest. They also rank in the top six in both power play and penalty kill.
The thing about this Washington team compared to those over the past few years is that anyone can contribute at any time, during any game. Nicklas Backstrom leads the team with 60 points. Alex Ovechkin leads the team in goals with 26. TJ Oshie, Evgeni Kuznetsov, and Marcus Johansson all have at least 12 goals and 40 points. Not far behind them are Justin Williams, Andre Burakovsky, Jay Beagle, Brett Connolly and Lars Eller who all have at least 10 goals this season. However, it is not just up front where they have the scoring depth. Washington is one of two teams in the NHL with three defenseman with at least 25 points. Matt Niskanen, John Carlson and Dimitri Orlov have 32, 28, and 26 respectively. Actually, all of the top six Washington defenseman have at least 10 points this season.
However, it is not just the offense that has been clicking on all cylinders. Reigning Vezina Trophy winner Brayden Holtby has been having another fantastic season. Holtby is 29-8-4 with a 2.02 goals against average and a .926 save percentage with seven shutouts. He is third in wins, is third in goal against average, and fourth in save percentage. However, there has not been much drop off when Holtby does not start. Backup Phillip Grubauer has proven he is on of the top backups in the league this season. He has a 10-3-2 record with a 1.98 goals against average and a .931 save percentage along with 3 shutouts.
Having two goalies playing so well, with such a potent offense has Washington sitting exactly where they want to be. The thing about this years team so far is that they are at almost exactly the same pace at the team from last year. Through 54 games last season the Capitals were 42-10-4 with 88 points leading the league. While last year was scene as one of the best regular seasons in NHL history, this year is heading in the same direction. If Washington keeps winning games at the pace they are on they might even break last years total and even the franchise record for points in a season.
While the regular season has once again been great for the Capitals so far, the real test will come during the playoffs. The Capitals have not made the Conference Finals since the 1997-1998 season despite all of their regular season success. Last year they relaxed during the last part of the regular season and it hurt them during the playoffs. Getting knocked out in the second round once again was not something they took lightly coming into this year. It won’t be a surprise if Washington is playing in June this year if they keep playing like at this level because when they do, they might be unbeatable.
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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