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Gagarin Cup: Watch and learn, hockey teams, from the Green derby



There are a lot of derbies around the world in many sports including the game of hockey. The NHL has some famous rivalries and there are a few battles between teams from the same area or city.

If we talk about Europe where I am situated, the hottest derby game for some time until a few years ago has been Jokerit Helsinki against Helsinki IFK.

But I can’t say that the quality was always the best; no, on the contrary, it was sometimes the worst and a total sleeping pill with a lot of time-wasting interruptions when the referees tried to separate the kerfuffle makers.

Jokerit – HIFK games don’t exist anymore except at the junior and youth level, and I am not sure if we’ll see those anymore because Jokerit play nowadays in the KHL and they have an intention to remain there according to the latest from the organization. Helsinki IFK will probably remain in the Finnish Liiga.

And, if we talk about the NHL, well, I love the NHL, but some of the rivalry games can be quite dull as well, to be honest. Mind the word “some”.

The savior though for all hockey fans who want to see exciting games every time two rivals meet each other can find that in the East, the fantastic battle between AK Bars Kazan and Salavat Yulayev Ufa, a.k.a the Green derby.

These teams played against each other during the first round, AK Bars Kazan eliminating their rivals with the overall score 4-1, but it was tight indeed in every game.

And, sweet lord, what an entertainment both teams made for us who watched these games. Action and opportunities to score were swapped between the teams almost after every attack, and there was such a great atmosphere in both venues.

You could really feel with all senses in your body that it was playoffs when these teams played against each other! 

Best of all, not a single game was interrupted by what I call time-wasting kerfuffle, even if the emotions were there of course. No, both teams instead concentrated their feelings on playing the absolute best hockey they could muster from their sticks and skates for the fans.

It was a pity that they met so early — they should have been playing the conference final of the East instead, but, we can’t get everything. These games gave everything a hockey fan could ever have asked for. Everything.

Now we have moved on to the next round though and we have many great games as well coming up the coming week:

Western Conference:

CSKA Moscow – Lokomotiv Yaroslavl: Normally Loko is a good team, but CSKA has been rock solid this season and most likely they are through to the Conference finals after this round.

SKA Saint Petersburg – Dynamo Moscow: A bit more unpredictable here I’d say. Dynamo Moscow had no greater issues in eliminating Torpedo in the previous round and when all parts are working together including Yeremenko, the goalkeeper, things can be amazing.

Eastern Conference:

Metallurg Magnitogorsk – Barys Astana: Nice to see the Kazakh team reach this far in the playoffs but here the road ends, as I think that the reigning champions are too good for them. Magnitogorsk have 3 absolute world-class formations. If the best goal scorer of them all, Mozyakin, does not score, well, then we have a bunch of others like Osala, Zaripov, and Kovar for example who can handle that part when they need to get some goals.

Avangard Omsk – AK Bars Kazan: This should be a more even battle, in other words as unpredictable as I think SKA Saint Petersburg – Dynamo Moscow will be. Nonetheless, a set of exciting games coming up between the green heroes of Tatarstan and Avangard.

As the famous words, someone said about sport: Let the games begin!

Just be patient. Let the game come to you. Don’t rush. Be quick, but don’t hurry.

-Earl Monroe



Arto Palovaara, Sunday Chronicler for Sports Rants Europe. Previously, he contributed for the betting company Betsafe, Svenska fans, Get real hockey and Ice nation UK. He is also an educated archaeologist and life coach who loves literature and history. Not to forget: probably he is the only sportswriter that plays the banjo.


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.

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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

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



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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