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An end of a shifting hockey season



This is the time of the year, at least for me, to sum up, the season of 2016-17. I know, the Stanley Cup is still ongoing, as we have reached the finals between Nashville and Pittsburgh.

I have followed myself this season a lot more of the NHL but that doesn’t make me an initiated expert at all.

However, I am glad that a few Canadian teams reached the playoffs this season and we were so close to having Ottawa in the finals.

Furthermore, I am also glad to have experienced such nice and spectacular play by the other Canadian teams such as Edmonton, Toronto, Montréal, and Winnipeg.

However, it doesn’t take away the fact that the heavy US dominance is still intact at the moment as we have two US teams at the absolute end of the season, as usual.


In the KHL, the most of the excitement didn’t occur at the top of the league, but it was a heck of a battle for the last playoff spots already after about 20 rounds between Vityaz, Slovan, and Jokerit most of all if we talk about the Western Conference.

In the East, Kunlun Red Star reached their first playoff in their first KHL campaign, which was a tremendous achievement. Jurzinov Jr got the team to play in trance beginning in November which won them their spot in the playoffs in the end.

But, in the end, it was about SKA St. Petersburg and Metallurg Magnitogorsk, the two best teams on the European side. SKA St. Petersburg was though undoubtedly the best team of these two even if Mozyakin & Co. tried to make a game of the final series.


If we stay with the KHL here, there are some changes coming up in the nearest feature. The league will cut the number of teams down to 24 eventually.

Already Medveṧčak and Metallurg Novokuznetsk have left the league.

I hope that these changes will give more space to Jokerit, Slovan Bratislava, Dynamo Minsk, Barys Astana, Kunlun Red Star and Dinamo Riga to shine and not be drowned out by mediocre Russian teams.

Moreover, I also think that the KHL must and should think beyond “Russian and non-Russian” and aim for being a true Pan-Eurasian league. One or two more clubs outside Russia would be perfect.


Another good thing, the KHL has a different approach than before against teams that cannot hold up the results.  I’d suggest strongly therefore that you read this:

This is one of the most important statements from the league, which you also find in the link, about new clubs and the future of the league:

There are several possible candidates, but I will not name them yet. We are conducting a comprehensive analysis of all the relevant information presented to us. But I will say that there are clubs from traditional hockey countries and others from countries where the game does not have deep roots. We are attracting keen interest from Asia. The KHL is an international League and it is important for international development, but we are confident the Russian clubs will remain in the majority.

I think few would argue that the weaker Russian clubs do not add to our entertainment value, and should be replaced with strong teams from other nations. With so many Russian clubs the top-class players are spread too thin, and the current policy of limiting foreign players means we cannot raise the quality by attracting more players from overseas. The League’s development is hindered by these circumstances. Also, we cannot rule out further separating the conferences, because this would make logistical sense in light of possible growth in the East.

Well, the interpretation of this statement is free and I will leave it such way…


The sun is shining and the weather is much warmer finally and it is time to enjoy the summer. I am not so much for the silly season, I have never been, but I do look forward to exciting names turning up in the KHL circus as well as in the NHL when the next season starts.

Until then, my dear reader, enjoy each day and I will close this season with a suitable quote for all of us:

I can’t change the direction of the wind, but I can adjust my sails to always reach my destination.

-Jimmy Dean

Derek Jeter Day at




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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