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The Olympic hockey drops dead if the KHL withdraws

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Those who remember the hockey tournaments in the Olympics before 1998 know that they were what they were, not the best hockey but far from the worst.

At least, it was something you could watch without wanting to shut the TV down, especially when the top-tiers played against each other.

Many upcoming superstars we could see as well in some of the teams, like Peter Forsberg, Saku Koivu, Paul Kariya, yes, even Jaromir Jagr.

When the NHL decided to let all the players go to the Olympics from 1998, the game changed totally, for the better of course.

The previews and the talk among fans before the tournament also increased, with all the comparisons between the teams, rankings etc.

Soon enough, no one could think anything other than the obvious, that the best players always should be in the tournament, and the best players (not always but mostly) are the NHLers.

But here we are, with another reality again, when the NHL for the first time since 1998 won’t let any of their players, no matter to which nation they belong, participate in the Olympics because of the economics.

>>> As if the NHL organizations would suddenly lack money….

The sticking point was the question of the insurance of the players, and the resulting arguments that they could get hurt and it would cost too much.

>>> That’s an “oh wait…” moment as if the NHL players wouldn’t get hurt at all in the league…? No?

Well, the NHL decided to be a big ridiculous child in a sandbox and moaned that they won’t contribute and will continue with the league season instead.

Another thing and much more worrisome matter has turned up though, as a dark cloud in the sports sky.

Too many Russian winter sports athletes, particularly in the cross-country skiing, have been exposed for massive doping for many years and some of the athletes have been therefore forced to give back some of the medals or be removed from the result lists.

All this means that Russia as a nation can be excluded from the Games in Pyeongchang in South Korea, which also might mean that the KHL won’t send any player to the Olympics.

It was bad enough actually that the NHL turned down the Games, but if the KHL declines, it goes from bad to worse.

The Olympic Games drops dead if the KHL withdraws, that is quite clear.

Some further thoughts about the doping:

Doping has been a major problem in the sports, unfortunately. But I am not sure if it is the best to punish an entire country for what some athletes have done.

On the other hand, the doping issue in Russia is not a new thing at all, and it has been more or less as it was during the Soviet era in recent years.

I don’t know, it’s a hard question how to deal with the issue, but it has to be stopped at some point I am sure.

Perhaps it is best to cancel any kind of tournament, winter or summer games, for some years, if it is so hard to just build up the physique and practice well without pills and injections?

In a bigger view, we all can only blame ourselves for this, because it is our common uncontrollable instinct to do anything to win and at whatever cost, because there is after all way too much fame and money at stake.

So, in order to deal with the matter, we have to begin with the roots of the problem and they are long because it stretches to our common mind about competing.

Many have forgotten these words, many also choose to ignore them, but these words below were once upon a time the essential of the Olympic Games and when we see these major problems that we have with the doping, these words are most welcome back to the Olympic stage:

The most important thing in the Olympic Games is not winning but taking part; the essential thing in life is not conquering but fighting well.

Pierre De Coubertin, leader 1863 – 1937 

Notable:

Pierre De Coubertin’s words are inspired by a speech given by the Bishop Ethelbert Talbot.

If you want to know more about Pierre De Coubertin, you may read the curiosa here, click on the link.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pierre_de_Coubertin

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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.

Calgary Flames

Flames Fire Bill Peters Following Racist Epithet Scandal

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Bill Peters

The Calgary Flames have fired head coach Bill Peters four days after a former player came forward and claimed that the Peters directed racial epithets toward him while they were in the minors 10 years ago, according to ESPN’s Emily Kaplan.

Akim Aliu, who played for Peters in 2009-2010 for the Chicago Blackhawks’ AHL affiliate Rockford Ice Hogs, tweeted on Monday night that Peters “dropped the N bomb several times towards me in the dressing room in my rookie year because he didn’t like my choice of music.”

Peters, who was hired by the Flames this past offseason, penned a letter of apology for the incident to general manager Brad Treliving, saying that the comments were made “moment of frustration.”

“Although it was an isolated and immediately regrettable incident, I take responsibility for what I said,” Peters, 53, wrote.

Aliu says that he found Peters’ letter of apology to the Flames “misleading, insincere and concerning”, adding that he won’t comment further on the matter until he met with the NHL as part of their investigation into the incident.

“This investigation we’re doing, I know everyone wants this done immediately and the world we live in is immediate,” Treliving said. “I hope you can appreciate we’re trying to do everything we possibly can to make sure we get it right and get all the information that needs to be gotten.’

Carolina Hurricanes coach Rod Brind’Amour, who was an assistant on Peters’s staff when the incident happened, said earlier this week that the incident “for sure happened.”

“Management handled it directly and never heard of it again and never saw anything else after that,” Brind’Amour said. “So it was definitely dealt with, in my opinion, correctly … We’ve definitely moved past that.”

A report from TSN’s Frank Seravalli, that dropped on Tuesday, included Aliu’s Rockford teammates — Simon Pepin and Peter MacArthur, who both corroborated Aliu’s account.

Aliu says that he was in charge of the music in the locker room for the morning skate and when Peters walked in he said:”I’m sick of hearing this n—–s f—ing other n—–s in the a– stuff.”

“He then walked out like nothing ever happened,” Aliu told TSN. “You could hear a pin drop in the room, everything went dead silent. I just sat down in my stall, didn’t say a word.”

“This isn’t me being bitter. I sat on this a really, really long time. It broke my heart, I think it made my career go downhill before it started,” Aliu said. “This isn’t to the degree of Kaepernick by any means, but if you play the race card, it’s most likely the end of your career.”

“What am I going to say? I was 20 years old and a first-year pro. I was too scared to speak up,” Aliu said. “I beat myself up every day over it.”

 

 

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NEWS

Finding Clues in Hockey Stats – How to Successfully Bet on the NHL

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sidney crosby

The advancement of hockey is pretty impressive. Players used to come from Minnesota and Detroit. Now, it’s a completely different story. Hockey players are recruited from all over and they’re respected for their game and wisdom. Those who are willing to put some effort into handicapping the NHL are rewarded big time. Indeed, NHL betting will never reach the same level as other important sports, like basketball, but that doesn’t mean that it’s not worth wagering on the games. Advanced stats can make you more successful when betting on hockey. Keep on reading to discover the most valuable stats for bettors. 

Fenwick 

This advanced stat is used to measure the overall number of shots while playing at even strength. Approximately 75% of shots taken throughout an NHL season are at even strength, so it doesn’t come as a surprise. Fenwick is the same as Corsi, the only difference being that it doesn’t take into consideration blocked shots. Why? Simply because blocking shots is a skill, not a string of random events. As a rule, a hockey team’s CF% and FF% are close. If you’re curious to know what’s with the weird name, find out that Fenwick is named after Matt Fenwick, a blogger for the Calgary Flames. Mr. Fenwick can be found on Twitter. 

Expected goals 

According to the experts at ATS, expected goals is a relatively new metric in data analysis. This advanced metric allows you to get a better understanding of the goal scoring opportunities that are created. A team that is trailing, say, 3-0 will obviously up its game and score more goals. Expected goals is particularly helpful when it comes to predicting future scoring because it focuses on shot attempts. You can use 2 metrics, namely Corsi and xG, to evaluate teams and players. Fenwick and Corsi consider shot attempts, they don’t consider the quality of the shots. xG takes into account shot location and uses league-wide averages. 

PDO 

PDO is a shooting percentage, combined with a save percentage. You can use it with Corsi or Fenwick to handicap team strength. To get the number you need, add the team’s 5v5 SH% and 5v5 SV%, and then multiply the result by 10. You can use the advanced stat for individual players, but keep in mind that the whole is more than the sum of its parts. It’s not uncommon to see PDO regression drive results in the NHL. Most teams regress to the mean. 

Corsi 

Corsi refers to the value of the entire team and it counts for the total number of shots at the net and against at even strength. It’s an indirect measure for offensive zone position. If the team directs the puck towards the net, it’s a Corsi For. If the other team does that, it’s a Corsi Against. It’s important not to overestimate the value of Corsi. You’ll have a shortsighted view of the game or worse, underestimate the factors that lead to wins and losses. Numerous things in a hockey game are worth your attention, so it’s difficult to know on which one to focus on first. Anyway, Corsi isn’t a fancy stat. It’s a number that helps you approximate puck possession and, implicitly, forecast future success. 

 

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Anaheim Ducks

Capitals’ Garnet Hathaway Ejected After Spitting on Ducks’ Erik Gudbranson

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Washington Capitals forward Garnet Hathaway was tossed from Wednesday’s game against the Anaheim Ducks for spitting on Ducks’ defenseman Erik Gudbranson during a brawl that took place during the second period.

“That’s about as low as you dig a pit, really,” Gudbranson said (h/t ESPN). “It’s a bad thing to do. It’s something you just don’t do in a game, and he did it.”

When discussing the incident after the game, Hathaway expressed remorse for his actions.

“Unfortunately, spit came out of my mouth after I got sucker-punched, and it went onto him,” Hathaway said. “It has no place. It was an emotional play by me. You don’t plan any of that stuff in your head, and it was a quick reaction and unfortunately the wrong one for me to a sucker punch.”

The brawl was brewing for most of the chippy game, and things boiled over with 33.4 seconds left in the second period when Capitals forward Brendan Leipsic leveled Ducks’ Derek Grant behind the net, which set off a series of fights between the team’s fourth lines, and eventually involved all 10 players on the ice.

“It just escalated,” Ducks’ defenseman Brendan Guhle said. “It for sure was in the works. There were scrums all night. Guys were going after each other. That’s how it goes sometimes.”

“These games can get physical, and they can get nasty,” Ducks coach Dallas Eakins said. “These guys’ll throw down, drop their gloves. That stuff goes on in the game, but what I saw there I haven’t seen; I think I’ve been in pro hockey 30 years, maybe, and I’ve never seen that before. It’s just something you don’t see in the game.”

The loss of Hathaway to suspension will be a devastating blow to the Caps’ roster moving forward.

“It seems like it’s been a constant equation for us the last little while here,” Capitals’ head coach Todd Reirden said. “[We’ll] see where we’re at in terms of injured players and [the] potential situation here with whatever the league does. It’s out of my hands now.”

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