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Category “Sports”

Image of the Day

The two-headed co-leaders of Russia, Dmitry Medvedev and Vladimir Putin in the immediate moments after the Russian national team lost 3-1 to Finland in the Olympic Men’s Hockey quarterfinal.

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The victory for Finland puts them up against the Swedes in one of the two Olympic hockey semi-finals.  With victories later this afternoon, the other semi-final could be a match-up between Team Canada and Team USA; a rematch of the 2010 Gold Medal game from Vancouver.

Both games start at 11:00 Wisconsin time.  The Canadians take on Team Latvia, while the US faces the Czech Republic.

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Weather Postpones Duke / UNC Rivalry Game

Yeah, the snow and wintery weather is that bad in North Carolina.

The game between No. 8 Duke and rival North Carolina Wednesday night has been postponed to due to inclement weather.

A make-up date was not announced, but North Carolina confirmed the game would not be played Thursday because of the weather situation.

“Duke’s bus is not able to get to their campus to pick up the team in time to be able to make the trip to Chapel Hill so we can’t play this evening,” UNC athletic director Bubba Cunningham said in a statement. “The safety of the teams and officials is the number one priority and this was the best decision to make at this time. Coach (Roy) Williams, coach (Mike) Krzyzewski, (Duke AD) Kevin White and I will be on the phone with the ACC and make a decision as to when to play the game as soon as possible.”

Duke’s next game is set for Saturday against Maryland and will be played at home.  North Carolina’s next game is a home game versus Pittsburgh, also on Saturday.  The two teams are next set to meet on March 8, at Duke, in the regular season finale.

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Still No Agreement if NHL Will Let Players in 2018 Olympics

It’s early, but this could take a while to get resolved.

NHL deputy commissioner Bill Daly said the league could decide on potential participation in the 2018 Winter Olympics very soon.

Daly said Tuesday that meetings will be held after the Sochi Games are over as part of a determination of pros and cons.

“I do not anticipate it will take that long and we will have a broader discussion with the players’ association on international competition and what we are doing internationally,” Daly said at Bolshoy Ice Dome. “That discussion is underway so I would anticipate a quick resolution in respect to the Olympics, maybe six months.”

Daly said there are “a lot of negatives” that go along with sending NHL players to the Olympics, including not having league control over the tournament. He praised the nature of it being a “best-on-best” competition.

International Ice Hockey Federation Rene Fasel said he’s going to do what he can to ensure NHL players are at the next Olympics in Pyeongchang, South Korea.

“I’m going to work hard and do the best I can to get the NHL and NHL players in Pyeongchang,” Fasel said Tuesday in a telephone interview with The Associated Press. “I will do everything I can — seven days a week — until a decision is made.

“But ultimately, that decision will be made by (the NHL and its owners).”

Buzz has been building about the return of a World Cup of hockey, which would be a major money-maker for the league and provide more international hockey of this calibre.

But players have made it clear since arriving in Sochi that they want to continue participating in the Olympics, and that goes for Pyeongchang four years from now.

“I would love another chance, I’ll tell you that,” Team Canada forward John Tavares said. “The Olympic Games is obviously a pinnacle of sports and it represents a lot. Certainly there are some tough challenges with it, being involved with the PA as much as I have I know this wasn’t an easy process. But we feel as players it’s important and we love to play, we love to represent our countries.”

The NHL, NHLPA, IIHF and IOC only reached an agreement for Sochi participation this past summer.

While the headline currently says “NHL,” this could very well be the NBA in the next couple of Olympiads.  Owners are not happy that players — who they are paying millions in salary — are going overseas to a essentially play a tournament they had no part of.

That means players could get injured (and they have).  If that happens, it’s downtime that effects his franchise, his bottom line.  Leagues are getting more and more concerned about it.

Leading the charge in the NBA is, not surprising, Dallas Mavericks’ owner Mark Cuban.  In 2012, Cuban lit up the entire process of the Olympics focusing on how it messes up player conditioning, and how the IOC or member nation’s Olympic committee use player images to make a quick.  It was interesting reading.

“I think it’s the biggest mistake the NBA makes,” Cuban said of allowing NBA stars to compete in international competition. “If you look up stupid in the dictionary you see a picture of the USA Dream Team playing for free for corporate America so the U.S. Olympic Committee can make billions of dollars. So if you come up with something that you own that you can give to me for free so I can make billions of dollars, I want it.

“And it has nothing to do with patriotism and it’s all about money. You don’t see the (International) Olympic Committee in Switzerland saying, ‘Oh, we made so much money, let’s give it to people.’ How many jets do they have?”

Many NHL owners also are NBA owners.  It’s unknown how many of them share Cuban’s sentiments on international competition.

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Cartoon of the Day

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The House Continues to Win

Early reports have it that Vegas sportsbooks — despite losing on “Prop Bets” involving safeties for the third-straight year — have made nearly $20 million in profits off of Super Bowl XLVIII bets. 

Note this figure does not include “off-Vegas” and non-casino bets.  You know, the illegal ones (which might include your office pool, but hey, I ain’t snitching).

Gamblers wagered a record $119.4 million at Nevada casinos on the Super Bowl, allowing sportsbooks to reap an unprecedented profit as the betting public lost out in Seattle’s rout of the Peyton Manning-led Denver Broncos.

Unaudited tallies showed sportsbooks made an unprecedented profit of $19.7 million on the action, the Gaming Control Board announced Monday. That’s millions more than the past three Super Bowl wins combined.

The Denver Broncos were a 2.5-point favorite, but the Seattle Seahawks took the championship 43-8.

Oddsmakers said Peyton Manning fans drove the unprecedented handle, flooding Las Vegas and northern Nevada with wagers on the favored team and its veteran quarterback, who was named the NFL’s Most Valuable Player for the 2013 season the day before the game. Many believed Manning was primed for a big game after his record-setting year.

The previous record for the amount of bets placed, or the handle, was set last year, when gamblers wagered $98.9 million on the Super Bowl between the Baltimore Ravens and the San Francisco 49ers.

The last record for casino win was set in 2005, when sportsbooks won $15.4 million.

As for the “First Score – Safety” prop bet, it was paying at odds on two levels:

Some oddsmakers said they lost out on proposition bets, including whether a safety would be the first score of the game. Casinos paid out at 8-to-1 for the safety. Fans who bet that the first score would be on a safety cashed in at 60-to-1. It was the third year in a row that sportsbooks have been hit on the safety bet.

“The safety is no longer in my vocabulary,” said Johnny Avello, who runs the luxurious sportsbook at Wynn.

The last time Vegas lost on the Super Bowl was in 2008.  At the time, casinos lost $2.6 million.

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Uke to Cut Down on Number of Road Games

And earlier this week I said to cherish this time as Brewers fans.  It was something like this that was on my “Worry List” for signs that while Uke loves his job and we as Brewers fans love the job Uke does, he’s not eternal, and time catches up with everyone.

Bob announced this morning he will only do all 81 home games, and a select number of games on the road.  (My hope being it is all in-division games at least.  That alone puts him behind the mic for another 35 to 40 games.)

The longtime voice of the Milwaukee Brewers won’t be doing every game this season on 620WTMJ, but he’ll be doing a majority of them.

“I’m going to do most of the games this year.  I’m going to start cutting back,” explained Uecker.

“59 years is going to be enough where I think I want to kick back and relax a little bit.  I’m going to make some of the (road) trips…but I’m going to spend most of my time, probably, at Miller Park doing the home games.  The west coast trips, I think I’m going to kind of cut back on.”

Uecker added “(Mark) Attanasio, he’s been telling me the last five years I should cut back, take some time off.  I never really wanted to do it.  I always enjoyed the trips, being around the guys.”

He said he would focus on trips where he could see many of his friends who he’s made in his decades in baseball.

“Until I have problems getting around…and I don’t have any problems, I’m going to stick around (broadcasting) and enjoy it.”

Uecker also maintains a winter home in Arizona, so he’ll be there for spring training.  No word if he’ll make the trip in June when the Brewers are currently set to play a four-game set against the D-Backs.

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Happy Belated Birthday Mr. Baseball

“Uke” turned 79 yesterday.  Now on the eve of his 44th season with the Crew, the longtime (and in effect to most fans including this one, the only) “Voice of the Milwaukee Brewers” Bob Uecker.

With Vin Scully (86) now about to begin his last planned season with the Dodgers, Uke becomes baseball’s elder radio statesman starting in 2015.  A fact that likely hasn’t eluded him, or should us.

Enjoy this time Brewers’ fans.

 

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This Time, He’s in the Last Row

This is just priceless.

The Milwaukee Brewers announced plans on Wednesday, January 22nd for a new Bob Uecker statue at Miller Park. Unlike the other statues that surround Miller Park’s Home Plate Plaza, this statue will be in the last row—yes, the last row of the Terrace Level at Miller Park.

The statue will pay tribute to the popular Miller Lite “All Stars” ad campaign which featured Uecker’s famous tagline, “I must be in the front row.”  In the commercial, Uecker ended up in the last row—as will this new statue.  The statue will sit atop the Uecker Seats in Miller Park’s Terrace Level (Section 422) and will feature an open seat next to it allowing for a perfect photo opportunity.

The statue will be unveiled on April 25th, when the Crew will be playing the Cubs.  It is a work of Brian Maughan, who has also made all four of the other statues currently at Miller Park.

(For the record, I’ve been trying for the last 15 minutes to find the classic “I must be in the front row” ad on YouTube with now such luck.  There are a lot of foolish videos made by Yankees fans on YouTube saying the phrase, many by kids too young to every possibly understand the reference they are making.)

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Image of the Day

Apparently, these are the official uniforms of the Norwegian Curling Team.

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(Photo via the AP.)

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The Humpty Dump’s Hefty Bag Deflates for the Last Time

Not as cool as “The Tear,” but impressive to watch nonetheless.

(Video via “The Bleacher Report.”)

 Good riddance.

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