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🏒Lawsuit Alleges Blackhawks Ignored Trouble within Team

June 28, 2021
 Source: Patrick Gorski/USA TODAY Sports
Source: Patrick Gorski/USA TODAY Sports

 Content warning: The following contains discussions of sexual assault.  

The background: The lawsuit details a specific incident during Chicago’s 2010 playoff run when Aldrich got two players drunk and sexually assaulted them. These players then reported it to a now-retired employee, and another player from the 2010 team recently told The Athletic that “every guy on the team knew about it.” 

  • Aldrich left the team after that season, but went on to hold multiple positions in youth hockey at the collegiate and high school levels until 2013 when he pleaded guilty to criminal sexual conduct with a teenager. 
  • The victim from this case also recently filed a lawsuit against the ’Hawks citing their failure to report Aldrich’s abuse history. 

The fallout: So far, two different coaches have confirmed that the 2010 allegations were elevated to the front office with a request to file a police report, which was refused by the club, while former director of player personnel and current general manager of the Montreal Canadiens Marc Bergevin said he was unaware of allegations at the time. 

  • It’s clear that at least some of the organization’s top brass knew of Aldrich’s abuse, and their failure to report allowed a predator to abuse future victims. 
  • We’re heartbroken and disappointed, especially as it’s only the latest in a series of issues within the Chicago club’s culture which values success and perception over doing what’s right. 

If you or anyone you know is experiencing sexual assault, please contact the National Sexual Assault Hotline for help.  

🏅🤸🏆

Team USA Continues to Add Star Power to its Roster

June 28, 2021
Source: NBC Olympics
Source: NBC Olympics

🤸‍♀️Gymnastics: Stop us if you’ve heard this one before, but Simone “the GOAT” Biles won...by a lot. Even after an uncharacteristic fall on beam, Biles soared to all-around victory at yesterday’s trials to advance to her second Olympic Games. She’ll be joined by first-timer Suni Lee, who finished second overall. Here’s the full Super Six squad. Stacked.    

  • On the men’s side, the five-man roster is highlighted by two-time NCAA all-around winner Brody Malone, who claimed first overall at the trials. The Olympics rookie will be guided by Sam Mikulak, who qualified for his third games.

👟Track & Field: On Saturday, Gabby Thomas qualified for her first-ever Olympic team, running the second fastest women’s 200m ever. And when she’s not competing? The Harvard grad is pursuing a master’s degree in epidemiology. What, like it’s hard?

  • After a five hour delay due to extreme heat, Sydney McLaughlin set a new world record in the 400m hurdles late last night, clocking a speedy 51.90 seconds to qualify for her second Olympics.

  • Over in the field, hammer thrower DeAnna Price dominated. Not only did Price break her own American record twice, her final toss made her the second woman to ever throw over 80m. You throw, girl.

Philadelphia: Phillies Keep the "W" Tallies Coming Strong

June 28, 2021
Source: Phillies/Twitter
Source: Phillies/Twitter

⚾️Phillies: The Phillies beat the NY Mets 4–2 yesterday, splitting their series with two wins each. The highlight? Fightin’ Phils pitcher Zack Wheeler tossed seven scoreless innings against his former team, tying Cleveland’s Shane Bieber for the most strikeouts this season.

  • The bummer? Bryce Harper missed the game after being hit in the leg by a Mets’ pitch on Saturday. He’s listed as day-to-day and will hopefully return for tonight’s 6:40 p.m. ET game against the Cincinnati Reds. 

⚽️Union: Though things didn’t start off well...no seriously, Union defender Jakob Glesnes scored an own-goal just two minutes in, the Union bounced back to tie Chicago Fire FC 3–3 on Saturday. The Union goals were scored by Quinn Sullivan’s bicycle kick, Cory Burke and Chicago’s Boris Sekulić, who returned the favor with an own-goal in the 79th minute. TYSM. 

Philly has dropped to No. 3 in the East and will next face Nashville SC on Saturday at 8 p.m. ET. Maybe this time we’ll avoid scoring on ourselves. *laughs nervously

🏒🏀

New York City: What's Wrong with Gerrit Cole?

June 28, 2021
Source: Tony Gutierrez/AP
Source: Tony Gutierrez/AP

🏒Islanders: After the Isles’ devastating Game 7 loss to the Tampa Bay Lightning on Friday, the roster — which just missed the Stanley Cup Finals in back-to-back seasons — might see some changes this offseason. Anders Lee is expected to return, but key players like Casey Cizikas and Kyle Palmieri are free agents, and others are expansion draft targets. Sadboi hours. 

⚾️MLB: Gerrit Cole’s having a tough time. Yesterday, he gave up a homer on his first pitch, and allowed six runs in five innings during the Yankees’ 9–2 loss to the Boston Red Sox. To make matters worse, that loss resulted in the Sox sweeping the Yanks this weekend. Yikes.

  • The Mets also lost yesterday, falling 4–2 to the Philadelphia Phillies, splitting their four-game series in the process. The Mets didn’t score until the bottom of the eighth inning, and couldn’t get enough offense to rally. Sigh. 

🏀Liberty: The Liberty beat the Atlanta Dream 101–78 on Saturday thanks to Sami Whitcomb and Betnijah (pronounced buh-NAW-juh) Laney scoring 30 and 28 points respectively. The teams square off again tomorrow at 7 p.m. ET, and we’re hoping the Libs can finally jump above .500. 

⚽️On the pitch: Gotham FC crushed OL Reign 3–0 on Saturday; NYCFC beat D.C. United 2–1 yesterday; the Red Bulls played a scoreless draw against Atlanta United yesterday.  

🏒Stanley Cup Finals Preview

June 28, 2021
SOURCE: NHL/GIPHY
SOURCE: NHL/GIPHY

QUOTE OF THE DAY

One of the great rules of hockey is: On the Stanley Cup, all germs are healthy.

New York Times sports columnist George Vecsey (pre-COVID-19, obviously).

🏒 The Stanley Cup Final

SOURCE: NHL.COM

And then there were two. Sixteen of 31 (soon-to-be 32) teams emerged from the shortened but jam-packed regular season to compete in the NHL postseason six weeks ago, and now only two remain in the annual battle for the Stanley Cup: the Montreal Canadiens and the Tampa Bay Lightning.

Having first been awarded in 1893, the Stanley Cup is the oldest league championship in North America and is also the most storied. It’s been used as a baptismal font, found at the bottom of a swimming pool, left on the side of a road and traveled the world.

  • The only championship trophy with its own full time “keeper,” the Cup includes the names of every man and woman who have helped a team win it. And sometime in the next two weeks, a new cast of characters will join the Cup’s engraved history.

🏙🌆 A tale of two cities

SOURCE: FRANK GUNN/CANADIAN PRESS

The year was 1993. Whitney Houston’s “I Will Always Love You” was on the radio, Jurassic Parkwas in theaters, Justin Bieber hadn’t been born yet and the Montreal Canadiens were Stanley Cup champions.

  • That win — a Game 5 victory over the Los Angeles Kings — was the Canadiens’ 24th championship and marks the last time a Canadian team won the Cup. The country that gave the world the Stanley Cup is itching for it to return home.

The year was 2020. No one was listening to the radio (because Spotify), nothing was in theaters (because pandemic), Justin Bieber was married and the Tampa Bay Lightning were Stanley Cup champs.

  • The team’s second championship (the first came in 2004) was won in a pandemic-forced bubble in Edmonton, without live fans and the comforts of home. A repeat win would give the reigning champs the fanfare they mostlymissed out on in 2020.

🇨🇦 The underdogs

SOURCE: RYAN REMIORZ/THE CANADIAN PRESS

The journey: The Habs aren’t supposed to be here. After squeaking into fourth place in the North Division and ending the regular season on a five-game losing skid, they were supposed tolose in the first round to their biggest rivals and the North’s top team, the Toronto Maple Leafs. Instead, they won the series in Game 7.

  • They were supposed to lose to the Winnipeg Jets in the second round, after the Jets swept the Edmonton Oilers and the dream duo of Connor McDavid and Leon Draisaitl. But, the Habs swept the Jets.
  • And in the conference finals, they were supposed to lose to the Vegas Golden Knights, a favorite to win the Cup before the season even started. The Habs won the series 4-2, setting up the underdogs for their first Stanley Cup Final appearance in almost 30 years.

Difference maker: Yes, hockey is a team sport, but a lot of the Habs’ success can be attributed to one guy: goalie Carey Price. Often the best player on the ice, the future Hall-of-Famer has an unreal postseason save percentage, superhuman reflexes and the coolness of a cucumber.

Impact player: The lack of a legitimate superstar means that the Canadiens’ front line players share the glory, but there is one future superstar: Cole Caufield. The rookie has made a name for himself thanks to defining plays like his overtime goal against the Maple Leafs.

Leader of the pack: Captain Shea Weber leads the Habs stoically from the blue line, and that strong defense has been one of the team’s keys to success during this postseason run. The Habs’ D has shut down scoring stars like Auston Matthews, Mitch Marner and Mark Stone, largely due to Weber’s influence.

⚡️ The favorites

SOURCE: JASON FRANSON/CANADIAN PRESS

The journey: The Tampa Bay Lightning finished the regular season third in the super tight Central Division, setting them up for an intrastate round one against the Florida Panthers. The Bolts took the series 4-2, before completing a “gentleman’s sweep” of the Carolina Hurricanes in round two.

  • Tampa's last series against the plucky New York Islanders was their toughest (and probably the most similar matchup to what they’ll face in Montreal). The Bolts won the series in seven games, including a 8–0 Game 5 win.

Difference maker: If anyone can give Carey Price a run for his money, it’s Lightning goalie Andrei Vasilevskiy. He’s the best in the league, winning the Vezina Trophy (awarded to the season’s best goalie) in 2019 and has led ’tendy wins for three straight seasons.

Impact player: Brayden Point lives up to his name. He had a nine-game scoring streak over the last two series and has a knack for finding goals when needed (hence his “Mr. Clutch” nickname in the locker room).

Leader of the pack: Captain Steven Stamkos was one of those once-in-a-generation talents when he was drafted first overall in 2008. And although he’s struggled with injuries over the last few years, a second Cup would cement his place in the history books alongside peers like Sidney Crosby and Alexander Ovechkin. No pressure.

🏆 The series

SOURCE: SEAN DOUGHERTY/USA TODAY SPORTS

As much as we’d like to predict a winner,the Canadiens have taught us to expect the unexpected. We think this series will feature the best goaltending of all time, we assume the Lightning will light up the scoreboard, we hopethe Canadiens can restore the faith of a nation in its national pastime. But we’re not putting money on it just yet. First, let’s watch some hockey.

  • Both teams are on Eastern Standard Time, so the first six games of the series are all set for 8 p.m. ET (Game 7, if necessary, is a 7 p.m. ET start). Tune into Game 1 tonight on NBCSN in the U.S. and Sportsnet in Canada. We’re on the air!