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Edmonton Oilers Goaltender Stuart Skinner’s Play Is The Biggest Uncertainty In The Stanley Cup Final

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Oilers | AP News Image

SUNRISE, Florida – Stuart Skinner has taken to reading novels to keep his mind off the sport of hockey and his work as an NHL goaltender, which entails getting in front of frozen rubber disks launched at him at speeds exceeding 90 mph.

“I recently read ‘Lord of the Rings,'” Skinner added. “That has not helped me with how to stop the puck.”

Something has happened to send the Edmonton Oilers to the Stanley Cup Final against the Florida Panthers.

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Oilers | AP News Image

Edmonton Oilers Goaltender Stuart Skinner’s Play Is The Biggest Uncertainty In The Stanley Cup Final

After three rounds of playoffs in which he has been, at times, unplayable to the point of being yanked and, at other times, practically untouchable, Skinner is the biggest question mark heading into the series, which begins Saturday night.

“My job’s simple just because I’ve been doing it for a long time, so I’ve just got to keep the puck out of the net and do my very best to do that,” Skinner said on Friday. “That’s the pressure that I take on is just being able to do my job at a very high level.”

Skinner has been terrible, especially since being benched and replaced by veteran backup Calvin Pickard in the second round against Vancouver. Since returning, he has gone 6-2 with a 1.81 goals-against average and.919 save percentage.

Before that? Skinner had a 3.23 goals-against average and a.877 save percentage, and the Oilers were fairly successful despite him.

“To have the mental strength to be able to bounce back and kind of put a bad game or a bad goal in the rearview mirror takes a lot,” said Florida backup Anthony Stolarz, who had a brief stint in Edmonton in 2019 as part of his tumultuous career. “You have to admire the way he’s been able to do that.”

Skinner admires Panthers starter Sergei Bobrovsky, a two-time Vezina Trophy winner as the league’s top goaltender who recently challenged Skinner to outduel Dallas’ Jake Oettinger in the Western Conference final.

“He’s a good goalie,” Bobrovsky added. “You won’t make the finals if you’re a lousy goaltender. He’s a solid positional goalie, and I believe he’s composed and has a sound head.”

It is a mind that has faced some challenges this season. If you thought his early playoff numbers were awful, they were far worse to begin the season: six losses in his first eight games, a 3.88 goals-against average, and a.854 save %.

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Oilers | AP News Image

Edmonton Oilers Goaltender Stuart Skinner’s Play Is The Biggest Uncertainty In The Stanley Cup Final

After being named an All-Star in 2023 and the league’s top rookie goalkeeper in his first season, Skinner was given the position in the fall when the team opted to place Jack Campbell on waivers and send him to the minors.

“Certainly, we believed in Stuart Skinner,” general manager Ken Holland stated. He’s one of the really good top young netminders in the game, and he took it from there.

Skinner won 35 of his last 51 appearances, easily clinching a playoff position.

“There hasn’t been very many poor performances, and when there has been a poor performance, he’s always responded,” Kris Knoblauch, the coach, said.

Handling the ups and downs taught Skinner a few things, including that his teammates have his back and that his internal ability to overcome hardship is stronger than he imagined.

“I’ve been able to bounce back and find myself, and finding that resiliency in myself is obviously something that I’m very proud of,” Skinner stated. “But it also teaches me that I am stronger than I believe I am. And I think that’s terrific, especially given where we are now.”

Edmonton Oilers Goaltender Stuart Skinner’s Play Is The Biggest Uncertainty In The Stanley Cup Final

He is now squarely in the spotlight as the hometown lad who grew up as an Oilers fan; only four wins away from bringing the Stanley Cup back to Canada for the first time since 1993. That drought predates his birth in ’98, and it’s not the kind of pressure he wants to bear at the pinnacle of his career.

But Skinner made it obvious at Cup final media day that he isn’t overwhelmed by the moment, having already played 123 regular-season games and 28 more in the playoffs. He was so nervous before his NHL debut that he couldn’t eat, and he’s treating this series like any other.

“It’s the same as the other rounds that we’ve played; it’s another round to try to win four games,” Skinner stated. “I’ll definitely be able to eat.”

 

Kiara Grace is a staff writer at VORNews, a reputable online publication. Her writing focuses on technology trends, particularly in the realm of consumer electronics and software. With a keen eye for detail and a knack for breaking down complex topics, Kiara delivers insightful analyses that resonate with tech enthusiasts and casual readers alike. Her articles strike a balance between in-depth coverage and accessibility, making them a go-to resource for anyone seeking to stay informed about the latest innovations shaping our digital world.

Sports

IndyCar Moves To Fox Sports In 2025 After 16 Seasons With NBC. Fox Now Has Daytona 500 And Indy 500

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IndyCar | AP News Image

The Indianapolis 500 and NASCAR’s Daytona 500 are two of the largest races in the world, and Fox Sports announced on Thursday that it has bought the rights to broadcast IndyCar beginning in 2025.

Fox Sports has already telecast the first half of the NASCAR schedule. In November, NASCAR revealed a seven-year media rights agreement that included streaming components and two new partners as the 38-race schedule is dispersed over several networks and platforms.

While the specifics of the Fox Sports and IndyCar agreement were kept under wraps, Fox guaranteed network coverage for all 17 races and the two days of Indy 500 qualifying. That assurance lasts the duration of the IndyCar contract.

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IndyCar | AP news Image

IndyCar Moves To Fox Sports In 2025 After 16 Seasons With NBC. Fox Now Has Daytona 500 And Indy 500

IndyCar said NBC Sports could not provide the same number of national broadcast opportunities.

“This offers the most competitive and entertaining motorsport on the planet unmatched growth opportunity and unparalleled exposure,” said IndyCar CEO Mark Miles. “Fox Sports is a fully committed partner, ready to promote IndyCar extensively across all of its platforms while delivering millions of fans nationwide engaging and technically innovative coverage.”

Since 2009, NBC has owned the rights to IndyCar; the most recent three-year agreement was said to be for $20 million a season. However, NBC Sports has transferred all of its practice and qualifying session broadcast to its Peacock app, and cable has carried many IndyCar races. The crown jewel race at Long Beach was shifted by NBC to USA Network earlier this season, and it attracted little over 300,000 viewers; when it was broadcast on NBC again in 2023, it drew 1.026 million.

NBC stated, “We are very proud of our contributions to the growth of IndyCar over the past 16 seasons, generating record viewership, unprecedented promotion, and best-in-class production.” “We appreciate the cooperation of the owners, teams, and drivers and look forward to introducing the remainder of the 2024 season to the ardent and devoted IndyCar fans.”

The whole IndyCar season was not licensed to NBC Sports until 2019. It had divided up the programming with ABC before that. The NBC Sports IndyCar season 2023 was the most watched since 2011 and the most streamed season ever.

Compared to the previous year, IndyCar’s viewership on NBC platforms is stable this season; the Indy 500 attracted 5.344 million viewers, up from 4.927 million in 2023.

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IndyCar | PIxa Bay Image

IndyCar Moves To Fox Sports In 2025 After 16 Seasons With NBC. Fox Now Has Daytona 500 And Indy 500

Fox Deportes will provide Spanish-language coverage of all races, which is also available on Fox and the Fox Sports app. Fox also committed to covering both Indy 500 qualifying days. Every practice and qualifying round will be broadcast on cable on FS1 or FS2.

It’s an IndyCar record for 19 events aired on television. IndyCar will be the only national premier motorsports series with exclusive major broadcast network coverage for every race. For instance, Fox has announced that five of the 14 NASCAR events will air on the network in 2025, with the remaining races on cable.

Fox Sports CEO and executive producer Eric Shanks promoted the Indy 500 as a network addition. He said that on Wednesday, he had a conversation with NASCAR chairman Jim France to discuss Fox’s new alliance with IndyCar, a competitor.

“Adding the legendary Indianapolis 500… to the Fox Sports roster fits perfectly within our model of teaming with sports’ largest events and best-in-class brands,” Shanks stated. “It gives us great pleasure to serve as the new broadcast home for ‘The Greatest Spectacle in Racing,’ an event that is very meaningful to everyone at Fox Sports.”

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IndyCar | PixaBay Image

IndyCar Moves To Fox Sports In 2025 After 16 Seasons With NBC. Fox Now Has Daytona 500 And Indy 500

Other than Milwaukee not being a doubleheader and the All-Star race at the Thermal Club in California becoming a points race, the 2025 IndyCar schedule is essentially the same. The season ends in Nashville, Tennessee, on August 31. It starts in St. Petersburg, Florida, on March 2.

Long a fixture on the IndyCar calendar, Texas Motor Speedway will not be used in 2025 for the second year running.

SOURCE – (AP)

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Tom Brady Enshrined Into Patriots Hall Of Fame During Star-Studded Night

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Foxborough, Massachusetts: Over his two-decade tenure with the New England Patriots, Tom Brady provided the squad with many memories and six Super Bowl rings.

His admission into the Patriots Hall of Fame was celebrated like the team had never done.

On Wednesday night, thousands of fans and celebrities, including Jay-Z and Bon Jovi, joined dozens of Brady’s former teammates and coaches from several eras of Patriots history to honor Brady as the 35th individual inducted into the team’s hall.

Patriots, it’s fantastic to be home, Brady declared.

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Tom Brady | AP News Image

Tom Brady Enshrined Into Patriots Hall Of Fame During Star-Studded Night

Team owner Robert Kraft moved Brady to tears before he spoke when he declared that no other Patriots player would ever wear his number 12.

“The No. 12 is now formally retired,” Kraft declared.

Kraft further disclosed that a 12-foot bronze monument of Brady was being commissioned and would be unveiled outside the Patriots Hall of Fame later this year.

The highlight of a night that resembled a Patriots family reunion was former Patriots coach Bill Belichick’s meeting with Brady before his speech. Belichick, who left the team following the 2023 season, received a standing ovation.

“To draft Tom and coach him for 20 years was an incredible honor for me,” Belichick told the assembled. Being a part of everything he contributed to the team was truly an honor for me.

Brady added his voice to the never-ending discussion over who was more accountable for the Patriots’ success as teammates.

Not me, that is for sure. Not you, that is. The culprits were us, Brady claimed. Let me clarify this. I prefer playing for Bill Belichick than for any other coach.

The red carpet that opened the event represented Brady’s 20 years with the Patriots. It included Ty Law, Willie McGinest, Randy Moss, Vince Wilfork, Drew Bledsoe, and Rob Gronkowski. The event also comprised Galynn Brady and Tom Sr. Brady.

Rapper Jay-Z opened the formal celebration inside Gillette Stadium with a smoke-filled rendition of his 2003 ‘Public Service Announcement’, which Brady had used as his entrance song when he had jogged onto the pitch to warm up before games.

This evening, Brady emerged from close to the stage at the conclusion of Jay-Z’s performance, passing through the area set aside for the special guests before settling in on stage.

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Tom Brady | AP News Image

Tom Brady Enshrined Into Patriots Hall Of Fame During Star-Studded Night

There, he viewed video tributes from Jason Taylor, Charles Woodson, Ray Lewis, Ed Reed, and other rivals over the years. Fans who still remember how the Giants stunned the Patriots in the 2007 Super Bowl and ruined their hopes for a perfect season also made video cameos. Michael Strahan and Eli Manning were among them. In the 2011 Super Bowl, they upended Brady and company once more.

Matt Damon and Red Sox legend David Ortiz were among the well-known Bostonians who made cameos in other videos.

With his second season with New England, Brady, the No. 199 pick in the 2000 draft, took over as starter after Bledsoe, the previous No. 1 overall pick, was injured. Brady helped the Patriots win the Super Bowl that same year. Over the following twenty years, he took home five more championships.

Reunited with Brady, Bledsoe made light of the fact that Brady disregarded the first rule as a backup.

“You were the worst backup quarterback in NFL history,” Bledsoe replied. You never understood that you were meant to sit back down when I got well.

Moments were poignant, such as when Wes Welker, Julian Edelman, Gronkowski, and Moss—some of Brady’s best playmakers—joined him on stage.

Moss was crying as the audience gave him a two-minute standing ovation. Moss said he knew he had to be around Brady when he got to New England in 2007.

“Put my locker beside Tom Brady’s and the rest will take care of itself,” Moss declared.

Surprising in-person visitors included Pro Football Hall of Famer Peyton Manning, who sat down with Brady and the evening’s host, Mike Tirico, to discuss the quarterbacks’ past on-field arguments.

When his teams played Brady, Manning said, he never wrote the Patriots off, particularly when Brady had the ball and a chance to win late in games.

I was praying from the sidelines, Manning said. I never offer any prayers while watching.

Brady also praised Manning and dubbed him one of his closest friends. He mentioned how he had watched Manning from high school onwards throughout his career as a young quarterback.

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Tom Brady | AP News Image

Tom Brady Enshrined Into Patriots Hall Of Fame During Star-Studded Night

Brady declared, “Nobody in the world is as good as Peyton Manning right now.”

Manning even cracked some of his classic banter to the applause of a frequently hostile New England audience when he said, “They like me here because I usually lose here.”

Brady declared his family, and the Patriots would always be linked in front of a crowd drenched in his No. 12 jersey.

Brady stated, “I feel like we’re still the family trying to love each other.” Adopted New Englanders, that is us.

At one point, Brady enumerated the towns he had lived in while playing for the Patriots in New England, starting with Franklin and ending with Brookline.

Brady shed tears as he finished his address.

Thomas Brady is my name. Furthermore, I identify as a Patriot,” he declared.

SOURCE – (AP)

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Jerry West, A 3-Time Hall Of Fame Selection And The Inspiration For The NBA Logo, Dies At 86

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Jerry West | AP news image

Jerry West, who was inducted into the Basketball Hall of Fame three times throughout his illustrious career as a player and executive and whose silhouette is considered the basis of the NBA emblem, died Wednesday morning, the Los Angeles Clippers confirmed.

He was 86.

West, nicknamed “Mr. Clutch” for his late-game exploits as a player, was an NBA champion who was inducted into the Hall of Fame in 1980 and as a member of the gold medal-winning 1960 United States Olympic Team in 2010. West will be inducted as a contributor for the third time later this year, and NBA Commissioner Adam Silver has referred to him as “one of the greatest executives in sports history.”

“He helped build eight championship teams during his tenure in the NBA — a legacy of achievement that mirrors his on-court excellence,” Silver stated. “And in October, he will be inducted into the Naismith Basketball Hall of Fame as a contributor, becoming the first individual to be honored as both a player and a contributor. I appreciated my connection with Jerry and the basketball and life expertise he imparted.

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Jerry West | AP News Image

Jerry West, A 3-Time Hall Of Fame Selection And The Inspiration For The NBA Logo, Dies At 86

West was “the personification of basketball excellence and a friend to all who knew him,” the Clippers said in announcing his passing. The Clippers said that West’s wife, Karen, was by his side when he died. West has spent the last seven years as a consultant with the Clippers.

He was an All-Star in all 14 of his NBA seasons, a 12-time All-NBA selection, a member of the 1972 Lakers championship team, and an NBA Finals MVP when the Lakers lost to the Boston Celtics in 1969 — the first year that award was given out and the only time it went to a player on the losing team — and was named to the NBA’s 75th anniversary team.

West was the Los Angeles Lakers championship team’s general manager, helping to establish the “Showtime” dynasty. He has held front-office positions with the Memphis Grizzlies, Golden State Warriors, and Los Angeles Clippers. Among his many accomplishments as an executive with the Lakers, he drafted Magic Johnson and James Worthy before bringing in Kobe Bryant and, eventually, Shaquille O’Neal to play alongside Bryant.

His basketball career crossed generations: West played with Elgin Baylor, whom he described as “the most supportive and greatest player of that era,” and Wilt Chamberlain. As a coach and executive, he worked with a who’s-who of NBA stars over the previous four decades, including Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, Johnson, Worthy, O’Neal, Bryant, Stephen Curry, Klay Thompson, Kevin Durant, Kawhi Leonard, and Paul George.

“I marvel at them, at the joy they brought basketball fans all over the world,” West stated in 2019.

Even in his dying years, West was regarded as basketball royalty. He often sat courtside at Summer League games in Las Vegas, watching multiple games daily while greeting long lines of players, including LeBron James, who approached to shake his hand.

“The game transcends many things,” West stated during last year’s Summer League. “The players change, the style of play may change, but the respect that you learn in this game never changes.”

James expressed his condolences on social media: “I will genuinely miss our conversations, my dear friend! My thoughts and prayers go out to you and your amazing family! I will always love Jerry! “Rest in Paradise, my guy!” wrote the NBA’s all-time leading scorer Wednesday.

West is 25th on the NBA’s all-time scoring list, and while the league has never confirmed that West was the model for its emblem, which depicts a person dribbling a ball against a red-and-blue background, it has also never denied this.

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Jerry West | AP News Image

Jerry West, A 3-Time Hall Of Fame Selection And The Inspiration For The NBA Logo, Dies At 86

“While it’s never been officially declared that the logo is Jerry West,” Silver noted in 2021, “it sure looks a lot like him.”

West remains the all-time NBA Finals leader in total points, field goals made and attempted, and free throws attempted. He appeared in the title series nine times with the Lakers, going 1-2 against the New York Knicks and 0-6 against Boston.

“Those damn Celtics,” he frequently remarked.

West also made one of the most famous shots in finals history, a 60-footer at the buzzer in Game 3 of the 1970 series between the Knicks and the Lakers that forced OT.

Tributes from around the sports world flooded in Wednesday morning. The Los Angeles Dodgers issued a statement describing West as “an indelible figure on the Los Angeles sports landscape for more than 60 years,” while the NBA announced a pregame tribute to West before Game 3 of the NBA Finals between the Celtics and Dallas Mavericks on Wednesday night.

“Jerry West is one of my favorite people that I had the honor to get to know in the NBA,” Miami Heat managing general partner Micky Arison said Wednesday. “He welcomed me to the league, supplied advice from the first day, and asked for nothing in return. “He’ll be missed.”

Michael Jordan described West as “a friend and mentor — like an older brother to me.”

“I valued his friendship and knowledge,” Jordan stated. “I always wanted I could have competed against him, but as I got to know him better, I wished I had been his teammate. I appreciated his basketball insights, and he and I had many similarities in how we viewed the game.

West, a native of Chelyan, West Virginia, was known as a tenacious player who was rarely satisfied with his performances. He grew up shooting at a basket affixed to the side of a shed, sometimes firing until his fingers bled. He became the only high school player in state history to score more than 900 points in a single season, averaging 32.2 points while guiding East Bank High to the state championship.

Basketball, he would later admit, was his therapy.

jerry west

Jerry West | AP News Image

Jerry West, A 3-Time Hall Of Fame Selection And The Inspiration For The NBA Logo, Dies At 86

West’s memoir, “West by West: My Charmed, Tormented Life,” detailed his lifelong battle with depression. He claimed that his childhood was devoid of love and filled with rage as a result of an abusive father. He often felt worthless. Therefore, he said he focused his attention on playing the game.

West led West Virginia University — where he is still the all-time scoring average leader — to the NCAA finals in 1959, but the Mountaineers lost to California by one point.

A year after winning Olympic gold in Rome, West joined the Lakers, where he spent the rest of his professional career. West was named one of the league’s 50 greatest players in 1996, and when the league increased the poll to 75 players to commemorate its 75th anniversary in 2021, he was chosen again.

“You know, it never ceases to amaze me the places you can go in this world chasing a bouncing ball,” West remarked in 2019 when then-President Donald Trump bestowed upon him the Presidential Medal of Freedom, the nation’s highest civilian honor. “My chase began in Chelyan, West Virginia, where I hung a wire basket with no net from the side of a bridge. If your shot missed, the ball would slide down a long bank, leaving you chasing it indefinitely. So you’d best make it.

“I was a dreamer.” My family didn’t have much, but we had a good view of the Appalachian Mountains, and I’d sit alone on our front porch and think, ‘If I ever make it to the top of that mountain, what will I see on the other side?’ I got to the other side, and my hopes came true. I can see the sides thanks to that bouncing ball.”

SOURCE – (AP)

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