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The Penguins and Flyers will meet on 7/28 for their lone exhibition

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Plans for the NHL moving forward are coming in fast and furious. After so many weeks and months of inaction and inactivity, we’re making up for it now in record time. Tuesday evening the Penguins found out a couple key pieces of information.

First, after traveling to the hub in Toronto on July 26th, each team will have one exhibition game. The Pens have drawn an early slot, and the league is taking a regional approach to match natural rivals. So that means the Flyers on Tuesday July 28th as the sole exhibition game that both teams will have.

Just look at Wednesday, a whopping six games going on, staggered between the Toronto and Edmonton hubs. That could be the type of action in August if the league pulls it all off.

The other big piece of news is the Pens learned the start times for the first three games on their best-of-five series against the Montreal Canadiens. Being a major, marquee type of matchup, it’s no surprise that this will be on in prime time for each of the first three games.

The rest of the early schedule for the play-in round and round robins can be found here. The NHL is planning to kick it all off with five games on Saturday August 1st, starting at noon eastern and will last well after midnight. Which kind of reminds a sports fan of the excitement of the March Madness style action where games are on all day and life is fun and good.

That’s about all we can hope for right now. The Pens/Flyers exhibition, by the way, is two weeks from today. It’s going to move very quickly if the NHL can enact the plans they’re putting in place.

Source: – PensBurgh

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Khabib Nurmagomedov pays tribute to father after emotional UFC 254 win – MMA Fighting

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UFC lightweight champion Khabib Nurmagomedov shocked the MMA world when he suddenly retired in the octagon after submitting Justin Gaethje at UFC 254.

Just as soon as he upped his record to 29-0, Nurmagomedov left the arena in Abu Dhabi and went on his way. But on Instagram, he posted another tribute to his father, Abdulmanap Nurmagomedov, who passed away in July from complications of COVID-19.

“When ALLAH with you, nobody can broke you, nobody,” he wrote. “Thanks Father for everything, you teach all my life, may ALLAH grant you the highest Paradise.”

The 32-year-old Dagestan native dropped to the canvas after his win and wept uncontrollably. As he fought back tears, he explained his reason for hanging up his gloves after his teammates cut them off and he placed them on the floor.

Here is Nurmagomedov’s full retirement statement:

“Thank you for these guys, these guys with me, been with my father for more than 10 years. All my team, AKA with coach Javier, I love him so much, all my team. Today, I want to say, this was my last fight. No way am I going to come here without my father. It was first time, after what happened with my father, when UFC called me about Justin. I talk with my mother three days, she don’t want that I go fight without father. I promised her, it’s going to be my last fight, and if I give my word, I have to follow this. It was my last fight here.

“I know only one thing I want from UFC, you guys have to be me on No. 1 pound-for-pound fighter in the world, because I deserve this. UFC undisputed, undefeated lightweight champion, 13-0, 13 in UFC, 29 in all pro MMA career. I think I deserve it. One more thing, I want to say thank you Lorenzo Fertitta, thank you Dana, Hunter, all guys. Thank you so much, and of course I don’t forget about Joe Silva who signed me here in UFC. Joe Silva, thank you. All this UFC team, everybody around the world, this whole pandemic stuff, they are doing great show. Thank you so much Justin. Justin, 2016 I remember when I cut weight, you helped me a lot. Thank you brother. I know you are a great man, I know how you take care of your people. I know a lot of things about of you, because of your parents, because one day, it’s going to happen something. You never know what is going to happen tomorrow, you never know.”

Nurmagomedov’s exit from the sport leaves the UFC with some hard decisions to make. Gaethje, Dustin Poirier, Tony Ferguson, Conor McGregor and Michael Chandler are all gunning for the No. 1 spot. So far, only Poirier and McGregor are loosely tied to a matchup on Jan. 23, but that could change now that the belt is up for grabs.

As far as competition for the pound-for-pound No. 1 spot, many fighters believe the lightweight champ locked up the top spot on Saturday. When it comes to the sport’s GOAT, Nurmagomedov’s run is up against all-time greats Georges St-Pierre and Jon Jones.

Check out Khabib’s retirement speech:

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NBA Missed Revenue Projections By $1.5 Billion – RealGM.com

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The NBA missed its revenue projections this season by $1.5 billion, sources told Tim Reynolds of The Associated Press.

The losses were due to a combination of the shutdown due to the pandemic, the cancellation of 171 regular-season games, completing the season without fans, and losing $200 million in a rift with the Chinese government.

There have been no decisions on finalizing the start of next season’s schedule, though beginning the season in December as opposed to January or later could generate the league an extra $500 million in revenue.

The NBA is currently targeting a December 22nd start date, with a 72-game season. 

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Belichick wins Breeders' Stakes, Mighty Heart denied Canadian Triple Crown – TSN

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TORONTO — Josie Carroll completed the Triple Crown sweep Saturday, just not the one that mattered.

The Carroll-trained Belichick claimed the $400,000 Breeders’ Stakes at Woodbine Racetrack for his first career victory. But it came at the expense of stablemate Mighty Heart, the one-eyed colt that was looking to become the first OLG Canadian Triple Crown winner since Wando in 2003.

“Very (bittersweet),” Carroll said. “It’s very exciting to win with this horse, he’s a horse I’ve said had a lot of promise from the beginning.

“But how often do you get the opportunity to win a Triple Crown? I thought Mighty Heart ran his little heart out. Unfortunately he was hooked all the way with that one horse and never got a chance to relax.”

Jockey Daisuke Fukumoto took Mighty Heart, the even-money favourite, to the lead from the start, which like he did in the $1-million Queen’s Plate that his horse ended up winning by a whopping 7 1/2 lengths ahead of Belichick as a 13/1 longshot. But Kunal, and jockey Emile Ramsammy, kept pace with Mighty Heart for three-quarters of a mile.

Mighty Heart still held the lead after a mile, and while Kunal had dropped back to seventh, Told It All was giving Mighty Heart chase in second. Not having the chance to relax and settle in then took its toll on Mighty Heart, who simply ran out of steam and finished seventh.

“It’s different when they’re running easy and you’ve got a horse dogging you,” Carroll said. “Especially a competitive horse like (Mighty Heart), he wasn’t going to let that horse get away from him and I think he used most of his race up against one competitor.

“I think had (Mighty Heart) got a chance to relax . . . he would’ve had a lot more finish.”

Fukumoto agreed.

“He was sharp like in the Queen’s Plate,” he said. “I tried to take hold and he relaxed a little bit in the backstretch but with the mile and a half you need the stamina . . . he got tired.

“He gave me many experiences and I’m so proud of him. I want everyone to keep following him when he runs again next time.”

Contreras, who in 2011, won all three Triple Crown races with two horses – had Belichick sitting eighth at the start and moved him up to fourth after a mile. The 3/1 second pick surged into the lead with a quarter-mile remaining and posted an impressive four-length victory in 2:32.51 on a good turf.

“It’s a hell of a way to break your maiden,” Carroll said. “I’ve said all along this was a good horse, I wasn’t surprised to see him jump up today.

“He’s still lightly raced and he’s a big, rangy horse that’s still growing into himself. I don’t think he’s even done growing yet.”

Contreras, who won his third Breeders’ title, said after a somewhat difficult start, Belichick settled in and had plenty left when it counted most.

“They kind of broke early in the race so I just tried to see them and relax my horse as much as I could,” he said. “He was very uncomfortable, this horse has a different style to run so I just let him be happy wherever he wanted to be.

“Turning for home, I was just in hand all the way to the quarter pole. I asked him to run from the stretch home and he did.”

Meyer, a 54/1 longshot ridden by Sahin Civaci, finished second ahead of English Conqueror, a 12/1 pick that was supplemented for this race and ridden by Emma-Jayne Wilson.

The field was reduced to 11 horses after Olliemyboy was scratched earlier Saturday.

The remainder of the field, in order of finish, included: Deviant; Clayton; Enchant Me; Mighty Heart; Muskoka Giant; Told It All; Glorious Tribute; and Kunal.

Carroll had expressed concern last week about a potentially soft turf course given all the rain the fell in the Greater Toronto Area. However, she said the surface wasn’t a major factor in Saturday’s race.

“I went up on it this morning and Woodbine did a really good job on this turf,” she said. “It was a good course.

“It had a little cut to it but there’s nothing wrong with a little give on the turf. It really wasn’t that soft of a turf.”

Belichick has now finished in the money in all four of his career races (win, twice second, third) and received $240,000 for Saturday’s victory.

“Mighty Heart is the little scrapper but Belichick, he’s just a dude,” Carroll said. “He can be really, really laid back but he’s also full of himself.

“He knows who he is and climbs all over top of the people when they’re trying to walk him. He just always has to assert himself.”

This report by The Canadian Press was first published Oct. 24, 2020.

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