Reports: Winter Classic cancelled

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Reports: Winter Classic cancelled

Theres no Winter Classic.

Theres no 247: Road to the Winter Classic series for HBO.

Theres also no getting back to the point of no return for both the NHL and the NHLPA as fans are going to be pissed off no matter what happens from this point forth.

According to reports from both ESPN and the AP, the Jan. 1 Winter Classic match between the Toronto Maple Leafs and Detroit Red Wings at the Big House in Ann Arbor, Michigan on the University of Michigan campus has been cancelled for the 2013-14 season.

The NHL later confirmed the Winter Classic cancellation in a release shortly after 3 p.m.

Reports also indicate the Wings and Leafs game will be set to play in the same setting on Jan. 1 2014 when 110,000 plus fans are expected to be part of the biggest hockey crowd in NHL history. The logistics and money involved with setting up the New Years Day game appear to be the two biggest culprits involved in the league cancelling the signature game, but it also appears to be a preemptive move to keep the WC from becoming a leverage point in negotiations.

The popularity, soaring TV ratings and marketing prowess of the Winter Classic game make it the NHL golden goose, and the league wasnt willing to compromise it given the unsure status of CBA talks.

For the players the Winter Classic only represented one out of 82 games on the schedule, but it was also a giant money-maker for the NHL when the league counts out the hockey-related revenue eventually divvied up between the players and the league. NHL deputy commissioner Bill Daly told reporters on Thursday that negotiations will begin relatively near future with the NHLPA, and December games will be next on the chopping block.

While the Winter Classic cancellation means the NHL will end up losing the PR battle this season to an angry mob of fans, there are still believed to be a number of league scenarios for a shortened season. But one has to wonder at this point how quickly fans will return given the damage inflicted on the NHL product through 49 days of fruitless negotiations.

BOSTON SPORTS TONIGHT PODCAST: Is Rob Gronkowski good to go?

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BOSTON SPORTS TONIGHT PODCAST: Is Rob Gronkowski good to go?

00:43 - Rob Gronkowski says he's ready to go against the Texans. Michael Holley, Tom Giles and Kayce Smith talk about this risks of him playing while injured.

05:47 - Phil A.Perry follows up the Gronk discussion with a deeper breakdown of Gronk’s decision to play this Sunday.

10:02 - David Price appears to be easing back into baseball after pitching Friday night. Evan Drellich joins BST to talk about Price’s outing in Cincinnati. 

16:12 - The BST crew recaps the Red Sox win over Reds. Drellich returns to analyze how the pitchers performed and how that will impact the Red Sox postseason stretch.  

Trump says NFL should fire players who kneel during anthem

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Trump says NFL should fire players who kneel during anthem

HUNTSVILLE, Ala. — President Donald Trump says National Football League owners should fire players who kneel during the national anthem. And he’s encouraging spectators to walk out in protest.

In an extended riff during a freewheeling rally speech in Alabama Friday night, Trump also bemoaned that football games have become less violent.

“They’re ruining the game,” he complained.

Several athletes, including NFL players, have refused to stand during “The Star-Spangled Banner” to protest of the treatment of blacks by police.

Trump says those players are disrespecting the flag and deserve to lose their jobs.

“That’s a total disrespect of our heritage. That’s a total disrespect of everything that we stand for,” he said, encouraging owners to act.

“Wouldn’t you love to see one of these NFL owners, when somebody disrespects our flag, you’d say, ’Get that son of a bitch off the field right now. Out! He’s fired,” Trump said to loud applause.

Trump also predicted that any owner who went through with his encouragement would become “the most popular person in this country” — at least for a week.

Trump, who was in Alabama campaigning for Sen. Luther Strange, also blamed a decline in NFL ratings on the nation’s interest in “yours truly” as well as what he described as a decline in violence in the game.

He said players are being thrown out for aggressive tackles, and it’s “not the same game.”

The NFL has made several efforts to reduce violence in the sport, particularly hits that may cause damage to the head. A July report on 202 former football players found evidence of a debilitating brain disease linked to repeated head blows in nearly all of them. The league has agreed to pay $1 billion to retired players who claimed it misled them about the concussion dangers of playing football.

During his campaign, Trump often expressed nostalgia for the “old days” — claiming, for example, that protesters at his rallies would have been carried out on stretchers back then. He recently suggested police officers should be rougher with criminals and shouldn’t protect their heads when pushing them into quad cars.

It’s also not the first time he’s raised the kneeling issue. Earlier this year he took credit for the fact that former San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick, who started the trend of kneeling during the anthem, hadn’t been signed by an NFL team.

Trump said the protest was the top reason NFL viewership had waned this season.

“You know what’s hurting the game more than that? When people like yourselves turn on television and you see those people taking the knee when they’re playing our great national anthem,” he said.

Trump encouraged his supporters to pick up and leave the stadium next time they spot a player failing to stand.

“I guarantee things will stop,” he said.

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