History was made at Nashville’s Bridgestone Arena on Sunday night, when the Pittsburgh Penguins became the first team of the NHL’s salary-cap era to repeat as Stanley Cup champions.1The NHL instituted a salary cap after labor disputes that resulted in the loss of the entire 2004-05 season. Winning back-to-back titles wasn’t as big of a deal for much of the NHL’s history — through the 1970s and ’80s, it wasn’t uncommon to see teams win two, three or even four Stanley Cup titles in a row — but repeating has been notoriously difficult in recent decades.The last franchise to go back-to-back was the Detroit Red Wings, whose ridiculously talented Steve Yzerman-led teams won in 1997 and 1998. And before that, it was Mario Lemieux’s Penguins, buttressed by some teenager from the Czech Republic named Jaromir Jagr; they lifted the Cup in the springs of 1991 and 1992, cementing Pittsburgh as a hockey town.Just as those Penguins teams from the early 1990s owed a lot to their captain — Lemieux won the Conn Smythe Trophy as the playoff MVP in both Cup-winning campaigns — these Penguins have been powered by their leader, Sidney Crosby. He played brilliantly in this season’s playoffs, scoring 27 points in 24 games, including 7 in six games during the Final, and earning a second consecutive Smythe. Only one other player, beyond Crosby and Lemieux, has won back-to-back Smythes since the award was first given out in 1965.2That player is goalie Bernie Parent, who led the Philadelphia Flyers to Stanley Cup championships in 1974 and 1975. (And it was never done by all-time greats like Wayne Gretzky, Patrick Roy and Bobby Orr, although each of those players won the trophy at least twice in his career.)Of course, netminder Matt Murray wasn’t too shabby, either. After returning from injury to play in the conference finals, Murray was virtually unbeatable. In 11 games, he recorded seven quality starts3Hockey-Reference.com defines a “quality start” as one in which a goalie records a save percentage greater than or equal to the league average for the season. (Or, if a goalie faces 20 shots or fewer, he must record an 88.5 percent save percentage for the start to be considered “quality.”) and stopped 93.7 percent of the shots he faced.Here’s the most ludicrous thing of all: Murray led Pittsburgh to not one, but two titles as a rookie. After backstopping the Pens to the title last season, he still qualified as a rookie for 2016-17 because of the way the NHL judges rookie status. That elevates Murray into the same territory as Montreal great Ken Dryden, who as a rookie led the Habs to a Stanley Cup championship in 1971.Dryden won the Conn Smythe that year, and because he’d played in only six regular-season games, he still qualified as a rookie for the 1971-72 season. The Habs failed to repeat, but Dryden won the Calder Trophy as the league’s best rookie. Regardless of what Murray does over the rest of his career, he and Dryden will always be mentioned in the same breath. That’s not bad company!Beyond Crosby and Murray, Penguins center Evgeni Malkin was exceptional, finishing as the leading scorer in the playoffs. Geno’s 28 points are tied for the sixth-most of any player in a single postseason since the lockout and are the second-most of his playoff career (trailing the insane 36 points he dropped in 2009, when he won the Conn Smythe).In the first nine seasons they played together, Crosby and Malkin were playoff fixtures. They won one Cup, but otherwise, the Penguins during that time frequently seemed to disappoint in the postseason. After Pittsburgh’s championship in 2009, its record under coach Dan Bylsma was just 27-27 in the postseason, and the team was 0-5 in elimination games. Despite having two of the best players of their generation, the Pens were underachieving. The Crosby-Malkin era had held such promise, but each star was aging out of his prime. It was beginning to look like they might have missed their window for further championship success.All that panic feels like a dream now. Two championships in succession have put Pittsburgh’s tally during the Crosby-Malkin era at three — one more than the team earned in the Lemieux-Jagr era.So where does this place Crosby and Malkin in Penguins lore? It’s difficult (and kind of foolish) to compare eras. The game has changed a lot since Lemieux and Jagr played together, and Crosby and Malkin probably won’t touch their predecessors’ scoring totals. But in terms of titles, the Crosby-Malkin era has been the most successful run in the Penguins’ history. It’s hard to argue with all that silverware.
Sansa adorns her mother’s colors and wears the crown of Winterfell as a crowd dubs her the Queen of the North. Arya sets sail to the west of Westeros in a Direwolf-branded ship. Jon is greeted by Tormund Giantsbane at the wall and, putting to rest one of the darkest storylines in TV history, is reunited with Ghost. This is not a drill: Jon is here to murder his Queen and pat his wolf — and he’s all out of Queens to murder.The only ending that matters. HBO The first scene of Game of Thrones saw brothers of the Night’s Watch venturing north of the wall, where they were murdered by White Walkers. The last ever shot of Game of Thrones was Jon, along with a squad of wildlings, riding north of Castle Black into those same woods.Were you satisfied by the conclusion? If not, don’t fret. George RR Martin should have the final books completed in the next two or three… decades. Game of Thrones season 8 finale: Our watch has ended Most heartbreaking Game of Thrones deaths 6:00 Sansa asks where Jon is. Grey Worm says Jon must pay for his crimes, and he’s pretty keen to execute Tyrion as well. What happens to Jon and Tyrion is up to the King or Queen, they decide, but there is no King or Queen. Welp, all of Westeros’ lords are here, so Tyrion asks why they don’t just talk among themselves and pick a ruler? The supremely mediocre Edmure stands and starts listing his credentials, but his niece Sansa tells him to sit down. Sansa is great, and in a just world would be the one to hop, hop, hop onto the throne. Samwell suggests the people of Westeros vote, but he’s quickly laughed out of the discussion. What unites people? Tyrion poses that question to the bunch. Yeah, armies, gold and flags are cool, but have you tried stories? As he soliloquizes about tales and common folk or whatever, the camera pans around the group. You can bet whoever it stops on will be the new Lord of the Seven Kingdoms. (I had my fingers crossed for Sansa who, as mentioned, is great.)Who has a better story, Tyrion asks, than Bran Stark?A new era. HBO Bran was pushed out of the top story of a tower and lived. He was paralyzed, but learned to fly. He went beyond the wall and became the Three Eyed Raven. Now, he knows all the stories of man. He’s perfect.Tyrion asks Bran to consider it. “Why do you think I came all this way?” Bran says with all the warmth and excitement we’ve come to love him for. The Lords and Ladies all vote for Bran Stark — except for Sansa. She loves him, but the North will remain an independent Kingdom, she proclaims. No Stark knees will be bent today. Bran agrees, making his first act as ruler one of naked nepotism. It’s agreed. Bran Stark is now Brandon the Broken, Lord of the Six Kingdoms and Protector of the Realm. I watched this episode with five people and it was around this time that I heard all of their hearts breaking in quick succession. It was a symphony of cardiovascular failure. I don’t imagine this will go over well with the “remake this season” crowd, but hey, we’ve had worse Kings. Bran can have no children, and so his Rule cannot be passed down. Tyrion tells Grey Worm that this is the wheel-breaker that their Queen would have wanted. Bran’s second order of business is to make Tyrion his Hand. Tyrion says he doesn’t deserve it, that he’s not as wise as he thought he was. (Nice to hear him admit this, because he sure has been a chump this whole season.) Bran says Tyrion doesn’t want to be Hand, but he doesn’t want to be King, so it’s a perfect combination. Grey Worm is furious and demands justice.”He just got it,” Bran decrees. “He’s made many terrible mistakes. He’s going to spend the rest of his life fixing them.” Enlarge ImageKing Stark. Helen Sloan/HBO A Dream of SpringAfter the scene in which Bran the Broken is anointed, Tyrion, now the Hand, goes to see Jon, now the prisoner. I couldn’t help but think their dialogue was directed at the audience as much as it was to progress the story. Jon learns that he’s being sent to The Wall to take the black. In the absence of Wildlings and White Walkers, the Night’s Watch is now a home for “bastards and broken men.” The Unsullied wanted him dead, while Arya and Sansa wanted him to walk free.”No one is very happy, which means it’s a good compromise I suppose,” Tyrion says. This line reminded me of Inglorious Basterds, which ends with Quentin Tarantino, through Brad Pitt’s character, telling the audience: “This might be my masterpiece.” The next exchange between Tyrion and Jon struck me as showrunners D.B Weiss and David Benioff talking directly to their audience, elements of which have become hostile to them..Jon: “Was it right? What I did?”Tyrion: “What we did.”Jon: “It didn’t feel right.”Tyrion: “Ask me in 10 years.” From here the remainder of the episode was like an extended credits scene where we got to see the characters’ happily-ever-after moments.The new Small Council. HBO Jon says his farewells to the Starks. He tells Sansa that the people of Winterfell could have no better ruler than Ned Stark’s daughter. He tells Arya to visit him at the Wall. She says she won’t — because she’s sailing “west of Westeros,” where the Known World ends. Jon apologizes to Bran for not being there for him in his time of need. “You were exactly where you were supposed to be,” Bran says. Classic Bran.We then see Ser Brienne reading The Book of Brothers, in which the deeds of the great Kingsguard knights are recorded. Jaime was thoroughly owned by Joffrey back in season 4 for his sparse entry in the book, but Ser Brienne sees to it that Jaime’s deeds were known. She records his exploits over the years, and ends it with: “Died protecting his Queen.”Next up is a small council meeting, headed by Tyrion. It starts with Grand Maester Samwell presenting Tyrion with a tome, a written history of The Great War and The Last War. The name of this tome? A Song of Fire and Ice. Bronn, who just two episodes ago had threatened Tyrion with death, is now Master of Coin. Ser Davos is Master of Ships. They, along with Ser Brienne and Ser Podrick, talk about rebuilding the city and quarrel over whether they should prioritize ships or brothels. Maybe we don’t deserve peace after all.The show closes as we follow the Stark kids to their new adventures. Originally published May 19. See all the Game of Thrones season 8 photos Now playing: Watch this: 6:42 Enlarge ImageWatch the Throne.Sunday’s Game of Thrones finale, arguably the biggest moment in episodic TV this century, is over. After eight years, eight seasons and several dozens of hours, the epic-fantasy drama is behind us.Season 8 has been controversial, and is perhaps encapsulated best by last week’s episode, The Bells. It ended many of Game of Thrones’ longest running and most important plots, including the deaths of Cersei and Jaime Lannister as well as Daenerys Targaryen’s descent into Mad Queendom. But it also sparked a backlash, which led to more than a million fans signing a petition to have the season remade. So not only does the finale have to end one of TV’s most historic shows, it also has to jiu-jitsu bitter fans into feeling satisfied. OK, let’s do this. For the final time, you are now watching the throne. (For the final time until the prequel, that is.) Here’s your official warning: The full recap below features spoilers. The Dragon and the LionThe roughly 90-minute episode was split into two parts. The climax of part one was the death of Daenerys Targaryen at the hands of Jon Snow. Episode 6, titled The Iron Throne, started with Tyrion and Jon walking through a destroyed King’s Landing, the streets of which were decorated by burned and bloodied bodies. They’re not stoked by what they see. They split up, with Tyrion venturing into the Red Keep dungeons, where he finds Cersei and Jaime. He crumbles with grief over the bodies of his siblings, who were killed by a different type of crumbling.Jaime and Cersei died with surprisingly little ceremony last week, but Tyrion’s weeping gave their endings a little extra gravitas. Jon chances upon Grey Worm and his squad of Unsullied executing Lannister soldiers. The war is won, Jon says, and there’s no reason to kill these men. Grey Worm, who now wears a permanent scowl and is extremely hateable, says he’s acting on the orders of the Queen. The two get into a testosterone-fueled confrontation before Jon decides he needs to speak to Daenerys.Before either Tyrion or Jon can make their way to Daenerys, who’s fresh off her descent into villainy, she gives a victory speech to her forces by the steps of the Keep. Jon and Tyrion stand behind her. Somebody please cue the ominous music.Enlarge ImageSweet… victory? HBO “War is not over until we liberate the world,” she announces in eastern tongue, “from Winterfell to Dorne.” That last line is Jon’s first clue that there’s something not quite right about this new Dany. She proceeds to make Grey Worm her Master of War. I cannot stress how punchable Grey Worm has become. The crowd of Unsullied and Dothraki cheer. Tyrion approaches Daenerys, and she accuses him of freeing Jaime.”I freed my brother and you slaughtered a city,” he replies. He takes off his Hand of the King badge and throws it to the ground. You may recall the first “take off my badge and throw it away” move was pulled by Ned Stark in season 1, protesting King Robert’s demand that an innocent Daenerys, then in Essos with no army nor dragons, be killed. Daenerys, who used her army and dragon to pillage the city, demands he be taken away. Circles man, it’s all about the circles. TV and Movies Jon walks over to the Red Keep to see Daenerys. Drogon is standing guard. Drogon eyes down Jon, but decides he’s cool. Daenerys, in a scene almost identical to her Qarth vision in season 2, surveys the Red Keep. She grabs hold of one of the Iron Throne’s swords. Jon approaches.Jon pleads with her to pardon Tyrion. She says she can’t. “We can’t hide behind small mercies,” she says. This is a different Dany from last episode; she’s assured of her actions, but not in a crazy way. Jon says they’re trying to build a world of mercy. Trust me, Daenerys reckons, she knows what is good. They embrace. She tells him they’ll break the wheel together.”You are my queen, now and forever,” he whispers solemnly. They kiss — and Jon stabs her. With a dagger. To her heart. Which she needed to live. This was actually a deeply affecting scene. Though she refused to free Tyrion, Daenerys showed off her warmer side as she tried to bask in victory alongside Jon. This made her petrified rictus of betrayal all the more poignant. Jon, crying, lays her down. Our last vision of Daenerys is the grieving look she gives her most trusted ally. Daenerys’ death roused more than my feeble emotions, as it also awoke Drogon. He flies into the Keep, surveys the scene and gets his dragonbreath ready. Jon prepares for his second death, but Drogon doesn’t burn him. Instead he melts the Iron Throne. Drogon picks Daenerys up with his claws and flees.Game over. Enlarge ImageDrogon breaks the wheel. HBO Brandon the BrokenThe second part of the episode was essentially epilogue, and takes place weeks after Daenerys’ death. It begins with Grey Worm leading Tyrion to King’s Landing’s Dragonpit, where Jon and Co. brought the White Walker to Cersei in season 7. There we see a gathering of Westeros’ great lords: Bran, Arya and Sansa Stark are all there. Samwell Tarly is there. Robin Arryn and Yohn Royce of the Vale are there. Ser Davos Seaworth and Ser Brienne too.We even reunite with Ser Edmure Tully, (Catelyn Stark’s brother) who was taken hostage and used as a Lannister pawn after his infamously crimson wedding ceremony back season 3. All the faces you know and love. Burning questions we still have about Game of Thrones 42 Photos Lots more on the GoT finale Where did every character end up? Twitter reacts to *that* death in episode 6 Season 8 finale left plastic water bottles in shot What did Brienne really write about Jaime? Some ideas Now playing: Watch this: Jon goes to see him. (This is an insular, linear episode, with one scene following the story of the previous one, which is strange for Game of Thrones.) Jon, who is now absolutely incapable of reading a person, is still on Team Daenerys. Her best friend and her dragon both got killed, he says. How could she not be a little fiery?”You love her,” Tyrion says. “I love her too… not as successfully as you.” I guess that explains that scene in season 7 when Tyrion looks on with tremendous thirst as Jon enters Daenerys’ cabin. (That’s not a gross euphemism, they were on a ship!) 187 Photos “Love is the death of duty,” Jon says, a callback to his great-great uncle, Maester Aemon, who said that to him in season 1 after Jon’s not father, Ned Stark, was executed. “Sometimes duty is the death of love,” Tyrion retorts. “You are the shield who guards the realms of man.”Tyrion is asking Jon to kill Daenerys, but Jon won’t have it. Tyrion asks what Daenerys will do to Jon, the rightful heir to the throne, and his sisters, who know he’s the rightful heir. Sansa will never bend the knee, he warns. “She doesn’t get to choose,” Jon says. “No, but you do,” Tyrion exclaims, “and you have to choose now.”People love talking smack about Game of Thrones, but this was an A+ scene. HBO, if you end up remaking the season, please leave this scene in. Game of Thrones 22 Share your voice Comments 57 Photos Tags Game of Thrones stars, from season 1 through today
The Supreme Court on Tuesday dismissed a petition filed by the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) to review the apex court’s order, in which it agreed with the recommendations of the Justice (retd) RM Lodha Committee. The recommendations, when implemented, would bring more transparency to the cricketing body.The BCCI, led by president Anurag Thakur, has said that implementing the recommendations could spell more problems for the cricketing body, including its expulsion from the International Cricket Council (ICC).In an affidavit filed with the apex court on Monday, Thakur had said of his conversation with ICC President Shashank Manohar: “When he was president of BCCI, he had taken a view that the Lodha panel recommendations of appointing a nominee of the CAG on the board’s Apex Council would amount to governmental interference and might invoke an action of suspension from ICC,” Thakur had said.The Lodha panel recommendations, it may be noted, include barring ministers and civil servants as well as those above 70 years of age from becoming BCCI office bearers. If implemented, this could end political presence in the BCCI.The current BCCI president, Anurag Thakur, is a Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) leader. Former BCCI chief Sharad Pawar is the founder of Nationalist Congress Party. He is a former Union Cabinet minister and the former chief minister of Maharashtra.The BCCI has also contested the one-state-one-vote proposal, which limits the voting power of traditionally more influential states and their selectors; and a cooling off period in its review petition in the Supreme Court.If and when the recommendations are implemented, Thakur and many others could be on their way out of the BCCI. However, Thakur could land a role in the ICC, with sources saying that the world cricketing body is keen on giving Thakur the chairmanship role in its development committee. He will succeed Manohar.
Swara Bhaskar, who has made her presence felt in the industry with Tanu Weds Manu and Raanjhanaa, is all set to push the boundaries again with Anarkali Aarawali.Swara plays a singer crooning double meaning songs in the journalist-turned-filmmaker Avinash Das’s movie.“Anarkali Aarawali is a challenging role because I play a singer who sings double meaning lewd songs and is very unapologetic about her sexuality. She considers herself an artist and her work an art. She is a foul mouthed and crass woman with fiery spirit. Also Read – A fresh blend of fame“But, she is still vulnerable in a volatile and violent world that sees women like her as mere objects. We also have to be as real as we can to the story and the context without becoming gimmicky or sleazy,” Swara said in an interview. The Prem Ratan Dhan Payo actor says not crossing the thin line between being sensual and sleazy was a tough task.“A script like this is a challenge because it’s the story of an orchestra singer from Bihar from the town called Aarah which very known for politics and crime.”“It is the story of Anarkali, who’s the small star of Aarah who sings double-meaning and lewd sort of songs in villages weddings or celebrations and how a certain incident happens with her and then her journey henceforth. It’s a brilliant script and a very challenging role.” Swara travelled to Aara to meet the local singers of the region and went through various diction workshops.
Dean Possenniskie, A+E Networks’ managing director for Europe, spoke to DTVE about growing audience reach, the importance of marketing and how to successfully extend existing channel brands.What are your strategic priorities?2012 has seen the strongest year ever of audience growth across our local channel portfolios. History in particular has grown more than 50% year-on-year in prime time audiences across key western European markets such as the UK, Germany and Italy. Continuing to reach our growing audiences in new ways will remain a priority for our local channels in 2013 and we will continue to invest in new interactive and social media products in 2013. Local commissioning is key to the local positioning and success of our channels. In 2012 we produced more local hours than ever before in Europe across History, Crime & Investigation Network and Bio, and plan to do even more in 2013. Crime and Investigation Network has proven a ratings success in recent launches in Spain, Holland and Poland – we aim to launch the channel into new markets across EMEA in 2013. We have exciting new channel brands in Lifetime and H2 that we are working to launch in Europe in 2013.Is the balance between free-to-air and pay TV revenues shifting?Across Europe we are seeing positive growth in our core pay TV business. Pay penetration is growing, Germany has been a highlight as both DTH and cable subscriber numbers grow, while we see very strong growth in CEE markets such as Poland. We manage a complimentary free-to-air content distribution business alongside our pay channels and are seeing greater demand than ever for our programming.Are you seeing much success from alternative revenue streams?We operate successful local advertising businesses across key markets such as the UK, Spain, Germany and Italy. 2012 has seen the creation of local advertising windows on both History and Crime & Investigation in Poland and has already emerged into a significant revenue stream. We have an active home entertainment distribution business in Europe with direct partnerships and licensing deals in place throughout the region.How are A+E Networks’ brand values communicated?We work hand-in-hand with the marketing, on-air, digital and programming teams from our joint ventures and licensing partners to ensure that locally produced trade and consumer materials appeal to local tastes and cultures, while adhering to the brand proposition. We firmly believe that nothing beats face-to-face communication, so representatives from our corporate office in New York travel frequently to meet with the local teams, and the local teams send reps to New York to meet with their US counterparts. We also hold a yearly conference with representatives from our channels around the world to talk about what’s new for the brands, share success stories and exchange ideas.What marketing efforts have you undertaken with local partners? It is critical for programming providers to utilise their brands and content to help drive value for the pay TV platform. Our expertise is connecting with consumers through compelling content, and by utilising this connection to help our partners sell their products and services, we derive mutually beneficial results for our businesses. We’ve done this successfully in a number of markets. In the UK, BSkyB utilised The Kennedys to help drive subscriptions to the pay environment by targeting viewers on the free-to-air platform. This show delivered History UK’s highest ever audience. A+E Networks UK partnered with Ziggo to announce the launch of Crime & Investigation in the market. Ziggo utilised the launch to drive awareness of the package and increase subscriptions. They promoted it internally through their call centres and staff trainings and externally through their retail stores and platform promotional inventory.What are the risks of developing spin-off versions of core channel brands?The biggest risk to developing a spin-off version of a core brand is for the new brand to be viewed as a ‘lite’ version of the original, and that you water down your core brand if the spin-off voice is not distinct. But it can work. As History has catapulted into one of the leading pay TV brands in the US, we saw some opportunities in the landscape that we could leverage. We transitioned our History International (HI) brand to H2 last year, and we built off the success of HI with an increased investment in original programmes that allow viewers to immerse themselves more deeply into topics they enjoy on History. The strategy worked from go. We did not see a drop in viewership from History. In fact the channel has continued its growth streak, while H2 has built upon the HI audience significantly and has climbed the charts. Both brands are stronger than ever.How are plans to launch Lifetime internationally developing? Our strategy is to launch Lifetime in all markets worldwide. We had our first international launch for the brand in Canada in August. We are in active discussions with partners worldwide to launch the channel and expect to make more announcements later this year.When does it make sense to localise programming?A channel brand such as History can present strong local stories, heritage and characters, which we have invested in more heavily than ever in 2012. It’s important that we have strong distribution in a market backed by a talented local team as we have done in markets such as the UK, Germany and Spain.