A Look into Eric Staal’s Transition with the Rangers

Last week, the New York Rangers acquired Center, Eric Staal from the Carolina Hurricanes. The Rangers sent two second round picks and a highly talented prospect Aleski Saarela.  Since then, Staal and his family have been adjusting to the big apple. He is currently looking for a place in Manhattan for his wife and three boys to stay for the next few months. The reason I say only few months, and not long term, is because his future is up in the air. Staal will be a free agent after the season and how much he contributes to the Rangers down the stretch and into the postseason will play a big factor if he remains in New York.

Staal has joined his younger brother, Marc Staal, a defenseman on the Rangers and the two look to form a solid duo NY Rangersgoing forward. After spending over a decade with a the same team, a change like this can be extremely overwhelming, especially for his family. Recently, in a statement, Staal told the New York post that “When you’re somewhere for a long time, it’s different coming in to a different environment and just trying to figure everything out”. Since being traded, Staal has spent some extra time at practice trying to get gain some familiarity with the players on the ice and it has paid off. His game has picked up of late, especially in the a game against the New York Islanders on Sunday. The Rangers lost, but he scored a goal and was able to provide a spark on the offensive end, something that can pay large dividends once the playoffs kickoff in April.

Head Coach, Alain Vigneault, has spoken highly about the former Captain since being acquired. He believes Staal will play a large role in the team going forward. After the Rangers 4-2 victory over the Sabres last night, Vigneault said “I think the more he feels comfortable, the better he plays, the more he’s going to get involved with our group, the better off it’s going to be for everybody.”

Over the past few weeks, the Rangers organization has been very helpful in making the transition to New York go smoothly as possible for Staal and his family. This isn’t an easy task for any athlete especially to be traded in the middle of the season. However, with Staal having his younger brother around I think it will help the transition process much easier and he will make an impact for the Rangers come playoff time.


Top 3 Reasons Why College Athletes Should get Paid

Should college athletes get paid? While experts and athletes alike fall on either side of this question, there has been major discussion on what the NCAA intends to in the future. While nothing is set in stone, there are few key reasons as to why it might be a good idea to for college athletes to start making some money.Sports_icon

It’s a Full-Time job

Typically, College Athletes devote around 40 hours a week (which is a typical American work week) to his or her sport and that does not include work done in the classroom or hours doing homework. Another important thing to consider is that these athletes have to maintain a certain grade point average (gpa) to be able to stay with the team during the season and keep their scholarship. It can add a lot of stress on the athlete both mentally and physically.

Help Manage Money

If student athletes would get paid it would be a great way to teach them how to manage their money during college and beyond. These useful tools can be extremely beneficial for students to grasp the importance of having a savings accounts early on so when they graduate college they are not faced with the financial struggles we so often hear about recent graduates.. Whether they go on to make millions playing professional or chose to pursue different dreams, these skills are both practical and transferable for student athletes.

Raise the Level of Play

Some suggest that paying student athletes would raise their level of performance. Many believe this can ruin the competitiveness of college sports, but if we think about professional athletes, and how their pay scale ranges significantly, this argument really goes nowhere. In the professional ranks, when athletes perform at a high level they are compensated with a salary increase and a bonus. Now, for those young and hungry college students who give everything they have one the field already, why wouldn’t you think it boost their work ethic even more? If students did not have to worry about their finances, they could spend more time focusing on practicing for their specific sport and doing well in school.

It is still to be seen if the NCAA will eventually pursue this idea, but I can tell you one thing, it will be constantly discussed among players, coaches and NCAA officials for years to come.


Top 4 Knicks of All-Time

The New York Knicks are one of the greatest franchises in NBA History. Over the last 70 years the Knicks have had their share of legendary players put on the blue and orange uniform. Here, in not particular order, are the top four Knicks of in the history of basketball.


Patrick Ewing
There was a lot of great buzz surrounding the 7-footer from Georgetown University before he even stepped foot on an NBA court. Many knew Ewing would be the next star in the NBA, but the question was, what team would draft him? In the 1985 NBA Draft, the Knicks selected Ewing with number one overall pick. It was a move that would change the franchise forever. After being drafted, there was immediate pressure on Ewing to perform at a high level, but that did not faze him as he had a terrific first season and took home the Rookie of the Year Award. During his 15 year career, he helped guide the Knicks to two NBA Finals appearances and was elected to 11 NBA All-Star games. He is the leading scorer in Knicks history and after he retired the Knicks retired his famous jersey number,33, at Madison Square Garden in front of a sell-out crowd.

Walt Frazier
Frazier was arguably the best point guard to ever put on a Knicks uniform. He helped guide the Knicks to two NBA championships in 1970 and 1973. The crowning moment of his career as a Knick was in Game 7 of the 1970 NBA Finals against the Los Angeles Lakers. With an NBA title on the line, Frazier scored 36 points, dished out 19 assists and grabbed seven rebounds to help the Knicks capture their first NBA Championship in franchise history. Frazier was elected to seven All-Star games and still holds the Knicks record for most assists with 5, 040.

Willis Reed
Reed spent his entire ten year NBA career with the New York Knicks. After being drafted by the Knicks in 1964 he quickly made a name for himself as a fierce, dominating and physical force on both ends of the court. Throughout his decade-long tenure, he averaged a double-double in seven out of ten seasons. He was also known as one of the clutchest players in Knicks history. A highlight of Reed’s career came in Game 7 of the 1970 NBA Finals. Reed had multiple injuries that kept him out of Game 6 and was considered unlikely to give it a go in Game 7. However, Reed’s heart and dedication to the game showed as he surprised fans by limping through the tunnel and onto the court, prompting a standing ovation by Knicks fans. Once the game tipped off, he would score the Knick first two field goals on his first two shot attempts.

Allan Houston
Houston might be considered one of the most underrated men to ever put on the blue and orange jersey. He was one of best shooters the Knicks have ever had during his 11 seasons with the team. Houston was elected to two NBA All-Star teams and helped guide the Knicks to an NBA Finals Appearance in 1999. One of Houston’s best moments as a Knick came in Game 5 of the 1999 Eastern Conference Quarterfinals against the Miami Heat. With the Knicks trailing by one point and 4.5 seconds remaining,their season on the line. Houston hit a running jumper to knock off the number one seeded Miami Heat to advance to the Eastern Conference Semi-Finals. To this day, this is regarded as one best moments in Knicks history.

Click here to find out where the rest of the Knicks rank

Super Bowl 50… What to Expect – Part 2

To read part one of this post, click here!

Butterfinger. Butterfinger will be getting their slot during the third quarter of of the big game and they were able to let the world know during incredible skydiving stunt. How awesome is that? Recently, Butterfinger has generated a ton buzz due to their unprecedented offering NFL players up to $50K to cover fines from excessive celebrating during the game. The man behind this controversial idea is no other than former NFL wide receiver, Terrell Owens, who had his share of penalties and fines during his playing days due to some of his extraordinary celebration routines.

Colgate. Colgate will be airing right before the ending of the first half. This unique add will be pushing the idea of saving water while brushing teeth, a theme that rings close to home to California residents who suffered through an unprecedented drought during 2015.

Halftime Show & Ticket Prices

Halftime shows at the Superbowl have always been a been a huge spectacle, drawing in millions of viewers. Hoping to top last years record breaking performance, which drew in 115.3 million viewers to watch Katy Perry, Left Shark, and surprise guest Missy Elliot. This year, Coldplay and the Queen Bee herself, Beyonce, are slated to perform and anticipated to smash last years ratings.

Currently, the average ticket price is is around $6,000, with the cheapest sitting at about $4,000 (binoculars not included). However most aren’t jumping at the chance to trade their homes for seats at the Super Bowl, and will choose to watch it at home surrounded by family friends and plenty of buffalo chicken dip.

But for those who really need to be front-and-center, a measly $30,000 will get you in the VIP section at the 50 yard line.

Super Bowl 50 will be great event to watch as there is a lot at stake. With two incredible teams, one boasting the best defense, while the other boasts the best offense, and a possible storybook ending for Peyton Manning, this could be the most incredible Super Bowl yet.

Super Bowl 50… What to Expect

Super Bowl 50 is finally set after both the Denver Broncos and Carolina Panthers won their conference championship games on January 24th. The game will be played at Levi’s Stadium, home of the San Francisco 49ers.ball-674372_960_720

The theme of the upcoming Super Bowl is new school versus old school, with Cam Newton, a young rising star on the Panthers will taking on the future Hall of Famer, Peyton Manning of the Broncos. This may very well be Peyton’s final game after a injury-riddled season. While we know the Super Bowl, it’s halftime show, and the creative commercials peppered in between always draws in a ton of viewers, the buzz amplified after these two teams punched their ticket to Santa Clara.

Many brands have already given glimpses about the ads they will be releasing on Super Bowl Sunday. Do you want to know what the average cost of 30 second slot during the the Super Bowl is? Just a mere $5 million. It is unbelievable how much these ads pay to get on the air.

Each year, television networks CBS, FOX, and NBC alternate airing the Super Bowl. This year, CBS is scheduled to host it and recently announced they wouldn’t be surprised if some ads would pay upwards of $6 million for a time slot.

Here are few ads that will make their way to the biggest sporting event in America.

Acura. You will be able to view this Acura ad during first quarter of the game, so you won’t have to wait too long for it. Acura will be making big announcement as they are launching a new automobile that should get consumers hyped: the NSX Supercar. Acura is hoping it will be one of the hottest cars out on the market, capitolizing off of the Super Bowl in order to show the world how incredible it really is. According to I4U News, this will be the most expensive car ever advertised in a Super Bowl ad.

Budweiser. Budweiser was a big hit the during the past few Super Bowls because America fell love with the gorgeous labrador puppies that were shown on their ads. However, say bye-bye to the puppies this year and say hello to comedy powerhouses Amy Schumer and Seth Rogan. I know it might be devastating news for the fans of the cuter things in life, but the puppies have no impact on beer sales and therefore, it is time for a change.

Stay tuned for part two of this post, where I talk about more ads to look for during the Super Bowl, the halftime show, and ticket prices!


Wayne Chrebet, Business Man

Wayne Chrebet, who played for the New York Jets from 1996-2003 made a transition from wide receiver to the finance world as soon as he retired from football.  He was a fan favorite throughout  his successful Jets career. Last December, he was inducted into the New York Jets Ring of Honor during halftime of a Monday Night Football game against the Miami Dolphins.

In 2009, Chrebet joined Morgan Stanley as a financial advisor and would work out of their Red Bank office in New Jersey. After four years of working there he would then join Barclays Capital as a financial advisor and Assistant Vice President working in New York City.  This opportunity came to him when he met Ed Moldaver, whom was a Senior Vice President at Morgan Stanley at the time. Moldaver liked what he saw in Crebert and the two would then make their way to the Barclays. Moldaver, Lee and Chrebet Group would be the team they started at Barclays together and it was regarded as one of the top teams in Barclays.

Their goal was to be committed to helping clients manage their earnings and show that opportunities will soon arise because of this.

During Chrebet’s playing days with the New York Jets was when he started  to think about his future after football and what he would do with his money. Bill Parcells, who was his head coach at the time gave him some great advice to start putting money away early on his NFL career. Parcells said that the football does not last forever and you need to be able to have a backup plan after your playing days were over. Parcells is right, it doesn’t hurt to start thinking about it sooner than later.  Chrebet also discussed finance with many of teammates and started paying close attention CNBC regularly.

He would make yet another big move during his finance career as he recently has left Barclays Wealth Management and is joining Stifel Financial Corp. This a major move for Chrebet as he will be leaving a management team with $2 billion in assets. He has enjoyed countless success over the years and I believe he will continue to with his new job.


DraftKings and FanDuel Continue Under Fire

The new booming entertainment for sports fans has been daily fantasy.  Daily fantasy, lead by industry leaders DraftKings and FanDuel, is a game users can play everyday by simply setting a lineup with players who are playing that day with a salary cap and  compete against other users different player combinations.  The entries cost money and users who put together lineups that produce the most points ultimately win money.  Now is this gambling?

FanDuel and DraftKingsDaily Fantasy had been operating for the past few years across the United States with an exception of a few states but once a DraftKings employee won $350,000 while playing on FanDuel, people began to speculate if the DraftKings had an unfair advantage.  There is data within each site that allows you to know what percentage a player is being selected in a set game or tournament.  While the data varies from game to game, it still is fairly consistent.  That said, could an employee from one site play on another having a better idea of what good players are not being selected?

The DraftKings employee was proven innocent of any cheating but the scandal has since left a sour taste in the daily fantasy industry, especially Attorney General Eric Schneiderman of New York.  Eric Schneiderman called to have daily fantasy halted in New York claiming it’s a form of gambling.  This has both FanDuel and DraftKings up in arms and fighting the ruling.  While the two sites originally planned to allow players play through, FanDuel recently temporarily banned play in New York for it’s users.  DraftKings has hired David Boies as their attorney during this legal process.

Boies is a great hire having had one of the most prolific history in law.  He’s represented the NBA Players Association during the 2011 lockout season, Napster during their infringement days, George Steinbrenner when he was suing MLB and even Al Gore in Bush v. Gore to name a few of his cases.  Boies is confident he can turn things around for DraftKings.  How long will this take?

Not many know but it should be interesting to see it play out.

The Mets in a Cap Crunch

From 2004 to 2011, the New York Mets consistently operated with a team payroll over $100 million with it getting as high as $138 million in 2008. However, Fred Wilpon, the majority owner of the New York Mets was caught up in the Bernie Madoff ponzi scheme. With money tied up and or lost, the Mets realized they couldn’t spend the way they had in previous seasons. The 2012 payroll dipped from $120 million in 2011 to $93 million. From $93 million the payroll continue to nosedive $73 million in 2013, good for 8th lowest in the majors. Coming off a great run that ended with a loss in the World Series to the Kansas City Royals, the Mets will do what they can to keep the team together but may ultimately have to let great pieces of the team walk in free agency. Let’s take a look at who some of these players are.

2B Daniel Murphy

Daniel Murphy

Daniel Murphy (Getty Images)

Murphy has always been a great above average player for the Mets. He’s not the type of guy that will belt 30 home runs or swipe 30 bases. Murphy will give you a contact bat in the lineup with the ability to play second, third, and first base. Murphy made $8 million in the final year of his contract with the Mets and hit .281 with 14 home runs and 73 runs batted in. He did add 38 doubles and struck out just 38 times. Murphy’s season did not necessarily increase his value that he has portrayed over the last few seasons but his postseason was one for the ages. Murphy hit .328 with 7 home runs and 11 runs batted in during the postseason including a home run in 6 straight games. He won the MVP of the NLCS against the Dodgers but his dominance cooled off in the World Series. He did not hit well and made costly errors. Murphy will ultimately look for a deal in the neighborhood of 5 years $60 million. At that price tag, the Mets will likely let him walk.

OF Yoenis Cespedes

Yoenis Cespedes

Yoenis Cespedes (Getty Images)

Cespedes was acquired by the Mets in a trade deadline deal. Cespedes changed the demeanor of the Mets and was so hot down the stretch that although spending under half a season in the NL, many thought he could win the NL MVP award. In 102 games and 403 at-bats with the Detroit Tigers, Cespedes hit .293 with 18 home runs and 61 runs batted in. In 57 games and 230 games with the Mets, Cespedes hit .287 with 17 home runs and 44 runs batted in. In a contract year, he put together his best season together with a line of .291 with 35 home runs and 105 runs batted in. After making $3.73 million this year, Cespedes will be looking for a deal that far exceeds that annually. At age 30, he’ll likely demand a contract that looks something like 7 years and $145 million. This number again is something the Mets of today don’t necessarily want to or can get caught up in. Cespedes will likely sign with another team despite an extremely strong stint with the Mets.

Making Sense of the NBA Salary Cap

In the NBA, there are many ways to get creative and maximize the talent you put on a roster. The NBA has a salary cap but it is flexible. For example, the cap for this season is $70 million. Now, you don’t need to spend all of that. You, at minimum, need to spend $63 million. That $63 million represents the league minimum (90%) of the cap in which a team can spend. Should a team choose not to, (cough) the Philadelphia 76ers (cough), they’ll have to send a check to the NBA at season’s end for the difference.basketball and money

There are ways to however go over the salary cap. Let’s say you finish a season with a team payroll of $70 million, right at the cap. Now you have 2 players whose contracts are expiring and are looking to increase the amount they make on a yearly basis. Provided you contain their bird rights, you have the opportunity to bring them back and go over the salary cap. Teams that are under the cap are given a mid-level exception. This allows teams to sign a player for $5 million annually for 4 years and take them over the cap. Teams already over the cap are given a mini mid-level exception valued at 3 years and $3 million per year. Teams are also still allowed to draft players and sign them if already over the cap. Once over the cap, the only way to bring players onto the roster is through mid-level/mini mid-level, the draft, or signing players to the veteran’s minimum which is approximately $1.3 million.

There is a catch for going over. For every dollar over the salary cap, teams are penalized approximately three times the amount over. In 2013-2014, the Brooklyn Nets were all in having brought in Paul Pierce, Kevin Garnett and Jason Terry to add to the expensive core of Deron Williams, Joe Johnson and Brook Lopez. With the salary cap that season set at approximately $71 million, the Nets had exceeded the cap with a team payroll just north of $100 million. That meant because they were over by about $30 million, they would have to pay the penalty. Some teams are willing to do this if one, ownership signs off on it, and 2, the front office believes this team has what it takes to win it all. The Nets luxury tax bill was somewhere around $80 million which ultimately meant that the Nets roster that year cost them $180+ million.

Next summer, the NBA salary cap is set to skyrocket due to a lucrative television deal. I have no doubt that all of this will become even more confusing than it already is. We’ll just have to wait and see what kind of new rules, regulations and restrictions the NBA can come up with.

On Behalf of the New York Knicks…

New York is famous for their pizza. A crunchy base with just the slightest bit of chew, subtly sweet and spicy tomato sauce, and the perfect layer of gooey, cheesey goodness. An ideal combination of elements ideal for fueling up before heading to Madison Square Garden or filling up empty tummies after long nights. Either way, the Knicks, like New York’s pizza, have seemingly got their recipe right for this seasons.

Let’s acknowledge the skill level of Carmelo Anthony, one of the top five best offensive players in the NBA. Despite returning to the court after healing from the worst injury of his career thus far, the 31-year old player doesn’t plan on leaving the New York team anytime soon.Pizza

And Robin Lopez; for his height, his rebound ability, occasional points, and great hair.

And the Knicks had a decent draft – while some may want to strongly disagree with me, it’s true. They chose players you can shoot, dribble, pass, and most importantly, block and defend any players they may have overlooked.

Led by president Phil Jackson, who coached the Chicago Bulls throughout six victorious championships from 1989 to 1999, he holds the highest winning percentage of any coach in the NBA: .704. And now that Melo has “bought into Phil’s vision,” according to Newsday, the seasoned star of the orange and blue New York team is ready to lead the team to playoffs alongside newly acquired players.

Ranked as the second most valuable team in the NBA by Forbes, and despite loosing 35 of their first 40 games last season, the team was still able to draw the largest television audience of any NBA team, averaging at 163,000 viewers per game.

Check out a recent post I wrote on my blog, Thoughts on Last Nights Game, in which I break down why the Knicks won’t be as disappointing as the past may indicate, the key reasons to still believe in the team and their players ability, despite profits dropping 45 percent last season and incurring a $36 million luxury tax bill.

I believe in the New York Knicks. I love the New York Knicks. They are just as much as staple in this great city as the slices of pizza, from the Greenwich village staples made famous by Louis C.K or the dollar-a-slice hole in the walls that keep half the people of this city running, the Knicks are hungry, and so am I.