With Titans done, there’s still Predators, NCAA tournament in Nashville, SEC Women’s Tournament, more

The Titans introduced Mike Vrabel as their new head coach Monday at Saint Thomas Sports Park. With the coaching drama out of the way, it's time for sports fans to turn their focus on what lies ahead on the calendar.Here are five things Nashville sports fans have to look forward to: New soccer team kicks offNashville was awarded a Major League Soccer franchise in December. That team, however, won't start playing until 2019 or 2020. More: Nashville SC: Everything you need to know about the MLS and USL More: Nashville moves forward with bid to be 2026 FIFA World Cup host site In the meantime, fans can watch Nashville SC, a United Soccer League franchise that will start play in its inaugural season in March at First Tennessee Park.Nashville SC will play 18 home games, including a friendly match Feb. 10 against Atlanta United FC from the MLS at First Tennessee Park. More: Nashville SC releases inaugural United Soccer League schedule   The regular season begins March 17 with a match at Louisville City FC. The home USL opener is March 24 against the Pittsburgh Riverhounds.For tickets, visit nashvillesc.com/tickets. SEC women's tournament back in townThe SEC Women's Basketball Tournament returns to Bridgestone Arena from Feb. 28-March 4.It is part of an agreement the SEC entered into with the Nashville Sports Council in 2015 to play its men's or women's basketball tournaments at Bridgestone Arena each year for 12 consecutive years.  More: What's wrong with Vanderbilt women's basketball? Nashville holds the record for the top two attended SEC women's tournaments with a total of 51,036 fans in 2008 and 46,130 in 2012.Each of the five previous tournaments played in Nashville is in the top eight of SEC women's tournament attendance.For tickets, visit 1.ticketmaster.com/event/1B0052FFA043437D#efeat4212. NCAA Tournament at Bridgestone ArenaNashville will serve as host for the first and second Continue Reading

Trump hits familiar themes in Nashville speech: Anthem protests, his 2016 win

ATLANTA — President Trump entered 2018 much as he left 2017: talking to his core supporters about 2016. To a largely adoring crowd of farmers in Tennessee’s capital, Trump crowed about winning 306 votes in the electoral college, bragged about his accomplishments and cast himself as the leader of a movement restoring respect for the national anthem, the American flag and the forgotten man — and as a politician still very much on the campaign trail. “Oh, are you happy you voted for me. You are so lucky I gave you that privilege,” Trump said to the Nashville crowd, in an unusual explanation of public service. Back in Washington, Trump’s White House has faced damaging revelations from a new tell-all book that paints the president and his administration in a deeply unflattering light. He is dealing with news that special counsel Robert S. Mueller III may want to interview him. His White House is grappling with the recriminations of a nasty split with former chief strategist Stephen K. Bannon after his comments slamming the Trump children and the president. Trump’s poll numbers remain below 40 percent in most surveys. On Air Force One over Kentucky, Trump spokesman Hogan Gidley parried a number of uncomfortable questions: Would the president sit for a psychiatric exam during his physical next week? No. He is “sharp as a tack,” Gidley said. “And brilliant.” President Trump speaks during the annual American Farm Bureau Federation conference in Nashville on Monday. (Luke Sharrett/Bloomberg) Was Trump growing lazy and watching television until 11 a.m., as the website Axios reported Sunday night, while deeming it “executive time?” Gidley said that the question was “ludicrous” and that the president has a “yeoman” work ethic. Asked about claims by CNN officials that senior Trump aide Stephen Miller was escorted out of their set Sunday after a contentious Continue Reading

Wild in Nashville: Are you Bruce Boudreau? Where’s your bandage?

NASHVILLE, Tenn. – Sporting a bandage on the left side of his head, Wild coach Bruce Boudreau was in good spirits before Saturday night’s game in Nashville, the second half of a back-to-back set with the Predators. “Isn’t Christmas soon?” Boudreau said with a laugh when asked how he was feeling. “I’m fine.” Boudreau took an errant puck to the head late in the third period of the Wild’s 4-2 victory over the Predators on Friday night. The coach said a team physician closed up the wound with seven stitches, but the patient made things difficult by trying to watch the TV broadcast of the game while receiving medical attention. After being patched up, Boudreau made it back to the bench for the conclusion of the game. A case of mistaken identity took place in the media room before the game when one of Nashville’s off-ice officials asked Fox Sports North’s Kevin Gorg, thinking he was Boudreau, where his bandage was. HOME-AND-HOME Games on back-to-back nights are not uncommon in the NHL — the Wild play 15 such sets this season — but a home-and-home with the same opponent is fairly unusual. In fact, the Friday-Saturday games hosting and visiting the Predators mark the only time this season that the Wild play the same opponent on consecutive nights. Even in the first half of the season, Boudreau thought the home-and-home series had a postseason-type feel to it. “They are a lot easier to scout in that respect,” he said. “It makes it more of a playoff-type scenario.” Nashville coach Peter Laviolette agreed. “It’s more like a playoff atmosphere where you play an opponent then you break it down and figure out maybe things that you can do better and how you can be better the next night,” he said. Frequently in the case of back-to-back games, a team arrives late in the evening or early in the morning in the city of the second game. In this Continue Reading

11 best and craziest sports upsets in 2017

Assuming your team isn't on the losing end of them, upsets are some of the best parts of sports.And in 2017, we saw some great ones.Here are the 11 best, based on rankings, margins of victory, shock value and season implications moving forward.NFLWeek 7: Chicago Bears over Carolina Panthers, 17-3Going into the final two weeks of the regular season, the Bears only have four wins - although that's actually better than this time last year. In stunning fashion, one of them came in October against the Panthers, who are currently tied for first in the NFC South.In this surprising win from Chicago, the Bears' defense did all the heavy lifting. It kept Cam Newton and his team from finding the end zone while rookie safety Eddie Jackson was responsible for all - ALL - of Chicago's touchdowns. In the first half, Jackson returned a fumble for an incredible 75-yard touchdown, and then came up with a 76-yard pick six. Just crazy. He was the first player in NFL history to have two defensive touchdowns of 75 yards or more in a game.College FootballUnranked Iowa over No. 6 Ohio State, 55-24Weeks later, it's still hard to comprehend how this happened. Going into this Week 10 game, if Iowa was going to win, it seemed like it would come from a game-deciding field goal or Hail Mary, but no one could have predicted what happened: The Buckeyes walked away with a 31-point loss on their resume. For Ohio State, this failure is a glaring reason why the team isn't in the College Football Playoff.Unranked Syracuse over No. 2 Clemson, 27-24This Week 7 upset was bonkers. It was Clemson's "biggest upset loss in the last 40 seasons." But the Tigers were able to recover from it, and they're still the No. 1 team going into the playoff. Still, it's gotta feel pretty incredible for the Orange to know it handed the defending national champions their only loss of the season (so far).MLBALDS: New York Yankees over Cleveland Indians, 3-2The Indians were fun to watch this season. They amassed an incredible Continue Reading

Cost study for proposed MLS stadium in Nashville questioned

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) — An economics professor has called into question an impact study used by the city of Nashville in a pitch for a Major League Soccer stadium.The Tennessean reports the study failed to take into account that sales tax revenue redirected to pay off stadium debt might put a strain on city and state coffers. The financing package approved for the stadium could use more than $3 million of annual sales tax revenue — funds that could be used for other purposes, such as schools, roads or the hiring of about 50 police officers.The analysis written by the University of Tennessee, based on some basic assumptions provided by an MLS owners group, did not include a so-called substitution effect — what happens after public funds are used to pay off the stadium debt and fans use their limited entertainment dollars to attend soccer games, according to the newspaper."It doesn't seem to be the kind of objective appraisal that the city would need to render a believable opinion on why they should spend public money subsidizing the stadium," said Robert Baade, an economics professor at Lake Forest College in Chicago.The Metro Nashville City Council last week approved a $275 million financing package for the new stadium, including $225 million in revenue bonds for the stadium itself and an additional $50 million in bonds for renovations and improvements around the stadium at the current fairgrounds.MLS is expected to announce two winning bids later this year, bringing the league to 26 teams.The newspaper said under the plan, team owners will pay $9 million annually toward the $13 million annual debt payment. Nashville Mayor Megan Barry said public investment will be limited to $25 million for stadium infrastructure, plus any annual shortfall. The analysis estimates $77.7 million in ongoing annual economic impact and $15.1 million in sales tax revenue.Study co-author Lawrence Kessler, a University of Tennessee research assistant professor, said no Continue Reading

NHL commish Gary Bettman talks expansion, Denna Laing donation at All-Star Game in Nashville

NASHVILLE - NHL commissioner Gary Bettman said the league's executive committee had not come to a decision yet on expansion bids for prospective new franchises in Quebec City and Las Vegas. While Bettman could not provide a deadline for a decision, he did say the committee will make a recommendation to the NHL's Board of Governors "over the next few months" on whether to add organizations to the 30-team league. "The executive committee ... met I think two weeks ago," Bettman said. "The process is continuing and we're not ready to make a recommendation. That's something that will be done over the next few months, and that recommendation can be no teams, one team or two teams." Bettman reiterated that an expansion franchise would join the league at earliest for the 2017-18 season, though that could be pushed back depending on several factors in the involved process. The Board of Governors, which met briefly Saturday morning, is not scheduled to meet again until June. But Bettman said that will have no bearing on when a decision is made. He can call an emergency Board meeting to cast a vote whenever the committee has its recommendation. JOHN SCOTT: HOW NHL TRIED TO KEEP ME OUT OF ALL-STAR GAME CITY OF ANGELS IN 2017 Bettman announced that the NHL and the Los Angeles Kings will host the 2017 All-Star Game at Staples Center in L.A. The fan turnout just for Saturday's skills competition in Nashville was overwhelmingly positive, which is exactly what the NHL hopes for when it hosts its midseason showcase in non-traditional hockey markets. CAP-OLOGY Bettman could not answer what the NHL salary cap will look like next season due to the fluctuation and volatility of the Canadian dollar. The cap currently is $71.4 million and the NHL roughly estimated in December that it could rise about $3 million but that is no guarantee. WELL DONE, NHL The league is donating $200,000 to assist Boston Pride forward Denna Continue Reading

Baseball’s party in Nashville is over, but plenty of big free agents still left on market

David Price, Zack Greinke and Jason Heyward have found new baseball homes, but there is plenty of intriguing talent left on the free-agent market, including perhaps the game’s best slugger, another potential ace and the man who helped ignite the Mets’ offense after a midseason trade. The Winter Meetings in Nashville are over, but Chris Davis, Johnny Cueto and Yoenis Cespedes are among the big names that will keep baseball’s Hot Stove burning this winter. Need an outfielder? Justin Upton and Alex Gordon join Cespedes as elite options. If their price tags skew too high for your favorite team, follow along as the club shops in a less-expensive market, for a player such as Denard Span. MCCARRON: METS FALLING BEHIND AS CUBS MAKING THE BIG MOVES Here’s a look at 12 of the best remaining free agents, in no particular order: CHRIS DAVIS, 1B/OF Davis, who turns 30 in March, is a top power threat who has slugged 159 homers over the past four seasons and won two AL homer crowns. The Orioles were trying to keep him, but reportedly pulled their seven-year, $150 million offer off the table. Stay tuned. YOENIS CESPEDES, OF The Mets say it’s “unlikely” they re-sign the slugger who led them to the playoffs last season. But Cespedes could find a fit with the Giants or Angels as his market develops late — at least publicly. It’ll be interesting to see how long his contract is considering he turned 30 in October. HARPER: METS SHOULD TEST YOENIS CESPEDES WATERS JOHNNY CUETO, RHP (Agreed to six-year, $130 million contract with Giants on Dec. 14) He supposedly turned down a six-year, $120-million deal from the Diamondbacks, who then signed Zack Greinke instead. But Greinke’s departure from Los Angeles could’ve opened the way for Cueto to go there. He’d complement ace Clayton Kershaw — Cueto has a 3.30 lifetime ERA and was Cy Young runner-up to Kershaw in 2014. ALEX Continue Reading

NHL rights a wrong as league unveils jerseys for All-Star game in Nashville

The NHL All-Star Game was a gong show last season in Columbus, but this year’s Jan. 31 game in Nashville already has made one improvement to try and re-establish legitimacy: The game jerseys will actually resemble hockey sweaters, rather than space suits laced with kryptonite. The league on Wednesday morning released images of black and white jerseys for this year’s All-Star Game that are each laced smartly with the gold color and secondary logo of the host Nashville Predators. The crest at the neck represents Tennessee’s state flag and Nashville’s Music City heritage simultaneously, with a guitar pick shape that incorporates the three stars of the state’s three grand divisions – West, Middle and East. Reebok’s newest installment knocks last year’s jerseys out of the park. The Columbus sweaters featured hideous silver and lime green designs only fit for a Superman villain who had gotten dressed in the dark. SEE IT: BRUINS GOALIE FEATURES TOM BRADY ON MASK ACTOR BILL CAMP NARRATES 'ROAD TO THE NHL WINTER CLASSIC' This year’s game still has a long way to go to prove it won’t be a joke, though, after the NHL’s voting process allowed fans to select Arizona Coyotes slow-footed enforcer John Scott as captain of the Pacific Division team. Fans are laughing all the way to Jan. 31, when Scott will be forced to trudge up and down ice in the new three-on-three All-Star tournament format that will gas even the fastest and best-conditioned athletes. Scott has no chance to sustain his energy or even to be competitive, so perhaps the NHL will unveil a special red All-Star jersey just for Scott that exempts him from the action. FOLLOW THE DAILY NEWS SPORTS ON FACEBOOK. "LIKE" US HERE. Or maybe he’ll even play goal. By the way, remember when Glen Sather’s big 2012 deadline trade was a fifth-round pick to the Continue Reading

Penguins coach Dan Bylsma selected to lead U.S. Olympic hockey team in Sochi, Russia

Dan Bylsma has never coached hockey at the international level. The Pittsburgh Penguins coach does, however, know how to win while juggling a roster dotted with superstars. That was good enough for USA Hockey to select Bylsma as coach of the U.S. Olympic men’s hockey team at the 2014 Winter Olympics on Saturday, hoping the free-flowing style he teaches translates well to the wider rinks that await in Sochi, Russia in February. The 42-year-old Michigan native didn’t hide from the glaring hole in his resume moments after being introduced. When asked how he was going to build on his limited experience in international coaching, Bylsma quickly offered a correction. “I don’t have any experience,” Bylsma said with a laugh. “So ‘very little’ is wrong.” The next eight months should take care of that as the U.S. vies for its first gold medal since the “Miracle on Ice” in 1980. The U.S. won silver in 2002 at Salt Lake City and was runner-up to Canada in Vancouver three years ago, losing 3-2 in overtime when Penguins star Sidney Crosby beat U.S. goaltender Ryan Miller 7:40 into the extra session. Bylsma, who won the 2009 Stanley Cup with Crosby, was watching the game from a restaurant when he saw his captain take a pass from Jarome Iginla and race in on Miller to produce one of the most iconic moments in the history of the sport. “I got off of my chair because I had a pretty good notion he was going to put that home for the win,” Bylsma said. Bylsma’s appointment was announced before the NHL has officially decided to take a break next season to allow its players to participate. NHL officials will meet with the players’ association, the International Olympic Committee and International Ice Hockey Federation in New York on Monday to iron out an agreement that would free up its players to compete in Sochi. Once approved, Bylsma will have to find a way to Continue Reading

John Ingram buys majority stake in Nashville SC, aligning efforts for MLS bid

Businessman John Ingram, who is leading an effort to bring Major League Soccer to Nashville, has now purchased a majority stake in Nashville SC, the city's lower-league team set to begin play next year.It makes Ingram majority owner of Nashville SC. And it means that Nashville's MLS bid is now aligned with the United Soccer League's Nashville SC, likely strengthening Nashville's candidacy for one of four MLS expansion spots.“Our effort to bring Major League Soccer to Nashville and the mission of DMD Soccer are now jointly committed to elevate and expand professional soccer in Music City,” Ingram, chairman of Ingram Industries Inc., said in a statement Thursday announcing the acquisition.“We plan to give Nashville SC fans an exceptional soccer experience, starting with this season’s debut of the organization’s PDL (Premier Development League) team, which will lead to a successful debut in the USL as we continue to grow the game in Nashville at every level.”The billionaire Ingram, under the entity Nashville Holdings LLC, acquired majority interest in DMD Soccer, the ownership arm of Nashville SC founded by David Dill, president of LifePoint, and Nashville entrepreneurs Chris Redhage and Marcus Whitney.The team did not release details of the financial transaction.For months, talks had swirled about a potential partnership between Nashville SC and the Ingram-led MLS Steering Committee, which includes a long list of Middle Tennessee business heavyweights who support MLS in Nashville. Presenting a united soccer front is seen as a boost for Nashville's MLS chances.“John Ingram has a long history supporting sports in Nashville," Dill said. "He will be a driving force in Nashville SC’s ownership group as we move our vision forward, which is to provide professional soccer to the region’s passionate fans. Nashville SC has grown from the grassroots, and now John’s commitment Continue Reading