Claus Andersen/Getty Images(NEW YORK) -- The New York Rangers were beat by the Tampa Bay Lightning in Game 7 on Friday night, with the Lightning advancing to the Stanley Cup Finals.
For the first time since 2004, the Lightning are headed to the Stanley Cup after beating out the Rangers in Game 7 of the Eastern Conference finals. This was the Rangers' first Game 7 loss on home ice at Madison Square Garden.
The Lightning will play either the Chicago Blackhawks or the Anaheim Ducks for the Championship. Both the Blackhawks and the Ducks face each other Saturday night for the Western Conference final.
The Stanley Cup Finals will begin on Wednesday night.
Lorenzo Bevilaqua / ESPN Images(OAKLAND, Calif.) -- Golden State Warriors guard Klay Thompson suffered a concussion during Game 5 of the NBA's Western Conference Finals on Wednesday.
The team website says that Thompson underwent neurological tests on Thursday and Friday in order to diagnose him. The all-star shooter will not return to the court until he is cleared using the league's concussion protocol guidelines, the Warriors said.
Fellow star Stephen Curry noted that the team was relatively fortunate to have plenty of time before the NBA Finals begin.
"Thankfully, we have a week off in between games for him to fully recover," Curry said. "He took a nice little blow to the head, so, I'm sure they want to be cautious and make sure he gets the recovery time he needs to get ready. Hopefully by next Thursday, he'll be ready to go."
The Warriors won an NBA-best 67 games this season, and just knocked off the Western Conference's second-seeded Houston Rockets.
They will face LeBron James' Cleveland Cavaliers in the NBA Finals beginning next week. It is not yet clear whether Thompson will be cleared to return to the court for Game 1 of that series.
Photo by Mike McGinnis/Getty Images(ORLANDO) -- The Orlando Magic have hired veteran coach Scott Skiles as the 12th head coach in franchise history on Friday.
According to the Magic's team website, General Manager Rob Hennigan said that Skiles "clearly distinguished himself as a tremendous fit." The Magic fired head coach Jacque Vaughn in February, replacing him with interim coach James Borrego.
While Borrego was considered for the full-time job, Hennigan said that the front office was looking for someone "with a solid resume of NBA head coaching experience, great leadership qualities, a motivating communication sytle, and someone with a strong strategic acumen."
Skiles has led the Phoenix Suns, Chicago Bulls and Milwaukee Bucks to a combined 443-433 record in parts of 13 seasons as a head coach. His playoff record, however, is an uninspiring 18-24.
He will take over a team with a young core of talent, including guards Victor Oladipo and Elfrid Payton and center Nikola Vucevic. That team, however, won just 25 games this past season.
Photo by Bob Chamberlin-Pool/Getty Images(NEW ORLEANS) -- Former NFL star Darren Sharper pleaded guilty to drug distribution charges on Friday as part of a plea deal involving rape accusations leveled against him by multiple women.
According to the U.S. Attorney's Office for the Eastern District of Louisiana, Sharper pleaded guilty to conspiracy to distribute Alprazolam, Diazepam and Zolpidem and two counts of distributing those substances with intent to commit rape. The maximum penalty for each charge is 20 years in prison, a $250,000 fine and one year of supervised release.
Sharper, a former safety for the New Orleans Saints, Minnesota Vikings and Green Bay Packers, had been accused of drugging and assaulting women in Los Angeles, Phoenix and New Orleans.
The former pro-bowler was arrested last year on rape charges and has been jailed since February 2014.
Sharper admitted in his guilty plea that he and others had "distributed controlled substances to unsuspecting women," the U.S. Attorney's Office said, and then engaged in sexual relations with the women while they were incapacitated. Sharper also admitted to conspiring with other individuals in those actions.
FIFA President Sepp Blatter delivers his speech during the opening ceremony of the 65th FIFA Congress in Zurich, Switzerland on May 28, 2015. (Photo by Fatih Erel/Anadolu Agency/Getty Images)(NEW YORK) -- Sepp Blatter was re-elected as the president of FIFA Friday, amid allegations from U.S. and Swiss authorities of alleged corruption and bribery that have plagued soccer's international governing body.
Favored to win, Blatter, the eighth president of FIFA, or the Fédération Internationale de Football Association, beat Prince Ali Bin Al-Hussein, of Jordan, at the 65th FIFA Congress in Zurich. Blatter has been in office since 1998. Born in Switzerland, the 79-year old oversaw FIFA when Russia was chosen to host the 2018 World Cup and Qatar selected the 2022 tournament.
Among the blocs that voted for Blatter’s challenger was the United States, which was one of the losing bidders for the 2022 World Cup. Blatter won when Ali conceded after the first round of voting failed to yield a two-thirds majority.
On Wednesday, the Justice Department accused 14 people of corruption and racketeering conspiracy in a 47-count indictment. Nine FIFA officials and five corporate executives were indicted, including two current FIFA vice presidents and the current and former presidents of CONCACAF, Jeffrey Webb and Jack Warner.
Andrew Zimbalist, a sports economist from Smith College and author of Circus Maximus: The Economic Gamble Behind Hosting The Olympics And The World Cup, said Friday's re-election "reinforces the opinion that most soccer-savvy people already have, which is that Blatter has control over the organization, and the organization is corrupt."
"I am willing to accept the president of FIFA is responsible for everything but I would at least like to share that responsibility with everyone," Blatter said earlier in a presidential address on Friday in Zurich, Switzerland. "We cannot constantly supervise everyone in football ... you cannot ask everyone to behave ethically."
Zimbalist said he is skeptical that Blatter has no knowledge of FIFA's wrongdoing.
"I think that all trails lead back to Sepp Blatter," Zimbalist added. "I don't think there's any question about it."
Focus on Sport/Getty Images(NEW YORK) -- The Golden State Warriors' defeat of the Houston Rockets Wednesday catapulted the California team to the NBA finals for the first time in 40 years.
In 1975, Golden State beat the Washington Bullets to win the title.
In a major upset that year, the Warriors swept the Bullets in four games with the help of Jamaal Wilkes and Rick Barry. Though the Warriors' home court was Oakland Arena, their home games that week were played at the Cow Palace in Daly City due to scheduling conflicts.
Wardell Stephen "Dell" Curry, the father of Stephen "Steph" Curry, this year's NBA MVP, wasn't yet a Utah Jazz player. He was only 10 years old at the time.
While NBA fans were attentively following the 1975 Eastern Conference between Washington and Boston, an NBA.com retrospective summary states: "The Golden State Warriors had trudged along to an undistinguished 48 wins and the regular-season crown. Their progress wasn't exactly silent; it just seemed that way back east."
"I guess no one took us very seriously," Warriors coach Al Attles said at the time.
The 1975 series was the Warriors' first trip to the finals since 1967, when they lost to Wilt Chamberlain and the Philadelphia 76ers.
In the first two quarters of the 1975 series opener, George Johnson, Barry and the other Warriors fell behind the Bullets. But eventually they found their way. The Warriors won the first game 101-95 at Capital Centre in Landover, Maryland.
The 1975 NBA Finals was the first championship series or game of the four major professional sports leagues that featured two African-American head coaches. Al Attles led the Warriors, while K.C. Jones coached the Bullets.
When the Warriors arrived in San Francisco to celebrate their victory, more than 3,000 fans jammed the airport gate to greet the team.
The team will now have a chance to win their fourth championship when they face off with the Cleveland Cavaliers in the NBA Finals starting June 4.
iStock/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) -- AMERICAN LEAGUE Chi White Sox 3, Baltimore 2 (first game) Baltimore 6, Chi White Sox 3 (second game) Boston 5, Texas 1 L.A. Angels 12, Detroit 2 Oakland 5, N.Y. Yankees 4 Cleveland 5, Seattle 3
NATIONAL LEAGUE Pittsburgh 11, San Diego 5 San Francisco 7, Atlanta 0
Photo by Cem Ozdel/Anadolu Agency/Getty Images(CHICAGO) -- The Chicago Bulls announced on Thursday that head coach Tom Thibodeau was relieved of his duties.
After losing to the Cleveland Cavaliers in the second round, Thibodeau's tenure seemed destined to be coming to a close. Chicago made the decision official Thursday, with team Chairman Jerry Reinsdorf offering praise for Thibodeau's "love of the game." Still, Reinsdorf explained the decision to part with the largely successful head coach in a statement, saying that he felt the move was necessary for the Bulls to "continue to grow and succeed."
"Days like today are difficult," Reinsdorf added, "but necessary for us to achieve our goals and fulfill our commitments to our fans."
"When Tom was hired in 2010, he was right for our team and system at that time, and over the last five years we have had some success with Tom as our head coach," Bulls General Manager Gar Forman said, "but as we looked ahead and evaluated how we as a team and an organization could continue to grow and improve, we believed a change in approach was needed."
Thibodeau spent five seasons as the Bulls head coach, racking up more wins than any other Bulls coach since the NBA-ABA merger besides the legendary Phil Jackson. In those five seasons, the Bulls averaged 51 victories, but went just 23-28 in the postseason.
Thibodeau's tenure was hindered in part by injury woes, as star Derrick Rose missed the better part of two seasons with knee injuries and much of the rest of the Bulls roster dealt with nagging health issues.
Philipp Schmidli/Getty Images(ZURICH) -- FIFA President Sepp Blatter said Thursday that the allegations of corruption brought against 14 people "bring shame and humiliation" to the global soccer organization.
"There can be no place for corruption of any kind," Blatter said in Zurich.
In a series of overnight busts on Wednesday, authorities arrested high-ranking FIFA officials over allegations of vast racketeering and corruption involving more than $150 million in bribes and kickbacks spanning two decades in soccer’s controversial governing body, law enforcement officials said.
In all, 14 people, which includes nine current or former FIFA figures and five involved in sports marketing, have been charged by the Department of Justice for allegedly “foster[ing] a culture of corruption and greed that created an uneven playing field for the biggest sport in the world,” as FBI Director James Comey put it. Police also executed a search warrant at a location in Miami related to the investigation.
Many have called for Blatter -- who is up for re-election for a fifth-term as FIFA president on Friday -- to resign. Blatter was not one of the men indicted in the case.
The investigation grew out of allegations of payoffs to officials who decided where to hold the next two World Cups, the biggest international event in sports, that landed the games in Russia for 2018 and Qatar in 2022, according to three senior U.S. law enforcement officials. The U.S. was the runner-up to Qatar’s win.
The overall alleged wrongdoing reaches back as far as 1991, and in 2004, corruption purportedly played a role in the process of deciding who would host the 2010 World Cup, an honor that eventually fell to South Africa, according to U.S. Attorney General Loretta Lynch. An indictment unsealed on Thursday lays out other alleged bribery schemes, including some involving high-dollar deals for marketing and broadcasting rights related to various tournaments.
“In short, these individuals, through these organizations, engaged in bribery to decide who would televise games, where the games would be held and who would run the organization overseeing organized soccer worldwide,” Lynch said at a press conference Wednesday in New York.
Lynch said that in one example, a single FIFA executive is suspected of amassing a “personal fortune” by taking over $10 million in bribes over a 19-year period.
IRS Chief Criminal Investigator Richard Weber dubbed the scandal the "World Cup of Fraud" and said the U.S. was issuing FIFA a "red card," a reference to penalties given out in soccer games for egregious infractions.
“This organization has been lawless, doing whatever they want for years. This is the way they do business,” Christopher Fusco, a former prosecutor and sports analyst, told ABC News. “Selecting Qatar [to host the 2022 World Cup] was the straw that broke the camel’s back."