'Real Sports with Bryant Gumbel' Looks at Last Year's KHL Plane Crash

Real Sports reports that KHL has recently been offering players huge contracts in order to rebuild Russia's reputation as a hockey powerhouse, but it has not looked after them.

While you look at photos of "what's left" after last year's Kontinental Hockey League's plane crash, Bernie Goldberg laments the tragedy and asks a question: "Why were some of the world's best hockey players on this plane in the first place?" Goldberg's segment for this week's Real Sports with Bryant Gumbel provides some possible answers. Initially focused through the story of Ruslan Salei, whose widow Bethann and their four-year-old hockey-playing son offer a glimpse at the consequences of KHL's bad decisions, the segment points out that the KHL has recently been offering players huge contracts in order to rebuild Russia's reputation as a hockey powerhouse. But it has not looked after them. Goldberg speaks with a Russian pilot now flying for a US carrier, former KHL coach Barry Smith, and a current player whose identity is obscured because he "fears retribution." All point to the atrocious conditions of the planes used for teams, old Soviet contraptions flown by undertrained pilots.

As further evidence of the KHL's everyday negligence and budget-cutting, Goldberg notes as well the death of 19-year-old Alexei Cherepanov in 2008. His "heart gave out during the middle of a KHL game," says Goldberg, a terrible event amplified by the fact that the league didn't have even the most rudimentary emergency equipment on hand -- not a stretcher, not a defibrillator -- and, not incidentally, Cherepanov had been receiving stimulants from the team doctors, despite his known heart condition. These incidents have led to changes in how the KHL does business, namely, the "Clean Ice" program or the decision taken by KHL after the interview with HBO to ensure that teams fly on "top tier, Western-made jets."

Goldberg's disturbing, utterly smart report is accompanied by profiles of base jumper Jeb Corliss and former super-agent Leigh Steinberg, whose career was derailed by drinking. "You were "depicted as boorish, unstable, abusive, out of touch with your clients, a drunk and, and a womanizer,” says reporter Armen Keteyian. “I mean, am I missing anything there that they said about you?” Steinberg tries to parse and undermine this list: "I also killed Christ," he doesn't quite smile, then insists he would never abuse his clients. But the segment leaves no question as to the costs of his addiction.

In Americana music the present is female. Two-thirds of our year-end list is comprised of albums by women. Here, then, are the women (and a few men) who represented the best in Americana in 2017.

If a single moment best illustrates the current divide between Americana music and mainstream country music, it was Sturgill Simpson busking in the street outside the CMA Awards in Nashville. While Simpson played his guitar and sang in a sort of renegade-outsider protest, Garth Brooks was onstage lip-syncindg his way to Entertainer of the Year. Americana music is, of course, a sprawling range of roots genres that incorporates traditional aspects of country, blues, soul, bluegrass, etc., but often represents an amalgamation or reconstitution of those styles. But one common aspect of the music that Simpson appeared to be championing during his bit of street theater is the independence, artistic purity, and authenticity at the heart of Americana music. Clearly, that spirit is alive and well in the hundreds of releases each year that could be filed under Americana's vast umbrella.

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From genre-busting electronic music to new highs in the ever-evolving R&B scene, from hip-hop and Americana to rock and pop, 2017's music scenes bestowed an embarrassment of riches upon us.

60. White Hills - Stop Mute Defeat (Thrill Jockey)

White Hills epic '80s callback Stop Mute Defeat is a determined march against encroaching imperial darkness; their eyes boring into the shadows for danger but they're aware that blinding lights can kill and distort truth. From "Overlord's" dark stomp casting nets for totalitarian warnings to "Attack Mode", which roars in with the tribal certainty that we can survive the madness if we keep our wits, the record is a true and timely win for Dave W. and Ego Sensation. Martin Bisi and the poster band's mysterious but relevant cool make a great team and deliver one of their least psych yet most mind destroying records to date. Much like the first time you heard Joy Division or early Pigface, for example, you'll experience being startled at first before becoming addicted to the band's unique microcosm of dystopia that is simultaneously corrupting and seducing your ears. - Morgan Y. Evans

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This week on our games podcast, Nick and Eric talk about the joy and frustration of killing Nazis in Wolfenstein: The New Order.

This week, Nick and Eric talk about the joy and frustration of killing Nazis in Wolfenstein: The New Order.

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Gabin's Maigret lets everyone else emote, sometimes hysterically, until he vents his own anger in the final revelations.

France's most celebrated home-grown detective character is Georges Simenon's Inspector Jules Maigret, an aging Paris homicide detective who, phlegmatically and unflappably, tracks down murderers to their lairs at the center of the human heart. He's invariably icon-ified as a shadowy figure smoking an eternal pipe, less fancy than Sherlock Holmes' curvy calabash but getting the job done in its laconic, unpretentious, middle-class manner.

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Multi-tasking on your smart phone consumes too many resources, including memory, and can cause the system to "choke". Imagine what it does to your brain.

In the simplest of terms, Adam Gazzaley and Larry D. Rosen's The Distracted Mind: Ancient Brains in a High-Tech World is a book about technology and the distractions that often accompany it. This may not sound like anything earth shattering. A lot of people have written about this subject. Still, this book feels a little different. It's a unique combination of research, data, and observation. Equally important, it doesn't just talk about the problem—it suggests solutions.

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