Golden Knights are dominating the Stanley Cup Final, plus another NFL gambling scandal

This is an article version of the CBS Sports HQ AM Newsletter, the ultimate guide to every day in sports. You can sign up to get it in your inbox every weekday morning here.

Good morning to everyone but especially to…

In Game 1, the Golden Knights fell behind, went ahead, gave up their lead and then finally took over. In Game 2, they went straight to taking over.

CBS Sports HQ Newsletter
We bring sports news that matters to your inbox, to help you stay informed and get a winning edge.

I agree to receive the “CBS Sports HQ Newsletter” and marketing communications, updates, special offers (including partner offers), and other information from CBS Sports and the Paramount family of companies.
By pressing sign up, I confirm that I have read and agree to the Terms of Use and acknowledge Paramount’s Privacy Policy.
Email Address
Vegas scored twice in the first period and twice more in the second, leading the Panthers to pull goalie Sergei Bobrovsky in an eventual 7-2 thrashing that puts Vegas up 2-0 in the Stanley Cup Final.

Jonathan Marchessault opened the scoring on a power play, and Alec Martinez doubled the lead later in the first.
Nicolas Roy and Brett Howden made it 4-0 early in the second before Florida pulled Bobrovsky. He allowed four goals on 13 shots faced. Alex Lyon took over and ended up allowing third-period goals to Marchessault, Michael Amadio and Howden.
Lyon allowed three goals on just 15 shots faced, so head coach Paul Maurice can’t be feeling too confident in either option.
Florida did score a pair of third-period goals via Anton Lundell and Matthew Tkachuk to at least take something positive home, I suppose.

The Golden Knights have had nine different scorers already this series, the most ever through two games of a Stanley Cup Final. Their offensive firepower and depth is simply overwhelming the Panthers, writes our Austin Nivison.

Nivison: “The Golden Knights’ depth has given them an advantage throughout the playoffs, and that has been the case through the first two games of the Stanley Cup Final. All four lines have been effective at generating offense against the Panthers.
Vegas has dressed 18 skaters so far in the series, and 15 of them have recorded a point… This comes after every single player recorded a point against the Dallas Stars in the Western Conference Final.”
Honorable mentions
One day after winning the Memorial, Viktor Hovland caddied for a former college teammate at a U.S. Open qualifier.
Five-star 2024 linebacker prospect Sammy Brown committed to Clemson.
And not such a good morning for…

The NFL is investigating Colts cornerback/returner Isaiah Rodgers for possible violations of the league’s gambling policy, the latest episode in an offseason that’s been full of betting-related issues.

Rodgers, 25, reportedly placed “hundreds of wagers,” including on the Colts, through an acquaintance’s account. NFL rules prevent players from gambling on the NFL ever, as well as on any sport at team facilities or while traveling with the team.

Rodgers posted an apology to Twitter, saying he will “work hard to make sure that those mistakes are rectified through this process.”
In April, the NFL suspended five players — four from the Lions and one from the Commanders — for gambling violations. In May, the NFL reportedly began investigating a second wave of violations.
Those investigations and suspensions came after Calvin Ridley was suspended for the entire 2022 season for gambling on the NFL. He was reinstated in March.
Rodgers, 25, has played three seasons in Indianapolis after the Colts picked him in the sixth round in 2020. After primarily being used as a kick returner as a rookie, he became a significant part of the defense with three interceptions in 2021 and nine starts in 2022.

Not so honorable mentions
Alek Manoah got pulled in the first inning against the Astros as his tough season continues.
Mike Soroka’s initial return to MLB from an Achilles injury didn’t last long.
It might be tough for HBO to find a team for “Hard Knocks.”
Kyrie Irving trying to recruit LeBron James to Dallas 🏀
Getty Images
Kyrie Irving wants to team up with LeBron James, but maybe not in the way you expected: Irving reportedly wants James to come to Dallas, reaching out personally to James to gauge his interest

Irving is an unrestricted free agent this summer (though owner Mark Cuban has stated his desire to build around Irving and Luka Doncic) while James remains under contract with the Lakers. James can opt out of his contract after next season, though he has expressed a desire to play with his son Bronny — who will be playing college ball at USC.

The big problem? Going for James is nearly impossible without including Doncic. As our Brad Botkin pointed out, the chances of anything happening here are slim — even if Dallas tries to build a trade package around their No. 10 pick.

Mandatory minicamp storylines: Quarterback questions, rookie impressions 🏈
We’re three months and one day away from the NFL regular season, and things are beginning to pick up, even if just a bit. Nine teams begin mandatory minicamp today, and there are storylines abound, especially at the game’s most important position: quarterback.

No one has more questions (or potential solutions) than the 49ers, who feature two former first-rounders, but have Mr. Irrelevant leading the race for now. Let our Tyler Sullivan explain:

Sullivan: “Brock Purdy is in line to be the team’s starter in 2023, but the quarterback is recovering from right elbow surgery and has only recently resumed throwing. With that in mind, Purdy likely won’t see the lion’s share of work at minicamp, thrusting either Trey Lance or Sam Darnold into the primary role, which has been the case throughout OTAs. If Lance can flash the talent that made him the No. 3 overall pick just a few years ago, it’ll be interesting how that could set the stage for training camp, especially if Purdy is still not 100%.”
Elsewhere, former 49ers quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo is dealing with his own injury issues in Las Vegas, and the Commanders are turning to Sam Howell.

As for two of the most pleasant surprises of 2022, the Seahawks and Lions are hoping to take the next step with loaded rookie classes. Time for first-rounders Devon Witherspoon and Jaxon Smith-Njigba in Seattle and Jahmyr Gibbs and Jack Campbell in Detroit to show what they can do.

Oklahoma softball reaches WCWS finals as winning streak hits 51 games 🥎
Syndication: The Oklahoman
Oklahoma softball has won six national championships (including the last two), produced legend after legend and recorded some of the greatest seasons in college softball history. This team might just be the best ever — not just in program history, but the sport’s as a whole.

The No. 1 Sooners beat Stanford, 4-2, to run their winning streak to a D-I record 51 games and advance to the Women’s College World Series finals.

Our Chris Bengel took a look at some of the most notable winning streaks in D-I history, and while this isn’t quite 111 straight from UConn women’s basketball or 88 straight from UCLA men’s basketball, it’s still plenty impressive.

This streak is longer than the longest winning streak in D-I football, also by Oklahoma (47 from 1953-57), and well past the longest winning streak in D-I baseball (34 by Texas in 1977 and FAU in 1999).
At 59-1 this season, Oklahoma is on pace to have the best record in D-I softball history.
Their lone loss this season was back on Feb. 19 to Baylor .
Oklahoma will face No. 3 Florida State in the finals.

WNBA Power Rankings: Aces still top, but a new No. 2 🏀
We knew the Aces were going to be a powerhouse this season, and at 6-0, they absolutely are. It’s the best start to a season since the Lynx began 9-0 in 2017, and Las Vegas is nearly halfway to the longest winning streak to start a season ever (the 2016 Lynx started 13-0).

Long story short, the Aces are still comfortably No. 1 in Jack Maloney’s WNBA Power Rankings.

But it’s the No. 2 team we have our eye on at the moment. The 6-1 Sun jumped the Liberty for second in Jack’s rankings, and they have their star forward to thank:

Maloney: “The Sun may not always play the prettiest or most entertaining basketball, but they just keep on racking up wins. They added two of them this week to improve to 6-1, which is second only to the undefeated Aces. Alyssa Thomas, who set a franchise record with 16 assists in their win over the Lynx, continues to do it all. She’s on pace to join Candace Parker as the only players in WNBA history to average at least 14 points, 10 rebounds and six assists per game for a season.”
Here’s Jack’s top five:

  1. Aces (prev: 1)
  2. Sun (prev: 3)
  3. Liberty (prev: 2)
  4. Sky (prev: 5)
  5. Mystics (prev: 4)
    Here are the full rankings.

What we’re watching Tuesday 📺
⚾ Mets at Braves, 7:20 p.m. on TBS
🏀 Fever at Sky, 8 p.m. on CBS Sports Network
🏀 Sparks at Storm, 10 p.m. on CBS Sports Network

Lakers’ LeBron James, USC’s Bronny James accompany Drake to the stage for concert at Arena

LeBron James has walked out of the Arena tunnel many times, but on Monday the NBA star did so with his eldest son, Bronny James, as they escorted Drake to the stage at the beginning of a concert. This was one of Bronny’s first public appearances since the incoming USC freshman suffered cardiac arrest last month.

On Saturday, Bronny also joined his dad and younger brother, Bryce James, at the LeBron James bobblehead night at Dodger Stadium.

Drake has been getting support from the entire James squad as Bryce was at a concert with his friends earlier this month in Inglewood. During Monday’s concert, the crowd cheered while Drake talked about “the gentleman that walked me to the stage.”

🦉The Boy and The King 👑
Drake walks out with LeBron and Bronny at #cryptocomarena

— Arena (@cryptocomarena) August 22, 2023
The rapper called the Los Angeles Lakers forward his “brother” and explained that LeBron has been supporting his music from the beginning.

“In 2009, when nobody believed in anything I had going on, that same guy showed up to a release party for a mixtape that was called ‘So Far Gone’… He came all the way to Toronto to support me when I was trying to figure out how to live my dreams,” Drake told the crowd. “Tonight, however many years later, it’s an honor to be inside his building.”

“In 2009, when nobody believed in anything I had going on, that same guy showed up to a release party… He came all the way to Toronto to support me… Tonight… it’s an honor to be inside his building.”

Drake on LeBron’s early support in his

— ClutchPoints (@ClutchPoints) August 22, 2023
Bronny collapsed on the court during a practice with USC on July 24 and was taken to the Cedars-Sinai Hospital intensive care unit. He was stabilized and discharged days later, but the family has not given many updates since then.

On July 27, LeBron thanked everyone who sent love and prayers to his family, saying they will share more when they are ready. The proud father also shared a video of Bronny showing off his musical talent by playing piano for his family.