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Preseason Odds: Who do you think will win each division?

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‘Tis the season for prognostication. With a steady flow of previews flowing around the internet, everyone is trying to figure out what we can expect from the upcoming NHL season. Some are trying to figure out where their favorite team will finish? Some want bragging rights with friends and others want to know if they should start saving for playoff tickets.

Then there are the people that want to get paid. In what has almost become an annual tradition, gambling sites are starting to release their NHL odds for the upcoming season. We’ve already seen that Bodog.com has tabbed the Vancouver Canucks and Washington Capitals as the favorites for each conference.

Today, we break down each division (Note: All add courtesy of Bodog)

Despite all of the changes in Philadelphia, the Flyers are still the favorite to win the Atlantic Division. Somewhat surprisingly, there’s more faith in the Devils (and their second-half run) than the New York Rangers.

Odds to win the 2012 Atlantic Division
Philadelphia Flyers: 6/5
Pittsburgh Penguins: 13/10
New Jersey Devils: 15/2
New York Rangers: 9/1
New York Islanders: 25/1

In the Northeast Division, the defending Stanley Cup champions are favored to repeat as Northeast Division champs. They also seem to like the Sabres with all of the moves they’ve made in the offseason to strengthen the team—obviously they were big fans of the Ales Kotalik waiver.

Odds to win the 2012 Northeast Division
Boston Bruins: 5/4
Buffalo Sabres: 3/2
Montreal Canadiens: 5/1
Toronto Maple Leafs: 12/1
Ottawa Senators: 20/1

The Tampa Bay Lightning took the next step last season when they were within 60 minutes and a single goal from the Stanley Cup final. Unfortunately, for fans in Tampa, that doesn’t mean much as the Washington Capitals are still the prohibitive favorites. On the other end of the spectrum, the odds makers managed to remember that the Winnipeg Jets are still just the Atlanta Thrashers in new jerseys.

Odds to win the 2012 Southeast Division
Washington Capitals: 2/5
Tampa Bay Lightning: 9/4
Carolina Hurricanes: 15/1
Winnipeg Jets: 30/1
Florida Panthers: 30/1

It’s no surprise that the Detroit Red Wings and Chicago Blackhawks are expected to be good next season. But for people following the offseason hype machine, it might come as a little bit of a surprise that the Columbus Blue Jackets are tied as the longest of long shots to win their own division. Do you think it’s because people aren’t used to believing in the Blue Jackets or did they make the wrong moves this offseason?

Odds to win the 2012 Central Division
Detroit Red Wings: 10/11
Chicago Blackhawks: 11/5
Nashville Predators: 15/4
St Louis Blues: 16/1
Columbus Blue Jackets: 30/1

The Vancouver Canucks are the favorite to win the Northwest Division? The only thing shocking here is that the they are only 1/8 favorites! It would be interesting to see what the odds would be for a team to come within 10 points of the Canucks this season.

Odds to win the 2012 Northwest Division
Vancouver Canucks: 1/8
Calgary Flames: 13/2
Edmonton Oilers: 20/1
Minnesota Wild: 25/1
Colorado Avalanche: 25/1

It’s a two-horse race in the Pacific between the Kings and Sharks. Apparently, the odds makers have their doubts about the Sharks being able to improve upon their back-to-back Western Conference final appearances. And once again, no one believes in the Coyotes.

Odds to win the 2012 Pacific Division
Los Angeles Kings: 3/2
San Jose Sharks: 8/5
Anaheim Ducks: 6/1
Phoenix Coyotes: 15/2
Dallas Stars: 17/2

What do you think of these odds? Are there any long-shots stick out to you as teams who could make a run at their divisional crown? Are there any favorites who are getting more love than they should? As always, we’d love to hear what you think in the comments.

Devils unveil ‘The Salute’ statue in honor of Martin Brodeur

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The New Jersey Devils on Monday unveiled ‘The Salute’ — a statue paying homage to one of the greatest goalies in NHL history, Martin Brodeur, who will have his No. 30 uniform retired Tuesday at Prudential Center.

“Looking at the pictures of my career and some of the events that meant a lot to me, I always saluted the fans,” Brodeur, a three-time Stanley Cup winner with the Devils, told the Fire and Ice blog.

“That picture, at different times, in different jerseys, actually, like with Team Canada, it all came to that same pose.”

More on the statue from the Devils:

The 900-pound bronze statue was created by renowned sculpture and artist Jon Krawczyk, who worked with Brodeur on the design. Krawczyk, a Boonton Township, N.J. native and lifelong Devils fan, who also created the hockey statue on Championship Plaza outside of Prudential Center, personally drove “The Salute” from his Malibu, Cali. studio to the arena late last week.

Video: Panthers furious after Abdelkader ‘cheap shot’ hit on Barkov

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The Florida Panthers are fuming after their skilled 20-year-old forward Aleksander Barkov left Monday’s game against the Detroit Red Wings following a hit from Justin Abdelkader.

Abdelkader caught Barkov with a hard hit near the goal line as the Panthers player tried to move the puck up ice early in the second period.

The only call on the play was to Panthers’ blue liner Alex Petrovic for the retaliatory cross check on Abdelkader. Barkov left the game and didn’t return with an upper-body injury.

Members of the Panthers irate with the hit, and the fact there was no call.

“It was a cheap hit, I don’t know how the ref didn’t call it,” Nick Bjugstad told the Miami Herald. “It was frustrating, the whole bench felt that way. We’re not happy with it. It turned the game around. Barkov has tough shoes to fill. It looked pretty serious. We’ll see how the league handles it and I think they will. I just don’t know how it wasn’t handled on the ice.”

“You hate to lose your top player, but that’s part of the game,” added Panthers’ head coach Gerard Gallant.

“We’re disappointed to lose him. I thought it was a cheap shot but the referees didn’t see it that way and explained to me it was a clean check. It’s tough. It happens quick and we get to see the replay. I think it’ll be looked at. [Abdelkader] left his feet a little and got him in the jaw.”

The Panthers gave up three goals in the third period in a 3-0 loss to the Red Wings.

Penguins thump the Ducks as Crosby’s hot streak continues

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In a meeting between two clubs enjoying hot streaks and their own subsequent climbs through the standings, the Pittsburgh Penguins bested the Anaheim Ducks courtesy another dominant Sidney Crosby performance on Monday.

After that slow start, Crosby has put together a growing number of dominant performances of late.

The latest, a four-point night, helped the Penguins to a 6-2 final over the Ducks, stopping Anaheim’s winning streak at six games.

— He extended his scoring streak to a career best seven games, and did so with two beauty goals versus the Ducks.

— From Dec. 18 to Feb. 8, he’s appeared in 21 games. In that span, he’s recorded 34 points.

— Crosby is now into the top five among NHL players in points, with 53 in 51 games this season.

He wasn’t the only Pittsburgh player to have a big night. Keep in mind, Evgeni Malkin wasn’t even in the lineup due to a lower-body injury.

Ten different Penguins players recorded points. In addition to Crosby, Chris Kunitz and Kris Letang had multi-point efforts, and four players — Kunitz, Crosby, Olli Maatta and Patric Hornqvist — were plus-four.

The Penguins now move into third in the Metropolitan Division, while the New York Islanders slip into the first Wild Card spot in the East. Pittsburgh’s lead over the Islanders, however, is only one point.

The Islanders also have a game in hand.

Panthers’ Barkov (upper-body injury) leaves game versus Red Wings

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The Florida Panthers will be without Aleksander Barkov for the remainder of their game versus the Detroit Red Wings on Monday.

As per multiple reports, Barkov will not return due to an upper-body injury suffered after a hit from Justin Abdelkader early in the second period.

Abdelkader wasn’t given a penalty on the play. Barkov didn’t play another shift after that hit.

In 42 games this season, the 20-year-old Barkov has 16 goals and 35 points.