John Tavares

PHT Oddsmaker: Let’s gamble on the NHL


PHT Oddsmaker will be a regular feature where we set pretend odds and pretend to gamble on them. If you’d like to bet real money, meet us in the alley and we’ll talk. 

Total points for John Tavares (O/U 79.5)

Only nine NHLers had 80 points or more in 2010-11, but I’d still take the over here. Tavares is as natural a scorer as there is in the game today. Remember, we’re talking about a guy who had 72 goals and 134 points in the OHL as a 16-year-old. There’s a reason he was taken first overall in 2009. And with eight points in the Islanders’ first four games, he’s well ahead of the pace it would take to surpass last year’s total of 67 points. He’s also got a great thing going with linemates Matt Moulson and P.A. Parenteau, whose own lofty stats might be the finest proof of Tavares’ talent.

Columbus coach Scott Arniel fired by Christmas (2/1)

Would things be different if James Wisniewski hadn’t been suspended for the first eight games of the regular season? Maybe. The Blue Jackets (0-5-1) are 2-for-30 with the man advantage and Wisniewski is one of the premier power-play specialists in the league. But if things don’t turn around dramatically, GM Scott Howson will have a decision to make (if he’s still around to make it). Arniel failed to lead the Jackets to the playoffs last season, his first behind the bench, and if they don’t make it this time around, Howson’s chances of keeping his job won’t be very good. You do the math. I’ll stay away from this one, because I don’t like to bet on people getting fired. Bad karma.

Dallas Stars to make the playoffs (5/1)

Pretty tempting odds considering Dallas (5-1-0) is tied with Colorado (5-1-0) for first place in the Western Conference. What the heck, I’ll throw a few bucks on that. The Stars are obviously going to miss Brad Richards, and there’s not much chance Kari Lehtonen finishes the season with a 1.58 goals-against average and .953 save percentage. Not to mention, Dallas has played a relatively easy schedule so far. But I’m willing to give a team with players like Brenden Morrow and Jamie Benn a shot to turn $20 into $100. If it pays off, dinner’s on PHT.

Struggling Sabre Tyler Ennis out with upper-body injury

Tyler Ennis, James Wisniewski
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Tyler Ennis can probably relate with the Buffalo Sabres’ opponent on Wednesday, as he’s struggling almost as much as the Nashville Predators.

Perhaps some of that has to do with health?

Whether that’s the case or not, Ennis is out for the Sabres tonight, as the team announced that he’s dealing with an upper-body injury.

The Buffalo News discussed Ennis’ struggles in this article.

“I’d say he’s pressing too much. You can’t make those plays in every situation and in every point you touch the puck,” Dan Bylsma said to the Buffalo News. “ … He’s just got to simplify his game. He is a special player who can make those plays, but he can’t be trying to do it every time he touches the puck.”

He’ll need to wait a while to start getting things together, anyway.

WATCH LIVE: Wednesday Night Rivalry (Flyers-Islanders; Blackhawks-Sharks)

Ryan White, Matt Martin
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You can check out tonight’s Wednesday Night Rivalry doubleheader on NBCSN, and you can also stream them online.

Here are the handy links for the two contests.

First, the New York Islanders host the Philadelphia Flyers.


After that, the Chicago Blackhawks visit the San Jose Sharks.


Braun out with upper-body injury; Zubrus to make Sharks debut

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The San Jose Sharks will be missing a top-4 defenseman tonight when they host the defending champs from Chicago.

Justin Braun has an upper-body injury. His status is considered day-to-day.

“Brauny has been one of our unsung heroes here through the first quarter of the season,” coach Peter DeBoer told CSN Bay Area. “He’s played some outstanding hockey. So, we’re going to miss him, but it’s a great opportunity for Mueller and Tennyson and one of these guys to establish themselves. It’s a great opportunity for us to reward Dillon for how well he’s played.”

Against the Blackhawks, Brenden Dillon will take Braun’s spot on the top pairing alongside Marc-Edouard Vlasic; Paul Martin and Brent Burns will stay together on the second pairing; and 20-year-old Mirco Mueller will skate with Matt Tennyson.

Mueller has played just four games for the Sharks this season. In his last game, Thursday in Philadelphia, he received only 9:13 of ice time.

Also tonight, new Shark forward Dainius Zubrus is expected to debut on the fourth line.

Related: Sharks sign Zubrus, because DeBoer

Johansen calls trade rumblings ‘weird,’ says relationship with Torts is ‘great’

Ryan Johansen
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One day after reports surfaced of Ryan Johansen being at the center of trade talks, all parties involved from Columbus did what they’re supposed to do — downplay the situation.

You can read the denials in full over at the Dispatch, but here’s the gist:

— Johansen said the rumors were “weird” and that he’s “never seen it before.” He also said there were no issues between him and head coach John Tortorella, calling the relationship “great.”

— GM Jarmo Kekalainen wouldn’t address the report, nor would Johansen’s agent, Kurt Overhardt.

— Johansen added he hasn’t spoken to any of Columbus’ management about the trade rumblings.

So there’s that. What’s next?

At this stage of the game, it’s hard not to think about another Overhardt client, Kyle Turris.

Turris, you’ll recall, spent four (mostly) stormy years with the Coyotes before his trade out to Ottawa was orchestrated. Turris eventually told GM Don Maloney “this is not going to work out” with the club, and he was gone.

So, consider the similarities now:

— Turris was 22 at the time of the trade, with four years and 137 games under his belt.

— Johansen is 23, with five years and 291 games.

— Both had contentious contract holdouts with their respective clubs.

— Both are Overhardt guys.

— The Turris trade happened after the Coyotes went from Wayne Gretzky to Dave Tippett as head coach.

— Johansen is already on his third head coach (Scott Arniel, Todd Richards, Tortorella).

For now, these are all coincidences (or a forced narrative, depending what you think of the author).

And, of course, the one big — big — difference between the two is that, at the time of his trade, Turris wasn’t as good or established a player as Johansen currently is. Therefore, logic suggests any Johansen trade would be a lot more blockbuster-y and, therefore, probably more complex.

And as we know, complex deals aren’t easy to pull off.