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.
Milbury, Jones: Tkachuk walked the walk; Kings’ response was embarrassing
The Los Angeles Kings got revenge on Matthew Tkachuk and the Calgary Flames on the scoreboard on Wednesday. But was that 4-1 win enough?
Mike Milbury and Keith Jones provided a lengthy “overtime” segment on NBCSN that brought about some really fascinating takes on the situation between Tkachuk and the Flames versus Drew Doughty and the Los Angeles Kings.
Watch the full video above, as it’s worth your time.
A few interesting lines if you’re (tsk tsk) skipping it:
Milbury: Believes that Doughty didn’t “do enough,” noting that star players sometimes have to stick up for themselves. On the other hand, Tkachuk showed that he can “walk the walk.”
He also gave the Kings a “C-, D+ if not worse” for their overall response. “Fight your own battles,” Milbury said of Doughty.
Jones disagreed to some extent, believing that Kings teammates won’t look at Doughty differently. But Jake Muzzin? He believes that Muzzin’s frequent defensive partner (at least over the years, maybe not this season) backing down from a fight was an embarrassment.
"I don't think the Kings look at Doughty differently…Muzzin to back down from that fight on 1st shift is an embarrassment." – Keith Jones https://t.co/KI9dx8Rirx
For what it’s worth, Drew Doughty has one career fight (against Joe Thornton [!] in 2011-2) while Jake Muzzin’s lone bout came against Andrew Desjardins in 2012-13, according to Hockey Fights. Does that mean they shouldn’t have dropped the gloves on Wednesday? Milbury and Jones seem to believe that they should have answered the bell.
Deep down, the Los Angeles Kings probably realize that their season will end on game 82. Still, they kept their slim playoff hopes alive on Wednesday night … and managed to spite a team they’re growing to hate.
OK, maybe the hate is almost totally focused upon Matthew Tkachuk, yet the disdain for that talented-but-tormenting rookie was palpable.
It didn’t feel like the Kings exacted physical revenge on Tkachuk, but beating his team 4-1 ranked as classic scoreboard vengeance. With that, the Calgary Flames (and by extension the St. Louis Blues) will need to wait to clinch a playoff berth.
Now, as much as tonight was about Tkachuk, the focus was also on a pugnacious player who once dazzled for the Flames: Jarome Iginla.
In what might be Iginla’s final visit to Calgary – at least as an active NHL player – he was one of the best players on the ice. His fitting curtain call included a “Gordie Howe hat trick” with a spirited fight, an assist and a goal.
It’s official: the NHL will hold preseason games in China before next season.
The league made the announcement on Wednesday night: the Los Angeles Kings and Vancouver Canucks will play two exhibitions: one on Sept. 21 (Shanghai) and Sept. 23 (Beijing). How cool is that?
“It is a privilege and an honor for the L.A. Kings to represent the National Hockey League in China as part of these two games against the Vancouver Canucks,” Kings president Luc Robitaille said. “Growing the game of hockey is something we take great pride in and it is a big priority for our hockey club and AEG as a whole. This will be a once-in-a-lifetime experience for our players and our staff, and we are looking forward to the games taking place in two tremendous facilities in two remarkable cities.”