Evgeni Malkin

PHT Oddsmaker: Let’s Gamble on the NHL

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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.

Odds Evegni Malkin wins the Art Ross Trophy (+200)

The rate he’s going, the only thing that could stop him might be injuries. With 39 points  in only 27 games, Malkin sits tied atop the NHL’s scoring race with Claude Giroux (28 GP), Phil Kessel (33 GP) and Henrik Sedin (33 GP). There’s plenty of other competition in the race, including Daniel Sedin (38 points), Steven Stamkos (37 points), Marian Hossa (37 points), Jason Spezza (37 points) and Jonathan Toews (36 points). As mentioned, Malkin’s health will be a huge factor. Since the start of the 2009-10 season, he’s missed 61 games with a wide array of ailments. He’s already missed seven games in 2011-12. Sorry, can’t bet on a guy with that kind of track record. Sooner put my money on one of the Sedins.

Odds Jonathan Toews wins the Hart Trophy (+400)

In the six seasons since the lockout, the Hart and Art Ross have gone to the same player four times. The two exceptions? In 2008-09, Malkin won the scoring race, but Alex Ovechkin won the Hart, thanks in large part to winning the Rocket Richard Trophy as the NHL’s top goal-scorer. In 2010-11, Daniel Sedin won the Art Ross, but Corey Perry won the Hart…along with the Rocket Richard. So the questions for Toews’ Hart candidacy are as follows: Can he win either the Art Ross or the Rocket Richard? And if not, would the Professional Hockey Writers’ Association be willing to vote for him anyway? I’m having trouble saying yes to either of those questions. For starters, Toews has so many other responsibilities on the Blackhawks besides scoring that you’d excuse him if his production fell off slightly. Case in point, he leads all Chicago forwards in shorthanded ice time (2:01 per game). As for the second question, the PHWA has voted for him before, giving him the 2010 Conn Smythe Trophy. But the last Hart winner that won neither the Art Ross or Rocket Richard was goalie Jose Theodore in 2002. The last skater was Joe Sakic in 2001, and he had 118 points that season.

Odds the Los Angeles Kings make the playoffs (Even)

They’re currently 10th in the Western Conference, three points back of eighth-place San Jose. On the one hand, it seems unfeasible that a team with so much talent could possibly miss the playoffs. But remember, if it wasn’t for the Kings’ dominance in shootouts last season, they may well have missed out. Not to mention, if Los Angeles makes it, who doesn’t? That’s the really hard part. I’m gonna roll the dice and say the Kings make it. Defensively they’ve been good all season, and the scoring can’t get any worse, especially with Mike Richards expected back in the lineup tomorrow.

Canucks without Sutter (broken jaw), Edler (foot) for foreseeable future

Brandon Sutter
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After a good Tuesday night, the Vancouver Canucks are having a lousy Wednesday morning.

The club has just announced that center Brandon Sutter and defenseman Alex Edler have been sent home from the club’s current two-game road swing, after suffering injuries in a win over Colorado last night.

Craig Oster, Sutter’s agent, told News 1130 his client has a broken jaw after taking a puck to the face. Per TSN, Edler is undergoing “imaging” on his foot following a blocked shot, but it’s believed he’ll be out the next 2-3 weeks.

The impact of these injuries could be profound.

Vancouver hasn’t been good this year but remains in the thick of the playoff chase, sitting just four points back of the Avs for the final wild card spot in the Western Conference — with three games in hand.

At the same time, the Canucks also have two potentially big trade chips at the deadline in pending UFAs Dan Hamhuis and Radim Vrbata.

Will the Sutter and Edler injuries factor into Vancouver’s future plans?

You’d have to think so.

Edler is a staple on the back end, leading all Canuck blueliners in points (20) and TOI per game (24:27). Sutter, meanwhile, was supposed to be a key piece of the club this year but has had most of his season ravaged by injury — prior to the broken jaw, he missed 33 games following sports hernia surgery.

All told, Sutter has appeared in just 20 games this year.

His is also the second major facial injury suffered by a Canuck this season — Hamhuis only recently returned from a 21-game absence after taking a puck to the face in mid-December.

Kings place Ehrhoff on waivers

LOS ANGELES, CA - DECEMBER 05:  Nick Bonino #13 of the Pittsburgh Penguins and Christian Ehrhoff #10 of the Los Angeles Kings head for the piuck during the first period at Staples Center on December 5, 2015 in Los Angeles, California.  (Photo by Harry How/Getty Images)
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The Los Angeles Kings have placed defenseman Christian Ehrhoff on waivers, according to TSN’s Bob McKenzie.

A veteran of almost 800 NHL games, Ehrhoff has not fit well with Los Angeles after signing a one-year, $1.5 million deal in August. The 33-year-old has just 11 points in 40 games and is a team-worst minus-10. Though he had two assists in last night’s 9-2 win over the Bruins, he also took a careless tripping penalty in the first period that led to a Boston goal.

In a related story, the Kings are rumored to be looking for help on the back end. In fact, they were reportedly quite interested in Dustin Byfuglien, before he re-signed with the Jets.

According to Jon Rosen of LA Kings Insider, 23-year-old defenseman Kevin Gravel is “on the verge of a recall” from AHL Ontario.

The Kings play Thursday in Brooklyn.

Report: Kadri’s throat-slashing gesture being reviewed by NHL

Nazem Kadri
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Nazem Kadri‘s throat-slashing gesture is under review by the NHL, according to TSN.ca.

The Maple Leafs forward made the gesture while sitting on Toronto’s bench last night in Calgary, moments after he was laid out by Flames captain Mark Giordano.

The NHL first started cracking down on the throat-slashing gesture in 2000. Former NHLer Nick Boyton was suspended twice for making the gesture, first in 2006 then again in 2010. He was banned one game for each incident.

Fix coming? Blues activate Schwartz after 49-game absence

Jaden Schwartz
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After Tuesday’s loss to the Jets — the Blues’ fourth in their last six games — head coach Ken Hitchcock said his club has “got to play harder than this” and “got to compete at a lot higher level than this.”

He then added “it’s up to us to fix it.”

Well, help is on the way.

On Wednesday, the Blues activated forward Jaden Schwartz off injured reserve, after he missed the last 49 contests with a fractured left ankle. Schwartz is expected to be in the lineup on Friday when the Blues take on the Panthers in Florida.

The 23-year-old should provide an immediate boost to the lineup. Schwartz had four points in seven games before getting hurt, and that came on the heels of a successful ’14-15 campaign in which he posted career highs in goals (28) and points (63).

The Blues’ first-round pick in 2010 (14th overall), Schwartz is a 17-18 TOI per night guy, so he’ll be a big presence almost immediately. His return also inches the team back to full health, though there’s still a ways to go — Alex Pietrangelo and Jake Allen are still week-to-week with knee and lower-body injuries, while Steve Ott is out until late February following hamstrings surgery.

Related: Armstrong wants Blues to get healthy before any trades are made