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 number of goalies to finish with a GAA below 2.00 (2.5)

We’ll use the “minimum 25 games” Jennings Trophy rule here. Currently six goalies are on pace – Brian Elliott (1.63 GAA), Tuukka Rask (1.66), Tim Thomas (1.84), Henrik Lundqvist (1.95), JS Giguere (1.95) and Jimmy Howard (1.95). Others in the running include Martin Biron (1.84 GAA, but only nine games played), Josh Harding (2.13), Nikolai Khabibulin (2.14), Jonathan Quick (2.15) and Cory Schneider (2.17). This is a tough one, but I’ll have to take the under. There’s just so little margin for error. One bad stretch and it’s over. Last year no goalie pulled it off  – Thomas was the best at 2.00 on the button. Rask was the last to do it, registering a 1.97 mark in 2009-10. The most intriguing guy to watch should be Elliott, if only because he’s…Brian Elliott. The fact the Blues also have Jaroslav Halak might help, as Elliott is less likely to keep playing if he’s not on top of his game. Other goalies don’t have the luxury to take a rest and work things out in practice.

Odds Jarome Iginla gets traded by the deadline (+400)

If the streaking Flames  are still in the playoff picture by the end of February, would they even consider trading their captain? That seems like a serious long shot. Besides, even if they’re completely out of it, Iginla might stay put — he’s got a no-movement clause, so ultimately it’s up to him. Calgary’s been one of the better teams in the NHL since getting off to yet another poor start. The Flames are 8-3-3 in their last 15, and if they beat the Islanders Thursday, they’ll move to .500 for the first time all season. With a little help, they could also move into the top eight in the Western Conference. The odds are tempting, but I’ll pass.

Odds Erik Karlsson finishes with the most points among defensemen (EVEN)

At the moment he’s got 33, three more than Brian Campbell, four more than Shea Weber and eight more than Alex Edler (25). With points in 24 of Ottawa’s 37 games, Karlsson’s consistency is worth noting. The longest stretch he’s gone without a point is three games. Staying healthy will be important, but at 21 years old, he shouldn’t be hampered by nagging injuries. Sure, I’ll take this bet.

Milbury, Jones: Tkachuk walked the walk; Kings’ response was embarrassing

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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.

Spicy stuff.

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.

For more, check out a collection of the early violent moments and Tkachuk’s attempted shot at Doughty. The Kings win is summarized in greater detail here.

Measure of revenge: Kings delay clinching efforts for Flames, Blues

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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.

Seriously, that fight with Deryk Engelland:

That goal included a bit of luck, but hey …

Iginla was named the first star of the contest, and cameras captured his big smile in enjoying a special night. For all the nastiness of that game, it was refreshing to see such a heartwarming moment.

For more on the violence, check out this post on the early stuff and this one on Tkachuk’s missed missile launch on Drew Doughty.

Kings and Canucks will square off in first NHL exhibition games in China

graphic via NHL
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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.”

The press conference inspired some jokes tonight.

Some of the best bits came in roping in … Kobe Bryant and David Beckham?

Alrighty then.

Click here for more details.

 

Video: Drew Doughty (mostly) avoids massive Matthew Tkachuk hit

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Hockey is such a fast sport that it’s probably not so easy to make someone your “target.” Instead, a big hit often comes down to the right combination of circumstance and timing.

Still, there’s no denying that Matthew Tkachuk is gunning for Drew Doughty (and the Kings are gunning for Tkachuk) on Wednesday.

Doughty isn’t oblivious to that notion, either, as you can see him avoid what looked like a pretty terrifying hit above.

We’ve already covered the early violence in this game, and it’s quite possible that there will be more carnage going forward. Stay tuned.