Blues beat Sharks

Blues favorites to win their first Stanley Cup in franchise history


The St. Louis Blues are the new favorites to win the Stanley Cup, according to online bookmaker Bovada.

Here are the Cup odds for the eight remaining teams:

St. Louis Blues 15/4

New York Rangers 9/2

Philadelphia Flyers 9/2

Nashville Predators 5/1

Los Angeles Kings 13/2

New Jersey Devils   9/1

Washington Capitals 9/1

Phoenix Coyotes 11/1

Can’t say I see much value there. Actually, I don’t see any. Gun to head I’d take the Preds.

As for the Blues, this would have to be the first time they’ve been favorites in the elite eight. The year they won the Presidents’ Trophy (2000), they lost in the first round. Maybe 1991, when they lost to underdog Minnesota in the second round. But I still think the Bruins would’ve been considered the favorites at that point.

St. Louis has never won the Stanley Cup. The Blues went to the final three straight times from 1968 to 1970 and were swept in all three series. (When the league expanded in 1968, it put all the expansion teams in one division, so an expansion team was guaranteed to make the final.)

Ducks name Kesler alternate captain

Ryan Kesler
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For the second time in his career, Ryan Kesler is wearing an “A.”

On Thursday, the Anaheim Ducks announced that Kesler would serve as one of the club’s alternate captains this season, taking over for Francois Beauchemin, who signed in Colorado this summer.

With the move, Kesler joins Anaheim’s existing leadership group of captain Ryan Getzlaf, and alternate Corey Perry.

“It’s an honor,” Kesler said, per the Ducks. “It’s special. I’m going to wear it with pride and lead by example.”

As mentioned earlier, Kesler has some experience as an alternate — he wore an “A” in Vancouver from 2008-13, but had it removed prior to the start of the ’13-14 campaign.

It’s not surprising Anaheim went in this direction. GM Bob Murray made a huge investment in Kesler this summer by inking the 31-year-old to a six-year, $41.25M extension.

Diaz could leave Rangers for Europe

Raphael Diaz, Mike Sislo
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Could Raphael Diaz be on his way back to Switzerland?

We’ll know in a month.

Diaz, who lost out on the Rangers’ final blueline spot in training camp, has reported to the club’s AHL affiliate in Hartford but doesn’t seem pleased with his current situation, per the Post:

The 29-year-old Diaz, who cleared waivers last Saturday after the Blueshirts opted to keep rookie Dylan McIlrath as the club’s seventh on the blue line, is interested in the European option if he is not in the NHL.

The Blueshirts have told Diaz they will revisit the situation at the end of October, but have not promised to release him or assign him to a European team at that point.

If Diaz, a Swiss native who represented Switzerland in the 2014 Olympics, does play in Europe during the season, he would have to go through waivers in order to return to the NHL.

Diaz’s agent, Ritch Winter, told the Post that Diaz signed a one-year, $700,000 deal with the Rangers “to play with the Rangers.”

And it’s understandable if Diaz — a journeyman offensive defenseman — isn’t happy with this situation.

While some believe McIlrath earned his roster spot on merit, some think it’s because of his contract status. McIlrath, who’s only 23 and a former first-round pick, would’ve needed to clear waivers to go back to Hartford, and it’s believed he would’ve been claimed by another club.