Sidney Crosby

Penguins are early favorites to win 2013 Stanley Cup


The season has barely been over for 12 hours, but one online gambling site has the jump on who they believe are the Stanley Cup favorites for next season. laid out their odds on who they believe have the best shot at raising Lord Stanley’s Cup next June and the Los Angeles Kings aren’t at the top of the list. Instead it’s Sidney Crosby, Evgeni Malkin and the Pittsburgh Penguins they’re giving the best odds to with a 7/1 shot of winning it all. The Kings, meanwhile, are the next best bet at 11/1. The Eastern Conference champion New Jersey Devils shake out at 30/1.

Five teams check in as the third-best bets at 12/1. Chicago, Detroit, the Rangers, Vancouver, and St. Louis get the nod there. Perhaps those guys haven’t heard about how Roberto Luongo might wind up somewhere else next year. Then again, maybe they’ve already taken that into account.

Here’s the full rundown of odds:

Pittsburgh: 7/1

Los Angeles: 11/1

Chicago, NY Rangers, Detroit, St. Louis, Vancouver: 12/1

Boston, Philadelphia: 14/1

Nashville: 18/1

San Jose: 22/1

Anaheim, Buffalo, Tampa Bay, Washington: 25/1

New Jersey: 30/1

Florida, Toronto: 35/1

Colorado, Dallas, Ottawa, Phoenix, Winnipeg: 40/1

Calgary, Carolina: 50/1

Edmonton, Montreal: 60/1

Columbus, Minnesota, NY Islanders: 75/1

The Capitals’ odds seem a bit harsh. Apparently a team without a coach and an unsure direction might not be a great gamble.

Report: Kings, Richards nearing settlement

Mike Richards
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The Los Angeles Kings and Mike Richards may be nearing a settlement in their dispute over Richards’ terminated contract, TSN’s Bob McKenzie is reporting.

You can read the report for all the details, but we’re sure curious about this part:

If a settlement is reached, there’s no word yet on what salary cap penalties the Kings would still face. There’s bound to be something, but not likely as onerous as the full value of Richards’ contract, which carries with it a cap hit of $5.75 million. If there’s a settlement, Richards would undoubtedly become a free agent though there’s no telling at this point what monies he would be entitled to from the Kings in a settlement.

The issue here is precedent, and what this case could set. The NHL and NHLPA can’t allow teams to escape onerous contracts through a back door, and many are adamant that that’s what the Kings were attempting to do in Richards’ case.

Bettman to players: Don’t screw up ‘once-in-a-lifetime opportunity’ with drugs

Gary Bettman
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The NHL wants to take an educational approach — not a punitive one — to deter its players from using illicit drugs like cocaine.

“My interest is not to go around punishing people,” Bettman told Sportsnet today.

“My interest is getting players to understand the consequences of doing something that could jeopardize this great, once-in-a-lifetime opportunity that they’ve been given, to play in the NHL.”

While some players have expressed surprise at hearing that cocaine use is growing, the anecdotal evidence of substance abuse has been very much in the news, from Jarret Stoll‘s arrest to Mike Richards’ arrest to, more recently, Zack Kassian‘s placement in the NHL/NHLPA’s treatment program.

“We don’t have the unilateral right to do things here. We need the consent of the Players’ Association,” Bettman said. “It’s not about punishment. It’s about making sure we get it to stop.”

Related: Cocaine in the NHL: A concern, but not a crisis?