Dustin Brown, Bill Daly

Kings are 10/17 favorites to beat Rangers (3/2)


The Los Angeles Kings are 10/17 favorites to beat the New York Rangers (3/2) in the Stanley Cup Final, according to online bookmaker Bovada.

That’s a fairly substantial difference in odds, but certainly not unexpected. The Rangers entered the playoffs at 20/1 to win the Cup; only four teams had higher odds than that, while the Kings were at 10/1.

The Kings also have home-ice advantage in the series, thanks to the 100 points they earned during the regular season, compared to the Rangers’ 96. The three teams Los Angeles has already beaten this postseason — San Jose, Anaheim, and Chicago — all finished with at least 107 points.

Is there value in the underdog Rangers? Possibly. Their goalie, Henrik Lundqvist (.928 save percentage), has been significantly better than Jonathan Quick (.906) in these playoffs, and they’ve had since Thursday to rest up for the final, while the Kings took until Sunday to eliminate the Blackhawks.

There’s also this, from the Globe and Mail’s James Mirtle:

…the Rangers are a far more dangerous team than their record shows. After pulling out of a tailspin in the opening couple of months under new coach Alain Vigneault, they closed the season 29-13-4, picking up more points (62) in that span than all but two teams.

That’s cherry picking dates a little but the fact was they were basically a 110-point team for a huge portion of the year, something made possible by not only Lundqvist’s return to form but the team adapting to Vigneault’s aggressive, puck pressure system.

The last Eastern Conference team to win the Stanley Cup, the 2011 Boston Bruins, went into the final versus Vancouver as even bigger underdogs than the Rangers.

Lucic: If I wanted to hurt Couture, ‘I would have hurt him’


Last night in Los Angeles, Kings forward Milan Lucic received a match penalty after skating the entire width of the ice to give San Jose’s Logan Couture a two-hand shove to the face.

Lucic didn’t hurt Couture, who had caught Lucic with an open-ice hit that Lucic didn’t like. Couture’s smiling, mocking face was good evidence that the Sharks’ forward was going to be OK.

This morning, Lucic was still in disbelief that he was penalized so harshly.

“I didn’t cross any line,” Lucic said, per Rich Hammond of the O.C. Register. “Believe me, if my intentions were to hurt him, I would have hurt him.”

While Lucic knew he deserved a penalty, he said after the game that he didn’t “know why it was called a match penalty.” His coach, Darryl Sutter, agreed, calling it “a borderline even roughing penalty.”

And though former NHL referee Kerry Fraser believes a match penalty was indeed warranted, Lucic said this morning that he hasn’t heard from the NHL about any possible supplemental discipline.

Nor for that matter has Dustin Brown, after his high hit on Couture in the first period.

In conclusion, it’s good to have hockey back.

Related: Sutter says Kings weren’t ‘interested’ in checking the Sharks

Torres apologizes to Silfverberg and Sharks


A statement from Raffi Torres:

“I accept the 41-game suspension handed down to me by the NHL’s Department of Player Safety. I worked extremely hard over the last two years following reconstructive knee surgery to resume my NHL career, and this is the last thing I wanted to happen. I am disappointed I have put myself in a position to be suspended again. I sincerely apologize to Jakob for the hit that led to this suspension, and I’m extremely thankful that he wasn’t seriously injured as a result of the play. I also want to apologize to my Sharks teammates and the organization.”

A statement from San Jose GM Doug Wilson:

“The Sharks organization fully supports the NHL’s supplementary discipline decision regarding Raffi. While we do not believe there was any malicious intent, this type of hit is unacceptable and has no place in our game. There is a difference between playing hard and crossing the line and there is no doubt, in this instance, Raffi crossed that line. We’re very thankful that Jakob was not seriously injured as a result of this play.”

Silfverberg says he expects to play Saturday when the Ducks open their regular season Saturday in San Jose.