Author: Jason Brough

Blackhawks remain Stanley Cup favorites at online bookmaker

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Even after the departures of Brandon Saad, Johnny Oduya, Patrick Sharp, Brad Richards, and Antoine Vermette — not to mention the serious allegations against Patrick Kane, and the fact there hasn’t been a repeat champion during the salary-cap era — the Chicago Blackhawks remain the favorites to win the 2016 Stanley Cup at online bookmaker Bovada.

In fact, the Blackhawks’ odds have slightly improved — from 7/1 to 13/2 — since hoisting the Cup in June.

Other teams that have seen their odds improve are the Kings (14/1 to 10/1), Flames (40/1 to 28/1), and, most dramatically, Stars (66/1 to 28/1).

The Canucks (40/1 to 66/1), Leafs (66/1 to 100/1), and Coyotes (100/1 to 150/1) are among the teams that have seen their odds go the other way.

Here’s the full list of Stanley Cup odds:

Odds

Outdoor game on Parliament Hill? It’s been discussed

Parliament Hill Ottawa During The Spring Tulip Festival
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When U2 played a show in Montreal a few years back, a temporary outdoor stadium was erected to accommodate 80,000 fans.

The Ottawa Senators say that’s why an outdoor game on Parliament Hill in 2017 is a possibility, though the club also said no formal discussions have taken place.

“A pop-up stadium concept is something we’ve talked about in the past. Parliament Hill would be a unique backdrop if you could do it, but we haven’t done any work on that,” Senators president Cyril Leeder told TSN 1200.

Ottawa’s mayor, Jim Watson, said there have “been a number of discussions that have gone on between the federal government and the NHL about having it on the Hill. And it’s not a far-fetched idea – it’s physically possible.”

Not surprisingly, the Parliament Hill idea has its doubters. The most likely venue for the outdoor game in Ottawa —  a game the NHL has already confirmed will happen — remains TD Place Stadium, home of the CFL’s Redblacks.

But the temporary stadium idea is worth remembering. Even if it’s not Parliament Hill, there are other intriguing sites that could be explored — ones that would create buzz for a concept that many feel has been played out.

Report: Panthers offer Huberdeau two-year deal

Jonathan Huberdeau
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The Florida Panthers have offered restricted free agent Jonathan Huberdeau a two-year bridge contract, according to TSN’s Bob McKenzie.

Huberdeau and his agent are currently trying to decide whether to sign.

Meanwhile, McKenzie also reports that a “couple of teams have been kicking tires” on inking the 22-year-old forward to an offer sheet.

Of course, even if that were to occur, the Panthers would likely match. Huberdeau is a key part of a Florida group that, with a mix of blue-chip youngsters and experienced veterans, has postseason expectations in 2015-16.

Huberdeau’s NHL career got off to a great start. He won the Calder Trophy as the league’s top rookie in 2013. And though a sophomore slump would follow, he bounced back last season, his 54 points leading all Panthers scorers.

Related: All about term for Huberdeau

Buffalo, Pittsburgh, and St. Louis in running for 2018 World Juniors

Slovakia v United States - 2015 IIHF World Junior Championship
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Sorry, Chicago and Tampa.

USA Hockey announced today that it has narrowed the list of cities vying to host the 2018 World Juniors from five to three — Buffalo, Pittsburgh, and St. Louis.

“We look forward to this next step in our selection process,” said USA Hockey’s Mike Bertsch. “It was extremely difficult to get down to three. All five of the cities we were considering made a compelling case.”

The winning bid is expected to be announced by the end of the year.

The United States has hosted the World Juniors five times, most recently in 2011 when it was in Buffalo.

Linden Vey is out to prove he belongs

Vancouver Canucks v Tampa Bay Lightning
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It’s “do or die” time for Linden Vey, the 24-year-old Canucks forward who knows that a repeat performance of last season could mean he’s out of a job.

“This is the year I’ve got to prove to myself and everyone that I belong, and be a guy that the organization needs going forward,” Vey told The Province. “You only get so many opportunities and this has been my best summer in working on my fitness.”

An undersized center who’s the current favorite to skate on Vancouver’s fourth line, Vey worked this offseason to build his strength, “because I have to be able to do a job against big centers.”

Vey was acquired last summer in a trade with the Kings. Essentially gifted a spot on Vancouver’s roster, he finished with 10 goals and 14 assists in 75 games, then was scratched for all but one of the Canucks’ six playoff games.

He blamed a poor summer of preparation for that.

Breathing down Vey’s neck at training camp will be prospects Cole Cassels and Jared McCann, two young centers for which the organization has high hopes.