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Chicago Blackhawks made favorites to repeat as Stanley Cup champs

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Jonathan Toews at the Chicago Blackhawks 2013 Stanley Cup victory parade.

The Hangover was set in Vegas, but the oddsmakers there don’t expect the Blackhawks to have one. (Getty Images)

By Allan Muir

Maybe hockey gamblers aren’t the same folks as hockey historians.

That might explain why the Chicago Blackhawks are now the odds-on favorite to celebrate their third Stanley Cup in five years next June, according to Bovada.com.

If they were to win, Chicago would be the first team to repeat since the Detroit Red Wings in 1998.

The Hawks were initially set at 15-2 after the Cup final ended, but action from the public over the free agency period has moved them past the Pittsburgh Penguins into the top spot. The Pens, who have yet to figure out a way to convince Marc-Andre Fleury that it’s 2009 again, somehow remained at 13-2.

What’s harder to justify is the love for Edmonton — the Oilers will be in tough to make the playoffs in the new Pacific Division — or Minnesota (who knows if they’re even going to make payroll?) but both teams vaulted from 33-1 to 20-1 in response to player action. Hey, it’s all a crapshoot, right?

Here are the latest odds on the winner of the 2014 Stanley Cup:

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  • Published On Jul 29, 2013
  • Stanley Cup Final: With Marian Hossa out, Blackhawks go cold in Game 3

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    Blackhawks fall 2-0 to Bruins in Game 3

    Ben Smith (left) did his best in Game 3, but couldn’t replace the injured Marian Hossa. (Elise Amendola/AP)

    By Sarah Kwak

    BOSTON — The surprise came just before the puck dropped in Boston’s 2-0 Game 3 win in the Stanley Cup Final on Monday night. After taking warmups, Blackhawks winger Marian Hossa never came back out of the tunnel and onto the ice at TD Garden. He appeared only on the list of scratches, presumably ailing. (Hossa is day-to-day with an upper-body injury, Chicago coach Joel Quenneville later clarified.) He was replaced by winger Ben Smith, who was making his postseason debut and playing in just his second game all year.

    GAME 3: Recap | Boxscore | Highlights | Photos | Complete schedule

    According to the Blackhawks, however, it was only a surprise to those outside their room. Captain Jonathan Toews said the team was aware all day that the man who shares the team scoring lead (7 goals, 15 points) this postseason might not play. They officially made the call just before game time, when Smith was told to get dressed and get warm.

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  • Published On Jun 18, 2013
  • Stanley Cup Final: After a draining Game 1, recovery the focus on off-days

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    Andrew Shaw

    Andrew Shaw put in the winning goal in triple overtime on a deflection. (David E. Klutho/SI)

    By Sarah Kwak

    CHICAGO — It was the morning-after when he really felt it, Craig Simpson recalled, the time when the toll of a triple-overtime game becomes most apparent to a player’s body. By then, the adrenaline had worn off and the extreme fatigue had set in. So, as Simpson recalls, when he finally woke up around 11 or 11:30 a.m. on a Thursday some 13 years ago, he looked down at his hands and saw that they were clenched closed.

    “When you play five-and-a-half to six hours, your body just goes through so much, especially dehydration,” Simpson said. “When you’re holding onto a stick for six hours and cross-checking guys hard on the puck, I woke up, thinking, Oh my god, I can hardly open [my hands] up….

    “But then my next thought was, ‘Imagine how Ray Bourque must feel.’”

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  • Published On Jun 13, 2013
  • Kings raise Stanley Cup banner in style

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    By Allan Muir

    Maybe some people were just tired of waiting for the puck to drop.

    Going by the generally nasty social media reaction to the Stanley Cup celebrations in Los Angeles, you’d have thought that the Kings had trotted out Gary Bettman wearing a Ducks jersey to justify the lockout and then had  Snooki and Carl Lewis duet on the national anthem.

    Look, I’m normally the cranky cynic. My general demeanor ensured that my kids could both spell and properly use “curmudgeon” in a sentence by the time they were in Grade 2.

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  • Published On Jan 19, 2013
  • My favorite hockey stories of 2012

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    Lokomotiv Yaroslavl

    One year after a tragic plane crash decimated the KHL team, Lokomotiv Yaroslavl returned to the ice. Colorado’s Semyon Varlamov (left, greeting former Capitals teammate Alex Ovechkin after a game) has been tending goal. (Photo by Yury Kuzmin/KHL Photo Agency via Getty Images)

    By Stu Hackel

    A big dark storm cloud lingers over any celebration of hockey in 2012. It’s the NHL lockout and it has been showering grief on the game and its fans for over three months. Now, it also makes my job here a bit easier compared to my colleagues who are covering other sports because so little has happened between June and December that the range of choices for my favorite stories of the year has been sliced dramatically. Still, I’d rather be burdened by having to choose from a full plate.

    That said, here are my 10 highlights. (You can read other SI.com writers’ picks here and view a gallery of the 112 most amazing sports moments of 2012 here.)

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  • Published On Dec 20, 2012
  • Two Minutes for Booking: Holiday gifts

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    Gump Worsley

    To Red Light’s dismay, Gump Worsley only ranked 20th in the new edition of Without Fear: The Greatest Goalies of All Time, even though he won four Stanley Cups during his career. (Charles Hoff/NY Daily News Archive via Getty Images)

    By Stu Hackel

    The holiday season is already upon us, which you no doubt noticed a couple of weeks ago. The question is: what do you buy a hockey fan during this sad December, this festival of darkness in NHL arenas with no peace on the CBA front and good will in short supply?

    You can’t buy tickets to games that are not being played. If you are of the mind that you’re not going to pay a penny to the owners or players as long as there’s a lockout (or even longer if you’re part of the Just Drop It movement), you’re not buying any NHL merch, either.

    How about a good book?

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  • Published On Dec 11, 2012
  • Can the Kings become an NHL power?

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    Kings cornerstones Jonathan Quick (left) and Drew Doughty are just entering the prime of their careers. (Mark J. Terrill/AP Photos)

    By Stu Hackel

    The Kings are making the rounds with the Stanley Cup – The Tonight Show, the Jimmy Kimmel Show (here, here and here, Off the Record, etc.), Wednesday night’s Angels-Dodgers  game – and will show it off to their fans as they ride on double-decker buses in a parade through downtown Los Angeles on Thursday. (“Fans are encouraged to celebrate responsibly and be prepared for warm weather by drinking water and wearing sunscreen,” cautions The Los Angles Daily News.) After the parade, there’ll be a rally at the Staples Center. Tickets for the rally are free, distributed to season ticket holders, team sponsors and the like, although KCBS-TV reports some are ending up on eBay and Craigslist for over $200 each.

    “In the days when the Montreal Canadiens won the Stanley Cup almost every spring,” writes The Los Angeles Times’ Helene Elliott, “the city’s mayor would succinctly announce the details of the championship celebration. ‘The parade will follow the usual route,’ was all he needed to say, and everyone knew what that meant. There is no usual route for the Kings, who Monday won the first Cup title of their 45-year existence….They actually took an unusual route to get here, but if a few things go right, their parade could become a familiar ritual.”

    “We built this for a long run. It’s a good young team with the core tied up, and we have the resources to keep our key guys and look to add,” Tim Leiweke, the Kings’ governor and chief executive of parent company AEG, told Elliott. “We want to compete for a long time now.”

    Can they? Do the Kings have the makings of an NHL powerhouse?

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  • Published On Jun 13, 2012
  • Bernier not goat in Devils’ Cup loss

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    The boarding call on the Devils’ Steve Bernier was a cruel blow to a team that thrives on the forecheck. (Bruce Bennett/Getty Images)

    By Stu Hackel

    You may want to fit the Devils’ Steve Bernier for goat’s horns after his five-minute major in Game 6 of the Stanley Cup Final, the penalty that essentially handed the championship to the Kings with their 6-1 victory. But there are many other people who deserve a share of the blame that history will unfairly heap on New Jersey’s fourth-line left wing for costing his team a chance to get to Game 7.

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  • Published On Jun 12, 2012
  • Devils’ adjustments push Stanley Cup Final to Game 6

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    Adding Henrik Tallinder (7), who has fresh legs, has made a huge difference for the Devils’ defense. (Bruce Bennett/Getty Images)

    By Stu Hackel

    The Stanley Cup Final moves to an unlikely Game 6 on Monday night as the Kings get a second chance to close out the Devils at home and win the hallowed chalice. Usually if you blow a chance to wrap up a series on home ice, it can be fatal and if L.A. coughs up a second opportunity and we get Game 7 on Wednesday night in New Jersey, anything is possible.

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  • Published On Jun 11, 2012
  • Can Kings of the road grab Game 5?

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    Their team in New Jersey, Kings fans in L.A. anxiously await a Cup coronation. (Chris Williams/Icon SMI)

    By Stu Hackel

    Maybe it ends on Saturday night and maybe not. The Kings, who were juuuust good enough to win two overtime games and then ride their home crowd to a more decisive Game 3 victory, dropped Game 4 to the Devils on Wednesday night in another close outing and now must build on their incredible undefeated road record to win the Stanley Cup this weekend.

    The Devils, meanwhile, look to extend their season. Twenty-six teams have lost the first three games of a Cup final. New Jersey is just the sixth to reach Game 5. Only two have pushed the series to a Game 6; both, in fact, went to Game 7. The Maple Leafs came all the way back to win in 1942 against the Red Wings, Detroit nearly returned the favor in 1945, losing to Toronto 2-1 on home ice.

    Although it seems the hockey gods changed allegiances on Wednesday, bestowing a larger share of good luck on New Jersey than they did in the first three contests, the Devils also benefited from better execution. They finally took their own advice and exploited the flaw they detected in Kings goalie Jonathan Quick — shooting high. L.A. meanwhile, played tentatively at times and missed the Devils’ net entirely with their shots on over 20 occasions, the nervous prospect of winning the Cup at home perhaps in their minds. All that should make Game 5 rather interesting.

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  • Published On Jun 08, 2012


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