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PHT Oddsmaker: Let’s gamble on the NHL

Nov 30, 2011, 2:58 PM EDT

Cory Schneider Getty Images

PHT Oddsmaker will be a regular feature where we set pretend odds and pretend to gamble on them. If you’d like to bet real money, meet us in the alley and we’ll talk.

Odds Cory Schneider will be Vancouver’s starting goalie for Game 1 of the playoffs (+300)

Canucks coach Alain Vigneault said yesterday that Roberto Luongo was still the team’s first choice in goal. His exact words were, “Obviously, Roberto is our No. 1 goaltender.” However, it might not be so obvious come April. Schneider is 7-4-0 with a 1.93 GAA and .937 SV%. Nobody’s expecting him to maintain that pace forever, but what happens if, at the end of the regular season, he’s outplayed Luongo? If that’s the case – and it’s not exactly a stretch – the only legitimate reason to go with Luongo is playoff experience. The big contract should play absolutely no role in the coach’s decision. And to be fair, it’s never really played a role. Vigneault started Schneider in Game 6 against the Blackhawks and he’s riding Schneider now. I’ll take +300.

Odds the Predators sign Ryan Suter to a long-term contract (-125)

If you believe his agent, Suter “wants to be” in Nashville. However, Neil Sheehy also said there are “issues” that still need to be addressed. One of those issues will be money. Obviously. But another will be the Preds’ chances of ever winning a Stanley Cup. Even when you’re a millionaire, it’s frustrating to play for a team with no shot at a championship. And looking at Nashville’s current roster, the chances are pretty slim. Ownership can promise it’ll spend to the cap and bring in some high-priced forwards, but that would be a huge leap of faith for Suter to take. Why not be a millionaire in Detroit, where you’re guaranteed to pass the puck up to forwards like Pavel Datsyuk and Henrik Zetterberg? With Nicklas Lidstrom close to retirement and loads of cap space for Ken Holland to play with, I think I’ll pass on this bet.

Odds the Capitals win the Southeast Division (-200)

They’re currently in second, five points back of Florida (with a game in hand) and one point ahead of Tampa Bay (each team has played 23 games). We’ll leave Winnipeg and Carolina out of the discussion. As poorly as the Caps are playing, it’s hard to picture them finishing behind anyone in the Southeast. No offense to the Panthers, but they’re overachieving. The Lightning has top-end talent, but depth and goaltending are significant concerns. Washington will put a run together eventually. The Caps should receive a big boost once Mike Green gets healthy. I’m confident they’ll win the division, even at -200.

  1. eli2tyree4 - Nov 30, 2011 at 3:35 PM

    Caps (-200) I would jump on in a second.
    Disagree on Luongo/Schneider. Luongo will be here ten more years, need to make him happy. And schnieder probably done after the year, starting him would put management in impossible spot.
    More importantly, Luongo has long history of being a top NHL goaltender, and chances are he will return there once he gets in a groove.

    • whatswellydoing - Nov 30, 2011 at 4:24 PM

      AV has already shown he doesn’t care about contracts – just look at Ballard sitting last year behind Rome and Tanev. That being said I agree Lu will win back the starting job on merit.

    • hague507 - Nov 30, 2011 at 4:37 PM

      Luongo has long history of being a top NHL goaltender. emphasis is on the LONG part. Time to plan for the future.

    • danphipps01 - Dec 1, 2011 at 2:36 AM

      “Keep him happy”? So he can lose another Cup for you? Please. You know who you reward if you’re a smart man? Your performers. If you reward your big contracts you’re just telling the world you don’t give a fuck how your players perform – what incentive is there for Luongo to get off his ass if the organization’s scrambling to reassure him he’s their starter for life? Fuck that. Run the hot hand and toss him in the pressure cooker. If he improves, fantastic. Reward him for it. If not… well, at day’s end, there are teams who would take him.

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