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The Chip ‘n’ Chase: Olympic odds, Russia’s defense, King Henrik’s new deal, Fire Cappy? and more

Dec 4, 2013, 1:46 PM EDT

Alex Ovechkin Getty Images

This is a new thing we’re trying. Every Wednesday, we’ll publish a little back-and-forth we have via email. We’re calling it the Chip ‘n’ Chase. Yes, it’s a terrible name. Enjoy.

Jason Brough: Hey buddy, so I just got Bovada’s latest odds to win Olympic gold. Here’s how they look:

Canada 2/1
Russia 9/4
Sweden 5/1
USA 11/2
Czech Republic 10/1
Finland 12/1
Switzerland 25/1
Slovakia 33/1
Norway 200/1
Latvia 400/1
Austria 900/1
Slovenia 900/1

No huge surprises, though it’s interesting that Russia was the favorite in July, and now Canada is. Personally I’d drop Russia even further down, below Sweden and USA. I know Russia’s got a ridiculously talented group of forwards, but I just can’t get past the candidates on defense, of whom a player by the name of Eugene Ryasensky is apparently one. I suppose it’s possible they could gain an advantage playing at home in Sochi. On the other hand, I could just as easily see them choking under the pressure, as a very unhappy, and possibly shirtless, Vladimir Putin watches on.

Mike Halford: Yeah, that defense. And it’s not like they’ll be able to hide their bottom guys. The Olympics is a bit different than the NHL. “Canada’s fourth line hops over the boards for a rare shift…let’s see what Matt Duchene, Patrick Marleau and Corey Perry can do.” The thing with Russia is you can get caught up playing fantasy hockey with its forwards and, in turn, overlook its glaring roster flaws. Like, yes, Russia could ice a top line of Malkin-Datsyuk-Ovechkin…which it would need, because Anton Volchenkov is anchoring (quite literally) the D. That’s why I really like the Swedes’ chances. They have three of the NHL’s top-10 defenseman scorers — Karlsson, Ekman-Larsson and Kronwall — plus the likes of Brodin, Edler, Hedman, Hjalmarsson, Oduya and Ericsson. I’d argue only Canada has superior blue-line depth, and even then it’s close. But enough about the favorites. One country always seems to surprise at the Olympics — Slovakia in ’10, Belarus in ’02, and I seem to remember the United States playing well in ’80 — so, who’s your dark-horse pick? Are we all overlooking Slovenia, Jason? ARE WE?

JB: I think a lot of people would answer Switzlerland to this question, so I won’t. No disrespect to the Swiss, who won silver at the 2013 Worlds and nearly beat Canada in 2010. They’re like the international version of the 2003 Minnesota Wild. I just don’t want to pick the same dark horse everyone else is picking. For that reason, I think I’ll go with Austria. Not to win a medal, but I could see them pulling an upset and reaching the quarterfinals. Thomas Vanek and Michael Grabner are pretty talented players, and I assume their goalies have all the necessary equipment — glove, blocker, chest protector, etc. Oh, and let’s not forget that Austria won gold at the 1927 European championships. So this is a team with a history of success at big tournaments.

source: APMH: How they beat Belgium that year, I’ll never know. I see you mentioned Grabner and Vanek, so congrats are in order — you wrote about the Islanders without questioning Jack Capuano’s job security. Why do you hate Jack Capuano so much, Jason? Is it his hair? His wardrobe? His charming Rhode Island accent? I just don’t get why you’re constantly writing about his potential firing. Is it because New York has lost seven straight and sits last in the Metropolitan Division, seven points back of a playoff spot? Oh, wait, I get it now. I guess I just feel bad for Capuano, who lest we forget isn’t far removed from helping the Isles snap a five-season playoff drought, for which he finished fifth in the Jack Adams voting. I fail to see how this year’s flawed team — terrible goaltending, no Streit/Visnovsky, etc. — lands at his feet, but I guess that’s the business. Garth Snow might have immense loyalty to Cappy but, as the old saying goes, you can’t fire the players, you can only trade them to Buffalo for Thomas Vanek.

JB: You make it sound like I’ve been pushing for his firing. Not true. I feel for the guy, too. I’m simply wondering where Snow’s breaking point exists. It took a 10-game winless streak for Scott Gordon to get canned in 2010, and the Isles could easily get to that point with their upcoming road trip through St. Louis, Los Angeles, Anaheim, San Jose, and Phoenix. I agree, the team has flaws — significant ones, and those fall on management and ownership — but that doesn’t mean Capuano should escape responsibility. Otherwise, why not just prop up a mannequin, or one of those water-drinking toy birds, behind the bench and call it coach? Actually, I wonder if the Isles might consider that. If there’s one NHL team that loves to save a buck, it’s the Isles. And I bet the water-drinking bird would work cheap, unless it has a really good agent. Anyway, maybe it’ll be good for the Isles to get out on the road, even if it’s to play five of the top teams in the league. At least there won’t be any “Fire Cappy” or “Snow Must Go” chants for a little while.

MH: Funny you mention the financial limitations the Islanders face, because they were only accentuated by their hated rivals, the Rangers, who just dropped nearly $60 million to retain Henrik Lundqvist. That’s a lot of scratch, but I guess when you’re negotiating with the NHL’s most consistent goalie over the last eight years, you gotta pay that man his money. The goalie market is blowing my mind a little bit right now. Lundqvist, Rask, Rinne, Quick and Luongo are all on mega-deals, to the point where the contracts for Price, Smith and Howard — which are all six years and worth at least $31 million — seem conservative. At this point, I don’t know whether a guy like Ryan Miller is in a good position or a bad one. He could capitalize on the “good goalies get paid” trend, but where? So many teams have locked into their guys, it’s not like he’s going to have his choice of places to play. Same goes for other pending UFA goalies like Jonas Hiller, Jaroslav Halak and Tim Thomas.

source: Getty ImagesJB: The Rangers were always going to pay Lundqvist. He’s arguably the best goalie in the world, and you don’t let a player like that walk away. Especially if you’re one of the league’s financial powerhouses. And especially when he’s so handsome. Wait, what? But you’re right, the goalie market is fascinating. For GMs, it’s a question of paying for certainty with a proven veteran, or rolling the dice on a youngster or reclamation project. Personally I’d be wary of giving a goalie a lengthy contract. Look at what happened in Vancouver with Roberto Luongo. Look at Pekka Rinne‘s health issues. Not to mention, so much of goaltending is mental, and a goalie’s mind can be a fragile thing. They’re a bit like golfers and NFL kickers in that way — one day they look amazing, the next you wonder if they can tie their shoes. Yet having said all that, if a team doesn’t get good goaltending, it’s pretty much finished, so I fully understand the desire to get the good ones locked up. Do you get the feeling I’d be a very indecisive general manager?

MH: Yes, but I don’t think you have to worry about it.

  1. rdk - Dec 4, 2013 at 1:55 PM

    Needs more Gamblor ! ! !

  2. ibieiniid - Dec 4, 2013 at 2:08 PM

    USA @ 11/2? I know these odds are MADE to reel us in, but I think they just reeled me in.

  3. mayorrobford - Dec 4, 2013 at 2:37 PM

    Did I read a hockey conversation between two guys who don’t know enough about hockey to get simple nationalities correct?


    I doubt anyone really cares what PHT bloggers think when it’s obvious they know less than the readers here. You guys are constantly being corrected, stop, just stop.

    People will check out the odds, and the majority won’t bother reading the rest, why would they?

    • ibieiniid - Dec 4, 2013 at 2:49 PM

      so the question that I’m sure would be asked of you if I didn’t ask it is….. then why are you still here reading PHT?

      • ibieiniid - Dec 4, 2013 at 2:50 PM

        Halford/Brough may laugh at that comment, seeing as how they could have asked me the same exact question based on my comment on a previous C&C a few weeks ago.

      • mayorrobford - Dec 4, 2013 at 2:55 PM

        The news and comment section, any opinion from the bloggers are dismissed as being talk from guys who don’t know enough about the subject to be taken seriously.

      • Mike Halford - Dec 4, 2013 at 3:01 PM

        OK, just calm down bud. There were errors in an earlier post that we found, fixed and are now addressing. Apologies for the mistakes, we do strive for accuracy at PHT and always look to remedy problems when they arise. Thanks.

      • mayorrobford - Dec 4, 2013 at 3:49 PM

        Know what else I personal find amusing, someone can post something racist or generally disgusting, and yas won’t address it or remove it. Yet tell the truth about the mistakes you guys make and it’s addressed immediately.

      • mayorrobford - Dec 4, 2013 at 4:01 PM

        Oh Alex Galchenyuk too, yas had him as a Russian before the readers corrected you. So again, it’s not me, it’s you, don’t get upset at me for pointing out an re-occurring failure here by you guys.

      • Mike Halford - Dec 4, 2013 at 4:08 PM

        Well, at least you’re reading.

      • ibieiniid - Dec 4, 2013 at 3:01 PM

        they write a lot of stuff man. they’re bound to make a mistake from time to time. I’ll be sure to point out the next one you make, and you write probably 1/100 of what they do. normally, if you mention it in the comments, they’ll change it and thank you for bringing it to their attention.

        to your credit, I did notice that the night crew makes a fair amount more mistakes than the day crew. then again, they’re working til at least midnight EST, I’d probably make quite a few mistakes too.

        but Brough and Halford rarely make mistakes more than a typo. if you wanna grill them on their “rampant trade speculation” though, be my guest lol

    • rdk - Dec 4, 2013 at 3:02 PM

      So which nationalities are wrong? Don’t tell me you read that Vanek and Grabner are Swiss.

      • ibieiniid - Dec 4, 2013 at 3:15 PM

        I think he’s referring to the Stamkos story that was posted at 1AM…. that neither Halford nor Brough wrote.

      • rdk - Dec 4, 2013 at 3:28 PM

        Ok, thanks. The mayor’s rant was pretty incoherent especially when he starting whining about bloggers and the comments section. I guess that’s to be expected from wife-beating mafia stooge.

      • ibieiniid - Dec 4, 2013 at 4:00 PM


        i’m kinda confused as to why my post from 3:01 dropped below mayor’s from 3:48 and 49 though. BROUGH, DAMN YOU!

      • mayorrobford - Dec 4, 2013 at 4:04 PM

        Galchenyuk, Anderson, Eller, and now Pacioretty,o ff the top of my head, I’m sure there’s more.

      • Mike Halford - Dec 4, 2013 at 4:35 PM

        In our defense, learning that Galchenyuk is Uzbekistani was a total shocker for everybody. Confusing Eller for an American is a popular mistake because of his uncle, former LA Rams wide receiver Henry Eller. Anderson and Pacioretty both play for Canadian teams so I’m actually quite sure that means they are Canadian.

      • rdk - Dec 4, 2013 at 4:09 PM

        You sure know lots more stuff about the Habs than a sports junkie from Etobicoke would know.

        Is that you Denis Coderre?

      • ibieiniid - Dec 4, 2013 at 4:19 PM

        (a page out of your book) quick, which bloggers made each of those mistakes? if I was going by what you’re saying here, they’re all responsible for every one of them. if you’re absolutely have to give them sh**, at least give the right guys the sh**.

        again, people make mistakes. Galchenyuk is an easy mistake to make too. sure he’s American, but from what I remember, he’s only American by default (not saying he definitely doesn’t take pride in being American, only that he didn’t exactly have the most normal American life). he was born in WI to Russian (or were they Belarusian) parents who almost immediately moved him to Europe and didn’t bring him back til his late teens………. and his name is Galchenyuk. easy mistake to make.

      • ibieiniid - Dec 4, 2013 at 4:23 PM

        you* absolutely

      • ibieiniid - Dec 4, 2013 at 4:25 PM

        and oh yeah, read this:

        “Did I read a hockey conversation between two guys who don’t know enough about hockey to get simple nationalities correct?


        hmm…. seems somebody may be on crack.

      • nicknyhc - Dec 4, 2013 at 5:32 PM

        Max Pacioretty is American. I knew that off the top of my head and I’m not even a Habs fan.

        This reminds me of the time when you guys said that the Bruins and Rangers played a playoff series in ’12 when they hadn’t (prior to this past year) played a series since the 1970’s.

        You’re an internet blog, google stuff!

    • imleftcoast - Dec 4, 2013 at 7:52 PM

      For crying out loud, Mike and Jason post like 15 articles a day, and they’re obviously hockey fans. It’s not a world f’ing atlas.

      Lighten up. There can only be one mom yelling down the basement stairs to get off the computer and get real jobs.

    • imleftcoast - Dec 4, 2013 at 7:55 PM

      If there’s another outlet in your mom’s basement, maybe you get an intern to do stats and fact-check. Otherwise, serious case of manopause in here today.

  4. muckleflugga - Dec 4, 2013 at 2:48 PM

    one thing for sure, american television will have its say…whether anyone in europe will listen or care remains to be seen

    this is the olympics, after all

    perhaps team usa, men and women, can recruit a norwegian referee…?

    canada, men, playing on big ice, no goonery…they’re in tough

    canada, women, a walk in the park…

  5. flyerspsu - Dec 4, 2013 at 4:42 PM

    id put $5 on Finland with those 12-1 odds

  6. blomfeld - Dec 4, 2013 at 8:51 PM

    Name: Blomfeld

    Birthplace: Montreal Quebec

    As a ‘values-driven’ man who’s been watching NHL hockey since 1965, the following are my ‘sincere’ medal predictions for the upcoming games in Sochi, there in the formidable and often hostile Caucasus region of Russia …

    1) USA … Gold
    2) Sweden … Silver
    3) Czech Republic … Bronze

    4) Canada
    5) Finland
    6) Russia

    7) Slovakia
    8) Austria
    9 Switzerland

    10) Slovenia
    11) Norway
    12) Latvia

    note: these predictions are offered in the spirit of God-given clairvoyance, not humor …

  7. imleftcoast - Dec 5, 2013 at 8:16 PM

    Czech Republic

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