Category Archives: NHL

NHL wants fans to provide the season’s video and audio soundtrack

Virtually all sports leagues in the US, provided they see players suit up, are going to hold competitions on courts, fields and rinks in front of empty stands. The coronavirus is forcing organizations like the NFL, NHL and NBA, in accordance with state and federal directives, to keep fans away until there is more confidence that the pandemic is under control, which creates a unique situation for the leagues. Part of the thrill athletes experience in the games is the crowd noise, as fans cheer, holler, root and sometimes rant. Different leagues have formulated plans on how to address the lack of live fan participation and, in some cases, piped-in audio clips or soundtracks from video games are being used. The NHL is taking a different approach, and wants to hear from hockey fans.

NHL team season-ticket holders are beginning to receive correspondence from the teams, asking them to get involved. They, instead of all fans, were probably chosen because of the easy access to databases, and will have the ability to record and submit 30-second video and sound bites that could be included in the league’s upcoming games – more colorful commentary probably won’t pass muster.

The NHL will be holding the final matches of the 2019-20 season in Toronto and Edmonton. The fan-provided sounds will be heard live by players at the rinks, as well as used in game broadcasts and on NHL social media accounts. The league explained that submissions need to be free of any possible copyright or trademark issues and told the recipients to avoid “the appearance of paintings, posters, professional photography or any other art in the background,” as well as to avoid “wearing apparel that shows any brands.”

The material submitted should include expected reactions to goals being scored and can be specific for each team. For example, Boston Bruins fans can provide a clip of the famous “TUUUUUUUUKKKKKKK” chant, which is heard every time goalie Tuukka Rask successfully protects the net. Chicago Blackhawks fans can provide clips of a “slow clap” and “30 seconds of how you act/cheer during the National Anthem at a home game.” Fans of the Winnipeg Jets were requested to provide clips on why they’re proud to support the team and to include a “We Are Winnipeg” shoutout.

NHL hockey return could see some teams meet in Vegas

Like all major sports leagues in the U.S., and in most parts of the world, the NHL was forced to put hockey in time-out this past March because of the coronavirus. The league was close to starting its playoff games and the battle for the Stanley Cup, but hockey players and fans could only divert their attention elsewhere and wait for the storm to blow over. The sky is finally beginning to clear up and the grey clouds are rolling off into the distance, so it’s time to get the show on the road. The NBA has already announced its plan of attack to finish out the season and other sports, such as golf and tennis, are back in the swing of things, as well. With the NHL ready to join the fun, it looks like a picture is beginning to emerge on how it will conclude its 2019-20 season. Las Vegas is being rumored as a potential host for the league’s games, one of two cities that would ultimately be selected as hubs for the NHL modified playoffs.

According to the Las Vegas Review-Journal, Vegas could be the NHL’s Eastern Conference playoff hub. The league is expected to make a final announcement on or before June 22, an assertion made by league commissioner Gary Bettman late last month. The Western Conference would hold its competitions elsewhere, possibly in a city in Canada. That will depend on how Canada manages its lockdown and quarantine procedures, and the country is reportedly in talks with the NHL to work on a modified solution to give hockey players a pass.

The decision to put the Eastern Conference in Las Vegas, instead of the Western Conference, can be traced to one particular team. If the Western Conference were to play its games in the city, it might seem that the Vegas Golden Knights, a Western Conference team, would have a “home ice” advantage. Fair enough, but Eastern Conference team fans aren’t going to be too thrilled about catching games at 11 or 12 at night.

If Vegas makes the final cut, there are several hotels that could be used to host players and staff. Not coincidentally, they’re owned by MGM Resorts International, which is a co-owner of the T-Mobile Arena. The stadium would be outfitted with an ice-skating rink to host the games. More than likely, MGM’s Delano and Vdara, which are nongaming hotels in Vegas, would be the venues chosen for the NHL’s players and staff. The NHL is requesting that any venue used be nongaming and the Delano and Vdara are all-suite hotels with no gaming, even though they’re only steps away from the Mandalay Bay and the Aria, respectively.

NBA, NHL teams back in uniform as they prepare for July restart

The NFL doesn’t anticipate any delays coming ahead of the regular-season kickoff this September, which is good news for football fans as they will have essentially not been forced into withdrawal due to a season suspension. Fans of other sports haven’t been as lucky, though, as the coronavirus pandemic brought NBA, NHL and MLB action, among others, to a grinding halt in March. While MLB owners and players are still locked in a staring contest, waiting to see who will blink first, other leagues have taken the high road and are ready to get their action going once again. The NBA and the NHL have announced that they expect to be able to hold contests starting in July, and players of both organizations are now back in uniform getting warmed up.

This past Monday, NHL teams were given the green light to open their facilities to players so they could begin working out. Additionally, several NBA teams have unlocked their doors, as well, allowing players to get on the courts in voluntary exercise and training programs. Between the two leagues, there is a mixture of responses to the restart, with some teams ready to embrace their sport, while others are either treading lightly or not restarting at all.

The NHL would love to see everyone back on the ice ahead of the planned season restart next month. However, it isn’t possible across the board due to ongoing policies that have been implemented to keep COVID-19 from making a rebound. For example, the Vancouver Canucks are extremely shorthanded, as many players are currently out of the country. To get back into Canada, anyone arriving has to be ready to undergo a two-week quarantine, so these players won’t be able to put their jerseys back on until the month starts to close.

That is going to make things a little more difficult for certain hockey players as the league rolls into July. According to the current plan, team training and workout camps are expected to get going on July 10, with 24 teams making their way to two cities in order to play a modified season ahead of the Stanley Cup playoffs. Three months in isolation and only a couple of weeks to prepare will put some teams at a disadvantage in the competitions.

The NHL now has an official arm to promote diversity

The topic of racial discrimination is at the forefront of conversations and legal discussions in ways that haven’t been seen in the U.S. in almost 60 years. The race riots seen in the latter half of the 60s forced the National Guard to take to the streets, with tanks and threats of being shot used to enforce curfews. Diversity and equal rights are becoming more prominent than back then, and permanent changes are definitely on their way. No business or industry is immune from dealing discrimination and the sports world has seen its fair share of racial profiling and hatred over the years. People can expect to see sports leagues making sweeping changes going forward, and the National Hockey League (NHL) is going to get some help from a newly-formed group of former and current players called the Hockey Diversity Alliance (HDA).

The HDA was announced yesterday, initiated by seven hockey players who are hoping to make a difference in sports. Among the founders are Akim Aliu and Evander Kane, who will lead the organization, with an executive committee comprised of Minnesota Wild defenseman Matt Dumba, Detroit Red Wings defenseman Trevor Daley, Buffalo Sabres forward Wayne Simmonds, Philadelphia Flyers forward Chris Stewart and Joel Ward, who just finished his hockey career with the San Jose Sharks after a 12-year stint in the league.

All of the players have had to deal with some type of discrimination, on or off the ice, but Aliu has been one of the more vocal individuals to speak out on the subject. He had been the target of abuse by former NHL coach Bill Peters while the two were in the minor leagues and, late last year, the NHL began working on several initiatives designed to promote diversity. Among those efforts are a few organized councils, which are expected to hold their first meetings sometime this month.

The HDA is not an official NHL organization, but will work with the league and its programs to increase diversity and inclusion awareness. The group explains, “Our mission is to eradicate racism and intolerance in hockey. We will strive to be a force for positive change not only within our game of hockey but also within society.”

Some Nevada sportsbooks get generous with NHL gamblers

The NHL regular season was well underway when the coronavirus skated in and slammed the league into the glass. COVID-19 couldn’t be sent to the penalty box and the NHL had no choice but to temporarily suspend, before permanently calling off yesterday, the regular-season hockey action. Unfortunately, by that time, a serious number of sports gambling fans had already placed their bets on the games and certain outcomes, but those gamblers are getting a little bit of good news – at least for most of them. All sportsbooks are going to issue refunds based on the fine print Nevada was kind enough to include in NHL wagers. 

According to standing house rules, certain NHL bets are only valid in the event the season sees its normal 81 or 82 games. However, the NHL regular season has now officially been called off, in lieu of a modified playoff schedule, requiring wagers placed on the team game point totals to be refunded based on that rule. The Las Vegas Review-Journal popped the question to several area sportsbooks, including Westgate, William Hill, Caesars Entertainment and more, and they all confirmed that they will honor the rule and begin issuing full refunds on those bets. 

Not everyone will be happy, though. Those who had placed point total bets on the Vegas Golden Knights were extremely close to a nice payday before the season abruptly ended. The team was sitting on 86 points and only needed 17 more points to top its point total. There were only 11 games left in the season, and the team was in a great position to reach its mark. 

Although the sportsbooks acknowledged that they would offer refunds, some are hanging onto the money a little more tightly than others. For example, Caesars wants to wait until the NHL announces division winners before it grades division wagers, but will most likely be refunding all bets. Jeff Davis, the director of trading at Caesars, explains, “Given the way the playoffs are set up, my gut feeling is that the league is not going to ‘crown’ division champs this year. Likely all refunded. This is just my opinion.”

Bruins leading updated 2020 Stanley Cup odds

Riding a seven-game winning streak into the week, the Boston Bruins now find themselves sitting atop the odds to win the 2020 Stanley Cup at sportsbooks.

Odds courtesy of

Boston is the +800 betting favorite on the 2020 Stanley Cup odds after putting together a strong 19-3-5 start to the season. Brad Marchand and David Pastrnak have combined for 85 points through the team’s first 27 games of the season to lead the Bruins’ attack, while Tuukka Rask has a 13-2-2 record between the pipes with a .933 save percentage.

The Washington Capitals then sit second at +900 odds to win the 2020 Stanley Cup, with Alex Ovechkin and company sitting atop the Metropolitan Division standings with a 19-4-5 record on the season. Ovechkin has 20 goals in 28 games this season, while defenseman John Carlson has a team-high 37 points.

Toronto Maple Leafs odds plummet after head coach fired

The Toronto Maple Leafs should have been in contention for a Stanley Cup appearance this season, but things haven’t gone exactly as planned. The NHL team is coming off a six-game losing streak with no clear guidance in sight and no vision of how to turn things around, and now head coach Mike Babcock is now polishing his resume.

The odds of the squad making it to the playoffs have fallen from +1200 to +1500 across the winless streak before dropping even further to +2000, and the team has done the only thing it believes will bolster the freefall.

Babcock joined the Maple Leafs in 2015 on a massive eight-year contract worth $50 million. Things haven’t picked up under his tenure, with the last playoff win for the team coming back in 2004. This season, they’re 9-10-4 and are in tenth place in the Eastern Conference. They’re also 24th in the league on goals-against per game with 3.43 and 27th on the penalty kill.

It isn’t all Babcock’s fault, though. Kyle Dubas, Toronto’s GM, wanted to put some strength up front and used half of the team’s salary cap, $40.75 million, to buy four forwards – Mitch Marner, Auston Matthews, William Nylander and John Tavares. This put the team in a precarious position with virtually no real defense and no top-tier talent in the net.

St. Louis Blues Historic Stanley Cup Wins, High Scoring MLB Games Top Thuuz Sports Most Exciting Rankings For June

Thuuz Sports, the most powerful automated video highlights production platform for worldwide sports, today announced their June Top 10 most exciting games, with two Stanley Cup Finals wins by the St. Louis Blues, as well as a pair of NBA Finals games and some high scoring MLB contests taking most of the attention of fans around the country.  The full top ten is below.

Using their custom designed algorithms to measure real-time event excitement, Thuuz provides a unique look into what games have gotten fans the most excited and engaged as 2019 rolls along.

The game excitement ratings are measured on a 0 to 100 scale and take into consideration game pace, team parity, play novelty, momentum shifts, social buzz, and historical context. The algorithms behind the excitement ratings are statistically calibrated to insure the appropriate distribution of ratings across the duration of a season or course of a tournament.

Using the Thuuz excitement measurement platform, the top ten most exciting games were:

  1. St. Louis 2, Boston 1 (NHL): 6/6:  The Blues secured a critical Game 5 win on the road to take a 3-2 series lead. Controversy surrounded David Perron’s game-winning 3rd period goal, as an obvious tripping call was missed 10 seconds prior. The hero for the Blues was their rookie goalie, Jordan Binnington, who recorded 38 saves in a brilliant performance.
  2. Toronto 114, Golden State 110 (NBA): 6/13 The Raptors went into Oracle Arena in the final game in Oakland for the Warriors and left it as the 2019 NBA Champions. Finals MVP Kawhi Leonard was one of four Toronto Raptors to score 22+ points.
  3. St. Louis 4 Boston 2 (NHL): 6/3 Down 2-1 in the series, the Blues battled back to tie the Stanley Cup FInals at 2 apiece with a thrilling 4-2 win at home. Eventual Conn Smythe trophy winner Ryan O’Reilly scored 2 goals for the Blues, including the game-winning goal with just under 10 minutes remaining, to lead the Blues in attack.
  4. San Diego 16, Colorado 12 (MLB): 6/14 In a historically high scoring series, the Padres completed one of the best comebacks of all time thanks to Hunter Renfroe’s 3 HR game. Entering the 9th trailing by 6 runs, the Padres rallied to force the game into extra innings. The Padres then exploded for another 5 runs in the 12th after a leadoff triple from Fernando Tatis Jr. was capped by Renfroe’s 3rd HR to secure a 16-12 win. The Padres were 0-766 in franchise history when trailing by 6 or more runs in the 9th prior to this game.
  5. Golden State 106, Toronto 105 (NBA): 6/10 The Warriors welcomed Kevin Durant back into the mix, and for 12 minutes looked like the Warriors at their best. A devastating torn achilles ended Durant’s heroic effort, but the Warriors were able to pull out a stunning 106-105 victory in Toronto to force the series back to Oakland for a Game 6. Steph Curry and Klay Thompson combined for 57 points, 14 rebounds, and 11 assists in a stellar effort for the Warriors.
  6. Los Angeles Angels 10 Oakland 9 (MLB): 6/5 Tommy La Stella set the tone with a shot over the right field fence on the 2nd pitch of the game. The A’s wasted no time however, scoring 7 unanswered runs of their own in the 2nd and 3rd against Félix Peña. The Angels answered quickly, scoring 7 runs during the next 2 innings, highlighted by HR’s from Trout and Ohtani to take the lead 8-7 in the bottom of the 4th. The score held until the top of the 8th when the A’s scored twice. In the 9th with the game tied at 9, Garneau’s walk-off pinch-hit ground rule double drove in the winning run as the Angels outlasted the A’s in a 10-9 shootout.
  7. Toronto FC 3, Atlanta Utd 2 (MLS): 6/26 A goal 28 seconds into the game for Toronto FC opened up a flurry of scoring in the first 30 minutes of the game. Two Atlanta Utd goals within 5 minutes gave Atlanta a 2-1 lead, before a Pozuelo (TOR) goal in the 28th minute tied the game at 2 apiece. The game remained tied until stoppage time, when TOR was awarded a PK. Pozuelo calmly put the penalty away, which looked like it would end the game. However, Atlanta Utd were then given a PK in the 5th minute of stoppage time after a VAR check confirmed a penalty. The penalty was launched over the bar, resulting in a 3-2 Toronto FC victory.
  8. Los Angeles Dodgers 12, Colorado 8 (MLB): 6/27 After going back and forth all game, the Dodgers scored four runs in the 9th inning to beat the Rockies 12-8 as the teams combined for 33 hits. Coors Field may have played a role, as 5 different Dodgers homered and Max Muncy impressed going 3 for 4 with 2 HR’s. The Dodgers’ 12 run tally was their highest since putting up 18 on the Diamondbacks back in March.

9    Seattle 9, Minnesota 6 (MLB): 6/12 After trailing by 5 in the 8th, the Twins fought back and tied the game in the 9th thanks to a HR from Byron Buxton. However, 3 errors in the 10th spoiled their comeback, gifting the Mariners a 9-6 win. Dan Vogelbach starred for the Mariners, going 4 for 5 and with a solo HR to open the scoring in the 6th. In a losing effort, Jose Berrios held the Mariners to 1 run through 6.2 innings.

  1. Chicago White Sox 8, Boston 7 (MLB): 6/26 A back-and-forth battle saw the White Sox get out to an early lead by ambushing Chris Sale and the Red Sox with 3 first inning runs. The Red Sox battled back, taking a 7-6 lead on a two run single by Xander Bogearts with 2 outs in the 8th inning. Facing a 1-run deficit entering the 9th, ChiSox star Jose Abreu battled with Red Sox closer Matt Barnes, and on the 10th pitch of the at-bat, deposited a game-winning 2-R HR over the Green Monster.

Bruins favorites in pivotal Game 5 of Stanley Cup Final

Three of the past four Stanley Cup Final matchups have gone at least six games, and the 2019 Final is guaranteed to stretch at least that long after the St. Louis Blues tied the series 2-2 with a 4-2 home victory over the Boston Bruins in Game 4 on Monday night. In each game of this series, the losing team has finished with two goals.

Odds courtesy of

It’s back to Beantown for Game 5 on Thursday, with the Bruins at -155 and the Blues at +135. The total is set at 5.5 goals – three of the four games in this series have topped that total.  This marks the 10th time in the last 12 years and 41st time overall that the Stanley Cup Final will go at least six games. It hasn’t gone seven since Boston beat Vancouver in 2011 for the franchise’s last Cup title.

The star of Game 4 for St. Louis – which had never won a Stanley Cup Final home game previously in seven tries – was Ryan O’Reilly with two goals. He gave the Blues a 1-0 lead early in the first and scored the go-ahead goal at 10:38 of the second for his first career multi-goal game in the playoffs. It was the second multi-goal game in a Stanley Cup Final in Blues history as Red Berenson scored twice in Game 3 at Montreal in 1968.

Bruins favorites on Game 2 Stanley Cup Final odds

A total of 12 active NHL teams have never won the Stanley Cup. One of those 12 is the St. Louis Blues, who are in the Stanley Cup Final for the fourth time in franchise history. Amazingly, they are still winless in the Final following a 4-2 loss at the Boston Bruins in Game 1 on Monday night. Game 2 is also in Boston on Wednesday, and the Bruins are -170 favorites with a total of 5.5 goals.

Odds courtesy of

Boston could be excused for coming out rusty on Monday as it finished off the Eastern Conference Final sweep over the Carolina Hurricanes way back on May 16. Rusty the Bruins were, too, as they fell behind the Blues 2-0 on goals by Brayden Schenn at 7:23 of the first and Vladimir Tarasenko early in the second period. However, that’s all Tuukka Rask would allow.

Connor Clifton got Boston on the board at 2:16 of the third, Charlie McAvoy tied it with a power-play goal at 12:41 of the second, and Sean Kuraly had the winner at 5:21 of the third. Brad Marchand added an empty-net goal.

NHL herald ICE North America as the place to develop sports sponsorship’s evolution

Following the signing of the first commercial partnerships between sports bodies and gambling brands, both sectors are primed to build on the potential of sports sponsorship – a topic which is of keen interest to Keith Wachtel, Chief Business Officer and Executive Vice President, NHL.

Speaking ahead of the first edition of ICE VOX North America (May 14-15, Boston, MA, USA) where he will be appearing on a distinguished panel alongside other key names from the worlds of sport and betting, he said: “The NHL has added three major sponsors in the shape of William Hill, FanDuel and MGM Resorts since the repeal of PASPA, and continues to drive its aim of providing an innovative and sustainable betting landscape going forward.

“While it’s too early to determine fan betting behavior, since the launch of the Vegas Golden Knights in 2017-18, the handle on the sport of hockey is up over 100 per cent, which is a good indication of more opportunities to come. The NHL has taken a progressive approach to sports betting, working directly with the industry and focusing on commercialization and innovative opportunities for fan engagement. We’re focused on being at the forefront of innovation and developing technology – including our puck and player tracking product – which provide more data and tremendous insights to the game.”

He added: “State-by-state legislation, data requirements and opportunities for broader fan engagement will be the main talking points in Boston in my opinion. It’s been almost a year since the Supreme Court overturned PASPA and we’ve seen the sports betting landscape change and evolve at a rapid pace. Bringing together experts from every facet of the sports gaming industry in a vibrant setting like Boston provides an ideal opportunity to network, share learnings from the past year and strategize for the future.

Home teams favored on Tuesday NHL playoff odds

Odds courtesy of

The end of April on Tuesday brings two Game 3s in the NHL playoffs. It doesn’t take a rocket scientist to know that the winner of Game 3 of a postseason series that was tied 1-1 wins the series more often than not. In fact, 67.4 percent of the time in Stanley Cup playoff history. However, teams that have won a Game 3 in this postseason to take a 2-1 lead are just 1-3 in that series.

Both series Tuesday shift venues. The first game is from the Eastern Conference as the Boston Bruins visit the Columbus Blue Jackets. Columbus is a -120 favorite for Tuesday, but Boston remains the -125 favorite to win the series.

Arguably the best acquisition by any team ahead of this season’s trade deadline was the Blue Jackets landing Ottawa forward Matt Duchene. In his team’s 3-2 win to even the series Saturday, Duchene scored the winner at 3:42 of double overtime on the power play. It was his fourth goal of these playoffs and first career overtime playoff goal. He’s tied for second on the Blue Jackets with eight total playoff points.

Tuesday NHL Odds: Game 7 matchups hit the ice

No team from Canada has hoisted Lord Stanley’s Cup since 1993 when the Montreal Canadiens beat Wayne Gretzky’s Los Angeles Kings in five games. Hockey is Canada’s game so that drought is a bit of a national embarrassment.

Odds courtesy of

It looked like it might finally end in these playoffs. The Calgary Flames finished with the most points in the Western Conference, and the Winnipeg Jets also were pretty good. Ditto the Toronto Maple Leafs in the Eastern Conference. However, the Flames were stunned by the Colorado Avalanche in the first round and the Jets were beaten by the St. Louis Blues.

That leaves Toronto as the lone Canadian team standing, and the Leafs’ season is on the line in Game 7 on Tuesday night against the Original Six rival Boston Bruins. The Bruins are -135 home favorites on the NHL odds.

Bruins, Flames favorites on Friday NHL Playoff odds

When given the assignment of previewing Friday’s Stanley Cup playoff games, we thought there was a good chance that one of those WOULDN’T include Game 5 of the Eastern series between the top-seeded Tampa Bay Lightning and the No. 8 Columbus Blue Jackets.

Odds courtesy of

The Lightning had a record-setting season with 62 wins and had swept Columbus by a combined score of 17-3. We figured the Lightning would sweep that playoff series in four. Indeed, there was a sweep – by the Blue Jackets, completed on Tuesday. Fair to say that’s the biggest series upset in NHL playoff history (first playoff series win in Columbus franchise history) and was the first time a Presidents’ Trophy winner was swept in the first round.

Frankly, that’s great news for all the teams still playing as it completely opens up the Stanley Cup chase.

National Hockey League and William Hill Announce Multiyear Partnership

credit: Mary Moline

William Hill US, America’s leading sports book operator, today announced a strategic partnership agreement with the National Hockey League (NHL), naming William Hill as an “Official Sports Betting Partner of the NHL.”

“This new partnership is yet another example of the innovative yet practical approach our League is taking with the emerging sports gaming industry,” said NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman. “We continue to work directly with stakeholders to cultivate relationships across the sports betting landscape. Partnering with William Hill US, a leader in both the sportsbook and mobile betting marketplace, provides a tremendous opportunity to further fan engagement.”

“We are thrilled to become an official sports betting partner of the National Hockey League,” said Joe Asher, CEO of William Hill US. “Commissioner Bettman and his team at the NHL have been at the forefront of understanding the opportunities to engage fans through sports betting. Combined with our existing partnerships with the Vegas Golden Knights and New Jersey Devils, we are extremely excited to continue to build our relationship with the NHL.”

Betting on NHL games has increased 38% during the 2018-19 season at William Hill’s Nevada Sports Books. Additionally, according to a recent Nielsen Sports report, NHL fans, when compared to fans of other sports leagues, are more likely to not only wager on their own sport, but also on all other major ‘Big 4’ sports leagues. “We appreciate the progressive and collaborative approach of the NHL and are encouraged by the early results,” Asher said.

As an official sports betting partner of the NHL, William Hill will receive promotional media in relevant NHL markets and will leverage branding opportunities in connection with the League’s calendar of marquee events.

Stanley Cup odds update: Lightning clear favorites

Now that the NHL‘s trade deadline has come and gone, teams know what rosters they will bring into the Stanley Cup playoffs – barring injury, of course.

Odds courtesy of

Really no major changes on the odds to win the Stanley Cup following the deadline, and why should there have been? The Tampa Bay Lightning are lapping the rest of the field and could break the NHL single-season record for points, which is 132 by the 1976-77 Montreal Canadiens. It’s not a matter of if the Lightning win the Presidents’ Trophy for the first time in franchise history, but when. Tampa was quiet at the deadline because it frankly didn’t need anything and is the +220 heavy favorite to win the second Stanley Cup in franchise history.

It’s almost not fair that the Lightning, red-hot Boston Bruins (+900) and Toronto Maple Leafs (+1000) are in the same Atlantic Division because they are likely the three best teams in the East, yet just one could reach the conference final thanks to the NHL’s playoff structure. The Leafs and Bruins are on a first-round collision course.

Stanley Cup odds update: Lightning clear favorites

Now that the NHL‘s trade deadline has come and gone, teams know what rosters they will bring into the Stanley Cup playoffs – barring injury, of course.

Odds courtesy of

Really no major changes on the odds to win the Stanley Cup following the deadline, and why should there have been? The Tampa Bay Lightning are lapping the rest of the field and could break the NHL single-season record for points, which is 132 by the 1976-77 Montreal Canadiens. It’s not a matter of if the Lightning win the Presidents’ Trophy for the first time in franchise history, but when. Tampa was quiet at the deadline because it frankly didn’t need anything and is the +220 heavy favorite to win the second Stanley Cup in franchise history.

It’s almost not fair that the Lightning, red-hot Boston Bruins (+900) and Toronto Maple Leafs (+1000) are in the same Atlantic Division because they are likely the three best teams in the East, yet just one could reach the conference final thanks to the NHL’s playoff structure. The Leafs and Bruins are on a first-round collision course.

Sports gambling to provide a “windfall” to sports leagues

While many professional sports leagues initially scoffed at the idea of opening their doors, and fields, to sports gambling without some type of “integrity fee,” they have found other solutions that are proving to be just as lucrative. The National Football League, the National Basketball Association and the Champions League have already begun to make sponsorship deals that are seeing them take in a serious amount of cash. Another league, the National Hockey League (NHL), has been at the forefront of the deal-making and this is set to produce a significant windfall of income for the league.

The NHL has already partnered with several gambling-related entities. MGM Resorts is its “official sports wagering partner” and FanDuel is now its “official sports betting partner” as of this past Monday. Additional, the New Jersey Devils have a second sponsorship deal with FanDuel and the Vegas Golden Knights have teamed up with William Hill.

Luc Robitaille, the president of the NHL’s Los Angeles Kings, appeared recently on a ESPN ON ICE podcast and said, “If teams profit, then everybody will profit. If you go by the numbers on the illegal part, it’s pretty significant. If that part ends up on the team side, I think it’s going help everyone. First of all, the [salary] cap will go up. Fans will be happy. Teams will spend more money on players. Players’ salaries will go up.”

The increased revenue to the NHL, expected to be as much as $216 million, won’t just produce more profits and higher salaries; it will also lead to a better fan experience. Robitaille added, “You would think this would help with always putting the pressure on fans to keep paying … hockey is still a ticket business, primarily. Hopefully, that helps offset some of the ticket pricing. I’m not sure about it, but it could if the money is significant enough. There’s a lot that could go around it.”

NHL, FanDuel ink daily fantasy, sports betting partnerships

The National Hockey League (NHL) has signed a fantasy sports and sports betting partnership with Paddy Power Betfair’s FanDuel brand.

On Monday, the NHL announced a ‘multi-year’ deal that enshrines FanDuel as the league’s “exclusive official daily fantasy partner and official sports betting partner.” The lack of exclusivity on the sports betting side reflects the similar partnership the NHL signed with casino operator MGM Resorts last week.

The deal will allow FanDuel to offer DFS players exclusive NHL content and prizes, while also tailoring free-play single-game DFS contests for marquee NHL events. As for the real-money sports betting side, FanDuel will enjoy the “use of official category designations” intended to appeal to sports bettors in betting-friendly jurisdictions.

FanDuel also signed a separate sports betting deal with the New Jersey Devils, which has taken advantage of its state’s legal betting environment to secure gambling partnerships with William Hill and Caesars Entertainment. In addition to branding opportunities — including FanDuel’s logo embedded in the Devils’ ice surface — FanDuel plans to integrate its sports betting app with the team’s digital platforms to promote Live In-Play wagering to Devils fans.