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Friday, November 30, 2007

News You Can Use Late in the Day

1. Terry Frei of ESPN with an ode to Slapshot.
2. Jim Kelley with his Inside the NHL column.
3. Anton Volchenkov is expected to miss at least 4 weeks.
4. Pierre Lebrun of Sportsnet anticipates more schedule changes, as early as 2009-10.
5. Radek Martinek accuses the Rangers' Hollweg of trying to rip out his stitches.
6. Ed Jovanoski gets a one-game suspension for his hit on Marion Gaborik.
7. Scott Burnside recaps the Board of Governors' meetings.
8. The WHL gets a split with Team Russia and gives Canada the win in the ADT Challenge.
9. The Vancouver Giants are ready to take another run at the Memorial Cup.
10. Hockey thrives in Bakersfield, CA.
11. Speaking of Slapshot, did you know new Caps coach Bruce Boudreau was an extra?
12. Taking Note with details on the CHL Power Rankings, and the news that Pokey Reddick's son Bryce is playing in the BCHL and has committed to Michigan Tech.
13. The IIHF has voted to play all international tournaments scheduled for North America on NHL-sized rinks.
14. The ECHL report with word that the Ferraro brothers are alive and playing in Las Vegas.
15. Good hockey article from the Wall Street Journal. Wait, what?
16. NHL.com with its fantasy guide for the 1st week of December.
17. Theo Fleury is set to get his own reality show.
18. Fanhouse with video of the 8 year olds hockey brawl.
19. John Kreiser notes that the Bruins and Flyers keep winning despite being consistently outshot.
20. Adam Proteau's mailbag.
21. Gordie Howe has sued his former business associates.
22. The photoblog from the USHL's Robert Meyer.
23. Mark Recchi is a healthy scratch again, and may be on the move to Columbus.
24. Two Kingston Frontenac players and the trainer were hurt in a car accident.
25. Recalls include Mart Hartigan (Wings), Quintin Lang (Capitals) and Colin Fraser (Thrashers).

For Illegal Curve, I'm Kyle Kosior

Ballhype: hype it up!

Prospect Pulse: Toni Ritter

Going back to the World Junior A Challenge well, Prospect Pulse goes overseas to profile German Toni Ritter. Ritter, a left shooting forward who can play either wing, was a guy that no one really knew much about until the tournament. Its likely fair to say that pretty much everyone knew about him afterwards, for good or for bad.

The good is that Ritter is a big man with good skating ability. He has a powerful stride that, although he isn't the fastest skater, gets him to where he needs to go and allows him to win most races for the puck. He is one of those freight train type players who are hard to stop once they get a head of steam up. A very hard worker (he is German after all), Ritter plays a two-way game and won't be found cheating on the defensive side of the puck. Scouts observe that he will hustle despite long odds, and was seen to break up odd man rushes and clear rebounds on breakaways. He displays patience beyond his years when he has the puck and makes smart plays. He gets his shot off quickly (Thats what she said) and follows the shot to the net.

The bad is that he rarely scores. Despite the hard quick shot and the good offensive work ethic, he is Marchant-esque in the goal department. Like I mean he has more trouble scoring than me at a Democratic convention (despite their trampy nature). Observers who were at the tournament note that he could have been hampered by an epic run of bad luck, but there may be more to his drought. Red Line projects him as a mid-3rd rounder.

Ballhype: hype it up!

Thursday, November 29, 2007


Opening Your First Sportsbook? Wondering How to Find the Site for You?

When I was 18 I opened up my first account at an online sportsbook. A friend had told me about a magical cyber-place where you can make bets sitting at your computer. The alternative to this convenient method was a provincially run lottery that required betting be made at a retailer. In addition to having to trudge out in the middle of the prairie winter to place bets at lottery retailers, the odds available at these online sportsbooks were far more favorable for the player than the provincially run lotteries.

I signed up, deposited money, and began draining my account one $5 parlay at a time. I played exclusively at Wagerstreet for almost three years and never had a problem. Eventually, as I became more interested in shopping for odds and less interested in parlay betting, I opened up accounts at other sportsbooks and stopped paying regular visits to Wagerstreet. The site was purchased by Olympic Sportsbook and continues to thrive.

Now I have accounts at many sportsbooks - some I have had positive experiences, some not so positive. I realize now that I was lucky to not have problems with Wagerstreet. They are a great book, but I just as easily could have stumbled on a book that would not pay me. Some sportsbooks are reputable, others are deposit-only. At the end of the day, the value of a winning bet at an online sportsbook is like a piece of art, a beanie baby, or a hockey card: it is only worth what people are prepared to pay you for it.

Why am I sharing this nostalgic, uplifting tale with you? Well, a reader who was considering opening their first online sports betting account asked me to recommend a few sites. While ultimately the right decision depends on what you are looking for, there are information and resources I know about now that I wish I knew about the first (and only) time I got scammed by a sportsbook.

1. Are these people actually going to pay me?

While I was lucky to have chosen Wagerstreet, numerous people get scammed by sportsbooks that are only interested in your deposit and have no intention of paying you. The first place you should look when considering a sportsbook is
Sportsbook Review. They are a website dedicated to ensuring the player is treated fairly by the sportsbook. They have ratings, reviews, and blurbs on hundreds on sportsbooks. I would recommend only playing at sportsbooks rated B- or higher. They also have a list of scam sportsbooks, as well as a Scam Alert. Reserach your book thoroughly before giving them your money and credit card number.

2. What do I want out of my sportsbook?

While sportsbooks essentially offer comparable odds, there are differences that are worth noting. Knowing what you want from a sportsbook will help you narrow your choices down.

a. What type of bet will I be making?

Will I be betting on single games? Parlays? Futures?

If you are betting on single games, you should be using either a betting exchange or a reduced juice sportsbook. I described the basics of betting exchanges and the benefits of betting exchanges in previous editions of Frozen Assets. A reduced juice sportsbook is a sportsbook that offers prices on games at less that the traditional -110 odds (bet $11 to win $10).

When betting parlays, make sure all bets can be included in your parlay. For example, at betED, often you will not be allowed to include a large favorite or large underdog in a parlay.

If you are betting on futures, make sure your sportsbook regularly offers futures bets, and that the limits on your potential winnings are reasonable (I tried to bet on Golden State at +12500 yesterday at Totesports and was offered $2 as my maximum bet). Also, as a general rule, the less often a sportsbook updates their futures odds the better.

b. What sports will I be betting on? What options are available for those sports?

In the sports betting world, hockey is not a major player. As a result, while almost all sportsbooks offer betting on hockey, few sportsbooks go beyond offering the traditional moneyline, handicap, and game total odds. If that is all you want to bet on then you do not have to be as discriminating when choosing sportsbooks. Some books however, offer alternatives to traditional hockey betting. Betting on whether an individual team will score more or less then a certain amount of goals, alternate totals and pucklines, three-way betting, 60-minute betting and betting on the point totals of individual players are all options that are available at certain books (5Dimes is the industry leader in offering betting options for hockey). Some sportsbooks and betting exchanges offer live in-game betting on events (only Stan James offers this option for hockey).

c. What are the methods/fees for withdrawing?

Some sportsbooks offer free payouts while others charge exorbitant fees. Some sportsbooks are flexible in their payout methods, while others have petty, senseless rules designed to delay your request. Call the sportsbook yourself and ask them what their methods and fees for payouts are.

d. Bonus Offers

A bonus offer means that the sportsbook will match your deposit up to a certain percentage, or offer you a free bet for depositing. To the recreational player, bonuses seem like free money. Bonuses, however, often come with a restriction known as a rollover requirement. A rollover is the amount of times you have to wager the amount equal to your initial deposit + bonus in order to request a payout. Example: a sportsbook offers a 20% bonus with a 5X rollover. You deposit $100 and receive a bonus of $20. You have to make $120 * 5 worth of bets ($600) before you can request a payout. By the time you have met your rollover requirement, it is often time for another deposit.

Some bonuses, particularly sign-up bonuses, are not onerous in their restrictions. Finding a good bonus at a sportsbook should not be a determining factor of where to open a sportsbook, but it is nonetheless of noteworthy consideration.

One final caveat on bonuses: a tactic of scam sportsbooks is to offer large bonuses so they can attract new players. They can offer these large bonuses to you only because they have no intention to pay you.

Those should be your main considerations when considering where to open a sportsbook. If you have any specific questions about opening a sportsbook, let me know and I will do my best to provide you with personalized advice.


Examining the NHL's Best Division: The Central(?)

I wonder what the odds would have been on "Central division to have most points" at the start of the season? Not including overtime losses in the loss column, the Central is the only division in the league to have all 5 teams above .500. This would have shocked me at the start of the season (see my preview of NHL division betting before the season started). A few games into the season, however, it was obvious that Chicago, Columbus, and St. Louis were not going to be the doormats they had been for the last few years. Then, a few games later, the Predators started winning consistently.

There are two possibilities here: either it is too early in the season to make meaningful predictions, or these teams are legitimate contenders in the Western Conference. What do you think?

The Chicago Blackhawks (13-9-2) have made great strides from last season. Rookies Jonathan Toews and Patrick Kane have been sensational, Patrick Sharp has become a short-handed sniper and a young defense has been holding their own. With Martin Havlat back, the Blackhawks add one of the league's premier scorers to an already skilled set of forwards. Unlike the three teams mentioned below, the betting public is aware of Chicago's turnaround, and as a result the best odds remaining on the Blackhawks are at betED where they are +6000 to win the Stanley Cup.

The St. Louis Blues (14-8-0) have played well since the firing of Mike Kitchen last year. Andy Murray has found a capable goaltender in Manny Legace, Brad Boyes is playing up to his potential, and Doug Weight and Keith Tkachuk are playing like they did when they were in their thirties. Every week I beg people to take the Blues at +5000 to win the Conference at Carib, and I know you are not listening or the odds would have changed by now. Once this price is gone you will not see anything close to it for the rest of the season.

Ken Hitchcock has given the Columbus Blue Jackets (11-9-4) experience and an effective system to work within. Rick Nash has bought into this system and is playing the best hockey of his young career. Pascal Leclaire has 6 shutouts in 18 games. Nikolai Zherdev is an early favorite to be nominated for the comeback player of the year award. Like the St. Louis Blues, Columbus is available to win the Western Conference at Carib at odds of +5000.

The Nashville Predators (11-9-2) were supposed to struggle after losing many of their key contributors last year. I don't know why the Predators are winning but they are. Dan Ellis has been spectacular between the pipes when given an opportunity, but the Preds only have one scorer in the top 67 (Martin Erat is 49th) and have one of the worst special teams in the conference. They are also available at Carib at odds of +5000.

Who knows how the Central division will play out over the season. I predict that at least three of the eight playoff teams will come from the Central. Maybe you should just open a sportsbook at Carib and put your money where my mouth is.

For illegal curve, I'm Ari-Baum Cohen.

About the Writer: Ari Baum-Cohen's first sports betting victory came in 1989 when he won his father's office pool at age 8. Since then, he has been interested in many different types of sports betting. His breakthrough futures win was at the end of the 2003 baseball season when he picked the Florida Marlins at odds of +7500 to win the National League.

FROZEN ASSETS November 22, 2007
FROZEN ASSETS November 15, 2007
FROZEN ASSETS November 9, 2007

FROZEN ASSETS November 1, 2007
FROZEN ASSETS October 25, 2007
FROZEN ASSETS October 18, 2007
FROZEN ASSETS October, 11, 2007
FROZEN ASSETS October 4, 2007
FROZEN ASSETS September 27, 2007
FROZEN ASSETS September 20, 2007

Ballhype: hype it up!

News You Can Use Late in the Day

1. TSN wonders where Jarome Iginla fits in on the all-time list of Flamers.
2. Blackhawks winger Tuomo Ruutu was mistakenly taken into custody yesterday in Bensenville, IL after police mistook him for a robbery suspect.
3. No criminal charges will be laid in the 8-year old brawl fiasco in Guelph.
4. A bus carrying the Elmira Jackals of the ECHL was involved in a crash, seriously injuring the driver.
5. Alan Weiss with a report on prospects currently playing in the ECHL. (Hat tip, Rocky)
6. CHL News and Notes.
7. The American Hockey League announces its Hall of Fame Class for 2008.
8. Eric Duhatschek campaigns for a larger ice surface.
9. Are you sick of all the Leafs/JFJ talk? Me too. Go here for relief.
10. The Fan590 will retract its allegation that Sean Avery made disparaging remarks about Jason Blake.
11. Jim Matheson notes that the Oilers must make re-signing Tom Gilbert a priority.
12. A look around the American Hockey League.
13. Boy Devereaux satisfies his taste for music by starting up a music label.
14. Markus Naslund is enjoying a resurgence in Vancouver.
15. An artist has created nude paintings of Bobby Orr and Derek Sanderson. (Hat tip, Amanda)
16. The Lundqvist brothers are each other's biggest fans.
17. Shawn P. Roarke lists 10 Free Agents who might wish they had stayed at home.
18. Fanhouse notes that Kipper may be out of shape and Dion Phaneuf is full of himself.
19. Want old stats? David Staples has 'em for you.
20. Alex Kovalev happy with his production, but would like more even-strength goals.
21. James Duthie decries the trap, but notes that it is effective.
22. Mike Comrie says that dating Hilary Duff has gained him a lot of friends in the NHL.
23. The Avs recall TJ Hensick.
24. NHL Media Guides provide a wealth of info about players personal lives.
25. Check out the updates on the Hockey News Series about Roseau, MN. Week 2, Week 3, Week 4.

For Illegal Curve, I'm Kyle Kosior.

Ballhype: hype it up!

Prospect Pulse: Brandon Burlon

Following up on yesterday's PP featuring Joe Colborne, today's Prospect Pulse examines another potential Junior A first rounder, Brandon Burlon. Burlon, who skates for the St. Mike's Buzzers in the Ontario Provincial Junior Hockey League (Andrew Cogliano's former squad) is a mobile defender blessed with excellent strength.

A prototypical 2-way defenseman built for the "new" NHL, Burlon is a fluid skater who excels positionally and thinks the game like a veteran. He is rarely caught out of position, nor does he make many mistakes with or without the puck. Like many great players, he seems to have great vision on the ice and be able to anticipate the action.

A good blend of size and mobility, the 6'0, 190 Burlon can play a physical game when called upon and is nasty in front of the net. He excels in breaking up the rush and is lethal in transition, where he can use his quick step to put defenders on their heels.

Scouts and officials who saw him play at the World Jr. A Challenge felt that he was dominant all week and outperformed many more highly touted European rear-guards. Rated 26th overall by the Red Line Report, Burlon has verbally committed to the University of Michigan.

Ballhype: hype it up!

Wednesday, November 28, 2007

News You Can Use Late in the Day

1. Gary Bettman says the NHL may pass on the 2014 Olympics, since they are being held in Russia.
2. Fernando Pisani is close to returning to the Oilers, but Ethan Moreau is still out for the time-being.
3. Sean Avery will undergo wrist surgery after attempting to fit his entire hand into his mouth.
4. Ilya Bryzgalov has been a prime beneficiary of this move to the desert.
5. A profile on Peterborough's Zach Bogosian.
6. Chuck Kobasew has effectively filled the void created by Patrice Bergeron's injury.
7. Eddie Belfour's Swedish team is 18-1-1.
8. Inside College Hockey tracks the Hobey Baker favorites.
9. The Flyers have signed Braybon Coburn to a contract extension.
10. The NHL has visions of expanding the Chinese hockey market.
11. David Shoalts feels that MLSE must been unanimous when choosing the next GM.
12. George Johnson of ESPN with his picks for the NHL Awards.
13. Fanhouse notes that Jordan Staal is successfully demonstrating the sophomore jinx.
14. Chuck Gormley with an interesting story about the perils of the internet for professional hockey players.
15. Allan Muir of SI gives his contenders for the NHL Awards.
16. Kris Draper of the Red Wings is out for 10 days.
17. Dany Heatley answers readers' questions.
18. The Calgary Flames say they are tired of moral victories.
19. New details emerge about the death of Bob Gainey's daughter.
20. The NY Post discusses the Red Wings' PP.
21. Darren McCarty still hopes to return to the NHL.
22. The Leafs arethisclose to touching bottom.
23. The Blackhawks will welcome Martin Havlat back to the lineup tonight vs. the Bolts.
24. The New York Rangers have renounced their team option on Jagr for the 2008-09 Season.
25. 10 Tips from the NHL to the NFL to increase scoring.

For Illegal Curve, I'm Kyle Kosior

Ballhype: hype it up!

Prospect Pulse: Joe Colborne

Joe Colborne is a centreman currently playing with the Camrose Kodiaks of the AJHL. He is draft eligible in 2008 and is likely to build upon the precedent set by Kyle Turris in the 2007 draft. Projected to go 20th overall by the Red Line Report, Colborne is the latest in the line of Junior A standouts who are getting noticed by the NHL.

The NHL took notice because of his size and physical tools. A towering 6-5 with a huge frame (though not yet filled out), scouts expect him to have grown significantly before the June draft. Blessed with soft hands and good straight line speed, Colborne can also play a gritty game and has impressed at each successive level with his strong work ethic.

A standout face-off man, he plays a smart 2-way game that belies his young age. He needs to take the edges off his offensive game, but scouts feel he is a solid bet in the first round. Observers who saw him play at the recent World Junior A Challenge felt that he was a dominant skater but would have liked to see him get involved in the play a little more, as he seemed content to play a perimeter game. They described him as cross between Brandon Sutter and James van Riemsdyk.

Ballhype: hype it up!

Nightly Recap - Leaf Nation Needs to Go Away

Montreal 4 - Toronto 3 (SO) - Toronto loses for the fourth consecutive game and are now at the bottom of the Eastern conference. Fans and media have been calling for the head of John Ferguson Jr. Why now? Could they not have seen this coming before the season? It was clear that his team was not going to make the playoffs? Illegal Curve's Richard Pollock predicted that it would be a difficult road to the playoffs in the preseason. Leaf fans have finally come to the realization that the product on the ice is awful and that something needs to be done. I am sick and tired of hearing about it every time the Leafs lose. TSN, I don't need to see seven hours of coverage on what should be done to the Toronto Maple Leafs organization. Leaf Nation needs to go away.

Anyways, to the game. Jason Blake had two assists for the Leafs and Alex Kovalev had two goals for the Canadiens. Andrei Kostitsyn scored the shootout winner for the Habs. Super rookie Carey Price stopped 43 of 46 to improve his record to 6-2-1. I don't have any numbers on hand, but it seems to me more often than not a Leafs Habs game will go into a shootout.

Detroit 5 - Calgary 3 - Pavel Datsuyk scored two goals and added an assist for the Red Wings. Tomas Holmstrom scored his 13th of the year with a helper. Niklas Lidstrom posted two assists and Chris Osgood made 19 saves in the win. After allowing 3 goals on 15 shots, Flames goaltender Miikka Kiprusoff was pulled in favor of Curtis McElhinney who stopped 18 of 20. Jarome Iginla's three assists was not enough for the Flames who have four wins and nine losses in the month of November.

Vancouver 4 - Anaheim 0 - In the much overhyped return of Todd Bertuzzi to GM Place the Ducks lay a goose egg. After an abysmal season last year, Markus Naslund is returning to form scoring his 11th goal of the year and adding an assist. Ryan Kessler, Henrik Sedin, Mattias Ohlund and Matt Cooke all had two points for the Canucks. Roberto Luongo stopped 26 for his second straight shutout.

Tomorrow's Games
8:00pm PHX@MIN
8:30pm TB@CHI
9:30pm EDM@COL
10:30pm LA@SJ

Ballhype: hype it up!

Tuesday, November 27, 2007

News You Can Use Late in the Day

1. Richard Peddie admits that hiring John Ferguson Jr. was a mistake.
2. Scott Hartnell is suspended for 2 games for his hit on Andrew Alberts.
3. The Oilers are still bring up the rear in TSN's Power Rankings.
4. Mats Sundin is unfazed by all the turmoil in Toronto.
5. Hockey Hearsay notes that Mark Recchi is questioning his role with the Penguins.
6. Pierre Lebrun of Sportsnet writes that Maple Leaf owners need look no further than themselves when wondering why the Leafs suck.
7. Team Canada pads its lead to 3-1 with another victory over the Ruskies.
8. The Weekly Release from the USHL.
9. Ten Things Overheard at the BU-Cornell game at MSG.
10. Todd Bertuzzi expects a positive reaction in his return to Vancouver.
11. The Forechecker looks at who is over and under performing.
12. Eric Duhatschek discusses the NHL Board of Governor's Meetings.
13. Al Strachan feels that NHL GM's are becoming more vulnerable to the whims of owners.
14. The sale of the Lightning has produced a snag and will result in the inevitable lawsuit.
15. Check out Milan Lucic's blog from The Hockey News.
16. The Junior Report from nhl.com.
17. Itching for ECHL news? Scratch that itch.
18. Corey Perry and Ryan Getzlaf discuss their chemistry.
19. The Longest Road Trip.
20. Michael Farber thinks the Dominator is done.
21. Fanhouse feels that beer and youth hockey don't mix.
My misspent childhood hockey career and liver beg to differ.
22. Guy Lafleur
takes a shot at Les Habitants.
23. The National Post with a look around the league.
24. The Hockey News with its list of Hot Prospects.
25. The Score notes that some top goalies are finding their game again.

For Illegal Curve, I'm Kyle Kosior.

Ballhype: hype it up!

Prospect Pulse: Joey Crabb

I chose Joey Crabb for PP today because I like his name. Sounds like a guy who may have had a small role in a film like Goodfellas. Anyways, this Crabb is a prospect in the Atlanta Thrashers system. He was originally drafted by the New York Rangers in the 7th round of the 2002 draft, but failed to sign with the team and was inked as a free agent by the Thrashers.

Crabb had a very productive career at Colorado College, where he increased his point totals every season and scored at better than a point per game clip in his senior season. He was able to accomplish these totals despite playing on a deep CC team that featured standouts such as Marty Sertich and Brett Sterling.

The 6’1, 190 right winger graduated to the American Hockey League in 2006-2007 and posted a respectable 20 points in 63 games playing very limited minutes. Crabb adjusted well to this role according to his coaches, despite having been a 1st or 2nd line player for most of his career. This season, Crabb is off to a good start, tallying 10 points in 18 games again playing 4th line minutes.

Atlanta signed Crabb at the behest of Brett Sterling, who thought his former Colorado College teammate could bring something to the team. Atlanta GM Don Waddell has been impressed with Crabb thus far, noting that he has a good work ethic, is gritty and can always be found around the puck. More of a playmaker than a scorer, the forward noted that he has tried to simplify his game at the pro level before he tries to establish his offensive side.

Ballhype: hype it up!

Nightly Recap - Flyers deliver another punishing blow

Boston 6 - Philadelphia 3 - In the first game between the two teams since the Randy Jones incident there was a bit of deja vu as midway through the second Scott Hartnell gave Andrew Alberts an "unspecified head injury". In actual game news, Boston wins for their fifth time in seven games, Marc Savard lead the way with a goal and three assists. Glen Murray scored two goals and Tukka Rask made 20 saves for his second win in his second NHL start. Someone has lit a spark under Glen Murray, he now has eight points in his past seven games.
Here is a video of the Hartnell on Alberts hit. (hat tip to james mirtle).

At first it was a coincidence that a few illegal hits have come from Flyers players (Boulerice, Jones, Downie), but at four players it's becoming a correlation. Is a team fine in order? Ridiculous.

Dallas 3 - NY Islanders 2 (OT) - Dallas is now 6-0-2 in their past eight, Marty Turco got the call in net tonight making 23 saves in the win. It was only his second start in the past six games. Mike Modano scored his 7th and 8th goals of the season, the 8th being the overtime winner.

Buffalo 3 - Washington 1
- Buffalo...so hot right now, they have a five game win streak under their belt, albeit three wins came vs Montreal, but a win streak is a win streak. Jochen Hecht recorded a goal and two assists and Ryan Miller stopped 30 in the win. Alex Ovechkin scored a highlight reel goal tonight (video up later) and is now riding a 9 game point streak.

Edmonton 3 - Columbus 1 - Dwayne Roloson was big tonight making 30 saves for the Oil. Rookie Andrew Cogliano scored the go ahead goal for Edmonton in the third period, his 5th of the campaign. Ales Hemsky put his 8th goal of the season into the empty net to ice the game for the Oilers. Edmonton has gone 3 - 3 on their season long six game home stand.

Tomorrow's Games (all times Eastern)
7:00pm CGY@DET (VS)
7:30pm MTL@TOR (TSN)
10:00pm ANA@VAN (TSN)

Ballhype: hype it up!

Monday, November 26, 2007


Euro Curve takes a look at the latest international hockey headlines.

- The Hockey News 'Eye on Europe' correspondent Risto Pakarinen writes about the improvement and success of the Russian Super League. He points out that in addition to former Russian NHLers returning to play in their home country, the league is begining to pump out some of the best talent in the world, as evidenced by the fact they had the most players represented in the recent Euro Hockey tour in Finland.

- According to Illegal Curve's favourite Czech Extraleague blogger (vakfan.blogspot.com), a fan was beaten with a stick by a player in a recent Austrian League game between Villacher SV and Vienna Capitals. Apparently, Manuel Latusa swung at the intruder after fans littered the ice following a game-tying goal.

For Illegal Curve, I'm Ezra Ginsburg.

Ballhype: hype it up!

News You Can Use Late in the Day

-John Ferguson Jr. rejects a report saying he was trying to fire Paul Maurice.
-Bob McKenzie discusses possible changes the league rules being considered by NHL GM's.
-Sportsnet reports that Daniel Alfredsson has resumed skating.
-Sean McCormick thinks that the Oilers should consider giving the C to someone other than the perpetually injured Ethan Moreau.
-The Hot or Not list from the CHL.
-The NHL celebrates its 90th Birthday today.
-The AHL's Teddy Purcell, an undrafted free agent before the Kings signed him, is leading the league in scoring.
-NHL.com with an in-depth look at the shootout.
-A profile on my future brother in law, Mike Cammalleri.
-The weekly NCAA hockey rankings from INCH.
-Brian Burke continues to lobby for changes to the CBA which would allow teams to trade players but keep some of the salary on their own books.
-Richard Peddie says there are no plans to fire JFJ.
-The weekly release from the American Hockey League.
-8 year olds brawl in Guelph.
An analysis of the USHL from Gabriel Desjardins, master o' stats.
-A map of the hockey blogosphere.
-Taking Note tells us that former Oiler Mike Krushelnyski is coaching in the German Elite League.
-Sam Gagner will start tonight's game against Columbus on the 1st Line.
-Darren Eliot thinks the Penguins just need to relax and make the simple plays.
-Todd Bertuzzi reflects on his time as a Canuck.
-Greg Dennis of the Canadian Press examines the big money busts of fantasy hockey.
-Roundups from the QMJHL, WHL and OHL.
-The Hockey News debates the supremacy of Roy or Brodeur.
-The NY Times tells us how to block shots, doesn't blame Bush.
-The Score looks at the NHL's top lines.

For Illegal Curve, I'm Kyle Kosior.

Ballhype: hype it up!

Prospect Pulse: Tomas Kudelka

Tomas Kudelka is an offensive minded defenseman who was drafted 136th overall by the Ottawa Senators, who seemingly can't get enough offensive defensemen. Kudelka was on everyone's radar in his 16 year old season, but regressed badly due to injuries and a lack of ice time and decided to make the move to North America to resurrect his game.

Kudelka joined the Lethbridge Hurricanes and a enjoyed a solid if unspectacular season in the WHL, where he put up 31 points in 64 games. He played 5 games with the Binghamton Senators after Lethbridge's season ended and earned himself a contract. The two-time member of the Czech World Junior team had a breakout year as a 19 year old, becoming the #1 defender with the Hurricanes. He posted 41 points in 59 games and boasted a +20 rating. He followed up that season with a return to Binghamton, where he skated in 11 games. Kudelka's strong play earned him a call up to skate with the Black Aces in Ottawa for a short stint.

A combination of the size, speed and skill that make coaches and GM's blind to glaring turnovers and a lack of a defensive acumen, Kudelka is nevertheless a prospect to watch. He is said to be faster skating backwards than forwards, has a heavy shot and is very calm with the puck. As mentioned, he is still prone to making bad decisions with the puck and needs to get physically stronger before he moves on to the next level. Kudelka himself acknowledge this, and said he feels his lack of bulk is the only thing keeping him out of the AHL. (He currently plays in Elmira of the ECHL).

Playing 1st pairing minutes in Elmira, Kudelka is putting up impressive numbers and is getting to play in all situations. He is working on his strength and conditioning and expects to finish the year in Binghamton. Ottawa projects him as being several years away due to their depth at D.

Ballhype: hype it up!

Fanatsy Watch: Scouring the Waiver Wire

F Radim Vrbata, Phoenix Coyotes
After posting a career best 41 points last season with Chicago, Vrbata finds himself on pace to eclipse that total in his first year with Phoenix. Scoring 14 points in 21 games, Vrbata has been a a great surprise and a key contributer on Phoenix's squad. Receiving over 20 minutes of ice time in the last two contests, Vrbata has notched three goals and two assists in those games. With nine points in total this month, Vrbata has been extremely productive should continue to give Phoenix an offensive boost.
Fantasy Take: Vrbata has always been a streaky player so it's advised to wait and see if he can produce on a consistent basis before inserting him in your lineup.

F Colby Armstrong, Pittsburgh Penguins
After being predicted to be a great sleeper pick last year, Armstrong turned out to be one of the biggest busts of the season, totaling only 34 points. Off every fantasy radar this season, Armstrong continued to struggle, scoring only one point in the first month of the season. After being regulated to the third line, and eventually becoming a healthy scratch, it appears that Armstrong has finally gotten the message. Receiving playing time with Crosby over the past few games, Armstrong has scored one goal and three assists. Although those numbers aren't eye-popping, Armstrong may soon make his way back onto the fantasy radar if he continues to play with Crosby.
Fantasy Take: Armstrong's fantasy value rests in the hands of Crosby. If Armstrong is playing with Crosby then he could be a decent injury fill in, if not, then stay away from him.

F R.J. Umberger, Philadelphia Flyers
In his third year with Philadelphia, Umberger is having his best start as a pro, scoring 13 points in 20 games. Although he gets overlooked in Philadelphia because of bigger names, Umberger has been the most productive point scorer on the Flyers this past month not named Briere or Richards. Although he won't receive as much playing time as the other superstars, Umberger has given Philadelphia another offensive weapon who has demonstrated a great passing ability.
Fantasy Take: Umberger has had a very successful month thus far, scoring eight points in 12 games. Look to see if he can continue his success before making a claim for the third year forward.

D Ed Jovanovski, Phoenix Coyotes
After battling injuries throughout last season, Jovanovski has been 100% healthy so far, and has also been quite productive. Scoring 15 points in 21 games, Jovo has reclaimed his status as one of the top offensive defenseman. Although he struggled to find his form in the first month of the season, Jovo has since gotten hot, scoring 12 points this month while currently riding a four game point streak.
Fantasy Take: Point scoring defeseman are hard to find, so if Jovo is on your waiver wire pick him up immediately. Although his point per game pace this month will fall, still expect a 40 point output from the former Canuck.

For Illegal Curve, I'm Jonny Remis

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Nightly Recap: Luongo records 2nd shutout of the season

Dallas 3 - NY Rangers 2 - Mark Smith stopped 39 shots in the Stars win, Brenden Morrow scored the winning goal in the 3rd period. Jaromir Jagr scored only his fifth goal of the year, it was his first point in five games.

St Louis 3 - Calgary 0 - Manny Legace made 24 saves in the shootout, and Jamal Mayers scored 2 goals for the Blues. Brad Boyes scored his team leading 13th goal of the year.

Anaheim 3 - Los Angeles 2 - Ryan Getzlaf scored his 9th and 10th goals of the year, Todd Bertuzzi added two assists. It was the Kings fifth loss in six games.

Vancouver 2 - Chicago 0 - Roberto Luongo records his second shutout of the season keeping 27 out of the net. Brendan Morrison scored his 7th of the year and Daniel Sedin added in the empty netter.

Tomorrow's Games (all times Eastern)
9:00pm: CLB@EDM

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Friday, November 23, 2007

Fantasy Watch: Goalie Starts

Nov 26th – Dec 2nd

Anaheim Ducks (4) – Giguere owners no longer have to worry about Bryzgalov stealing starts.

Atlanta Thrashers (3) – With Lehtonen still on the shelf, Hedberg has been the #1 guy, winning his last four starts.

Boston Bruins (3) – Expect to see more of Rask with Fernandez still on the IR.

Buffalo Sabres (3) – Look for Miller to receive all three starts this week.

Carolina Hurricanes (3) – Ward has struggled over his last few games, but still should receive all three starts this week.

Calgary Flames (3) – Kiprusoff has started all 21 games for the Flames this season.

Chicago Blackhawks (3) – With only three games this week, expect the Blackhawks to start Khabibulin in all three.

Columbus Blue Jackets (3) – Look for Leclaire to receive all three starts this week.

Colorado Avalanche (3) – Theodore hasn't performed well enough to take over the #1 job, so expect to see Budaj start two games, with Theodore making at least one appearance

Dallas Stars (4) – Smith should receive one start this week with Dallas playing back-to-back games.

Detroit Red Wings (3) – Look for Osgood to appear in two games, while the Dominator will probably receive the other start.

Edmonton Oilers (3) – Garon is slowly taking over the starting role, but Roloson is still in the picture. Expect Garon to appear in two games to Roloson's one.

Florida Panthers (3) – Vokoun should receive all three starts this week.

Los Angeles Kings (2) – Look for LaBarbera to start both games this week.

Minnesota Wild (3) – Expect Harding to start every game until Backstrom is ready to return.

Montreal Canadiens (3) – Huet is still #1 in Montreal, so look for him to receive all three starts.

Nashville Predators (2) – Expect Mason to receive both starts for Nashville this week.

New Jersey Devils (3) – Expect Brodeur to start all three games this week.

New York Islanders (4) – Dubielewicz has only started one game for New York, so there's no reason to think that DiPeitro won't be in net for all four games this week.

New York Rangers (2) – Lundqvist has been a workhorse for the Rangers and should start both games this week.

Ottawa Senators (3) – Gerber is clearly the #1 guy in Ottawa, but will yield a start to Emery this week with back-to-back games.

Philadelphia Flyers (3) – Look for Biron to start all three games this week.

Phoenix Coyotes (3) – Expect newly acquired goalie, Ilya Bryzgalov, to appear in all three games this week.

Pittsburgh Penguins (2) – Fleury has struggled all year but should receive all three starts this week.

San Jose Sharks (2) – Nabokov should receive both starts this week.

St. Louis Blues (3) – With three games on the schedule, expect to see Legace start all of them.

Tampa Bay Lightining (3) – Holmqvist should see action in all three games this week.

Toronto Maple Leafs (3) – Toskala is the starter in Toronto and should appear in all three games.

Vancouver Canucks (3) – Luongo gives Vancouver the best chance to win and should start all three games this week.

Washington Capitals (4) – With four games on the schedule, Johnson will probably steal a start from Kolzig this week.

For Illegal Curve, I'm Jonny Remis

Ballhype: hype it up!

NHL Morning Papers (Friday Edition)

Reader's note: To our regular readers, I have exams coming up which will not allow me to post the NHL Morning Papers for the next few weeks. As of now, the Morning Papers will return on December 13th. However, if someone at Illegal Curve decides to undertake the Morning Papers duties during this time, I will be sure to let you know.

Here are the national morning papers:

Here are the Western Conference morning papers:

Note: If you are wondering why the Canucks don't seem to be in the morning papers much, it is because both the Vancouver Province and Sun websites are extremely slow updating their morning content and I have usually posted my article prior to them posting any Canucks coverage from the night before.

Here are the Eastern Conference morning papers:

For Illegal Curve, I'm Richard Pollock.

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Nightly Recap - Sabourin Picks up Relief Win

Pittsburgh 6 - Ottawa 5 - Dany Sabourin entered the game with the Pens down 2-0 and earns the relief win in a shootout. After playing in only 9 games last year backing up Roberto Luonogo, Sabourin has appeared in more games this year than all of last year. Daniel Alfredsson and Jason Spezza had three points each for the Sens, Pittsburgh's Ryan Malone also collected three points.

Nashville 3 - Detroit 2 - Martin Erat was in on all three Predator goals, putting up a goal and two assists. Erat started off slow this season recording only 6 points in his first 11 games, but in his past 10 games, he has scored 14 points, including 5 multi-point nights. Chris Mason stopped 28 in the win.

Chicago 2 - Calgary 1 - Chicago scored both of their goals tonight on the penalty kill, it was Patrick Sharp's fifth shorthanded goal of the month (!) and Jacob Dowell put in the other in his NHL debut. Khabibulin stopped 30 saves in the win. The Flames are now 3-7-0 in their last 10.

Colorado 3 - Edmonton 2
- The Avalanche ended a four game road losing streak, receiving goals from Milan Heduk, Karlis Skrastins and Marek Svatos. Joni Pitkanen returned to the lineup tonight for the Oilers after missing 13 games with a knee.

Tomorrow's Games (all times Eastern)
12:00pm NYI@BOS,
1:00pm WSH@PHI
2:00pm CLB@MIN
4:00pm PHX@ANA
7:00pm TB@CGY

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Thursday, November 22, 2007


Ten Futures Bets You Should Have Made Over the First Quarter of the Season

Welcome to another action packed edition of Frozen Assets. Every week I offer you, my loyal minions, general tips to help manage your bankroll and analysis of the hockey futures market.

Last week we finished up a two-part segment on “the betting exchange”. This week I would like to focus solely on hockey futures. With the first quarter of the season behind us, I would like to count down the Ten Futures Bets You Should Have Made Over the First Quarter of the Season. The good news: some of these bets are still available.

10. Team: Boston Bruins Odds: +10000 Site: Carib Status: Available

Boston was not expected to compete for a playoff spot. Then they lost their starting goaltender Manny Fernandez and one of their top scorers Patrice Bergeron. The Bruins have kept it together though, with Tim Thomas playing at the top of his game, and Phil Kessel picking up the offensive slack. Boston is competing for a playoff spot, they are above .500 and they are available at +10000.

9. Team: Columbus Blue Jackets Odds: +7000 (Conference) Site: Bet365 Status: Changed October 14th

Columbus has exceeded expectations to start the season. Though they are currently slumping, they are still above .500 and playing hard for Coach Hitchcock (especially Rick Nash). Though these Bet365 odds changed on October 14th, The Blue Jackets were available to win the Stanley Cup at odds of +12500 as recently as two-and-a-half weeks ago.

8. Team: Ottawa Senators Odds: +900 Site: Wagerstreet Status: Changed October 16th

After wining the Eastern Conference and starting the season 5-1-0 (on their way to a 13-1-0 start) the Senators quickly established themselves as the team to beat in the Eastern Conference. +900 is a solid price to have on the consensus favorite to represent the Eastern Conference in the Stanley Cup.

7. Team: St. Louis Blues Odds: +5000 (Conference) Site: Carib Status: Available

I was excited when St. Louis was available on November 9th at odds of +6600 to win the Stanley Cup. A week later, Carib posted odds on them to win the Conference at +5000 and +10000 to win the Cup. Then the Blues won four in a row including a victory over the Red Wings. The result? Still available at odds of +5000. St. Louis is 11-8-0, good for 9th in the Western Conference (2 points away from fourth).

6. Team: New York Islanders Odds: +5000 (Conference) Site: Stan James Status: Changed October 10th

To the surprise of most, the Islanders made the playoffs last year. The formula? Top tier goaltending and a hard-working, over achieving team with limited scoring ability. Remind you of any other Ted Nolan teams? The Isles were 3-1-0 when these odds were changed but were available at +4000 last week. They are still available at +3500 at Canbet. Currently the Islanders are 11-7-0.

5. Team: Chicago Blackhawks Odds: +7000 (Conference) Site: Bet365 Status: Changed October 14th

I know. Chicago was only 3-2-0 when the odds were changed. How were you supposed to know? Well, two wins over Detroit (4 of Detroit’s 6 losses have come to Chicago – Golden State vs. Dallas, anyone?), and their young talent making an immediate impact should have tipped you off. Odds of +12500 and +10000 to win the Stanley Cup were available into November. Currently the best odds on the Blackhawks to win the conference is +3500 at Stan James - I would recommend that price.

4. Team: Montreal Canadiens Odds: +6900 Site: Betfair Status: Changed October 29th

By the time the odds on the Canadiens changed they were already 6-2-2, their powerplay was the best in the league (still is), and they were getting solid goaltending from Cristobal Huet and Carey Price. Few people expected Montreal to compete in the Eastern Conference. That could explain why it took until October 29th for the odds to change.

3. Team: Carolina Hurricanes Odds: +4300 Site: Betfair Status: Changed October 12

Two years removed from their first Stanley Cup victory the Carolina Hurricanes are playing like they were in 2005-2006. When healthy, Carolina boasts three competent scoring lines and Cam Ward appears to be back to his 2005-2006 playoff form. The ‘Canes came out of the gate fast and were 3-1-1 including a 7-1 trouncing of the Maple Leafs a few days before the odds changed.

2. Team: Atlanta Thrashers Odds: +10000 Site: Carib Status: Available

Team is supposed to be average/above average. Team starts 0-6-0. Odds on team drop to reflect poor start. Coach is fired. Team wins 11 of 15 and occupies a playoff spot. Odds are the same as they were when team was 0-6-0. Classic formula for you to make money.

1. Team: Philadelphia Flyers Odds: +8000 Site: William Hill Status: Changed October 16

This year’s Philadelphia Flyers bear little resemblance to last year’s team. So why did the odds on the Flyers on October 16th resemble the odds you would expect to find on last year’s Flyers team? The Flyers started the season hot and were already 4-1-0 when these odds were taken off the board. Also, consider that the odds were posted by an A rated book that will not void or bet or refuse to pay you. This bet is the early favorite for futures wager of the year.

Hon Mention: Team:
Nashville Predators Odds: +5000 (Conference) Site: Carib Status: Available

* * *

I’m the first one to admit that hindsight is 20/20, but there are almost always clues when a disconnect exists between a team and their posted odds. For example, the Atlanta Thrashers represent a textbook example of value – put $40 on them to win $4000 and enjoy the exciting wide-open style of Hossa and Kovalchuk.

For illegal curve, I’m Ari Baum-Cohen

About the Writer: Ari Baum-Cohen's first sports betting victory came in 1989 when he won his father's office pool at age 8. Since then, he has been interested in many different types of sports betting. His breakthrough futures win was at the end of the 2003 baseball season when he picked the Florida Marlins at odds of +7500 to win the National League.

FROZEN ASSETS November 15, 2007
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FROZEN ASSETS November 1, 2007
FROZEN ASSETS October 25, 2007
FROZEN ASSETS October 18, 2007
FROZEN ASSETS October, 11, 2007
FROZEN ASSETS October 4, 2007
FROZEN ASSETS September 27, 2007
FROZEN ASSETS September 20, 2007

Ballhype: hype it up!


Euro Curve takes a look at the latest international hockey headlines.

- Meet Alexander Nikulin. According to The Sports Network, the 22-year-old Moscow native was recalled from Binghamton of the AHL on Thursday and will dress tonight versus the Pittsburgh Penguins, possibly in replacement of Randy Robitaille, who is listed as day-to-day with a bruised left hand. Nikulin has 10 points in 14 games with the Baby Sens this season. Nikulin, drafted by Ottawa in 2004 (4/122), had 5 goals and 11 assists in 33 games last season for CSKA Moscow of the Russian Super League.

- Apparently former Phoenix Coyotes tough guy Tyson Nash has joined Goalie Jamie McLennan in signing with the Nippon Paper Cranes of the Asian League. Nash had been previously under contract with the Toronto Marlies of the American Hockey League. Nash and McLennan are good buddies from their days with the St.Louis Blues.

Here are the scoring leaders in the Swedish ElitSerien (courtesy of http://stats.swehockey.se/)

Rk Name Team Pos GP G A TP
1 Mårtensson, Tony LHC RW 21 6 21 27
2 Voutilainen, Jukka HV71 CE 21 14 9 23
3 Thörnberg, Martin HV71 LW 21 9 13 22
4 Kallio, Tomi FHC RW 21 12 9 21
5 Weinhandl, Mattias LHC CE 20 13 7 20
6 Hrdina, Jan HV71 CE 20 11 8 19
7 Davidsson, Johan HV71 CE 18 7 12 19
8 Hahl, Riku TIK CE 18 6 13 19
9 Lind, Mikael BIF CE 20 10 8 18
10 Söderberg, Anders SAIK LW 21 10 8 18

For Illegal Curve, I'm Ezra Ginsburg.

Ballhype: hype it up!