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Welcome to my blog which deals with mixed martial arts betting and preview with a detailed analysis on the world of MMA. This blogs covers anything relating to the UFC, Strikeforce, Dreams or any other MMA organization.

Wednesday, February 01, 2006

NHL Report Feb 1,2006

With all this week's talk surrounding Super Bowl XL, I thought I'd do something different and provide an update on what's happening in the world of hockey.

Five biggest surprise teams

Carolina is clearly this season's biggest surprise. Most pre-season pundits speculated that the Hurricanes would be lucky to challenge for a playoff spot. Rather, the Hurricanes have exceeded even their own expectations and are currently the top team in the entire league. The Hurricanes have been strong on the road and virtually unbeatable at home.

Many fans in Buffalo had to be feeling pessimistic heading into this season. The Sabres failed to make the playoffs in the 2003-2004 season. They lost a couple of their top players and didn't pick up any well known replacements. Yet, the Sabres occupy the seventh spot in the league, fourth in the Eastern Conference.

New York Rangers
The Rangers have underachieved for years. However, this year, with arguably less talent, they have been playing superbly. The Rangers are tied with Buffalo for the fourth spot in the East and appear to have playoffs in their future.

Boasting a lineup of veteran offensive stars along with rookie phenomenon Sidney Crosby, many felt that the Penguins would be highly competitive. That has hardly been the case. The Penguins have allowed more goals than any other team in hockey and sit in last place in the Eastern Conference.

Predators' fans expected their team to be improved. They didn't necessarily expect to be challenging for the top spot in the Western Conference though. The Predators have played 500 hockey on the road but have been dominant on home ice.

Ovechkin vs. Crosby
Comparisons will be made between Alexander Ovechkin and Sidney Crosby, the two No.1 draft picks, for the rest of their respective careers. Crosby, being of North American descent, received significantly more 'hype' heading into the season and many were touting him as a 'lock' to win the Calder Trophy. However, Ovechkin has been the more impressive rookie thus far.
Through 50 games, 'Alexander the Great' has 34 goals and 31 assists. Crosby isn't too far behind in total points but has scored nine fewer goals. Through 52 games, 'Sid the Kid', has 25 goals and 30 assists. Checking in on their plus and minus ratings and we find Ovechkin at plus two and Crosby at minus eight.

Perhaps more important than the statistics is the fact that Ovechkin's team (Washington) has arguably less talent but is still outperforming Crosby's team (Pittsburgh) in the standings. Despite having played two less games, the Capitals have seven more points than the Penguins.
When it comes time to choosing the rookie of the year, a recent 'highlight-reel' goal may sway a number of voters to the Russian's side. While sliding on his back away from the net, Ovechkin was able to neatly put the puck in the perfect spot for a Capital score.

Olympic Odds
In roughly two weeks, hockey will begin at the Torino Winter Olympics. Canada is favored to win, followed by the Czech Republic and Sweden.

I'd lean to the favorite to take home the gold medal. However, at plus $1.45 there is little value to be found. Therefore, I likely won't make a 'futures' wager.

A list of the current Olympic odds is listed below.

Canada: plus $1.45
Czech Republic: plus $3.00
Sweden: plus $4.50
Russia: plus $5.50
USA: plus $9.00
Slovakia: plus $10.00
Finland: plus $14.00
Switzerland: plus $55.00
Latvia plus $150.00
Italy: plus $150.00
Germany: plus $250.00
Kazakhstan: plus $400.00

Buy your picks at Who2beton or at Don Best