For the Los Angeles Kings and their fans, last night's Stanley Cup-clinching victory kicked off a three-month long party in Tinsel Town. Everyone from diehard Kings fans to transplanted casual Lakers supporters will bask in the glory that comes with being a Stanley Cup champion all summer long.
The rest of us? Well, we've already started the countdown to Opening Night (assuming there is one).
A reputable offshore betting site, Bovada.lv--formerly Bodog.com, has catered to the early stages of our hockey withdrawal. This morning, they released their initial odds for the 2012-13 NHL season. Surprisingly, the Kings are not the favorite to become the first repeat champion since the Red Wings in 1996-97 and 1997-98. They've got the second best odds heading into the offseason, at 11:1.
The Pittsburgh Penguins, who barring a catastrophic off-ice accident will enter next year with a healthy Sidney Crosby and likely defending Hart Trophy winner Evgeni Malkin among others, are the favorites to return to their Cup-winning form from 2009. According to Bovada.lv, they've got a 7:1 chance to recapture Lord Stanley's Cup.
The Devils, this year's runners-up, are facing some long odds at 30:1. Obviously, it's been widely speculated that their captain Zach Parise, an unrestricted free agent, will not re-sign with the team. If Lou Lamioriello is somehow able to retain Parise though, expect a significant jump in those odds.
Likewise, the Detroit Red Wings, who will be enduring the loss of Nicklas Lidstrom, open at a surprisingly high 12:1. However, it's also expected that they'll be major players in the free agent market this July.
Among some of the more ambitious wagers for the bettors who like to live on the edge, may we offer the New York Rangers (12:1), the Philadelphia Flyers and Boston Bruins (14:1) and the Washington Capitals (25:1). That's right, folks. These people do this for a living. They've found a way to make the Capitals one of the most intriguing stories of this offseason, alright. They'll dare you to pick them to win the Stanley Cup.
Obviously, these odds are subject to change on a whim, based mostly on the destinations of unrestricted free agents Parise, Ryan Suter, Alexander Radulov and others.
With that said, as the League continues hurtling toward terrifyingly pessimistic labor negotiations, it's a wonder Bovada didn't add a prop bet to this wager entitled "nobody." It's entirely possible that no one, not the Kings, Donald Fehr, nor Gary Bettman, will be crowned champion in 2013. While we are all hopeful that Bettman, Fehr & co. can avoid work stoppages that stunted the game's growth in 1994 and 2004, we're not so sure we'll get our wish.
For our readers who are also compulsive gamblers, we sure do hope your bets get ruled "no action" in the case of a lockout.