NHL Bets: Becker vs. Fiorentino
Score: It’s all tied up at 1-1.
Bet: Who scores more points by the midpoint of the season, McDavid or Eichel?
Prize: Loser must speak in a southern accent for an entire staff meeting.
Grant: Jack Eichel. First off, I’ve never even heard of this McDavid guy. Plus, Eichel scored twice already so he’s on pace to have 20 goals by the all-star break and McDavid only scored once. That punk in Edmonton might not score again all year. Small sample sizes have less room for error, right? You know what they say, “The Stanley Cup isn’t played in October, but it might as well be.” *
*We’re pretty sure nobody has ever said this.
Loser: Peter Fiorentino. We’re just past the midpoint of the season and Jack Eichel has 34 points. Connor McDavid has been sidelined with an injury and has 12 points in just 13 games.
Bet: Pick the bottom two teams record-wise in the NHL after two weeks.
Prize: Loser has to post a video of them singing the chorus of “Bottom’s Up” by Trey Songs on Facebook.
Peter: The Edmonton Oilers and the Carolina Hurricanes.
To be successful in the Pacific Division, you have to be able to score a lot of goals when you go up against ‘tenders like Freddie Anderson, Jonathan Quick and Ryan Miller. The Oilers are 28th in goals scored so far. Good luck. Cam Ward (Hurricanes goalie) has never been stellar, but his 3.09 GAA so far this year is the worst of his career. Might be time for the 11 year vet to hang up the skates.
Grant: The Buffalo Sabres and the New Jersey Devils.
These two teams meet on the 25th, which will be just after the two-week mark of the season. The Sabres will be better than last year but the only game they could be favored in over the next two weeks is against their Canadian neighbors in Toronto. The Devils don’t have an easy slate of games either and Cory Schneider can’t put the puck in the other net so this will likely be the start of a long, long season.
Loser: Grant Becker. The Oilers and Hurricanes have 12 points total, while the Sabres and Devils have 15. Sorry, Grant. I look forward to your music video.
Bet: Stanley Cup Winner
Prize: Loser does winner’s laundry.
Peter: Montreal Canadiens
Exciting pick, I know. According to the NHL Facebook page, the Habs are 4-0-0, the 4th time they have opened a season with 4 wins. The 3 previous times (1955-56, 1970-71 and 1977-78), they won the Stanley Cup. Carey Price is filthy. HISTORY REPEATS ITSELF, YO. As a side bet, I’m certain Grant’s explanation will be longer than mine. If I’m right, you have to tweet out this article.
Boring pick, I know. You’re going to hear the comparisons to the 2009 Stanley Cup Champion Penguins, who won after losing in the Final the year before with a young team, all year long. The reason I like the Lightning to win it all is because I don’t like anybody else, really. The Blackhawks traded away important pieces in Patrick Sharp and Brandon Saad. Corey Crawford isn’t going to help much with their defensive woes either. He’s got a career .917 save percentage, just .002 above last year’s league average. That number should really be higher with the defensemen he’s played behind. The Rangers feel like they’re on their way down, it’s impossible to bet on the Caps, the Penguins aren’t all the way back yet. The Blues can’t even get out of the first round and nobody else piques my interest. The Ducks are the biggest threat to Tampa’s title run for me, but Bruce Boudreau is a coach that always owns the regular season before slipping out of the playoffs too early. So because the Lightning are great and everybody else has major concerns, they’re my champions.
Bet: Over/Under 76 penalty minutes for Clayton Stoner this season
Note: Last season Stoner had 68 PIM for the Ducks in 69 games. The season before that he had 84 in 63 games for the Wild.
Prize: Winner gets to photoshop a new FB profile picture that loser must use for three days.
Grant: I’ll take the over here because Clayton Stoner killed a bear a few years ago and now people are ticked off about it. I feel like he’s going to send a message with some overly physical play partly because that’s his only tangible on-ice skill but also due to his anger over the whole bear incident.
Peter: Well Grant, if Stoner killed a bear, then maybe you should be a little scared when the Ducks take on the Wild for the first time. even though I’m not entirely sure what kind of animal “Nordy” is. Under for me.
Bet: Maurice “Rocket” Richard Trophy winner… kinda (3 picks each)
Note: Awarded to the leading goal-scorer at the end of the season. Our twist? Which TEAM of 3 players will have the most collective goals.
Prize: Loser buys winner a burrito.
Peter: Steven Stamkos, Max Pacioretty, Patrick Kane
Grant may have the obvious individual winner here in Ovechkin, but I think I have the better squad of 3. This is Steve Stamkos’ year. The dude is electric (lightning pun intended) and finished only 10 goals behind Ovi last year, three behind him in 2013, and won it in 2012, scoring 60 goals. Pacioretty is poised for a breakout year with a solid team behind him. Patrick Kane will be playing with a fire this year we haven’t seen after rape allegations were dropped from him in the offseason. Some people still think less of him even though he was cleared, but I think he’s determined to be better than ever.
Grant: Alexander Ovechkin, Tyler Seguin, Phil Kessel
Ovechkin has won it the last three seasons and it’s silly to bet against him. Seguin had 37 in 71 games last year and I think he’ll take another step forward. Kessel is my wildcard here. He’s an unstoppable goal scoring force who is actually fantastic under pressure. He will be asked to score as much as ever this year but it doesn’t get any easier than playing with Sidney Crosby. Don’t be shocked if Kessel scores 50.
Bet: Who makes it further: Wild or Ducks?
Prize: Loser must wear winning team’s jersey for a day.
Peter: QUACK, QUACK, QUACK. The Ducks are 0-2-1 this year, and it’s not due to lack of talent. They were smacked in the mouth in a 4-0 loss against the Coyotes was a wake up call for a Bruce Boudreau squad that lost in seven games to the Blackhawks in the Western Conference Final. A lineup that features Ryan Kesler, Jakob Silfverberg, and Carl Hagelin on the SECOND line will fight for the Pacific Division title. I agree with Grant that it won’t be the cake walk like last year, but I doubt the Kings will be near the top of the division come season’s end. Just remember, Ducks fly together.
Grant: For the first time in franchise history the Wild entered the season with depth and talent on both ends of the ice to go with a reliable goalie. Devan Dubnyk won’t put up the same crazy numbers as last year but he’s no fluke. Lots of players on this team are primed for rebound and breakout years, the Wild are as good as any team in the West. The Ducks flew through the Pacific Division last year but it won’t be the same cake walk this time around. The Kings and Sharks will be back and the Flames should continue to improve. The Oilers are the only joke in the bunch and for some reason I think they’ll be better than last year too. The Ducks won’t coast to the WCF like last season and the Wild are more equipped for a lengthy playoff run than they have been in years past.
Bet: Name first team to be eliminated from playoff contention (2 picks each).
Prize: Loser must wear suit and tie around campus all day.
Grant: Arizona Coyotes or Carolina Hurricanes (Third choice NJ Devils)
The Arizona Coyotes of Phoenix are off to a blistering start. They’ve already won 20% of the games their going to win all year which seems like a waste. I would spread my wins out to keep people interested. Really though, Arizona is still in the early, early stages of rebuilding and they’re a step behind Edmonton, who’s three steps behind the rest of the Western Conference. The Hurricanes are in a pretty similar place. There’s little reason for hope and it feels inevitable that franchise guys like Cam Ward and Eric Staal will find themselves in new sweaters when the trade deadline rolls around.
Peter: Oh that’s weird, Grant. I didn’t know the bet said pick 3 teams. Anyway…
Los Angeles Kings and Philadelphia Flyers. The Flyers always seem to stick in the win column, but the goal differential (GD) always seems to be a problem. They’re 2-1 this year, but have a -3 GD. The x-factor for me here is Michael Neuvirth. He hasn’t played a full season since back in the 2010-11 campaign for Washington. When he did play most days, he had the lowest GAA of his career (2.45). I think Philly is good enough to make the playoffs, but not advance. LA confuses me. It really just depends which Jonathan Quick shows up, and when he does.
Prize: Loser must sing a song of winner’s choosing on Cynical Sports
Peter: Habs, Capitals, Chicago, San Jose.
As I mentioned earlier, I think the Canadiens could be the best team in hockey. San Jose’s offense is unreal, and Holtby is the best thing to happen to the Caps in a while. The only one I’m unsure of is Chicago, who is sitting at 6th in the Central Division.
Grant: Ducks, Blues, Lightning, Islanders.
I’m trying not to extrapolate too much from the first two or three games but I think these are the best teams in each division at the moment, except the Blues. But I have them there because of the uncertainty surrounding the Blackhawks, the Wild never seem to hit their stride until late in the season and the Predators don’t have enough scoring.
Prize: Loser has to eat a jar of baby food.
Peter: Shane Doan. The guy is likely in his last year of professional hockey and I want him to empty the tank. That said… yeah, I’m pretty sure I’m eating the baby food.
Grant: Jaromir Jagr! Wow, that was easy. I can’t wait to watch you suffer, Peter.
Bet: Predict the 16 playoff teams – whoever names more correctly wins.
Prize: Loser must write 300-word article about the winner and his superior NHL knowledge.
Peter: Woof. Great idea Grant, I definitely wanted to write more after this marathon of typing.
Western Conference: Ducks, Sharks, Coyotes, Wild, Blackhawks, Jets, Canucks, Blues. The Blues always make it to the playoffs, but I’m not sure they will this year. Tarasenko has a year under his belt, but I’m not convinced Elliott is a solid goalie. Too many easy goals. Also, St. Louis lost TJ Oshie, so I’m interested to see how their offense reacts to that in the long run (currently 14th in the NHL, 3 GPG).
Eastern Conference: Rangers, Islanders, Lightning, Canadiens, Caps, Flyers, Panthers. It appears Grant and I really only differ on the Flyers/Red Wings here. Like I said in the bet above, it lies on the shoulders of Neuvirth. I think he can be a better regular season tender than Jimmy Howard, but I’ve been wrong before.*
*= a lot
Grant: The Western Conference is a nightmare for predictions but here goes.
Ducks, Sharks, Kings, Wild, Blues, Blackhawks, Predators, Stars. I’m hesitant about the Stars but I think with Benn and Seguin and the signings they’ve made the last two offseasons they’re ever so slightly better than Colorado, Winnipeg, Calgary and Vancouver.
The Eastern Conference seems more manageable but the bubble is tricky here too.
Lightning, Canadiens, Red Wings, Rangers, Islanders, Capitals, Penguins, Panthers. The last spot is the trickiest one for me and I really want to go with the Florida Panthers but it’s hard to make big leaps in back to back years. No other team really draws my eye though so I’m going to roll with the Fighting Roberto Luongos. Fun fact about Florida: Stud youngsters Nick Bjugstad (23) and Aaron Ekblad (19) are a combined 42 years old. Their teammate and 1st PP unit linemate Jaromir Jagr is 43.
Be sure to follow @thefiorentino, @gbeck10 and @tailgatecollege to watch these bets unfold.