2013 Stanley Cup Odds, and You're Not Gonna Like the Favorites...

2013 Stanley Cup Odds, and You're Not Gonna Like the Favorites...

We're now a month removed from the start of the NHL's free agent period, and the action has slowed to a crawl. A handful of recognizable names are still holding out, including several players of enormous consequence depending on where they land, and you can't eliminate the possibility of another blockbuster trade either. What we're getting at though is teams are in the process of finalizing their rosters for the season ahead, so without further adieu, who are the favorites to hoist the Stanley Cup next June?

Why that would be none other than the Pittsburgh Penguins at 8/1, followed very closely by the New York Rangers at 9/1.

Of course, neither is really very surprising. Despite their embarrassing first-round exit, the Pens were considered the favorites in the playoffs this past year, and any team with Sidney Crosby is going to command that type of respect from oddsmakers. The reigning Atlantic Division Champion Rangers caused a big splash by acquiring Rick Nash, and they came just a few games short of reaching the Finals last season. No arguments there.

The good news is only a pair of teams have better odds than the Flyers at 13/1 -- the Vancouver Canucks (11/1) and Los Angeles Kings (12/1). Even though the Orange and Black have come up short in several ways this offseason, they are still viewed among the cream of the crop in the NHL this season.

Here is the full list of odds, including for some reason the Columbus Blue Jackets, whose entire team apparently has a better chance at getting struck by lightning.

Odds to win the 2013 Stanley Cup (Current Odds as of 8/2/12 provided by Bovada.lv)

Pittsburgh Penguins                   8/1

New York Rangers                     9/1

Vancouver Canucks                   11/1

Los Angeles Kings                     12/1

Philadelphia Flyers                     13/1

Chicago Blackhawks                  14/1

Detroit Red Wings                      15/1

Boston Bruins                            16/1

St. Louis Blues                          16/1

Minnesota Wild                          18/1

San Jose Sharks                       20/1

Buffalo Sabres                           22/1

Carolina Hurricanes                    22/1

Nashville Predators                    25/1

Tampa Bay Lightning                  25/1

Washington Capitals                  25/1

New Jersey Devils                      28/1

Edmonton Oilers                        30/1

Toronto Maple Leafs                   35/1

Florida Panthers                        40/1

Anaheim Ducks                         40/1

Colorado Avalanche                    40/1

Montreal Canadiens                   40/1

Ottawa Senators                        40/1

Phoenix Coyotes                       40/1

Calgary Flames                         50/1

Dallas Stars                              50/1

Winnipeg Jets                            50/1

New York Islanders                    75/1

Columbus Blue Jackets              100/1

Nerlens Noel on Sixers' frontcourt logjam: 'I don't see a way it can work'

Nerlens Noel on Sixers' frontcourt logjam: 'I don't see a way it can work'

CAMDEN, N.J. — Nerlens Noel is standing his ground.

After saying that the Sixers' entering the season with three starting-caliber centers (himself, Jahlil Okafor, Joel Embiid) "doesn't make sense," Noel didn't back down from his stance during the team's annual media day.  

"I don't see a way it can work," Noel said Monday. "It's just a logjam. You have three young, talented centers that can play 30-plus minutes a night." 

The Sixers attempted to play with two bigs in Noel and Okafor last season but had little success. Now that Embiid is finally healthy, the fit to the puzzle doesn't figure to get any better.

Reports swirled during the offseason that the Sixers were looking to trade either Noel or Okafor to add backcourt help to the woeful franchise, but nothing came to fruition.

"Things need to get situated," Noel said. "I think things obviously need to be moved around, someone needs to be moved around. It's just a tough situation. I can't really say too much because I have no say in the matter, so obviously that's for who can handle the situation in the right manner.

"I've gone through a whole lot. Probably the most, arguably, that any player has gone through in the NBA in losing. It's a tough situation to still be in. Year by year, to see things get more difficult to show your value. Year by year, it's always been something. It's really at a point where it's just a lot."

Bryan Colangelo said he understands Noel's viewpoint. However, the Sixers' president said he is in no rush to trade any of the centers and will wait the situation out.

"It’s not disappointing. It’s understandable," Colangelo said. "I think Nerlens actually did a pretty good job sizing up what we have, which is a lot of depth and a lot of talent at that position."

Despite each of the three centers being early in their career, Noel, who is in the final year of his rookie contract, doesn't want to hold off to see if the trio can actually mesh on the floor.

"I can't say I do really understand that (wait-and-see approach)," Noel said. "If you have a group of players, I just don't think it makes too much sense to just still come into the season with such a heavy lineup at the center position. I don't know what there is to wait and see."

Noel made sure to express that he has no issues with Okafor and Embiid and said they are some of his closest friends on the team. But when asked whether he was happy to be a Sixer, Noel deflected.

"I feel good," he said. "I'm all right, I'm in a good place right now."

Sure sounds like it.

Darren Sproles' TD from Wentz set to Sonic the Hedgehog music

sproles-sonic.jpg

Darren Sproles' TD from Wentz set to Sonic the Hedgehog music

You may fondly remember the time Darren Sproles took a punt return to the house last season and a wonderful Twitter user set the video to the Super Mario Bros.' star music, yes?

It was great.

Now that Sproles' put on the jets again yesterday in the Eagles win over the Steelers, the same @pacdude on Twitter has done it again.

This time it's the theme music from Sonic the Hedgehog 2. Please enjoy.