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 joins Sixers in New Orleans, may play Sunday vs. Pistons

Nerlens Noel joins Sixers in New Orleans, may play Sunday vs. Pistons

NEW ORLEANS — Nerlens Noel made another step toward his return from arthroscopic left knee surgery by joining the Sixers in New Orleans for their game against the Pelicans.

Noel arrived on Wednesday with Robert Covington, who is slated to start after missing the last three games with a left knee sprain. Noel is not cleared to play, but Brown doesn’t think it will be long until he suits up. 

“I don’t think far away,” Brown said of Noel’s regular season debut after shootaround.

When asked about the possibility of Noel playing this weekend when the Sixers face the Pistons on Sunday in Detroit, Brown replied, “Maybe.” 

Noel has missed the entire regular season recovering from elective surgery for an inflamed plica in October. He completed the first phase of his rehab in Birmingham, Ala. and has been continuing his work with the Sixers. This trip to New Orleans is the first time he has been with the Sixers on the road. 

“[He is] integrating with the team, studying a lot of tape, scripting with his teammates with the understanding that we have a chance to see him soon,” Brown said. “All that trying to ramp it up where he can go to an NBA court more comfortably.”

Noel spoke out about his displeasure with the Sixers crowded frontcourt at the start of the preseason. He recently stuck with his stance, saying, “I don’t think the roster’s changed.”

Brown is working to keep the team moving forward as a unit while still being aware of and recognizing Noel’s perspective. 

“It does,” Brown said when asked if Noel’s open frustration concerns him as it pertains to team cohesiveness. “But I feel like it’s so much a part of what we try do around here that it’s not like you’re going to blink and you’ve forgotten something that equals camaraderie, that equals team, that equals trying to keep this together, and you’ve left it for a week … 

“It’s a day-to-day focus for me and it’s a very candid conversation with me and the player. The team hears it, the individual hears it, we all understand it … We need to coexist and we need to understand the reality of it all, too. There’s a human side you understand. It’s also pride, it’s competitiveness, it’s do your job, it’s nothing is given, you’ve got to take stuff, draw your own line in the sand, competitors rule the day.”

Last season Noel averaged 11.1 points and a team-high 8.1 rebounds per game. The Sixers will look forward to having him back on the court in that once-crowded frontcourt that is now shorthanded. Jahlil Okafor remained in Philadelphia with gastroenteritis. Ben Simmons still is rehabbing from a right foot fracture. 

"Soon you’re going to see Ben Simmons coming to a team bench where he doesn’t come out with boots and have to push him in some type of wheely apparatus," Brown said. "We’ve dealt with so many injuries trying to find that balance of dealing with their health and so on, and then trying to integrate them back into a team is part of growing a program."

Flyers fans send amazing postcards to their beat writers

Flyers fans send amazing postcards to their beat writers

I like to give Flyers fans a bit of a hard time on occasion, but that's only because I love them.

One beautiful Flyers fan today reminded me of why I love them.

They took the time to send a postcard to CSNPhilly.com's Flyers Insider -- and hater of the woo -- Tim Panaccio with one single word written on it.

"Woo."

Panotch says "Someone wasted a stamp and post card on this," but I say we just generated at least 50 cents in ad revenue from those of you that are reading this right now.

Money and time well spent.

Now, if you're not up on your wooing, Panotch penned a piece on how some fans wooing at games started annoying some of the players. Panotch hates the woo. BUT... and this is an important but... the Flyers are 6-0 since this all started. 

Woo.