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

Phillies officially sign outfielder Michael Saunders

Phillies officially sign outfielder Michael Saunders

The Phillies on Thursday officially announced the signing of outfielder Michael Saunders to a one-year deal with a club option for 2018. 

According to Fox Sports' Ken Rosenthal, Saunders will make $9 million this season with the Phillies and the club option for 2018 will be worth $11 million with escalators potentially pushing it to $14 million.

Saunders, 30, is the left-handed hitting outfield bat the Phils were seeking. He hit 24 home runs for the Blue Jays last season in his walk year, making the AL All-Star team before slumping in the second half.

Saunders hit .298/.372/.551 with 16 homers in 82 games for the Blue Jays before the All-Star break, then hit .178/.282/.357 with eight homers in 58 games after.

He had a good year against same-handed pitching, hitting .275 with a .927 OPS and eight homers against lefties. 

He'll likely start in right field for the Phillies, with Odubel Herrera in center and Howie Kendrick in left (see Phils' projected lineup).

Saunders can also play first base, which could allow the Phillies to sit Tommy Joseph against a tough right-hander and fill in the outfield.

It was important to Phillies GM Matt Klentak that the player he signed to fill the spot in the outfield was not going to block young outfielders like Roman Quinn, Nick Williams and others.

On a one-year deal, Saunders came relatively cheap to the Phils, lingering in free agency as other hitters found contracts. In the middle of last summer, Saunders seemed poised for a multi-year contract like the four-year, $52 million deal Josh Reddick signed with the Astros. His second half cost him some money.

To make room on the 40-man roster for Saunders, the Phillies designated right-hander Severino Gonzalez for assignment.

There's another Embiid WWE 2K17 entrance and it includes Hinkie

There's another Embiid WWE 2K17 entrance and it includes Hinkie

He’s done it again.
 
Eleven days ago, Sixers social media went wild over a video that showed Joel Embiid walking out to the ring as a WWE character in WWE 2K17. Well, YouTube user Hillman811 is back with an even better version of the video complete with Sam Hinkie and fans chanting.
 
The first video sparked questions to Embiid about his favorite WWE wrestler, and he even did his own Triple H introduction at the Wells Fargo Center after The Game threw him an All-Star vote (see story).
 
Watch the video below and let your mind run wild with what this would look like if it actually happened.