Oddsmakers see Flyers' chances of Stanley Cup dreams improving dramatically over last month

Oddsmakers see Flyers' chances of Stanley Cup dreams improving dramatically over last month

A month ago the Flyers were a pretty longshot to win the 2014 Stanley Cup with oddsmakers giving them a 33/1 chance of a parade heading down Broad Street this summer. A red hot month of March later, one that included wins over the Penguins, Blackhawks, Blues, Stars, Kings, basically some of the best teams in the league, and oddsmakers bumped the Flyers chances of winning the Cup all the way up to 14/1.

The teams that still stand a better shot according to Bovada.lv's numbers: Boston, St. Louis, Chicago, Pittsburgh, San Jose, Anaheim, and the L.A. Kings. All teams the Flyers have proven they can hang with aside from maybe those mighty Ducks.

They've also moved up to be the third favorite to come out of the East behind Boston and Pittsburgh who the Flyers have looked pretty good against over the past few weeks.

Full odds below.

Odds to win the 2014 Stanley Cup 

                                                Odd on 3/6/14               Current

Boston Bruins                           15/2                              9/2

St. Louis Blues                          5/1                                5/1

Chicago Blackhawks                 13/2                              13/2

Pittsburgh Penguins                  13/2                              7/1

San Jose Sharks                       10/1                              8/1

Anaheim Ducks                         15/2                              10/1

Los Angeles Kings                    12/1                              12/1

Philadelphia Flyers                    33/1                              14/1

Colorado Avalanche                  20/1                              20/1

Montreal Canadiens                   25/1                              22/1

New York Rangers                     20/1                              22/1

Tampa Bay Lightning                 28/1                              25/1

Detroit Red Wings                     40/1                              33/1

Columbus Blue Jackets             50/1                              40/1

Minnesota Wild                         33/1                              40/1

Toronto Maple Leafs                 25/1                              50/1

Dallas Stars                              50/1                              66/1

Phoenix Coyotes                       66/1                              66/1

Washington Capitals                  40/1                              66/1

New Jersey Devils                     66/1                              150/1

 

Odds to Win the 2014 Eastern Conference

Boston Bruins                           8/5

Pittsburgh Penguins                  11/4

Philadelphia Flyers                    8/1

Montreal Canadiens                   10/1

New York Rangers                     10/1

Tampa Bay Lightning                 12/1

Detroit Red Wings                     16/1

Columbus Blue Jackets             20/1

Toronto Maple Leafs                 25/1

Washington Capitals                  33/1

New Jersey Devils                     75/1

 

Odds to Win the 2014 Western Conference 

St. Louis Blues                          5/2

Chicago Blackhawks                 7/2

San Jose Sharks                       17/4

Anaheim Ducks                         5/1

Los Angeles Kings                    13/2

Colorado Avalanche                  10/1

Minnesota Wild                         20/1

Dallas Stars                              33/1

Phoenix Coyotes                       33/1

Thrust into bigger role, Sixers' Holmes stars in win over Wizards

Thrust into bigger role, Sixers' Holmes stars in win over Wizards

BOX SCORE

For as much as the Sixers’ bigs are talked about, Richaun Holmes often is left out of the conversation. 

He’s not the centerpiece of the team like Joel Embiid nor was he heavily involved in trade talks like Nerlens Noel and Jahlil Okafor. He is the backup center who bides his time on the bench and quietly stays ready when he gets the nod.

And on Friday, he was the standout player in the Sixers’ 120-112 win over the Wizards (see Instant Replay)

“He’s been sort of the person that people forget about because of the logjam of five men,” Brett Brown said. “We all sort of think, ‘Well, he should just accept it because he’s behind Joel and Nerlens and Jahlil. Good ol’ Richaun. Go to the D-League and it’s OK.’ And that doesn’t work. He’s a pro, he’s competitive. He’s handled it. He’s really been a wonderful teammate.”

Holmes was bumped up in the rotation following the trade of Noel to the Mavs. He moved into the second-unit role while Okafor started in place of the injured Embiid. 

Holmes recorded his first double-double with 12 points (6 for 9 from the field) and 10 rebounds (three offensive). He also blocked a career-high five shots, tying Embiid for the most by a Sixer this season. The second-year big man put together this impressive performance in 26 minutes off the bench. 

“Just play hard,” Holmes said of his approach. “Just go out there, show what you’ve been working on, play hard every second you’re out there. That’s the motto I’ve got.”

Holmes is averaging 16.1 minutes and has appeared in just 32 of the Sixers’ 57 games. This season he also spent time with the Delaware 87ers of the Development League to get playing time. Holmes embraced an opportunity similar to Friday’s a month ago when he scored 18 points in as many minutes against the Clippers. 

“I try to approach every game this season the same way, whether everybody was playing or people were hurt,” Holmes said. “Prepare like I’m going to play 30 minutes a game. I think having that mindset helped me to stay ready at all times and be aggressive when I had a chance.”

Brown did not rule out the possibility that Holmes could start at some point if he continues this production. The Sixers are limiting Okafor to 20 to 24 minutes per game, according to Brown. That, combined with Embiid’s injury, could lend itself to an increased role for Holmes. 

“I think in that environment, it wouldn’t seem out of the ordinary for Richaun to get a start from time to time,” Brown said. 

Even if he remains on the second unit, Holmes proved he can provide a spark off the bench. Dario Saric noted how Holmes’ impact on both ends of the floor bolsters the frontcourt in addition to a more offensively-minded Okafor (11 points, two rebounds). 

“I think he played unbelievably good in both ways,” Saric said. “Everybody knows he’s an elite guy finishing around the rim, and he stepped in Nerlens’ place, he replaced him unbelievably good. I hope he will get the same minutes for the next game because we have Jahlil, who is more like a post-up player, who likes more to score from the low-post block, and we for sure need some guy like Richaun who will play in both ways." 

Perhaps the person least surprised by Holmes' game was Holmes himself. It was the result he puts in long hours to produce.

“It’s all about the grind,” he said. “All about keep working, keep trying to move up, keep trying to get better every second and it’ll pay off.” 

Ilya Bryzgalov talks goalies playing in contract year, Las Vegas and more

Ilya Bryzgalov talks goalies playing in contract year, Las Vegas and more

Gotta love Bryz, right?

Former Flyers goalie Ilya Bryzgalov was his usual humorous, unpredictable self in a recent interview with Sportsnet.ca's Luke Fox.

From what he's doing now to talking pressure as a goalie, here are some of the highlights ...

On a goalie's mental state when job security is up in the air (referenced to Flyers goalie Steve Mason)
“So many goalies take the job for a long time, so it’s easy to be out of game. You worry. You want to find a long-term job, pay bills. It’s not a secret. That’s why when there’s no [contractual] certainty and you don’t see 100 percent confidence from your team, it might affect your game. If the season’s not going well, you start thinking about it.”

On his son playing goalie
"He chose it. He’s the guy who gives his team a chance to win. Make some saves. But he plays as a player once a week, too. Shoots the puck on goalies every Wednesday pretty much.”

On being a hockey dad
“I’m pretty calm. I only get upset when I see the referees make the bad calls. The kids work so hard and play so passionately, you can’t take sides. Only when the referee’s unfair.”

On being a pro hockey player in Las Vegas
"I’m family guy, settled down. I’ve never been too emotional or casino-addicted. For me, no problem. For the young guys to play there, it causes trouble, man. Difficult trouble. … The young ones with the cash? Las Vegas can provide lots of scenes, know what I mean?"

The rest is just as good. For the full Q&A, read Fox's article right here.

Also, Bryzgalov will be a part of Sportsnet's trade deadline coverage next Wednesday.

And side note: Bryz remains active on Twitter. And remains random as ever.

Just look at his last tweet ...