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October-09-2002,
RED WINGS FAVORED TO DEFEND STANLEY CUP...By David Scott

SPORTS BOOK BEAT Wednesday, October 9, 2002

By DAVID SCOTT, Senior Analyst Americasline.com

LAS VEGAS, Nev.-The National Hockey League drops the puck on another season this week with the aging but still potent defending champion Detroit Red Wings favored to win a second straight Stanley Cup Championship

Czech this out: The Red Wings begin defense of their NHL crown with Ontario native Curtis Joseph taking over for the retired Dominik Hasek between the pipes. Those are big pads to fill but Cujo has at least one shutout in each of the past six postseasons, a record. Detroit could struggle on offense until Steve Yzerman returns to full health from knee surgery but Brett Hull and Luc Robitaille provide plenty of firepower. Chris Chelios and Nicolas Lidstrom form an awesome defensive pair.

Colorado remains the biggest threat to Detroit.s reign. The Avalanche extended the Red Wings to seven full games in last season.s Western Conference final. Peter Forsberg, one of the game.s best players, is back, rejoining an attack that also features Joe Sakic. The Avs took a calculated risk in trading playoff tested Chris Drury and Stephane Yelle to the Flames for three players, including Derek Morris, a young defenseman with great potential. Morris adds some quickness to a back line paced by Rob Blake and Adam Foote. His arrival should help ease the loss of Ray Bourque. Patrick Roy (1.94 GAA) is the game.s best net-minder.

Philadelphia, Boston, Toronto, New Jersey and Ottawa are teams from the Eastern Conference looking to land a spot in the Stanley Cup Finals. The Flyers have plenty of scoring potential but need goalie Roman Cechmanek to have a big year. The Bruins also have little difficulty finding the net but need help on defense and in the net.

In what.s beginning to look like a trend, the Maple Leafs, with the likes of Mats Sundin and Alex Mogilny, can light the lamp but need to play better defense.

The Devils do play good defense but with center Bobby Holik gone, scoring could be a problem. The Senators are talented on both offense and defense. Can they put it all together this year?

Other teams in the hunt include the Western Conference triumvirate of St. Louis, San Jose and Dallas. The Blues will rise or fall with goalie Brent Johnson while the Sharks are pinning their hopes on a solid squad getting even better after taking the Avs to seven games last year. The Stars instantly improved when they inked free agent Bill Guerin but still need a stopper in the net to mount a serious challenge.

Looking for a longshot? You might try Carolina at odds of 20/1. All the Hurricanes did last year was reach the Stanley Cup Finals.

Stanley Cup and conference odds below are provided by the Australian bookmaker CANBET while division odds are courtesy of the bet taking giant Ladbrokes (www.ladbrokes.com).

ODDS TO WIN THE 2002/2003 STANLEY CUP CHAMPIONSHIP
TeamOddsTeamOdds
Detroit Red Wings4/1Vancouver Canucks22/1
Colorado Avalanche5/1Phoenix Coyotes25/1
Philadelphia Flyers7/1Washington Capitals25/1
Boston Bruins10/1Edmonton Oilers30/1
New Jersey Devils10/1Pittsburgh Penguins30/1
St. Louis Blues10/1Montreal Canadiens35/1
Toronto Maple Leafs10/1Buffalo Sabres40/1
San Jose Sharks12/1Anaheim Mighty Ducks75/1
Dallas Stars15/1Calgary Flames75/1
Ottawa Senators15/1Minnesota Wild100/1
New York Islanders18/1Nashville Predators100/1
Carolina Hurricanes20/1Florida Panthers100/1
Los Angeles Kings20/1Tampa Bay Lightning150/1
New York Rangers20/1Atlanta Thrashers200/1
Chicago Blackhawks22/1Columbus Blue Jackets200/1

DETROIT VERSUS THE FIELD Detroit Red Wings +400 Field (All others) -575

ODDS TO WIN EASTERN CONFERENCE ODDS TO WIN WESTERN CONFERENCE
Philadelphia Flyers7/2Detroit Red Wings2/1
Boston Bruins5/1Colorado Avalanche5/2
New Jersey Devils5/1St. Louis Blues 5/1
Toronto Maple Leafs5/1San Jose Sharks6/1
Ottawa Senators15/2Dallas Stars15/2
New York Islanders 9/1Los Angeles Kings10/1
Carolina Hurricanes10/1Chicago Blackhawks11/1
New York Rangers10/1Vancouver Canucks11/1
Washington Capitals25/2Phoenix Coyotes25/2
Pittsburgh Penguins15/1Edmonton Oilers15/1
Montreal Canadiens35/2Anaheim Mighty Ducks75/2
Buffalo Sabres20/1Calgary Flames75/2
Florida Panthers60/1Minnesota Wild50/1
Tampa Bay Lightning75/1Nashville Predators50/1
Atlanta Thrashers100/1Columbus Blue Jackets100/1

ODDS TO WIN CENTRAL DIVISION ODDS TO WIN NORTHEAST DIVISION
Detroit Red Wings1/2Toronto Maple Leafs5/4
St. Louis Blues7/4Boston Bruins5/2
Chicago Blackhawks7/1Ottawa Senators11/4
Nashville Predators66/1Montreal Canadiens6/1
Columbus Blue Jackets100/1Buffalo Sabres20/1

ODDS TO WIN NORTHWEST DIVISION ODDS TO WIN SOUTHEAST DIVISION
Colorado Avalanche2/5Carolina Hurricanes8/11
Vancouver Canucks 7/2Washington Capitals11/10
Edmonton Oilers5/1Florida Panthers12/1
Calgary Flames16/1Atlanta Thrashers 33/1
Minnesota Wild40/1Tampa Bay Lightning33/1

ODDS TO WIN PACIFIC DIVISION ODDS TO WIN ATLANTIC DIVISION
San Jose Sharks5/4Philadelphia Flyers3/2
Dallas Stars7/4New Jersey Devils5/2
Los Angeles Kings 7/2New York Islanders4/1
Phoenix Coyotes7/1New York Rangers5/1
Anaheim Mighty Ducks33/1Pittsburgh Penguins7/1

ANGEL CAKE: The opening round of the Major League Baseball Playoffs is history and with all four underdogs scoring upsets, the Anaheim Angeles are the new favorites to win the 2002 World Series. It.s been a long haul for the wild card entrant, which knocked off the Yankees in four games.

The following prices are courtesy of CANBET:

ODDS TO WIN THE 2002 WORLD SERIES
TeamOpenJuly 2Sept. 18Oct. 1Current
Anaheim Angels40/120/112/110/1+195
Minnesota Twins35/130/112/120/1+350
San Francisco Giants14/111/118/114/1+300
St. Louis Cardinals10/18/114/19/1+215

PUNCH LINES: WBA flyweight champion Eric Morel is a solid .600 favorite (bet $600 to win $100) to successfully defend his title against Thailand.s Denkaosaen Kaowitch in Anaheim, Saturday. Take back +400 (bet $100 to win $400) on the challenger. Morel is 31-0, including 17 knockouts, while Denkaosaen also is unbeaten at 20-0, including eight KOs.

RAGE AND FURY: Jim Furyk has been installed as a lukewarm 14/1 favorite to win the Invensys Classic in Las Vegas, Oct. 10-14. David Duval opened as the 16/1-second choice in the five-day, 90-hole event.

Justin Leonard rates an 18/1 chance to take home the first place check while Charles Howell III joins defending champion Bob Estes at odds of 20/1.

Robert Allenby is held at 22/1 while Steve Lowery is quoted at odds of 25/1 and Chris DiMarco and PGA champion Rich Beem each are offered at odds of 28/1.

THAT WAS THE WEEK THAT WAS: A second and a third were first, Sunday:

  • The second was Dale Earnhardt, Jr., who captured the EA Sports 500 in Talladega, Alabama. Earnhardt Jr., whose late father won 10 races on this track, earned his third straight victory on the 2.66-mile oval, taking the checkered flag as the 6/1 favorite. Junior led the race.s final 38 laps, beating Tony Stewart, 7/1, by about a car length. Ricky Rudd, 22/1, settled for third in the NASCAR Winston Cup event.

  • Charles Howell III, a cinch for PGA Rookie of the Year, won his first Tour victory, the Michelob Championship. Howell, a well-regarded 22/1 proposition, fired the day.s low round, 67, to finish 14 under par. That was two strokes ahead of veteran Scott Hoch, 20/1, and 200/1 outsider Brandt Jobe, who tied for second.

LIP SERVICE (TIMES 2): .I don.t know if trouble comes looking for me, or whatnot, but I don.t go looking for trouble..

--Vikings. receiver Randy Moss

.Hell no, that would be too much trouble..

--Scott Ostler, San Francisco Chronicle



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