Right now the NHL is like your ex-girlfriend – it still exists but there’s no point thinking about it right now. Stay busy. Move on. There are plenty of fish in the sea.
The NHL may be the biggest and best league in the world, but it’s hardly the only decent league around.
"The lack of NHL betting is starting to show in our International hockey markets, with handle increasing across the board in Czech, Swedish, Finish, and Russian hockey,” one Sports Interaction line manager says. “The KHL has shown the largest increase, with handle increasing 300 percent compared to last season. Recent weeks have shown higher growth, a trend we expect to continue as die hard hockey fans make the switch.”
From Russia, with love
Right now, the KHL is home to some of the NHL’s biggest starts. Alexander Ovechkin has joined Dynamo Moscow, the defending league champs. Meanwhile, the NHL’s reigning Hart Trophy winner, Evgeni Malkin, has committed to Magnitogorsk, and Ilya Kovalchuk is ripping it up with 15 points in eight games for SKA Saint Petersburg. ESPN3 has already dabbled in KHL coverage and with a little luck, it may not be long before more international games are televised in North America.
"The KHL drawing the biggest increase in amount wagered is no surprise, as bettors tend to follow the players they know,” says the SIA line manager. “CSKA Moscow, featuring NHL transfers Ilya Bryzgalov and Pavel Datsyuk, along with sometimes NHL player and full time KHL star, Alexander Radulov are drawing the most interest from the betting public. This strategy hasn't always paid off, as Dynamo Minsk, featuring four NHL transfers, has thus far failed to provide a return for bettors’ early confidence."
Down on the farm
Putting some time in with the AHL isn’t a bad thing. It’s a great way to get a look at some of hockey’s budding stars to see how they’re adapting to the professional game. The Bridgeport Sound Tigers are a team to keep an eye on. Nino Niederreiter, who made a splash with the Islanders last year, has four points in his first two games, helping the club to a 2-0 start. He also has Travis Hamonic backing him up on the blue line.
The Connecticut Whale are off to a slow start at 0-2, but have a pile of young talent up front in Chris Kreider, Christian Thomas, and J.T. Miller, not to mention Matt Gilroy’s offensive skills from the blue line. They should turn it around quickly if their goaltending holds. Watch out for Brayden Schenn and the Adirondack Phantoms, as well.