BOSTON – There have been some varying reactions to the floodgates getting opened to sports gambling around the United States with this week’s Supreme Court ruling, and the hockey world has been no different.
Bruins owner Jeremy Jacobs weighed in, saying that if properly regulated, it’s something that excites him as an owner and Chairman of the NHL's Board of Governors.
BREAKING DOWN THE BRUINS
“I think [the prospects of] sports betting is very much in the future of US sports. It’s been going on across the world. We’ve played at other jurisdictions. By that I mean we do business in Australia and we do it in England. We see it all the time, and it does bring a degree of interest that doesn’t exist here in this country,” said Jacobs. “The interaction with your customers and the team is greater with it. I mean, they’re just more interested in it. So, I think it will be a real plus to the sports field, but it has to be managed and controlled. I think that’s where the rub is going to be until we evolve a good relationship between the teams and the gaming interests. It will be a little rocky.”
All four major pro sports leagues, the NHL, NFL, NBA and Major League Baseball, along with the NCAA , had urged the nation’s high court to stand by a 1992 federal law barring sports betting in most states outside Nevada. But on Monday, the justices, in a 6-3 vote, decided to go the other direction in upholding the legality of a 2014 New Jersey law permitting sports betting at casinos and racetracks in the state.
That would allow sports betting across the United States as pro sports leagues are lobbying for federal laws to create uniform betting regulations rather than each of the 50 states going in different directions. Clearly, it’s going to result in more money being made for both the leagues and for the government taxing betting, so it’s not a surprise to hear a somewhat rosy outlook from one of the sports owners that will surely benefit from it once put in place.
Ilya Kovalchuk signed a three-year contract with the Los Angeles Kings Saturday despite receiving significant interest from the Boston Bruins.
After missing out on acquiring the 35-year-old Russian winger, the Bruins may have set their eye on free agent center John Tavares.
Tavares, 27, has played all nine seasons of his career with the New York Islanders, scoring 272 goals and tallying 349 assists. He scored a near career-high in goals last season with 37, and should be in line for a large pay-day once NHL free agency begins on July 1st.
If the Bruins decide to commit big money to Tavares, they risk their salary cap flexibility if they decide to resign Charlie McAvoy and Ryan Donato. Nevertheless, Boston has shown a willingness to spend and upgrade their roster in order to make a Stanley Cup run next season.
Here are all the links from around the hockey world, and what I’m reading while declining all interviews prior to the July 1 free agency period.
*Dougie Hamilton has now been traded twice in the last three years despite statistically being one of the best defensemen in the NHL. Certainly, he’s got fancy stats fanboys in his corner with an armada of bar graphs and pie charts that will tell you he’s one of the best offensive defensemen in the NHL, and anybody can see that he scored 17 goals last season. But it’s also clear that Hamilton has soured on each of his last two organizations leading to an exit, and the feeling seems pretty much mutual based on the stuff surrounding both of those departures.
I can tell you in Boston that one of the final straws with Hamilton was a Vegas team party at the end of the regular season where every member of the team aside from Hamilton and Reilly Smith was in attendance. They were both traded within a couple of months after that. By all accounts even noted party machine (sarcasm included) Zdeno Chara was there. It was one of several signals in that final season that Hamilton wasn’t really fitting in with what the Bruins were doing as a team. There were other things as well over the years where it was clear that Hamilton was a little sensitive to criticism and a little set in his ways, and self-focused, on the ice. He’s certainly not a bad kid or a divisive teammate, but it says a lot that Hamilton dropped to Boston’s spot in the draft and now has been dealt twice despite his considerable talent.
Hopefully, the Carolina Hurricanes become the NHL organization where Hamilton gets comfortable and doesn’t eventually want to leave for another fresh start.
*Speaking of the Hurricanes/Flames deal, Carolina is certainly getting the new look that they were hoping for.
*John Tavares will opt to talk to several teams in the free agent interview period, so he’ll become the focus of the next couple of weeks until he decides where he wants to sign a mega-big deal.
*TSN has their top-60 free agents with the pre-July 1 interview period officially set to begin on Monday morning.
*The first born-and-bred Brit was selected in the NHL entry draft this weekend when Liam Kirk heard his name called.
*For something completely different: Here’s what to expect from the next Jurassic World movie in the series.