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What are the odds? Paul Kukla knows

by Paul Kukla
LAS VEGAS -- This is your Las Vegas NHL correspondent coming to you almost live from the city where anything can happen.

I've been in Las Vegas since last Friday night and have yet to get myself into any serious trouble. I have heard a rumor that Commissioner Gary Bettman is in town but he has evidently told the hotel staff to block all of my calls to his room, just in case I need some financial assistance.

Sauntering into the pool area, I did run into a few of the single hockey players and they seemed to be enjoying themselves in the warm desert sun. Who knows, they could still be there as far as I know.

One funny/sad antidote from the pool -- The waitress asked me what I would like and I pointed to the players, who were attracting many an on-looker, all dressed in bikinis. When I said I will have a few of those, she just laughed. Probably is still laughing

People here try to be fashion conscious, wearing the hippest styles along with their Elvis sideburns. One such style is a type of hat both females and males are wearing by the dozens. It is a type of fedora; you know, the one Punch Imlach would wear behind the bench when coaching in the NHL. But two things are quite different with this hat.

First-off, the brim is much smaller than the hat I am used too, and secondly, the hat is worn about two sizes smaller than a normal fitted hat. So imagine the younger adult generation walking around Vegas in hats way too small for their heads. Not a good look at all and if I see anyone associated with the NHL wearing the too-small-for-their-head-hat, I will let them know about it.

At a few of the casinos in town, there exists something called a sports book. There you can place a bet on virtually any sporting event in the world, so I decided to ask Johnny Avello, the director of race & sports operations at the Wynn, about some of the odds for the NHL Awards taking place at The Palms Hotel Wednesday (7:30 p.m. ET, VERSUS, TSN).

The New York Mets and New York Giants fan turned sports book maker sat down with me to give me the favorites for the hardware which will be handed out.

I do want to point out the odds I am posting cannot be bet upon. The Nevada Gaming Commission does not allow bets to be placed on events that are voted on, which all of these NHL awards are. So I guess you can say this is an exclusive look at the NHL Awards.

A look at the Vezina Trophy, Avello sees the favorite as Ryan Miller with odds of 6 to 5, just nosing-out Martin Brodeur at 7 to 5. Ilya Bryzgalov places third with 3 to 1 odds.

It looks like Pavel Datsyuk will win another Frank J. Selke Trophy. Datsyuk comes in at even money, followed by Ryan Kesler at 3 to 2, and Jordan Staal at 4 to 1.

Datsyuk could also be bringing another Lady Byng Memorial Trophy back to Detroit with him. Pavel is listed as 4 to 5, followed by Martin St. Louis at 8 to 5, and Brad Richards at 5 to 1.

The favorite for the Calder Memorial Trophy is Tyler Myers at 3 to 2, with Matt Duchene at 8 to 5, and Jimmy Howard listed as 9 to 5.

In a surprising pick, Johnny has Drew Doughty taking home the James Norris Memorial Trophy. Drew is listed at 6 to 5, followed closely by Duncan Keith at 7 to 5, and Mike Green at 3 to 1.

Dave Tippett is the favorite to win the Jack Adams Award at 5 to 6, followed by Joe Sacco at 6 to 5, and Barry Trotz at 10 to 1.

Drum roll please -- The Hart Memorial Trophy will go to Alex Ovechkin who comes in as the favorite at 1 to 2. He is followed by Henrik Sedin at 3 to 1, and Sidney Crosby at 5 to 1.

While I had Avello's attention, I asked him for an early look at the 2010-11 NHL regular season. His Top 10 to win the Stanley Cup are as follows:

Chicago Blackhawks -- 4/1
Washington Capitals -- 9/2
Pittsburgh Penguins -- 5/1
Detroit Red Wings -- 8/1
San Jose Sharks -- 9/1
Vancouver Canucks -- 11/1
Philadelphia Flyers -- 12/1
Los Angeles Kings -- 15/1
New Jersey Devils -- 18/1
Boston Bruins -- 18/1

There you have it folks, the NHL Awards and next season all wrapped up by me for you. Think of it as my souvenir to you instead of a Las Vegas t-shirt.

Have a great week watching the NHL Awards, then the NHL Entry Draft followed by the UFA signing period which begins on July 1st.

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