This week's NHL betting notes

This week's NHL betting notes

This week's NHL betting notes
By DOC'S SPORTS

Turco in Trouble?

It's an understatement to say Dallas Stars goalie Marty Turco is having a bad year. The Stars are the biggest disappointment in the league and Turco has to shoulder a lot of that blame. He is only 7-10-4 and his 3.61 goals against average is worse than 43 other keepers in the league.

There are 44 players with a better save percentage than his .868. This is out of character for Turco - he normally waits until the playoffs to underperform.

Coach Dave Tippett has publicly called him out more than once recently, stating the obvious - the goalie needs to be much, much better. Turco has responded - sort of. He has won two of his last three games, but his save percentage in both wins wasn’t above 90 percent.

Turco has one big thing going for him - there isn't a viable alternative. The team shipped Mike Smith out of town last year so the alternative is the inexperienced Tobias Stephen.

Brian Burke - Super Hero

The worst kept secret in the world is now out in the open - Burke has been hired as GM of the Maple Leafs. Burke won a Stanley Cup in his second year in Anaheim, but previous underwhelming stints in Vancouver and Hartford leave me wondering just why the opinion seems to be that this guy walks on water.

Burke likes to make lots of changes to give a team his own look and he inherits a Toronto team that desperately needs the changes. It remains to be seen, though, how the team responds to the scrutiny and pressure of the new regime.

For what it's worth, Anaheim managed just three wins his first nine games in Anaheim and the team he took over there was much better than this one. Burke has announced that Mats Sundin likely won’t return to the Leafs.

If that is the case then that's the first smart thing I have heard out of Toronto in years.

Claude Lemieux comeback?

This has to be a joke, right? The 43-year-old Lemieux, a pesky agitator who ended a 20-year career in 2003, is attempting a professional comeback.

He started the season playing in the hockey hotbed of Shanghai, but has returned stateside and signed with the Worcester Sharks of the AHL. He says he intends to make it all the way back to the NHL. I doubt that he will pull it off and I am certain that he won't be of any significant importance to bettors if he does.

Crosby finally alive

For a good portion of this season, Sidney Crosby hasn't looked much like Sidney Crosby. Until now. He has five goals and an assist in two games on Friday and Saturday and is averaging two points a game his last two weeks.

A productive Crosby is great news for Pittsburgh – the Penguins have won three of their last four multi-point games and seven in a row when he has recorded an assist. The Penguins have the third best record in the East so we could see even bigger value for Pittsburgh bettors.

After The Coaching Changes

Both Tampa Bay and Chicago have made unexpected coaching changes already this year. So, have the teams responded?

Chicago made its change after just four games, replacing Denis Savard with Joel Quenneville. Savard was 1-2-1. Since then the team is 9-4-5 - much closer to the expectations going into the season.

The change may not be as profound as it seems. The Blackhawks are just 3-3-3 in their last nine. Progress is definitely being made, but how much?

Tampa Bay's situation is more bizarre. Barry Melrose came out of the ESPN TV studio that had been his domain for 13 years to give coaching another try. After just 16 games the dream was dead. Melrose was out on his ear after posting a 5-7-4 record - not really that bad given the roster he had and the turnover the team was dealing with.

As easy as it apparently was to blame Melrose, it isn't at all that clear he was actually at fault. Rick Tocchet, the league's most experienced gambler, took over and he hasn't exactly set the world on fire. He is just 1-3-3 and riding a four-game losing streak.

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