Talking Points: Picking sides for Stanley Cup

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What's the buzz from the world of sports? Here are some items that will have people talking:

1

Think there is no reason for local sports fans to follow the Stanley Cup Finals? Think again.

• Boston Bruins scout Tom McVie is a Clark County resident. McVie brought the Stanley Cup to Mountain View Ice Arena after the Bruins won the 2011 championship.

Prefer not to root for a New England team? Well, there are hockey ties galore between Portland and Chicago.

• The Winterhawks' crest is very similar to the Blackhawks' because when the junior hockey franchise moved to Portland for the 1976-77 season, the Blackhawks donated used jerseys to help Portland get outfitted.

• Need more reason to pull for (or against) Chicago? When the Blackhawks entered the NHL in 1926, team owner Frederic McLaughlin paid $12,000 to enter the NHL, and $200,000 to buy the Portland Rose Buds so he could use their better players to fill his roster.

• Speaking of players, Chicago's Marian Hossa (1997-98) and Boston's Andrew Ference (1994-99) played for the Winterhawks.

• One more thing: While the Buckaroos were the dominant team in Portland and in the old WHL from 1960-74, they were a farm team at different times for the Bruins and the Blackhawks.

2

If you believe the betting lines — not that we condone sports wagering, mind you — the BCS title game will feature two tried-and-true college football powers: Alabama and Oregon.

Last Friday, the Golden Nugget released its early point spreads on some of the biggest games of 2013. In the 10 Alabama games that have lines posted, the Crimson Tide are favored by at least 17 points in eight of them. The six-point spread against Texas A&M, a Sept. 14 game, is closest line.

Oregon is favored in all 11 games that the Golden Nugget posted point spreads for — seven of them by 20 points or more. The one that surprises us is that the Ducks are favored by four points at Stanford.

The only other opponents within two touchdowns of the Ducks are Washington (Oregon by 14) and Arizona (Oregon by 16). The Cougs? Oregon is a 35 1/2-point favorite.

Other teams the Golden Nugget sports book most likes, based on early lines, include Ohio State, Notre Dame and Texas.

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