NHL General

Closing the books on the Rick Tocchet gambling ring

A year ago, the Rick Tocchet as head of a gambling ring based in NJ story was huge news, mainly because the Olympics were coming up and hockey is one of the premiere sports in the Winter Olympics. But since then, the molasses that is our legal system (despite what you see on Law and Order) has basically swept the whole story under the carpter.

Not suprisingly, when the news came out over the long memorial day weekend that Tocchet came to a plea bargain in the case, not much was made of it. But, in the interest of wrapping up the case we’ve been following for a year, here’s the final chapter in the Rich Tocchet case.

Tocchet pleaded guilty to promoting gambling and conspiracy to promote gambling. It’s a minor offense that may result in him not having to serve any jail time at all. However, there is no word on whether he will be reinstated into the NHL until the league completes its own investigation. Tocchet helped his cause by emphasizing in his court appearance that he had never bet on hockey.

[6abc]: Tocchet Pleads Guilty in Gambling Ring Case

NHL General

Odds and Ends: Rick Tocchet gambling ring update

The former New Jersey state trooper that was linked to Rick Tocchet in the sports gambling ring has pleaded guilty to conspiracy, promoting gambling and official misconduct. By offering to help the authorities, he has reduced the maximum sentence from 25 years to 7 years. For anyone who has watched a crime drama in the past twenty years, this doesn’t bode well for Rick Tocchet as now he’s got no one to pass the buck to unless some shadowy kingpin emerges. It’s hard to believe but Rick Tocchet was the “brains” behind an operation.

In other news…

[Wicked Chops Poker]: Anna Benson is a Bitch

[MSNBC]: USOC bans Gatlin’s coach

[Sportsline]: Landis is now claiming dehydration caused high testosterone… even though he was hydrated enough to win the stage

[Kuklas Korner]: The St. Louis Blue’s shady marketing website

[Alligator Sports]: Stupid athletes on Facebook and MySpace

[Sheboygan Press]: ESPN continues its fine tradition of sports coverage

San Diego Chargers

Ladies and Gentlemen: Your 2007 Las Vegas Chargers

It’s only a matter of time before Las Vegas gets a major sports franchise. If not the Sonics, then why not the San Diego Chargers, whose lease runs out after this year. The mayor of Las Vegas, Oscar Goodman (you know, the guy who told a bunch of fourth graders that drinking gin was a hobbie.) contacted Chargers management to make a pitch for them to relocate to Sin City. However, the Chargers are not allowed to talk to cities outside of San Diego county until after Jan 1 but there’s an amendment being passed that will change that after the mayor of San Diego said he supported the Chargers desire to explore relocating.

We realize the whole Rick Tocchet scandal might keep this from happening but why hasn’t the NHL pursued moving a team to Vegas? As we know, people will bet on anything, even if Rick Tocchet will get convicted, so why not stir up interest in the NHL by putting it in the sports gambling mecca of the world? Hell, put a team store right inside Caesars. Gambling is legal in Vegas. Embrace it, Bettman!

[SignOn SanDiego]: Las Vegas makes pass at Chargers

NHL General

Oh the irony – Betting on Tocchet conviction

Who says we have a gambling problem?  Just because Vegas did about $100M in legal action on the Super Bowl doesn’t mean we’re out of control right?  Hold on a second while I figure out the best odds on Tocchet getting convicted for “financing a gambling ring.” has the follow odds:
Convicted & Jail Time – 250
Convicted & Probation – 600
Not Guilty + 400 has:
Be found guilty of Promoting Gambling  -350  
Be found not guilty of Promoting Gambling  +400  
Promoting Gambling charge will be dropped   +1000  
Mistrial on the charge of Promoting Gambling +2000

Hmmmm, things don’t look good for The Rick.    

NHL General

Rick Tocchet gambling ring update

Honey, what’s the line on
the Lakers-Suns tonight?

Things are certainly heating up in the “Operation Slap Shot” scandal. Rick Tocchet was put on an indefinite leave of absence by the NHL and the commissioner reserves the right to change the terms of the leave of absence at any time, i.e. fire his ass whenever the truth comes out. The NHL is in full damage control mode, having hired the Unabomber prosecutor to investigate the matter.

Meanwhile, a couple of other names were added to the list of those involved in the gambling ring in some capacity, Mark Recchi and John LeClair, former Flyers players. Recchi and LeClair have denied the allegations and threatened to sue the TV station in Philly that leaked their names.

The most sensational part of this scandal is the potential involvement with organized crime. In the early 1990s, when Tochett was still with the Flyers, he was linked to a mobster named Joey Merlino who bet heavily on hockey games using information he obtained from Tocchet. Merlino was also linked to Eric Lindros at the time. The feds have not specified Merlino by name but do mention the link to Merlino’s organization.

Lots of rumors abound and one in particular is very damaging. While the Great One claims to have no knowledge of his wife’s gambling habits, rumor has it that she placed as much as $500,000 in bets. I know Gretzky is rich but 500 grand is alot of money to toss around. Gretzky said that he and his wife did not discuss her involvement and only talked about their concern for Tocchet. Yeah, I’m sure in discussing the biggest scandal to rock the NHL, her bets didn’t come up in the conversation.

We’ll keep you updated as we find out more but for now here are two commentaries you should read.

[James Mirtle]: The Rick Tocchet scandal: Day 3
[Tom Benjamin]: Ticky Tacky Tocchet