So far, every playoff night holds its own trend

kingstrends.jpgIs it me, or are quite a few of these playoff nights fitting together into neat little themes? Seriously, it’s kind of spooky that each night of the playoffs almost follow some pre-ordained script. Take a look.

Wednesday, Day 1: Upsets

On the first day of the playoffs, it was all about underdogs. You can argue about the higher-seed Phoenix Coyotes’ status as favorites, but few picked the Senators or Canadiens to do much damage.

Thursday, Day 2: Goalies

The next day still kept some of the upset spirit alive, but it was more about the goalies than anything else. Only Roberto Luongo put up less than 30 saves (25), but every other netminder had a good-to-amazing night on Thursday. But – as the days went on – that trend would clearly go out the window.

Friday, Day 3: Evening the score – but not doing it easily

Aside from Nashville – Chicago (which doesn’t count because it was only on Game 1), every other game seemed to have the air of favorites forcing reality to set in despite the difficulty of the task. Regardless of whether or not empty net goals made the games seem more lopsided, none of the Red Wings, Devils, Penguins or Sharks had an easy time dispatching their foes … but all four teams evened their series at 1-1.

Saturday, Day 4: No lead is safe (and a two goal lead is the worst in hockey?)

Yesterday might take the cake (the crazy cake that is). First, the Boston Bruins defied the odds against Buffalo, coming back from a 2-0 deficit to win 5-3. Next, the Washington Capitals won a purely insane game with the Montreal Canadiens, coming back multiple times (first 2-0, then 4-1, then 5-4) to take an outrageous win in OT. Finally, the Los Angeles Kings also came back from a 2-0 disadvantage to beat the Vancouver Canucks 3-2 in OT.

It’s funny, NHL ’08 would always call a two-goal lead “the worst lead in hockey”; it was something my friends and I would joke about constantly (and obnoxiously). Saturday proved that there might be some logic to that concept.

So, my question to the hockey universe is simple: what’s Sunday’s theme? Will today be a “day of rest” for all these night-wide trends? Hopefully this trend of awesome games will continue though, because if that trend holds true, we might see the most exciting tournament in any of our memories.

Cocaine in the NHL: A concern, but not a crisis?

Montreal Canadiens v Minnesota Wild
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Does the NHL have a cocaine problem?

TSN caught up with deputy commissioner Bill Daly, who provided some fascinating insight:

“The number of [cocaine] positives are more than they were in previous years and they’re going up,” Daly said. “I wouldn’t say it’s a crisis in any sense. What I’d say is drugs like cocaine are cyclical and you’ve hit a cycle where it’s an ‘in’ drug again.”


Daly said that he’d be surprised  “if we’re talking more than 20 guys” and then touched on something that may be a problem: they don’t test it in a “comprehensive way.”

As Katie Strang’s essential ESPN article about the Los Angeles Kings’ tough season explored in June, there are some challenges for testing for a drug like cocaine. That said, there are also some limitations that may raise some eyebrows.

For one, it metabolizes quickly. Michael McCabe, a Philadelphia-based toxicology expert who works for Robson Forensic, told that, generally speaking, cocaine filters out of the system in two to four days, making it relatively easy to avoid a flag in standard urine tests.

The NHL-NHLPA’s joint drug-testing program is not specifically designed to target recreational drugs such as cocaine or marijuana. The Performance Enhancing Substances Program is put into place to do exactly that — screen for performance-enhancing drugs.

So, are “party drugs” like cocaine and molly an issue for the NHL?

At the moment, the answer almost seems to be: “the league hopes not.”

Daly goes into plenty of detail on the issue, so read the full TSN article for more.

Jason Demers tweets #FreeTorres, gets mocked

Los Angeles Kings v San Jose Sharks - Game One

Following his stunning 41-game suspension, it looks like Raffi Torres has at least one former teammate in his corner.

We haven’t yet seen how the San Jose Sharks or the NHLPA are reacting to the league’s hammer-dropping decision to punish Torres for his Torres-like hit on Jakob Silfverberg, but Jason Demers decided to put in a good word for Torres tonight.

It was a simple message: “#FreeTorres.”

Demers, now of the Dallas Stars, was once with Torres and the Sharks. (In case this post’s main image didn’t make that clear enough already.)

Perhaps this will become “a thing” at some point.

So far, it seems like it’s instead “a thing (that people are making fun of).”

… You get the idea.

The bottom line is that there are some who either a) blindly support Torres because they’re Sharks fans or b) simply think that the punishment was excessive.

The most important statement came from the Department of Player Safety, though.