Quick turnaround should help Halak

Halak4.jpgAs we gear up in the final minutes before tonight’s game between the
Penguins and Canadiens, Jaroslav Halak’s incredible performance against
the Capitals is still fresh in all of our minds.With two series in the
first round going to a Game 7, there’s been a fast turnaround to the
next round as the Habs will be playing just two days after eliminating
the Capitals.

It seems that the quick transition would be good
for Halak, as there’s not exactly an abnormal delay between games for
him. Goaltenders get into zones and there’s no doubting that Halak found
himself in one this past week, With just one day off between games, he
gets a rest without the pressure of trying to stay focused across a
number of days; he just keeps on keeping on with what’s been working,
taking the ice once again with his team on his back.

Of course,
the Penguins are expecting for Halak to crack at some point. After all,
this level of play is unsustainable Penguins goaltender coach Gilles
Meloche tells
Chris Stevenson:

“Could be those three games, could be longer,” Meloche told the
Post-Gazette. “I don’t believe you can keep that up for a period of 10,
15, 20 games — not if you keep giving up the kind of chances they gave
up (against Washington).”

You have to wonder if motivation will be a factor for Halak. While
the motivation to win will always be there, this is a goaltender who was
basically laughed at by the Capitals (and the hockey community) after
games 2 and 3. He turned the series into a personal assault on Ovechkin
and this Capitals, playing with an incredible heavy chip on his shoulder
as he set out to prove everyone wrong.

Well, he’s done that much. Now he has to find a way to keep at the
level he was at just days later.

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 ESPN.com 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.