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2011 All-Star Game tidbits: Plenty of first-timers, more snub talk, Weekes’ Carolina hot spots

Let’s take a look at a few of the stories regarding the 2011 NHL All-Star Game.

  • From Steven Stamkos to Marc-Andre Fleury and Dustin Bfyuglien, reports that 21 of the 42 players set to play in the exhibition will be making their first appearances in the event. It’s easy to critique the choices (more on that in a moment), but let’s not forget that this event is supposed to be a leisurely celebration of the sport more than anything else. Seeing players get their first chance to enjoy it is a nice treat.
  • Brendan Shanahan points out the fact that injuries will likely change the makeup of the roster anyway, but discussed the selection process made by Hockey Operations. Shanahan said that they decided the remaining 36 players (fans voted for the top six) based on a combination of their overall body of work and their play leading up to the process.
  • Philadelphia Daily Times Anthony SanFilippo provided quite the diatribe about the biggest snubs. While it seems like his anger is a little excessive – after all, this is a meaningless game, as he put it – there  were some ridiculous omissions. It’s tough to deny the fact that the teams will be missing the likes of Nicklas Backstrom, John-Michael Lilies, Ondrej Pavelec and other slightly lower profile but nonetheless high-end 2010-11 players were left on the sidelines while Patrik Elias managed to get a spot.
  • Finally, let’s take a breezy look at the top five places to visit in Raleigh, North Carolina via former Hurricanes goalie Kevin Weekes. If you didn’t take lunch yet, you’ll probably want to plan that out right about … now.

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.