When the Blues traded Eric Brewer to Tampa Bay at the deadline last season, it vacated the team’s captaincy. The Blues didn’t name an interim captain last year to play things out, but they’ll head into this season with a new leader who takes charge by force.
St. Louis named David Backes the 20th captain in team history and after his body of work with Team USA before and during the Olympics in 2010, he stands out as perhaps the best choice the Blues could’ve made. If you don’t remember, Backes went on a tear leading up to the Olympics getting rough with three different Team Canada members. Backes picking a fight with Corey Perry seemed logical enough but getting Rick Nash and Jonathan Toews to have a go earned him the nickname “Inglorious Backes.”
Was there really anyone else St. Louis could’ve gone with? No way.
The Blues also named four assistant captains in Barrett Jackman, Jamie Langenbrunner, Andy McDonald and Alex Steen. The choice of Langenbrunner might raise some eyebrows with fans from New Jersey as his team captaincy with the Devils was a point of contention. Jackman is the longest serving Blues player having been in St. Louis since his debut there in 2002.
McDonald and Steen have been two of the Blues better veteran players the last couple seasons. McDonald is a former Stanley Cup winner with the 2007 Ducks. McDonald is also the oldest of the Blues players returning from last season at 34 years-old.
With the veterans the Blues have added in Langenbrunner, Jason Arnott and Scott Nichol, many believe they’ll be contenders for a playoff spot this year as their younger players led by Backes as well as Steen, Patrik Berglund and T.J. Oshie should all be growing into even better players than they’ve shown already. With Backes setting the example for everyone, the Blues should be a much more difficult team to deal with night in and night out.
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.
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.