Winnipeg Jets coach Claude Noel might be a bit biased, but he believes his team can be a playoff team in the Eastern Conference.
With the Jets’ season opening on Sunday afternoon against the Montreal Canadiens, Noel is taking front and center in Winnipeg discussing the team, the situation, and the mad house that Winnipeg is leading up to the reintroduction of the NHL in the city. Noel says that while he’s enjoying every bit of the moment, he believes that the Jets can make the postseason.
We know that a coach has to be positive about everything going into the year, but if you took the title away from Noel and had him look at things as a casual observer (you know, like us) he’d see there’s not a lot to be hopeful of in Winnipeg. Ondrej Pavelec will need to play out of his mind in goal, Mark Scheifele is going to need to be a Calder Trophy finalist, and Dustin Byfuglien will need to have another 20-goal season from the blue line to make the Jets even be a threat for the playoffs.
Noel has to go into the season feeling positive and Winnipeg is going to love this team win or lose this season, but with how teams have toughened up in the East and the moves other teams have made, Winnipeg being last year’s Thrashers in new clothing doesn’t change the fact they’re going to have a hard time winning games.
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.