Montreal Canadiens v Washington Capitals - Game Five

Alex Ovechkin doesn’t seem happy with Bruce Boudreau’s comments


It’s not often that an undefeated team faces as much heat as the Washington Capitals are dealing with, but their sloppy win against the Tampa Bay Lightning raised red flags. Alex Ovechkin’s struggles weren’t lost on Bruce Boudreau, who said the star winger “has a long way to go.”

Judging by his comments to’s Chuck Gormley, Ovechkin wasn’t exactly chomping at the bit to respond to his coach’s criticisms.

“I think everybody can be better,” Ovechkin said. “I think that has to be between me and him and I don’t want to comment on it.”

Boudreau isn’t exactly going the low-risk route during a season of intense scrutiny. He showed the courage to ruffle his best player’s feathers and made the gut decision to start Michal Neuvirth instead of Tomas Vokoun in the season opener. Those aren’t exactly easy situations to deal with, but Boudreau’s doing his best to show that his stars won’t live in a bubble this season, which seemed to be one of the main points of Matt Bradley’s summer critique.

To some, that might be a sign of a bench boss on the verge of a panic attack. Here’s the rub with that line of criticism, though: Boudreau made the right choice in both cases.

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.