Duncan Keith

Injured Keith to miss tomorrow’s game

Blackhawks defenseman Duncan Keith sat out practice today with a sore left hand and won’t play tomorrow in Florida.

Keith suffered the hand injury when blocking a shot midway through Monday’s 5-4 OT win over Nashville.

Coach Joel Quenneville told reporters today the injury wasn’t believed to be serious and that Keith could return “soon.”

In the meantime, it’s going to be a big challenge for the Blackhawks to replace the 25 to 28 minutes Keith typically plays each night. What’s more, they’re not used to being without their best defenseman, who hasn’t missed a game since 2008-09.

“When you’re missing a player like Duncan, it’s always a tough loss,” winger Marian Hossa told the Chicago Sun-Times. “He won the Norris Trophy. He’s the top defenseman on our team. Somebody else is going to have to step up, and somebody else will get more minutes.”

The Blackhawks have another game Friday in Tampa Bay, so they could very well be without Keith for at least the next two games.

Maybe now Steve Montador will get to play more than 15 minutes a night. Only paying the guy $2.75 million a year.

Cocaine in the NHL: A concern, but not a crisis?

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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.