halak elliott

Move over, Glen Hall and Jacques Plante…Brian Elliott and Jaroslav Halak are here


The day after snapping St. Louis’ franchise shutout record — you know, the one set by Hall of Famers Glen Hall and Jacques Plante in 1968-69 — Blues goalie Brian Elliott was still trying to process exactly what he and Jaroslav Halak had done.

“Obviously with the names that are there it’s pretty cool,” Elliott told the News-Democrat after recording St. Louis’ 14th shutout of the year. “You walk in the practice rink and you see the pictures up there with a couple guys in the Hall of Fame. It’s something to be proud of, but it’s not really what you play the game for.

“You play to win — and you play it as a team.”

Selflessness aside, Elliott has to be stoked about snapping a record held by two of the greatest goalies in NHL history. He now has eight shutouts on the year and a current shutout streak of 127 minutes, 45 seconds. Not bad for a guy that was almost out of the league this summer before signing a one-year, two-way deal worth $600,000.

Halak, meanwhile, has contributed six shutouts this season and, with 13 since joining the Blues, he is three behind Hall’s franchise record of 16. Not bad for a guy that was terrible to start the year and seemed to clash with former coach Davis Payne.

The fact that Elliott and Halak have replaced Hall and Plante in the record books is stunning — especially to Blues goalie coach Corey Hirsch.

“It’s crazy, you know,” he said. “Never in our wildest dreams did we think it would go like this. We were hoping for a good year out of our goalies, but they’ve been phenomenal. Sometimes the hockey gods throw you a good one. They gave us Elliott and he’s been outstanding, and we’ve known Jaro’s been good all along. He’s taken his game to another level, too.”

But for all this whimsical feel-good stuff, things will get uncomfortable soon. Blues head coach Ken Hitchcock knows he has to make a decision on a playoff starter, something he thought would’ve played itself out already.

“I expected a month ago that this thing would kind of air itself out and we’d figure out something, but it’s not,” Hitchcock said. “I don’t want to say it’s more complicated, it’s a good complication. But they’re making it hard on me because both guys are playing so good.”

For what it’s worth, the Blues went to the Stanley Cup finals twice with the Hall/Plante duo. In 1968-69 Plante played the majority (10 games to Hall’s three), then the two split evenly in 1969-70 (Hall played seven, Plante played six and Ernie Wakely played four.)

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.