Mikhail Grigorenko

Top prospect Grigorenko is less top than he used to be


According to this National Post article, it should be extremely interesting to see where Russian prospect Mikhail Grigorenko goes in this summer’s draft.

Once in the discussion for first overall pick, Grigorenko has fallen in most draft rankings, and plummeted in others.

The negative opinion seems to stem from Grigorenko’s recent performance in the Quebec league playoffs, where the Remparts blew a 3-0 series lead to the Halifax Mooseheads in the second round. Grigorenko finished the post-season with three goals and 10 points in 11 games, but some expressed disappointment in his effort level. He had a goal and an assist and was minus-5 in the final four games of the series.

There’s also concern Grigorenko could thumb his nose at the NHL and return to Russia to play in the KHL.

Of course, players have slipped in the rankings before and turned out just fine. Last year, Sean Couturier fell to sixth. In 2010, Cam Fowler dropped to No. 12. Safe to say the Flyers and Ducks were glad they did.

Perhaps an unsuspecting team will luck into Grigorenko.

Unless he’s a bust, in which case he’s been drafted by Minnesota.

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 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.