PHT’s Morning Skate takes a look around the world of hockey to see what’s happening and what we’ll be talking about around the NHL world and beyond.
The Phoenix Coyotes are out of the playoffs, but with Mike Smith locked up for the next season, it’s natural to wonder if they can actually be this competitive again. The Contrarian Goaltender has an interesting one-man point/counter-point on that subject. (Brodeur is a Fraud)
Wednesday was a big night for the New Jersey Devils’ fourth line, which naturally brings about generic quotes about that fourth line being “more than” a fourth line. (Fire & Ice)
The Sports Business Journal named the Boston Bruins the sports team of the year. (CSNNE.com)
Wayne Gretzky weighs in on the Los Angeles Kings’ 2012 playoff run, calling it “spectacular.” (Los Angeles Times)
Michael Russo wonders if Mikael Granlund has instantly become the Minnesota Wild’s top prospect. (Minnesota Star-Tribune)
A treat for Dino Ciccarelli and all the other Claude Lemieux fans out there, as the former villain/”clutch” hero sits down for a question and answer session. (New York Times)
Katie Carrera reviews the Washington Capitals’ defensemen. (Washington Post)
Kevin Kurz believes that the Los Angeles Kings’ playoff successes might alter the San Jose Sharks’ off-season plans. (CSNBayArea.com)
NHL.com takes a look at how Martin Brodeur survived (or at least the New Jersey Devils fought through) his “shaky” performance in Game 5. (NHL.com)
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.