Sidney Crosby

What they’re saying about the 2012-13 schedule


As you might imagine, the release of the 2012-13 schedule elicited a lot of reactions from the NHL community. Here’s a sampling of some of the immediate thoughts and facts brought up by hockey writers and staffers on Twitter following the unveiling.

Let’s start out with some good news for the Buffalo Sabres:

“Sabres will play a franchise-low 11 back-to-back sets next year after averaging 20 since 1970 and leading the league in 2010-11 and 2011-12.” — Buffalo Sabres PR staffer Ian Ott

Of course, not every team will be happy with the schedule and the Pittsburgh Penguins might end up feeling like they got a raw deal:

“Pens start season at home on Oct. 12 against the Islanders. Later in the month, they have a very bizarre 6-game road trip … Check out this road trip for Pens: at Ottawa, at Washington, at Columbus, at NJ, at Chicago, at Toronto. That makes a lot of sense … Pens play 12 of 14 games at home late in regular season. Very odd.” — Josh Yohe of the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review.

The Chicago Blackhawks schedule looks like a bit of a mixed bag. They do have several lengthy road trips ahead of them, as Chris Kuc of the Chicago Tribune pointed out. However, the news isn’t all bad:

“‪#Blackhawks‬’ seven-game homestand from Feb. 15-March 1 equals franchise-longs set in 1926-27, 1951-52 and 1969-70.” — Chris Kuc

The Florida Panthers will also enjoy a lengthy homestand:

“‪#FlaPanthers‬ tie a franchise record with a 7-game homestand, Feb. 24-Mar. 10” — Florida Panthers’ Official Twitter

Finally, here’s a few minor odds and ends:

“Winnipeg doesn’t make trip to ‪#mnwild‬ this season. So much for the momentum of a great rivalry started last year. Lost a sellout too.” — Michael Russo of the Minneapolis Star Tribune

“Good news for Sens fans: Of the 6 games vs. Toronto this year, only 2x is it the second of a back-to-back for Ottawa. Happened 6x last year.” — Sportsnet’s Ian Mendes

“Devils’ 2012-13 sked is opposite of 2011-12 in that almost all of out of conference travel is in 2nd half.” — Tom Gulitti of the Bergen Record.

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 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.