Today would normally be a festive day for Eric Staal – he turned 28 – but he told Chip Alexander of the Charlotte News & Observer that the lockout killed much of the fun.
“There’s a lot of frustration built up for me, personally,” Staal said.
” … It’s hard to figure out, because it just doesn’t seem like there’s a care for the game. There is from us (players) and from our fans. But on the other side, it doesn’t seem like it has anything to do with it. That’s difficult for us but probably a reality.”
The Staal family just missed out on what would have been a memorable game last Friday, as Eric and Jordan Staal were scheduled to lead the Carolina Hurricanes against Marc Staal and the New York Rangers.
Instead, Jordan played in a charity exhibition game.
Alexander points out that Eric would lose $8.5 million if this season is totally wiped out, but the Hurricanes captain seems just as worried about missing out on a prime year with a revamped roster.
” … It’s years that are important to me and important to our team here,” Staal said. “We’ve got a good group of guys at ages where we should be competing with the elite teams. And now we’re not competing because of a labor dispute. It’s frustrating.”
Also frustrating: skipping a tradition where he often eats a “celebratory cupcake” on a team flight (basically a frosting lockout).
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.