Top European prospect Barkov highlights Finland’s junior camp roster

Team Finland has announced the group of players looking to win a World Junior medal for the first time in six years.

On Monday, the Finns — who haven’t finished in the top three since winning bronze in 2006 — released their camp roster for the 2013 tournament, which will be played in Ufa, Russia on Dec. 26.

The invitee likely to get the most buzz is Aleksander Barkov, considered by many to be the No. 1 European prospect for the 2013 NHL Entry Draft.

Barkov, 17, currently plays in the Finnish league with Tappara and leads the team in scoring with 28 points in 28 games.

“He’s big, strong and a hard worker in all areas of the ice,” Director of European Scouting Goran Stubb told “He’s a sniper who can also set up scoring chances for teammates. He’s a two-way center with a good understanding of his defensive duties, stickhandles well in tight situations, and always seems to come out as a winner.

“He’ll probably go among the top three at the draft.”

Barkov is expected to star for Finland like he did at the U-20 Four Nations Tournament in November. He posted three assists in three games, winning 59 percent of his faceoffs and being on the ice for eight of his team’s nine goals as Finland captured silver.

That said, Barkov will not be alone in trying to snap Finland’s medal drought — he’ll be aided by a trio of recent first-round picks:

— Joel Armia, taken 16th overall by Buffalo in 2011

— Teuvo Teravainen, taken 18th overall by Chicago in 2012

— Olli Maatta, taken 22nd overall by Pittsburgh in 2012

For the full Team Finland roster, click here.


Nugent-Hopkins, MacKinnon notable Team Canada junior camp invitees

Caps’ Forsberg, Ducks’ Lindholm highlight Sweden’s 2013 World Junior camp roster

Cocaine in the NHL: A concern, but not a crisis?

Montreal Canadiens v Minnesota Wild

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.