The Philadelphia Flyers appeared on two NBC games this weekend and left without a single standings point. The Buffalo Sabres bested them on Sunday, managing a 5-2 win that was closer than the score indicates.
Let’s get to the talking points.
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- Thomas Vanek came up huge in the game, scoring a career-high five points. Can the highly paid sniper be a consistent threat for a Buffalo team in need of elite production?
- The Philadelphia Flyers have allowed four power-play goals in two games, including three on Sunday. What does Peter Laviolette need to do to improve the PK?
- The general consensus is that Ilya Bryzgalov hasn’t been to blame for this weekend’s two losses. Still, do you worry that the tiger-fearing netminder’s confidence might wane?
- This was the first bout between a team that was well-rested (Buffalo) and the team on the heels of a back-to-back (Philly). How much of a factor was fatigue and how often could that be a make-or-break element during the season.
- How many losses will it take for things to start going sour for the Flyers?
- What do you think of the more rough-and-tumble Sabres, such as Steve Ott (who scored on the PP)?
- Mikhail Grigorenko had a quiet debut for Buffalo. Should he ultimately stay with the big club?
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.