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Rivalry Night on NBCSN: Reacquired Gagne looks to lead Flyers past Capitals


Throughout the season, NBCSN will feature the NHL’s fiercest rivalries on Wednesday nights. Tonight the Washington Capitals will head to the Wells Fargo Center for a match against the Philadelphia Flyers at 7:30 p.m. ET.

After a devastating 4-2 loss to the Toronto Maple Leafs on Monday, Flyers GM Paul Holmgren made his first effort of the season to try and right the ship by acquiring a familiar face in Simon Gagne from the Los Angeles Kings.

“It’s going to be a special game,” Gagne said of tonight’s contest in a Philadelphia Inquirer report, “but I’ll try to take all that emotion and try to bring that energy to the game.”

For Gagne, this will be the start of a quest for redemption. Mere months after helping the Kings win the Stanley Cup, Gagne found himself being pushed out of the Kings’ lineup. Now that he’s got a chance to fill a hole on a battered squad, Philadelphia can only hope that he helps propel them out of mediocrity.

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The Washington Capitals won’t get any major reinforcements for this game, but lately they’ve gotten something better: Alex Ovechkin playing like Alex Ovechkin.

The superstar forward hasn’t lived up to expectations in recent years, but he has broken out lately with six goals and 12 points in his last 10 games. His efforts have helped the Capitals win five of their last seven games as Washington tries to dig itself out of a rather sizable hole.

Both teams desperately need points as they try and overcome their early season slumps. That should make for a heated contest.

Probable goaltenders: WAS – Braden Holtby (6-6-0, 3.07 GAA, .905 SV%) | PHI – Ilya Bryzgalov (9-9-1, 2.79 GAA, .900 SV%)

Top scorers: WAS – Mike Ribeiro (6-16-22, 18 GP) | PHI – Jakub Voracek (8-16-24, 21 GP)

Notable Injuries:
Washington – Forwards: Marcus Johansson (upper body), Brooks Laich (groin) Defensemen: Jack Hillen (shoulder)
Philadelphia – Forwards: Tye McGinn (eye), Matt Read (ribs), Jody Shelley (hip) Defensemen: Andrej Meszaros (shoulder), Marc-Andre Bourdon (concussion), Chris Pronger (concussion) Defensemen: Goaltenders: Michael Leighton (finger)


NHL on NBCSN: Kings, Red Wings look to stay hot

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.