Minnesota Wild defenseman Ryan Suter shrugged off his first game against the Nashville Predators on Jan. 22, 2013.
“It wasn’t that big of a deal,” Suter said at the time. “Obviously the media makes it more than it is.”
He might not think it’s a big deal to play against the team he spent the first seven seasons of his career with, but that contest was in Minnesota. It will be another story entirely when he actually has to play in Nashville on Saturday and face an arena full of the Predators’ fans for the first time.
“Have I ever had anything like what’s going to probably happen? Probably not,” Suter told The Tennessean. “It’s going to (stink), and I wish the fans knew … well, I know they know how much I enjoyed my time there.
“But it’s just part of the business. I mean, you have to make decisions for yourself and for your family.”
Suter signed a 13-year, $98 million deal with Minnesota over the summer, a move Predators GM David Poile “will never, ever understand.” Suter admitted that he cried when he told Poile that he was leaving.
“He drafted me, he was my GM, he was all I knew,” Suter said. “In the NHL he gave me all the opportunities. Through the highs and lows, he stuck with me, and I felt like I was letting him down.”
Suter will have to work through the booing for the Wild’s sake. Minnesota and Nashville both need every point they can get right now as they try to claw their way into the playoffs.
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.