Jim Rutherford

‘Canes facing huge potential fines over arena scheduling conflict


The Carolina Hurricanes could be fined hundreds of thousands of dollars by the NHL because of a scheduling conflict at PNC Arena, president and GM Jim Rutherford told the Charlotte Observer.

The issues stems from a dispute between Gale Force Holdings — which owns the ‘Canes and operates the arena — and North Carolina State University, which will likely not meet a June 1 deadline to free up dates for hockey games.

“We do not have the dates,” Rutheford told the Observer on Friday. “We have to have the dates (to the NHL) by June 1 or we will be fined for each date that we later change.”

The Observer reports the NHL could fine the ‘Canes as much as $100,000 for each date that must be changed. The NHL is set to release its 2013-14 schedule in early July.

Here’s more:

Under its agreement with Gale Force and the Centennial Authority, which oversees the arena, N.C. State has priority on scheduling dates in the arena. The Wolfpack plays its men’s basketball games in the arena, and football games at Carter-Finley Stadium necessitate the use of the shared parking lots.

Rutherford, in a May 14 letter to authority chairman Thomas McCormick, said the university was holding out 129 dates in a 214-day span for 23 basketball and football games. He said the “new restrictions that N.C. State is attempting to impose” severely limits Gale Force’s ability to book events.

Tensions between the two parties have increased over the last few months. Rutherford wrote N.C. State athletic director Debbie Yow a letter saying the University’s actions could affect “the viability of hockey in this market.”

N.C. State contends that it has made “significant concessions” to Gale Force already, and making more would put its athletic program at a competitive disadvantage.

Rutherford has recently met with N.C. State chancellor Randy Woodson to try and resolve the issue, and said it was a “very good meeting.”

“We’re hoping to reach a reasonable understanding,” he added.

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

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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.

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.