The Dallas Stars went from a team that was light on centers to one with three new options in that spot on Thursday.
First, they acquired Tyler Seguin and Rich Peverley via a blockbuster trade with the Boston Bruins. That wasn’t GM Jim Nill’s only big swap of the day, as he’s reportedly on the verge of landing Edmonton Oilers center Shawn Horcoff, according to TSN’s Bob McKenzie and Darren Dreger.
Update: the Oilers received defenseman Philip Larsen and the Stars’ seventh-round pick in 2016, Sportsnet’s Nick Kypreos reports.
One could also argue that Horcoff, 34, replaces much of what was lost when the Stars traded their former captain Brenden Morrow. Both are well-respected, blood-and-guts (former) captains whose contracts draw criticism.* Each player wears No. 10, as well.
Horcoff carries a $5.5 million cap hit through 2014-15. If the Stars have any concerns about hitting the cap floor, his deal could be a benefit, though; his salary is lower than his cap hit in the two final seasons ($4 million in 2013-14 and $3 million in 2014-15).
From the Oilers’ perspective, one could say that the team completed the transition from being Horcoff’s team to budding stars such as Taylor Hall taking over.
In more direct terms, Edmonton dumps some salary and possibly bolsters its shaky defense by adding Larsen, who has 95 NHL games of experience at 23.
* Or drew criticism, in the case of impending free agent Morrow.
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.