As that whole thing with Alex Rodriguez continues to drag on in the world of baseball, Blackhawks captain Jonathan Toews took to the airwaves today on Sportsnet 590 and spoke candidly about performance-enhancing drugs in the NHL.
Does Toews think there’s a PED problem in hockey?
“I think it would be naive to say that there’s no one in the NHL that is trying to get the edge in that fashion,” said Toews, per TheScore.com. “But at the end of the day whether you get caught now or not, down the road at some point those sort of things come out as we’ve seen in Major League Baseball and cycling.
“Eventually… someone is going to save their own butt and throw you under the bus. And that’s your legacy. That’s what people remember: that you’re a cheater and you took performance enhancing drugs.
“I think guys that apologize and plead that they didn’t know what they were doing, I think they know exactly what they’re doing. So the more tests the better. It protects the guys that are being fair and are putting good things into their body. So I have no problem with (more testing).”
Per the summary of the new CBA, here’s how the NHL tests players for PEDs:
Drug testing in Training Camp (beginning in 2013/14 season), once during the Regular Season as part of “team testing,” and additional random, no-notice testing on individual Players:
a) throughout the Regular Season,
b) during the Playoffs, and
c) during the off-season (no more than 60 tests per off-season and subject to NHL/NHLPA agreement on logistics and off-season testing protocols).
But despite the “enhanced drug testing policies and protocols,” there remain those who think the NHL has its head in the sand when it comes to PEDs, and that scandals are only a matter of time.
The Florida Panthers have had no problem giving Roberto Luongo the odd night off this season. That’s because Al Montoya has been one of the best backups in the league.
Montoya (8-2-1, .931) will get the call tonight in Detroit, with Luongo (23-13-5, .930) expected to start tomorrow in Buffalo.
The Panthers have the highest team save percentage in the NHL, at .926 (which includes empty-net goals).
“They both give us a chance to win every night,” Panthers d-man Brian Campbell told the Miami Herald recently. “Both make huge saves for us at times. You need consistent saves every night and they both bring it. Montoya gets put into a tough spot a lot of times and nothing seems to change.”
Not good news for the St. Louis Blues — the club announced this morning that defenseman Alex Pietrangelo has been placed on injured reserve with a right-knee injury. He’ll be re-evaluated in three weeks.
Pietrangelo suffered the injury Saturday in a knee-on-knee collision with Minnesota’s Charlie Coyle.
Based on the timeline provided, the Blues will be without their leader in average ice time (26:40) until at least the end of the month. St. Louis plays 10 times between now and Feb. 29, which also happens to be the trade deadline.
The big question, of course, is whether Pietrangelo will be ready to go upon re-evaluation.
The first day of the playoffs is April 13.
Related: Armstrong wants Blues to get healthy before any trades are made
Alain Vigneault took another shot at the NHL’s Department of Player Safety today.
This time, the Rangers head coach was upset about the lack of supplementary discipline for Philadelphia’s Wayne Simmonds in the wake of Saturday’s altercation with New York captain Ryan McDonagh.
“An All-Star player gets sucker-punched, goes down,” Vigneault said, per The Record. “I wonder if that’s (Sidney) Crosby, what happens? What are the consequences? And, on top of that, a player breaks his stick, throws it at the referees. In the rulebook, that’s automatic. It’s three games. Nothing happens. It’s not even on the sheet after the game.”
Simmonds’ punch left McDonagh concussed and unable to play tonight versus New Jersey, with no timetable for his return.
Earlier this season, Vigneault voiced his frustration with the league after Rangers center Derek Stepan suffered broken ribs in Boston on a hit from Bruins forward Matt Beleskey.
Vigneault felt the hit was late.
“I remember Aaron Rome in this building, .6 seconds late, getting suspended four games in the Stanley Cup Final,” the former Vancouver Canucks coach said, recalling the contentious 2011 final.
Beleskey was not suspended.
Penguins center Sidney Crosby, Senators defenseman Erik Karlsson, and Panthers center Vincent Trocheck have been named the NHL’s three stars for the past week.
From the NHL:
Crosby led the League in goals and points (5-3-8) in three games as the Penguins (26-18-7, 59 points) earned four of a possible six points to secure the second Wild Card position in the Eastern Conference.
Karlsson led the League in assists and ranked second in points (0-7-7) in three games as the Senators (24-23-6, 54 points) won one of three starts for the week.
Trocheck notched six points (3-3—6) in three games, helping the Panthers (31-15-6, 68 points) widen their lead atop the Atlantic Division to six points.
Related: Red-hot Crosby could make Pens a flawed (but dangerous) dark horse