When Stephen Weiss signed a five-year, $24.5 million contract to join the Detroit Red Wings, he probably knew things would be different than he’d become used to as a longtime member of the Florida Panthers.
Not that playing for his previous team was some sort of high-paid vacation, but winning a Stanley Cup with the Panthers was never a realistic goal while he was there. The fact Florida missed the playoffs in all but one of Weiss’s 11 seasons with the club was proof of that.
In Detroit, expectations are a tad higher.
“We explained the situation to him very clearly,” Wings head coach Mike Babcock said Tuesday, per MLive.com. “Told him if he wasn’t ultra-competitive he couldn’t come here. If he didn’t bring it every day he couldn’t come here, because he was going to hate it if he didn’t, dislike the coach and dislike playing here.
“It’s real straightforward. If you don’t do it right, you’re not happy here.”
Ideally, the addition of Weiss will allow Babcock to play superstars Pavel Datsyuk and Henrik Zetterberg together on the team’s top line, with Weiss holding down the No. 2 center spot.
While Babcock would like to see his new center tally in the neighborhood of 50 points, the coach will also be demanding a solid 200-foot game out of the 30-year-old.
“We think he has lots of skill set,” said Babcock. “He’s got to bring it every day. You got to play without the puck here. Simple.”
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.