The New Jersey Devils were well on their way to winning their first game since Ilya Kovalchuk’s “retirement” last night. They went into the third period with a 3-0 lead over Edmonton, but the Oilers rallied back with four goals over the span of just 7:47 minutes.
The only silver lining for New Jersey is that Patrik Elias netted a shorthanded goal while goaltender Martin Brodeur was pulled. That led to them getting a point in a 5-4 shootout defeat.
Still, that game has to be a tough pill to swallow and it makes them 0-1-2 this season. They came into 2013-14 with the goal of proving people wrong for predicting that they would struggle in their first season without Kovalchuk and so far they haven’t succeeded in that goal.
There’s still plenty of time left though and consequently Devils captain Bryce Salvador doesn’t want his team to put too much pressure on themselves too early.
“If, at this point you really start squeezing your stick… Obviously we want to win and we need points, but you can’t overdo the pressure on it,” Salvador said, according to the Star-Ledger.
Bad starts can snowball into bigger problems, but by the same token, it might just take one win for the Devils to find their groove. They will play the Vancouver Canucks tonight.
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.