The Chicago Blackhawks’ 6-1-2 record seems reasonable enough, but they’re not dominating teams like they did before. Still, head coach Joel Quenneville said “we’re not complaining” to reports such as the Chicago Sun-Times’ Mark Lazerus.
He might not be complaining, but considering Chicago’s recent struggles with scoring and holding onto leads, is Quenneville worried? It doesn’t seem that way.
“I don’t think we’re playing any different than we did in the first two periods, [it’s] not like we’re sitting on leads,” Quenneville said. “I’m not worried about our offense, because I know it’s there.”
Even so, Lazerus reports that both Jonathan Toews and Patrick Sharp referred to blowing late leads as a “bad habit.”
Here’s a quick breakdown of recent games, including Tuesday’s 3-2 shootout win against the Florida Panthers:
Today: Chicago went up 2-0 in the second period, gave up two goals in the third period.
Saturday: run-of-the-mill 3-1 win against Toronto.
Oct. 17: Gave up 1-0 and 2-1 leads against St. Louis, lost 3-2 in a shootout.
Oct. 15: Built 2-0 lead midway through first period vs. Carolina, gave up two third period goals, won 3-2 via a shootout.
Oct. 12: Won 2-1 against Buffalo after going up 2-0.
Oct. 11: Built 2-0 lead, allowed Islanders two goals in the last minute of the first period, eventually won 3-2 after a second period goal.
So … yeah, there’s a trend, although that trend also involves the Blackhawks getting one or two points in every game, aside from Oct. 9’s 3-2 loss to the St. Louis Blues.
Chicago has room to improvement, yet the Blackhawks are doing just fine. That’s not such a bad way to start a title defense – success mixed with a healthy amount of fear – right?
Unless they’re just getting lucky and will start losing. That wouldn’t be good.
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.