Nabby nixed? Capuano says if Poulin ‘plays well, he’s going to play more’


While he wouldn’t come out and say it, Islanders head coach Jack Capuano was none too pleased with Evgeni Nabokov’s performance in Tuesday’s 5-4 OT loss to Vancouver.

“I’m not going to talk about the goaltending,” Capuano told Newsday. “Their goals are tough to explain tonight. It’s not like there were a lot of breakdowns.

“We’ve got to move on.”

The Canucks loss was Nabokov’s second straight iffy outing. He wasn’t especially sharp in a 4-3 loss to Carolina on Saturday either, allowing four goals on 23 shots (though, to be fair, Nabokov appeared shaken up on a collision with defenseman Matt Carkner midway through the second, but stayed in the game.)

The Isles came into this season with a big question mark in goal. Nabokov was exposed during last year’s six-game loss to Pittsburgh in the opening playoff round and his backup, Kevin Poulin, entered this season with exactly 21 games of NHL experience.

But now it sounds like Poulin might be getting his big break.

The 23-year-old ‘tender will apparently get his big shot in the not-too-distant future, a real chance to play extended minutes for the first time in his career.

“If Poulin plays well, he’s going to play more,” Capuano said.

Poulin’s only appeared once this year — stopping 25 of 28 shots in a 3-2 loss to Chicago — but could be back in goal soon. The Isles play a Friday/Saturday back-to-back against Pittsburgh and Philly, then have a big home date against the Rangers, their in-state rivals, on Tuesday.

Cocaine in the NHL: A concern, but not a crisis?

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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 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.

Jason Demers tweets #FreeTorres, gets mocked

Los Angeles Kings v San Jose Sharks - Game One

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.