Alexander Steen

Steen, Crosby, and Niemi are NHL’s three stars for October


Blues winger Alexander Steen, Penguins center Sidney Crosby and Sharks goalie Antti Niemi are the NHL’s three stars for the month of October.

The league announced the winners today.

Steen led all players with 11 goals, scoring in nine of 10 games and on 35.5% of his shots on goal, to help the Blues pick up 16 out of a possible 20 points (7-1-2).

Crosby paced the NHL with 21 points (8-13—21) in 13 games to lead the Penguins to first place in the Metropolitan Division (9-4-0, 18 points).

Niemi posted a 9-1-2 record with a 1.72 goals-against average, .924 save percentage and two shutouts in helping the Sharks earn a League-best 22 points (10-1-2).

Steen’s performance in October is especially notable given the 29-year-old is a pending unrestricted free agent. Certainly nobody can expect him to keep scoring on a third of his shots, but it’s a safe bet his cap hit will be going up from its current $3.4 million.

From the CBC’s Elliotte Friedman:

The Blues did talk to [Steen about a contract] last summer, but he chose to wait and concentrate on the season.

PHT Morning Skate: 10 years of Ovechkin; 10,000 days with Lamoriello

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PHT’s Morning Skate takes a look around the world of hockey to see what’s happening and what we’ll be talking about around the NHL world and beyond.

Looking back at 10 years of Alex Ovechkin with the Washington Capitals, in case the above video made you want more. (CSN Mid-Atlantic)

David Conte spent 10,000 days with Lou Lamoriello and lived to tell about it. (TSN)

Want to spot some contract year guys? Here are 32 pending restricted free agents. (Sportsnet)

NHL GMs are starting to sniff around with the 2015-16 season about to kick off. (Ottawa Sun)

Some backstory on Zack Kassian that was passed around on Twitter last evening. (Canucks website)

Hey, you can’t say Raffi Torres hasn’t literally paid for his ways:

This is some quality chirping between Jaromir Jagr and Matthew Barnaby:

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

Montreal Canadiens v Minnesota Wild

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.