Colorado Avalanche v Toronto Maple Leafs

Gardiner could provide differing opinions in Leafs organization


Could Toronto Maple Leafs defenseman Jake Gardiner be causing internal disagreement between general manager Dave Nonis and head coach Randy Carlyle?

From Steve Simmons of the Toronto Sun (Read the full article here):

The talented but erratic Gardiner would represent a challenge for any coach. But for a coach who demands specifics as much as Carlyle does, this almost seems like a relationship doomed to fail.

This is where Nonis fits in. He has the patience of Job. He’s not willing to make a determination of Gardiner, either way, this early.

He believes too many teams have made mistakes determining the fate of young defencemen, way too soon. It’s his inclination to allow Gardiner to develop at whatever speed is necessary. Carlyle, who hasn’t said as much, can’t possibly agree.

In 25 games this season, the 23-year-old blue liner has six assists and points.

His 2013-14 campaign hasn’t gone according to plan, as he’s endured his share of on-ice struggles. (Although he started alongside Dion Phaneuf against the Montreal Canadiens tonight with Cody Franson scratched after appearing to suffer an injury during warm-up, as per Jonas Siegel of TSN 1050.)

Carlyle wasn’t too impressed with Gardiner’s training camp, and the defenseman hasn’t escaped trade speculation that began almost as soon as the season started.

Earlier this week, he was a healthy scratch when the Leafs played the Pittsburgh Penguins.

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.