The Boston Bruins have been hit hard by injuries this season, but they got some positive news on that front yesterday, with one noteworthy exception.
Forward Brad Marchand was banged up enough after Saturday’s contest to justify him skipping yesterday’s practice, the team’s website reported.
The silver lining is that he was fine to travel to Nashville and might still play against the Predators tonight.
In the meantime, Daniel Paille (concussion) took Marchand’s place on a line with Patrice Bergeron and Reilly Smith during the Bruins’ practice. He resumed skating on Friday, but he won’t be available tonight.
Nor will Loui Eriksson, who is also sidelined with a concussion. Eriksson isn’t as far along in his recovery as Paille, but Julien noted that he’s been feeling better.
“(Eriksson) doesn’t mind being around right now and that’s a step in the right direction where, at one point he couldn’t tolerate too much noise or too much activity around him,” Julien said. “So it’s a step in the right direction here.”
One injured player that might be ready to rejoin the Bruins is defenseman Adam McQuaid. He’s been sidelined for nine straight contests with a re-aggravated lower-body injury, but Julien called him a “possibility” for tonight’s contest.
Boston has a three-point lead in the Atlantic Division race, but the Tampa Bay Lightning have been hot lately. With the Montreal Canadiens also within striking distance of the Bruins, Boston can’t afford to slow down in the second half of the 2013-14 campaign.
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.