The Vancouver Canucks went to Southern California this weekend, and all they got was one lousy point.
And frankly, they were lucky to get it.
On Saturday, the Canucks were outshot 49-28 in Los Angeles and fell 3-1 to the Kings. The next night, in Anaheim, they were outshot 49-20 and lost 4-3 in overtime to the Ducks.
If not for the performances of their goalies — Roberto Luongo in L.A.; Eddie Lack in Anaheim — the scorelines could’ve been a lot worse.
“We have lost ourselves a little bit,” said coach John Tortorella. “You know, we’re a little bit beat up. I never want to use it as an excuse; we’re a little bit beat up. I think we’re playing against a different level of team, especially the past couple of nights. But we have some work to do.”
Now winless in four, the Canucks played without a number of injured veterans versus the Ducks, including Alex Burrows and Alex Edler — both of whom have been out a while — and Chris Higgins, who reportedly missed the game with the flu. Then, to make matters worse, Zack Kassian took a skate to the face early in the second period and never returned.
But things aren’t about to get any easier. On Tuesday, Pittsburgh’s in town. Friday, it’s St. Louis. And then it’s off to SoCal once again to play the Kings and Ducks, followed by a trip to Phoenix.
Which is to say, if the Canucks don’t find themselves soon, they could be right back on the outside looking in when it comes to playoff positioning in the Western Conference.
Related: Luongo’s issue might be worse than day-to-day
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.