Yesterday, all signs pointed to Mike Cammalleri returning from an eight-game absence due to a concussion — but today, the Flames reversed course and said Cammalleri wouldn’t play tonight when they host San Jose at the Saddledome.
The circumstances around this decision are curious. Flames head coach Bob Hartley said he felt giving Cammalleri two extra days rest would be beneficial, suggesting the 31-year-old vet would return Saturday against Minnesota.
But according to the Calgary Sun, Cammalleri didn’t suffer a setback and went for a lengthy skate on Thursday — leading many to speculate he’s healthy, and being protected for a potential trade in the near future.
Cammalleri trade rumors are nothing new. He’s a pending UFA that’s highly unlikely to stick in Calgary, given 1) the club is in the midst of a rebuild, and 2) the club’s history for trading away veteran assets at the deadline, like it did last year with Jay Bouwmeester, Jarome Iginla and Blake Comeau.
Cammalleri could be a major get for a team looking for offense come Mar. 5. He’s a two-time 30-goal scorer that has found the back of the net — with consistency — in every one of his NHL stops: Los Angeles, Montreal and Calgary.
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.