Vancouver Canucks captain Henrik Sedin has confirmed reports that he won’t be representing Sweden at the 2014 Winter Olympics in Sochi.
Sedin, who was set to serve as one of Sweden’s alternate captains, informed Sportnet’s Dan Murphy of the decision on Thursday. The news came just hours after Vancouver announced it was shutting Sedin down for the final two games prior to the Olympic break, an announcement that included John Tortorella saying he didn’t want his captain playing in Sochi.
To say Sedin has been ineffective lately would be putting it mildly. He’s gone pointless in back-to-back losses to Detroit and Boston — Vancouver only managed to score once in the two games — and hasn’t been able to take faceoffs, attempting just four against the Wings and one against the Bruins.
Prior to the Detroit game, Sedin had missed six in a row with a rib ailment.
The news is a big blow to both player and country, as Sedin has a long history of competing for Sweden internationally. He was part of the gold medal-winning side at the 2006 games in Turin, played again at the ’10 games in Vancouver and won gold at the 2013 World Hockey Championships.
Sedin is tied with his brother (and fellow Swedish Olympian) Daniel for the Canucks’ scoring lead this season, with 40 points. Henrik’s 31 assists put him t-19th in the NHL and fourth among all Swedish skaters.
Reports suggest that Calgary’s Mikael Backlund could be in line as a replacement. The Swedes has already had to deal with an injury replacement issue, as Gustav Nyquist was called into the side to take the spot of Johan Franzen (currently sidelined with a concussion) and Backlund would be something of a surprise.
Based on an earlier report from IIHF scribe Risto Pakarainen, Sweden’s list of replacement forwards included Nashville’s Patric Hornqvist and Washington’s Marcus Johansson.
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.