Montreal Canadiens v Toronto Maple Leafs

Leafs’ Lupul: ‘We still believe’


The Toronto Maple Leafs lost their sixth game in a row on Tuesday and didn’t look very good, either. While it’s true that the St. Louis Blues have done that to plenty opponents this season, it’s easy to see why Maple Leafs fans are losing hope.

The team itself generally put on a brave face, especially Joffrey Lupul, as the Canadian Press reports.

“Certainly we’re afraid of letting it slip away,” Lupul said. “The whole year we’ve thought we were a playoff team, and we still believe that now … Realistically we’re still right there with these other teams.”

James van Riemsdyk backed him up, telling Sportsnet’s Chris Johnston “we have a lot of fight in us.”

Still, the question of that minimal early effort in particular hangs in the air; Jonathan Bernier’s strong play helped them stay in the game early despite playing poorly enough that head coach Randy Carlyle described the team as “frozen” during the first 30 minutes.

Not everyone even addressed the loss, either.

Either way, the Maple Leafs are out of the East’s top eight, although Lupul is right in saying they’re “right there” as Toronto ranks among four East teams with 80 standings points.

PHT Morning Skate: 10 years of Ovechkin; 10,000 days with Lamoriello

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PHT’s Morning Skate takes a look around the world of hockey to see what’s happening and what we’ll be talking about around the NHL world and beyond.

Looking back at 10 years of Alex Ovechkin with the Washington Capitals, in case the above video made you want more. (CSN Mid-Atlantic)

David Conte spent 10,000 days with Lou Lamoriello and lived to tell about it. (TSN)

Want to spot some contract year guys? Here are 32 pending restricted free agents. (Sportsnet)

NHL GMs are starting to sniff around with the 2015-16 season about to kick off. (Ottawa Sun)

Some backstory on Zack Kassian that was passed around on Twitter last evening. (Canucks website)

Hey, you can’t say Raffi Torres hasn’t literally paid for his ways:

This is some quality chirping between Jaromir Jagr and Matthew Barnaby:

Cocaine in the NHL: A concern, but not a crisis?

Montreal Canadiens v Minnesota Wild

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.