Paul Maurice’s 35-game cameo was enough to warrant a long-term extension in Winnipeg — on Wednesday, the Jets re-upped with their bench boss on a four year deal, per the Free Press.
Maurice, who took the Jets gig in January after Claude Noel was fired, went 18-12-5 in his half-season behind the bench, good for an .586 winning percentage. That included the Jets winning 11 of 13 immediately following Noel’s dismissal, briefly clawing their way back into the Western Conference playoff picture before a swoon in March essentially eliminated them from contention.
Regardless, Jets GM Kevin Cheveldayoff was pleased with how the team responded to Maurice.
“Obviously very impressed,” Cheveldayoff said of Maurice, per NHL.com. “He’s a quality, quality person as we’ve all known. Certainly he came into a difficult situation and has helped our group perform admirably.”
With Maurice now locked in, eyes will turn to Evander Kane and his future in Winnipeg. A talented power forward that just wrapped the second of a six-year, $31.5 million deal, Kane seemingly ran afoul of Maurice at the end of the season, getting parked as a healthy scratch for breaking a team rule.
Prior to the healthy scratch, news broke that Kane was facing a civil lawsuit pertaining to an alleged assault in Vancouver last summer. It was the latest in a series of transgressions — granted, some minor — that have dotted Kane’s tenure in Winnipeg.
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.