Anders Lindback is 0-2 through two playoff games with a 3.69 goals-against average, a .880 save percentage and was yanked during Friday’s defeat to Montreal — yet according to Bolts head coach Jon Cooper, all’s well in Tampa’s goal.
There will undoubtedly be some people disagreeing with Cooper, especially those that saw his move to Kristers Gudlevskis with just under six minutes remaining as a possible series introduction for the Latvian netminder.
To be fair, Lindback isn’t to blame for Tampa losing both games at home to start the series. The Lightning were sloppy and made defensive mistakes throughout Game 1 and failed to generate consistent offensive pressure in Game 2, coming within two minutes of being shut out before Teddy Purcell snapped a power play marker past Carey Price to break the goose egg.
That said, it’s clear Tampa isn’t getting the same goaltending it enjoyed during the regular season with Ben Bishop manning the net. The NHL’s tallest netminder put forth a Vezina-caliber season, going 37-14-7 (4th in the NHL in wins) with a 2.23 GAA (7th), .924 save percentage (7th) and five shutouts (5th).
It’ll be very interesting to see if Cooper considers going with Gudlevskis for Game 3. While the 21-year-old is raw and inexperienced, he did wow onlookers at the 2014 Olympics in Sochi, nearly orchestrating an upset of Canada in the quarterfinals by stopping 55 of 57 shots in what Price called “one of the best goaltending performances I’ve ever seen in a long time.”
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.