Karmanos puts Canes’ woes on injuries rather than coach Muller

Carolina Hurricanes owner Peter Karmanos Jr. wouldn’t say if head coach Kirk Muller would be back next season. That’s new GM Ron Francis’ call, not his, Karmanos argued.

That didn’t stop Karmanos from defending Muller though.

“From my perspective, I think (Muller) has come a long way as a coach,” Karmanos said, per the News & Observer.

That’s despite the fact that the owner also thinks this Hurricanes team is good enough to win the Stanley Cup. But if it’s not the coach’s or players’ fault, then why did the Hurricanes miss the playoffs for the fifth straight season and seventh time in eight campaigns?

“If we didn’t have both our goalies out for umpteen games … We were at the (salary) cap, we had some outstanding hockey players, we had some tough injuries,” Karmanos argued.

Carolina did lose goaltenders Anton Khudobin and Cam Ward for a significant portion of the season, although that setback was mitigated by the rise of Justin Peters, who posted a 2.50 GAA and .919 save percentage in 21 games to outshine Ward’s overall performance.

Additionally, injuries woes were not exclusive to the Hurricanes. Minnesota made the playoffs despite being without its top two goaltenders for a large chunk of the season. Detroit, among other things, had to play without two of the best forwards in the league in Henrik Zetterberg and Pavel Datsyuk for almost half of the 2013-14 campaign.

All the same, Karmanos doesn’t want to blame his coach for something out of his control and he remains upbeat going forward.

“I think (Francis) has got a great opportunity to do something special,” Karmanos said.


Rutherford: Canes ‘might have been the most frustrating team to watch in a long time’

Francis to lead ‘fresh start’ in Carolina; Muller’s future uncertain

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

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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.

Jason Demers tweets #FreeTorres, gets mocked

Los Angeles Kings v San Jose Sharks - Game One

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.