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.
The story of how Nikolai Kulemin and Mikhail Grabovski reunited to sign with the New York Islanders is something pretty special. (Sportsnet)
Remember how crazy it seemed when Jonathan Drouin didn’t make the Tampa Bay Lightning last season? Yeah, he’s very motivated to do that this time around and that’s great news for the ‘Bolts. (Tampa Bay Times)
Is Paul Stastny throwing shade? He said he sees more opportunity with the Blues. (Post-Dispatch)
Does spending tons of money guarantee success? No, but it sure makes it look like teams are trying. (Sportsnet)
Brian Gionta signing with the Buffalo Sabres makes for a nice homecoming story for a guy who becomes a leader for a young team. (NHL.com)
Brooks Orpik and Matt Niskanen better be ready for lots of scrutiny in Washington with their big deals. (Washington Post)
Steve Downie reuniting with Rick Tocchet in Pittsburgh makes for a nice story, but his history of menacing the Penguins brings questions. (Pittsburgh Tribune-Review)
What about the other guy involved in the Jason Spezza trade? Alex Chiasson hopes to emerge as a star with the Senators. (NHL.com)
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.