Author: Joe Yerdon

Raffi Torres

Sharks’ Torres ready to return following torn ACL


San Jose Sharks forward Raffi Torres is just about set to return to action.

The rugged forward has been out for five months after tearing the ACL in his left knee in an exhibition game. As David Pollak of the San Jose Mercury News shares, he’s about a week away from playing and can’t wait to get out there.

“I didn’t think I’d be able to get back this fast because my last time it took over a year to feel really good,” Torres said Thursday, crediting San Jose’s medical and training staff. “We’re only at five months and I feel great.”

Torres would plug in right away in the Sharks’ bottom six forwards and provide them with a physical and irritating player for opponents to deal with.

Last season, Torres had 18 points in 39 games with the Sharks and Phoenix Coyotes and only 17 penalty minutes. After years of controversial hits in Vancouver and Phoenix, Torres appeared to be turning his game around in the right direction with the Sharks.

San Jose will be hoping the energetic style of play will be back with him when he gets back on the ice for good.

Latvian player disqualified for failing drug test

Vitalijs Pavlovs

It was an Olympics to remember for Team Latvia but they’ll have a bad memory to take home with them.

The IOC disqualified forward Vitalijs Pavlovs from the Olympics for testing positive for the banned stimulant methylhexaneamine. Martin Merk at has the details.

At a hearing held on Saturday, the player informed the IOC Disciplinary Committee that he has been taking food supplements upon the recommendation of the doctor of his club team and that he did not understand how this substance entered his body.

Pavlovs, 24, was making his first appearance in the Olympics and had one assist during the tournament. Along with being disqualified, he will have his diploma for finishing eighth with Team Latvia withdrawn.

Next up for Pavlovs will be to see whether the IOC and IIHF decide to punish him any further for the positive test.

Duchene hopes to one-up Avs teammate Landeskog for gold

Matt Duchene

Being NHL teammates on opposing teams in the Olympics can make for awkward situations. Such is the case for Colorado Avalanche forwards Matt Duchene and Gabriel Landeskog.

Those two will face each other on Sunday in the gold medal game between Canada and Sweden (7 a.m. ET on NBC). As Duchene tells Mark Kiszla of The Denver Post, they’re enemies until the game is over.

“We’ve talked a few times during the Olympics,” Duchene said. “I’ve seen him at the cafe. And we chatted. But I’m not talking to him now until after the gold medal game. He has rubbed the fact Sweden won the world championship last year in my face. And I’d like to give that back to him. Absolutely.”

Duchene hasn’t gotten quite as much ice time as Landeskog has for Sweden, but he was more of a factor against the United States winning faceoffs in Canada’s 1-0 victory in the semifinals.

You can imagine the chirping that will go on if Sweden comes away with the win, however. Holding gold at Worlds and gold at the Olympics over someone’s head (all in good fun) in the locker room is how prank wars begin.