Greg Wyshynski at Puck Daddy 3 hrs ago
Last month, a Toronto Maple Leafs prospect named Viktor Loov told a Swedish news outlet that “there is a lot of cocaine” in the NHL.
“There are players everywhere who do it,” he said, via Pension Plan Puppets. “If you have money you probably have easy access.”
How much cocaine? Enough that the NHL has been forced to acknowledge that more than a few players are using it, and that the League might have to be more proactive in testing for it.
Rick Westhead of TSN wrote on Monday that the NHL is in talks with the NHLPA about adding cocaine and similar narcotics “to the list of banned substances for which the league regularly monitors.”
"I'd be shocked if we're talking about a couple dozen guys. I don't want to be naïve here … but if we're talking more than 20 guys I'd be shocked. Because we don't test in a comprehensive way, I can't say."
Greg Wyshynski at Puck Daddy 10 hrs ago
There are repeat offenders, and then there’s The Irredeemable Raffi Torres.
The end of the NHL Department of Player Safety video announcing the San Jose Sharks winger’s 41-game suspension on Monday is such a baffling ledger of irresponsible head-hunting that it sounds like it was lifted from a Nancy Dowd screenplay.
April 2011: Torres bravely steps into a crouched, onrushing Jordan Eberle to crack him on the skull with his elbow, earning a four-game suspension.
December 2011: Torres steps up and into the head of Nate Prosser of the Wild for no apparent reason, getting a two-game suspension.
April 2012: The “Citizen Kane” of Torres hits, as he goes late and high on Marian Hossa, putting the Chicago Blackhawks star on a stretcher and earning him a 25-game playoff suspension, reduced down to 21 games.
May 2013: Torres lifts his shoulder into the head of Jarret Stoll in a Sharks/Kings playoff series, earning a suspension for the duration of Round 2.
No, that’ll be the next time.
Greg Wyshynski at Puck Daddy 16 hrs ago
On Monday, NHL teams finalized their rosters by dropping dozens of players through waivers. In some cases, that meant attempting to stow away players in the AHL that just don’t have a fit on the current team. In other cases, that meant attempting to make a veteran player and his contract disappear, by demotion or waiver claim.
Max Talbot of the Boston Bruins is a member of that latter category.
Talbot, 31, was a surprise name on the waiver wire, despite having been in a training camp battle for a fourth-line spot. He’s only making $900,000 against the cap this season, since the Colorado Avalanche retained $900,000 of his $1.8 million cap hit. Every little bit counts for the Bruins, who have less than $2 million under the cap.
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Greg Wyshynski at Puck Daddy 17 hrs ago
In April 2014, the Philadelphia Flyers looked upon the 19 games defenseman Andrew MacDonald had played for them since he was acquired from the New York Islanders and thought, yes, this man is worthy of a 6-year, $30-million contract extension.
The first season of that contract? Hideous.
He stumbled out of the gate with a knee injury, was a turnover machine, and by season’s end was a healthy scratch by former coach Craig Berube. The Flyers were a better team with MacDonald off the ice.And for a team that’s been crouched down under the salary cap for two years, his $5 million hit was an albatross.
Greg Wyshynski at Puck Daddy 1 day ago
The Chicago Blackhawks brought the Stanley Cup to the Chicago Bears’ game against the Oakland Raiders to celebrate the return of Jay-sus Cutler.
Well, that and to get honored at midfield during halftime.
Before the game, the Blackhawks also engaged in some football fun. Although Andrew Shaw apparently put a little too much foot into it.
Here is the Blackhawks’ winger doing his Robbie Gould impression, attempting a field goal at Soldier Field with Patrick Kane* as his holder. Unfortunately, you don’t get any extra points for splitting the uprights with your shoe after the ball.
Here’s another look from the stands:
LACES OUT, ANDREW. (So please tie them.)
No word when he plans to attempt the 70-yard Sidney Crosby slap shot field goal.
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Greg Wyshynski at Puck Daddy 2 days ago
The Edmonton Oilers dropped defenseman Nikita Nikitin on waivers on Saturday, in a reminder that new executives can clean up old messes with a clear conscience.
Please recall the Oilers acquiring Nikitin’s negotiating rights from the Columbus Blue Jackets in June 2014, a move made under former general manager Craig MacTavish and his assistant GM Scott Howson, who acquired Nikitin from the St. Louis Blues in 2011 as GM of the Jackets.
MacTavish is gone. GM Peter Chiarelli has nothing to prove in having someone else’s $4.5-million boondoggle on the roster, so the Oilers popped him on waivers after an underwhelming preseason.
There were talks between the Oilers and Chicago Blackhawks about a Nikitin and Bryan Bickell swap; it never amounted to anything, and both players hit waivers (Bickell’s already passed through).
Greg Wyshynski at Puck Daddy 3 days ago
NEW YORK – Rick Nash of the New York Rangers waited for the large line of fans, braving a steady rain, to make their way over for a photo op. Smile for the camera, sell a few products – such is life for a hockey star with an endorsement deal.
Even if it’s an endorsement deal his nearly one-year-old son might enjoy more than Nash would.
“All the other endorsements go out the window, and you get the Playmobil one. That’s what happens when you have a little one,” he said.
Nash was at the NHL Store in Manhattan on Thursday pushing the new Playmobil NHL line.
Basically, it’s like a table hockey game for wee ones. The NHL Hockey Arena ($59.99) houses little players and goalies from Original Six teams. Kids hold the players with their hands on the rink, and operate a lever to swing the player’s stick to take shots. A joystick controls the goalie to make saves.
It’s all super cute.
Even if you have to buy the referee package to get the Stanley Cup:
Nash used to play table hockey a young Ontario boy. “This one’s almost an upgrade, with the players actually on the ice,” he said.
USA vs. Russia?
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The New York Islanders debut in Brooklyn this season, and they’re bringing along some comforts from the Nassau Coliseum. The old organ. The old organist. The PA announcer. A group of legendary players that will act as team ambassadors.
Something that wasn’t going to relocate with them? The deafening goal horn. Barclays Center debuted a new horn during the preseason, inspired by the sound of a subway train’s horn.
At best, it was a misguided tribute to the fact that the Islanders’ new arena is more accessible by mass transit.
At worst, it sounded like a mosquito blowing into a party favor.
“I think we’ve been very sensitive to the traditions of Islanders hockey,” said CEO Brett Yormark via The Michael Kay Show on Thursday. “At the same time, we must broaden the fan base. We must reach out to Brooklynites and areas around Brooklyn to make this move viable.”
And as you know, there’s nothing New Yorkers like to hear more than the squealing horn of an oncoming subway train vibrating inside their ears.
Imagine you’re a professional hockey coach.
Your team missed the playoffs, by only some fault of your own, for the first time on your watch, a span of eight seasons. Your general manager was fired for this failure. The new general manager takes two weeks to decide your fate, despite having been the assistant general manager under the previous regime. You admit to that the waiting game was excruciating, especially when it seemed all was well following a multi-year contract extension.
Now, if anyone claimed you were on “the hot seat” in light of these circumstances, would you bristle? Would you say it was a mischaracterization of the situation at hand?
No? Well, Cam Neely thinks differently.
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NEW YORK – The National Hockey League has “no desire” to engage in settlement discussions with the players involved in a class action lawsuit that alleges negligence and fraud by the League regarding concussions.
An excerpt from a League memo, distributed to the Board of Governors at their meeting this week in New York and acquired by Yahoo Sports, makes it clear that the NHL feels there is no "smoking gun" that gives the plaintiffs an advantage in the civil case or a path to settlement like in the National Football League’s concussion suit.
From the internal NHL memo:
“While recent signals suggest plaintiffs are anxious to begin settlement discussions (similar to what transpired in the NFL), we have indicated to them no desire to engage in such discussions, primarily because we feel so strongly in the merits of our case and the leadership role (among all sports leagues) we have taken in the study, prevention, diagnosis and management of concussions.
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