NHL Week in Review (October 7-10)

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The week before the NHL began it was revealed that the NHL has a serious drug problem but not like many of the other leagues.

It is not the usual drug problem that many leagues has as it is not the PED issues that most leagues have been dealing with for the last two decades.

Instead it was revealed that the league is in the midst of a drug problem involving cocaine and other, as they label them, “abuse” drugs.

Every year the NHL tests 2,400 samples under the CBA where the league randomly tests full teams and individual players throughout the year.

The focus of all of these tests is to determine if a player is using PEDs as the NHL looks to ensure the fairness of the game.

The league also tests for other drugs though and their recent tests have shown an increase in cocaine use among players.

These drugs are not a part of the banned substances in the NHL but they have provided the top brass some concern.

Bill Daly revealed the tests earlier in the week although he did not say how many players did test positive or what the increase was from year to year.

He did express concern about the rising number and that the league is in need of changing things to curb the growth of the use of these drugs.

The league is now making it a priority throughout the season to change the culture in the league regarding these drugs.

The league is currently working with the NHLPA to change things in the CBA like making cocaine a banned substance that could result in suspension.

The more likely outcome is another idea from the NHL where they test for these drugs consistently and if a player tests positive they have a conference with that player.

The conference would essentially be one where someone from the league and the Player’s Association talks to the player about drug abuse and encourages them to go to treatment.

The league has not had any serious issues with PEDs quite yet as players have been caught but not to the level of the MLB.

This is the first issue in terms of drugs that the NHL will need to publicly deal with and in their new environment they will need to do it right.hockey-sidebar

It is far from a major issue in the league but the indication that Daly gave is that, if left alone, it could become one.

It is already beginning to make headlines around the sports world as more and more players are being caught.

It is no surprise that a concentration of these issues have come out of the West coast where the Los Angeles Kings’ players are enjoying a new level of fame.

The team has been at their highest level of popularity since Wayne Gretzky made his way to LA.

That newfound success has made these players celebrities and as has been seen often celebrities have access to many things that others do not.

It is so easy for someone to get drugs and not even have to pay for them in the Los Angeles area where celebrities have often gotten into trouble.

This off-season Mike Richards was arrested at the US-Canada border in possession of oxycodone, before it was revealed to the public the Kings cancelled his contract.

Earlier in the year Jarret Stoll was arrested for possession of cocaine, Stoll is now with the Rangers in New York.

The problem is a result of the success of the league as a whole as players are becoming bigger celebrities and with celebrity comes access to these types of drugs.

The league is looking into ways to curb this issue before it becomes a major issue and before the league becomes known for the bad behaviour of their players.

They have always been a league where good guys get to play a tough game and any issues where minor at best.

With more focus on the league than ever before that is no longer the case as more off-ice issues have snuck into the headlines in recent years.

This is the latest and instead of waiting for it to become a major issue the league is beginning to take action as they hope to continue to grow and continue to be a league of good guys playing a great game.

Overtime
(Extra Thoughts on this week in hockey)

Successful Challenge
The new rules in the NHL are in full effect and on the first night of games one of the more controversial rules paid off when Mike Babcock began the first challenge ever in the NHL and was successful in reversing a goal

Brodeur’s Legacy
Martin Brodeur will always be a hero in New Jersey and the franchise will make it a sure thing as they will retire his #30 and will build a monument to one of the greatest goalies in NHL history outside of their arena

Return of the Mullet
Jaromir Jagr has been a legend for plenty of time in his long career but recently the group of fans known as the travelling Jagrs have made that legend even greater and continue to do so as their constant requests have brought Jagr’s classic mullet back for the season

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Key Scores:
Montreal Canadiens 3 – 1 Toronto Maple Leafs
– Once again two of the oldest and most successful teams in the NHL’s history faced off but they are in far different spots than in the past and it showed as the Leafs fought hard but don’t have the talent to compete with their rival Canadiens

Ottawa Senators 3 – 1 Buffalo Sabres
– The Senators came out early in this one but the Sabres attempted to battle back led by their newest addition, Jack Eichel who scored his first NHL goal in an attempt to get the offence going, but it fell just short

St. Louis Blues 3 – 1 Edmonton Oilers
– All eyes were on the Oilers in this game as Connor McDavid made his NHL debut and seemed to get more comfortable as the game went on but he was left off of the scorecard in his first game of what could to be a great career

Detroit Red Wings 4 -0 Toronto Maple Leafs
– Mike Babcock returned to the Detroit for the first time since leaving this off-season and it turned out like most thought as the Leafs were never in it and lost to Babcock’s old team for their second loss this season

Next Week:
Montreal Canadiens vs. Ottawa Senators (Sunday October 11th; 7:00 pm ET)
– The Sens and the Canadiens looked good in the start to their seasons and now they face-off in their first matchup in what should be a game to measure where both teams stand early in the season

St. Louis Blues vs. Calgary Flames (Tuesday October 13th; 9:00 pm ET)
– A veteran team in the Blues will take on the young guns from Calgary in a matchup that could be a tough one all season for both teams as they both look to rise to the top of the Central and prove a point in their first game

Toronto Maple Leafs vs. Pittsburgh Penguins (Saturday October 14th; 7:00 pm ET)
– The Leafs traded away their top scorer in the off-season and now they may have to pay for it as Phil Kessel plays his old team for the first time and will try to get the offence rolling alongside Sidney Crosby to prove that they made a mistake letting him leave

Edmonton Oilers vs. Calgary Flames (Saturday October 14th; 10:00 pm ET)
– The Battle of Alberta has turned into a fight between two very young teams and while the Flames have seen success in their young lineup the Oilers have yet to do so although they hope to see McDavid turn it up against their provincial rivals

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