When Nate Schmidt was recently suspended for 20 games for violating the league’s Performance Enhancing Substance policy, the Vegas Golden Knights immediately came out in support of their defenseman, stating that they “strongly disagree” with the ruling. Schmidt himself stated that he believes the positive test came about through environmental contamination instead of any substance he ingested, given the minuscule amount that was found and the lack of any evidence in a hair sample.
Today, Vegas GM George McPhee didn’t go so far as blame Schmidt but did defend his organization and the Golden Knights’ training staff, telling reporters including Ken Boehlke of SinBin.vegas that the substance “didn’t come from us.” While Schmidt claimed that the only supplements he used were from the Golden Knights, McPhee explains that a simple protein shake could cause a positive test and that he has told other players that they “don’t need anything from anywhere else.” Schmidt is practicing in unofficial skates with other players from the team, but will miss the first 20 games of the regular season and is not allowed to play in any preseason contests.
- McPhee also spoke about the still unsigned Shea Theodore, and told reporters that he hopes a deal will be completed soon. Theodore is one of 11 remaining restricted free agents without a contract, and could potentially miss part of training camp if he doesn’t have a new deal in the next week. The young defenseman is even more important for the Golden Knights now that Schmidt will miss a quarter of the season, and could be asked to log huge minutes in the early part of the year. Coming off his entry-level contract, the Golden Knights have a decision to make between signing him to a bridge deal on a lower cap hit or trying to lock up the 23-year old long-term before he really shows his full potential.
- Richard Panik was arrested earlier in the offseason for trespassing at an Arizona establishment, and pleaded guilty in court this week. Craig Morgan of The Athletic passes along a statement from the Coyotes, which says they have dealt with the situation internally and won’t comment further. TMZ has released a video of the arrest, but even with the added publicity it seems as though the Coyotes will not hand out any punishment that includes a suspension.