Leaving for money does not always pay and for Ryan Malone those words could hold no truer value.
The 6’4 219 pound forward left the Pittsburgh Penguins at the end of the 07-08 season, the same year the Penguins were ousted by the Detroit Redwings in 2008 Stanley Cup final.
Malone had some good years directly after he left Pittsburgh and continued his career with the Tampa Bay Lightning.
When he was arrested Saturday night for driving under the influence of alcohol and having cocaine in his possession, his career came full circle.
He had 51 points his final year in Pittsburgh and would never be able to reach that plateau again, however he came close with 28 points in the 2011-12 season.
Malone’s physical play is catching up to him. His career is tailing towards the end.
He played in 57 games this season and only recorded 15 points.
Malone left for more money and nobody could blame him.
A professional athlete that took money rather than winning is unheard of in hockey, let alone any sport.
My biggest concern is not where Malone’s career could have gone, but his arrest on Saturday.
Malone said the cocaine in his pocket was not his and said he was holding it for a friend. Mark Madden reported that Malone had to supplement a drug test over the weekend, and to everyone’s surprise, he passed.
Maybe the cocaine wasn’t his, but it is still the premise that he had it on him.
The public doesn’t even know how long he could have been around the drug, so concerns are rising.
Of course, we have to address the drinking habits of players in the league. Hockey players are known for some of their partying.
I am not saying it’s a bad thing to have a drink or two, but just before playoffs, and in that amount, especially prior to driving. It all seems like an irresponsible decision.
My biggest fear is that this is not an isolated incident.
There are more players that have drinking and drug problems.
Hockey promotes unity and friendships, together on and off the ice. Games are won and lost because of the team aspect of things. I hope there is not a bigger issue with drugs and alcohol in the NHL.
Maybe it will be just an isolated incident, but at the end of the day, Malone has opened up the eyes of the owners and fans of NHL, for better or worse.