Toews: “Naive to say” no PEDs in NHL
As sports fans, we are witnessing the start of an era in which professional sports leagues are going to crack down harder than ever on players using performance enhancing drugs. The Biogenesis scandal has brought the story of PEDs in baseball to the forefront once again, as the league handed out twelve 50-game suspensions and a near-lifetime ban for Alex Rodriguez. Drug testing has been ramped up in the NFL this offseason, and many players have received 4-game suspensions for their actions. And let’s not get too far in depth on the Lance Armstrong saga.
But what does all this mean for the NHL? Are there already PEDs in the league?
In this day and age, when the competition to make it to the big leagues is intense, there may honestly be some players that have gone to those treatments as a way to improve their skills. The way that PEDs have had such resounding impacts on other sports, hockey fans must at least entertain the possibility that the NHL has been tainted. Players need to know facts about drug abuse problems. Chicago Blackhawks captain Jonathan Toews echoed a similar sentiment in a radio segment Wednesday. Here is Toews’ brilliant and very well thought-out remarks on the matter, courtesy of The Score:
“I think it would be naive to say that there’s no one in the NHL that is trying to get the edge in that fashion. But at the end of the day whether you get caught now or not, down the road at some point those sort of things come out as we’ve seen in Major League Baseball and cycling.
Eventually… someone is going to save their own butt and throw you under the bus. And that’s your legacy. That’s what people remember: that you’re a cheater and you took performance enhancing drugs.
I think guys that apologize and plead that they didn’t know what they were doing, I think they know exactly what they’re doing. So the more tests the better. It protects the guys that are being fair and are putting good things into their body. So I have no problem with (more testing).”
NHL drug testing was a topic of discussion during the past lockout, and NHLPA president Donald Fehr did his very best to protect the players. Fehr, who served in the same role with Major League Baseball in the early 2000s, instituted a policy in which players’ records and samples were destroyed after being tested, and he has gotten a similar clause in the NHL’s new collective bargaining agreement, according to Puck Daddy blogger Greg Wyshynski.
Toews is absolutely right: the more testing the NHL performs, the better the game will be. But in light of current events, it would be poor judgement to blindly believe that not one NHL player today is benefiting from performance enhancing drugs.
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Around the Rink Columnist Joe Ray – @joeray119