I will openly admit I've just arrived to the party that is hockey blogging, and it's not like I had an engraved invitation, either. Not to sound like a cop-out, but I'm still feeling my way here, and as such deserve not to be taken too seriously yet. Hell, I don't even take myself seriously--this is just down-time for me. But as a fan I still have the right to call out others who have taken it upon themselves to put out their opinions on what they see and hear around the league. And I certainly can't let commentary about my team pass without adding my own judgment to it.
So here it goes--it seems that Puck Daddy, arguably the hockey's most recognizable blog, has decided to go on record and kick some dirt on an issue that, until recently, didn't merit much consideration in this blogger's humble opinion. Puck Daddy (real name Greg Wyshynski), declared that a recent Sports Illustrated article that tried to shed some light on the recent controversy surrounding a Northern Virginia (what is it with Northern Virginians causing all the trouble?) chiropractor who was arrested with a amount of anabolic steroids investigators called "usually meant for distribution." This chiropractor, Douglas Owen Nagel, was linked as a supplier to Richard Thomas, who was arrested last year with about $200,000 in steroids, brashly claiming clients from both the Capitals and Washington Nationals baseball team. Nagel had been treating three Caps players---Eric Fehr, Matt Bradley, and Shaone Morrisonn, which of course only makes the smoke clouds from this story look even thicker.
At the time of Nagel's arrest, the Capitals issued a statement:
"The Washington Capitals are not the target of this investigation, and there is no evidence that steroids were provided to any Capitals players...This has been a thorough investigation, and we are satisfied that law enforcement, the NHL and our own internal investigation have not led to any link of steroid use by Capitals players."
As of right now, the Polk County authorities are continuing their investigation, and it is on record that the three players mentioned above were interviewed by those authorities and have cooperated fully with them.
So what's with this SI article then? Well it seems that the writer of that article, (I won't mention their name because SI knows as much about hockey as Mister Rogers does about rave shows) has uncovered emails from the NHL Director of Security admitting that there was never any investigation done by the league. Puck Daddy, in an article he posted yesterday, said that the SI article was "refreshing." Really? Is that because they're trying to make a story out of nothing? Nothing is all I see here--all NHL players are subject to random drug testing throughout the regular season. I would think that would include Morrisonn, Bradley, and Fehr would it not?
Puck Daddy goes on to praise the SI article which claims that the "investigation" done by the league wasn't quite as thorough as one would have heard. Read the above paragraph about how players are tested and you should be able to figure out how foolish this sounds. In other words, why should there be an investigation if the players are already being tested for substance abuse? Trust me, I'm not one of these people who puts complete stock in these tests. But it would stand to reason that if there has been no positive result posted thus far, that should stand on its merit as pretty conclusive evidence that no wrongdoing was committed by any player shouldn't it?
If anything, the league is definitely guilty of tripping over its own words, and it would probably be best served if whoever is handling their PR on this were told to find another job. That point, to some extent I can agree with. But it was said much better in today's Toronto Sun article by Steve Simmons:
Simmons is someone else I find to be somewhat odious in the world of hockey journalism, but he at least has seen and heard more than most in 30 years of covering the NHL and is, at the very least, respectable.
Before some of you start labeling me as a "hater" or a "wanna-be" I say, "Pfui." (Go read a Nero Wolfe novel if you're not in the know or at least get your own blog). I happen to enjoy a lot of PD's articles as he has done quite a bit to put, and keep, hockey on the online radar screen in his years of service. As for being a wanna-be, well...who wouldn't want to have one of the premier blogs online, let alone one about hockey? But I'll get there on my own, and certainly not by doing what he does--mine is more the true spirit of what a blog was meant to be in my opinion.
In the game of "did they or didn't they?" I say innocent until proven guilty, but what do I know? I would like to believe that most of the rest of us bloggers have some sense of decency by not assuming anything, good or bad. But by putting the spin that the team is guilty simply because the NHL failed to properly articulate what was and was not looked into is beyond irresponsible to me. And yes, this would apply to any team or player in any situation, not just my Caps. I guess the whole idea of "if it looks like a duck..." is good enough for Puck Daddy and Sports Illustrated. As for myself I like to rely on facts. Here's two links that contain just that....Enjoy!