Georges Laraque has been a social crusader since retiring from the NHL and now he’s striking a blow against the league in his new book. In his book, Laraque says the league has a serious problem with performance enhancing drugs, in particular he says steroids are prevalent amongst both the talented players and brawlers alike.
Apparently Laraque is aiming to be the Jose Canseco of hockey with such a bombshell of a book.
Laraque’s claims are huge and in a league where performance enhancing drugs don’t really get much discussion at all, having a former player blowing the whistle like this is something the league should take serious. While hockey players aren’t hitting home runs and challenging long-held records like those in baseball, hockey has another issue that could tie into things when it comes to concussions.
If you’ve got a horde of players out there juiced up and punishing each other on the ice, the possibility that some guys are on steroids makes that issue a bit more curious to ponder. There’s no link to steroids and concussions, but there’s certainly the added danger of having guys being artificially stronger and faster and hitting each other.
One difference between hockey and baseball, however, is that the NHL was proactive in getting mandatory drug testing put into the CBA in 2005. After all the issues baseball had with drugs, the NHL and NHLPA were wise to make sure they kept up with the times. If Laraque’s allegations are at all true, then both sides will need to revisit the issue this summer during CBA talks.
Until there are more players busted on drug tests, however, fans will find it hard to take Laraque at his word about how prevalent drugs are in the league.
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It’s going to be interesting to see if Hammond can replicate the success he had last season, when he came out of nowhere to go 20-1-2 with a 1.79 GAA and .941 save percentage, and finish seventh in Vezina voting.