NHL commissioner Gary Bettman has long maintained that performance-enhancing drugs are not a problem for the league, going so far as to say that the “alleged benefits of steroid use — significant large muscle development — are not consistent with playing hockey at the highest level of the sport.”
Bettman’s claims have been disputed, and many have called for a tougher testing program.
But unlike baseball, hockey doesn’t have raging debates about whether certain players should be inducted into the Hall of Fame because they took steroids when everyone was taking steroids.
And no NHLer, to our knowledge, has ever been accused of needing a way bigger helmet compared to when he was a rookie.
According to Penguins captain Sidney Crosby, he’s never even been approached about taking PEDs.
“You hear stories about the odd guy who tests positive,” Crosby told ESPN.com. “Seriously, I have never been approached. Not once [have I been] in a situation where somebody’s asked me if I wanted to use a certain substance or anything like that.”
He added that the biggest issue for NHLers is supplements.
“There are so many supplements out there, so many different countries,” he said. “What’s approved, what’s not. What’s accepted at the Olympics is different than [NHL guidelines], so you really have to stay on that.”
Ignorance was what Jarred Tinordi claimed for his recent 20-game suspension for PEDs.
“I did not knowingly take a banned substance,” the Coyotes defenseman said. “I understand, however, that I am responsible for what enters my body as a professional athlete and I accept the suspension.”
Shawn Horcoff, Carter Ashton, Zenon Konopka and Sean Hill made similar claims when they were suspended. Some believed them; some didn’t.
Regardless, the NHL will be happy to hear what Crosby said.
“There is no issue to battle,” deputy commissioner Bill Daly insisted to Postmedia earlier this year. “We’ve never had an issue with performance-enhancing drugs. And we continue not to have an issue with performance-enhancing drugs.
“Am I satisfied with our program? I don’t think any program is perfect. I think there were weak pursuits in our first program that were meaningfully addressed in the most recent collective bargaining agreement negotiation where the program is better than it was when we first implemented it. Doesn’t mean it’s perfect. Doesn’t mean it can’t get better. But it’s a very adequate program.”