...according to recent random guesses by Dick Pound. I guess the World Anti-Doping Agency's job now is to run around making accusations without presenting any evidence? Anyway, I think the consensus around the NHL is "unless you can prove it, STFU."
NHL bristles at Pound's doping assertion
11/25/2005 1:50:43 AM
LONDON, Ont. (CP) - NHL executives and players vehemently denied doping allegations made Thursday by World Anti-Doping Agency president Dick Pound.
Pound told the London Free Press in an interview that he suspects as many as one-third of the NHL's 700 players may take some form of performance-enhancing substance - comments which drew strong responses from NHL deputy commissioner Bill Daly and NHLPA executive director Ted Saskin.
"I would respectfully suggest that Mr. Pound's comments have absolutely no basis in fact," Daly said. "I find it troubling, to say the least, that he would find it necessary to comment on something he has absolutely no knowledge of.
"Perhaps Mr. Pound would be better served to limit his comments to topics as to which he has knowledge, instead of speculating on matters as to which he has none."
Saskin also bristled at Pound's statement.
"Dick Pound's comments are incredibly irresponsible and have no basis in fact," said Saskin. "He has no knowledge of our sport and our players and frankly has no business making such comments."
Pound was in London to address students at the University of Western Ontario's law school.
"I spoke with Gary (NHL commissioner Gary Bettman) and he said `We don't have the problem in hockey,"' the Montreal lawyer said afterwards. "I told him he does. You wouldn't be far wrong if you said a third (of hockey players are gaining some pharmaceutical assistance)."
Asked if he meant performing-enhancing drugs, Pound replied "Yes."
NHL players were equally critical of Pound.
"Who's Dick Pound?" said Vancouver Canucks forward Todd Bertuzzi. "Tell him to come in our dressing room with our shirts off and we'll see how performance enhanced we are. Tell him he can come hang out with me and see my workout.
"Trust me, we're not (taking performance-enhancing drugs)."
Canucks teammate Mattias Ohlund was surprised at Pound's statements.
"I've played for eight years and I haven't seen anything around our team," said Ohlund. "I'm sure there will be some out of 700 who are taking something ... but to say one-third is obviously ridiculous."
The NHL has introduced random tests for performance-enhancing drugs in its new collective bargaining agreement. Players are subject to a minimum of two drug tests a year without warning. A first-time offender would receive a 20-game suspension. A 60-game suspension would be given to a repeat offender, with a permanent ban for a third offence.
Pound said the NHL doesn't go far enough.
"The NHL has reached a deal with their players that looks as though they found an early copy of the baseball policy on the floor somewhere," Pound said.
At least one NHL general manager disagreed with Pound on Thursday.
"We've seen what the league has provided and we support Bill Daly's comments 100 per cent," said Vancouver Canucks GM Dave Nonis.
San Jose Sharks defenceman Scott Hannan acknowledged the possibility of some players taking performance-enhancing drugs, but insisted Pound's assessment is inaccurate.
"Am I naive in saying that nobody's ever used it or nobody is? Probably," said Hannan. "But as far as extensively, I think that's a baseless comment."