NHL & Steroids
The Ice Block had an entry on the NHL and its steroids/stimulant usage. David Singer pointed back to the 1998 Nagano Olympics when the use of Sudafed and similar stimulanets in hockey players were in question. Sudafen is estimated to have begun appearing in NHL dressing rooms in the mid-to-late 1980s.
The exact number of players who use Sudafed, a nonprescription drug that contains the stimulant pseudoephedrine, in an effort to boost their performance on the ice, is unclear. Two NHL trainers estimate that before a game 20% of the league’s players routinely take over-the-counter medications that contain pseudoephedrine, not to combat the sniffles, as the manufacturers intended, but to feel a little buzz.
A former coach says one of his players built up such a tolerance to the medication that he had to gobble 20 pills to get the desired boost. “There are all kinds of overdose storiesâ€”guys not being able to finish the first period because they get the shakes, paranoia, anxiety,” says Detroit Red Wings athletic trainer John Wharton, who’s been with the club since February 1991. “There are some guys who have been able to tolerate [large doses of pseudoephedrine]. The most I’ve seen a player take is eight pills. That dose would put some people in the hospital.” Wharton says he has seen four or five abusers in the last seven years.
Dave Morissette’s book, Memoires d’Un Dur a Cuire (Memoires of an Enforcer), told his story about his start with steroids and then stimulants. Through this book he hopes to “make my little contribution towards stopping these dangerous practices.” I suggest reading the article I just linked to so you can learn more about the book and Morissette’s thoughts – it was a good read. In the article, defenceman Stephane Quintal of the Los Angeles Kings said the following at the Morissette’s book launch.
When asked if doping was common in the NHL, Quintal said: â€œSudafed is something a lot of guys use but steroids, Iâ€™ve seen it a couple of times but on tough guys, but not on skill guys.”
Red Wings Prospect: Evan McGrath
FOXSports.com conducted an interview with Red Wings prospect, Evan McGrath, about his junior team and being drafted by the Detroit Red Wings. Here’s a small portion of the interview:
FOXSports.com: You were draft eligible last year and wound up being selected by the Detroit Red Wings. What was that whole experience like for you?
EM: It was mixed (feelings). I thought I was going to go earlier (than the fourth round), but things worked out with Detroit. It’s a great organization and a great team and great people all around and I’m proud to be a part of it.
FOXSports.com: It had to be exciting, too, going to a team like the Red Wings considering the success that the organization has had over the years?
EM: Yeah, they’re awesome. I couldn’t ask for anything else from the team. Hopefully one day I’ll be wearing the jersey like the players on the team now.
FOXSports.com: Last thing, with the NHL season recently being cancelled, give me your thoughts on the NHL lockout.
EM: It’s pretty unfortunate. It’s tough. Everyone wants to see the NHL, even if you don’t play. Everybody growing up in Canada watches it and without it this year is tough but I think people are going to deal with it by coming to junior games and hopefully next year they’ll be back.
NHL vs. Tilt Ratings
Paul at Breaking Sports found this sad piece of information regarding hockey. NHL’s ratings lost out to ESPN’s Tilt.
The inaugural season of ESPNâ€™s â€œTiltâ€ averaged a combined 0.97 Nielsen cable rating for airings Sunday and Thursday from 9:00-10:00pm ET, up 28% over the 0.76 during the same period in Q1 â€™04, â€œwhen ESPN mostly aired NHL games,â€ according to R. Thomas Umstead of Multichannel News.
Jeff & Steve Tambellini
Jeff Tambellini is a junior on the University of Michigan squad. I didn’t realize it until today while reading an article that his father is the vice president of player personnel of the Vancouver Canucks. Ok, so what? He sat and watched during the 2003 NHL draft as the Canucks passed over his son in the first round to select Ryan Kesler. That would be quite an awkward situation, but I credit Tambellini for sticking to his job and not letting family interfere in this situation.
“We’re really consistent on our draft process. We cross names off our list and pick the best guy available,” explained Tambellini. “Jeff was a couple of players away on our list.”
The Canucks took Kesler 23rd overall while Jeff Tambellini went 27th to Los Angeles. Vancouver GM Brian Burke made no apologies. “I think it’s important for people to understand that we had Jeff rated high,” Burke said. “But we couldn’t draft him just because his dad was Steve Tambellini. That wasn’t the right thing to do. Besides, we don’t know how long Steve is going to be with us.”
Kesler, a Michigan native, had 11 goals and 20 assists in 40 games with Ohio State last season and played for the U.S. at the world junior championship. The six-foot-one centre must now decide when he’ll leave U.S. college and sign with the Canucks.