Pound: Steroids a problem

Anti-Doping Agency head: One-third of players may be using performance-enhancers


November 25, 2005

The president of the World Anti-Doping Agency said he suspects as many as a third of the NHL's 700 players may take some form of performance-enhancing substances.

"I spoke with Gary [NHL commissioner Gary Bettman] and he said, `We don't have the problem in hockey,' " Dick Pound told the London Free Press yesterday in an interview for a story to be published today. "I told him he does. You wouldn't be far wrong if you said a third."

Asked if he meant performing-enhancing drugs, the Montreal lawyer replied, "Yes."

NHL deputy commissioner Bill Daly took exception to Pound's comments.

"I would respectfully suggest that Mr. Pound's comments have absolutely no basis in fact," Daly told The Canadian Press. "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."

Ted Saskin, executive director of the NHL Players Association, also bristled at Pound's comments.

"Dick Pound's comments are incredibly irresponsible and have no basis in fact," Saskin told The Canadian Press. "He has no knowledge of our sport and our players and frankly has no business making such comments."

The NHL introduced random tests for performance-enhancing drugs in its new collective bargaining agreement. Players are subject to a minimum of two tests a year without warning. A first-time offender gets a 20-game suspension, a second offense calls for a 60-game suspension, and a third offense results in a lifetime ban.

On the ice

Rangers 6, Thrashers 3 -- Jaromir Jagr broke a tie late in the second period with his NHL-leading 21st goal and visiting New York went on to its fourth straight win as it beat Atlanta. After the Thrashers scored twice to overcome a 3-1 deficit, Jagr swooped in off the right wing and snapped a high shot from between the circles that eluded the blocker of Atlanta goalie Michael Garnett with 2:02 left in the second. Blair Betts made it 5-3 with 11:51 remaining, slipping behind defenseman Niclas Havelid and deflecting a pass from Marcel Hossa past Garnett. Jed Ortmeyer added an open-net goal in the final minute to send the Thrashers to their third straight loss. New York's victory was marred by an injury to goalie Kevin Weekes, who went down awkwardly early in the third period and appeared to hurt his right leg. He remained on the ice for several minutes before heading to the locker room, holding up his leg the entire way.

Canucks 3, Sharks 2 -- Markus Naslund and Anson Carter scored 55 seconds apart in the third period, lifting host Vancouver to a win over San Jose. Wade Brookbank also scored, and Todd Bertuzzi had two assists to help the Canucks win for the fifth time in six games and improve to 10-1 at home. Alex Auld made 20 saves to pick up his second straight win since Vancouver's No. 1 goalie Dan Cloutier injured his knee Sunday in Anaheim.

Predators 4, Kings 3 -- Steve Sullivan had a goal and an assist, and Marek Zidlicky added three assists as host Nashville beat Los Angeles. The Predators, playing for the second straight night, took control quickly with two goals in the first period and two in the second, then gave up three Los Angeles goals in the third. Scottie Upshall gave Nashville a 1-0 lead 5:55 into the game with his first score of the season, on a slap shot from a few feet inside the blue line that beat Los Angeles goaltender Jason Labarbera.

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