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Unwritten Rules

Watch the NHL turtle Add to ...

You don't get a spot at the best table with the hockey cognoscenti if you mention the possibility that NHL players might - shhh! - use steroids or human growth hormone or other performance enhancers. Nope. No sport has come under less scrutiny for PED use than the NHL, mostly because nobody in the U.S. Congress follows hockey or knows who Gary Bettman is and mostly because the cadre of hockey analysts who are ex-players, coaches or general managers act like gate-keepers, preferring to drop juvenile nicknames on each other than speak truths. They subscribe to the Don Cherry theory that no hockey player has ever broken the law, smoked some grass, or fiddled around with HGH. Hockey people live in a land where everybody's a "good Kingston boy," and likes nothing more than pounding some Molson's (Labatt's is too high-brow and don't get us started on those pansy European beers … although the Czech beers are OK because Czechs play hockey.) If any of them found themselves in trouble? Aw, heck. They were just having some good clean fun.

Which is why it will be fun to see how the NHL turtles in response to a report out of Central Florida that a man is claiming he's sold steroids to members of the Washington Capitals and Nationals. This is how baseball was ultimately outed. This is how the code of silence or more likely lack of interest or moral ambiguity on the part of those of us who covered the game was broken and the whole steroid mess unravelled. Considering how much of the stuff that goes on the ice smacks of good old-fashioned 'roid rage, my guess is there's some fire behind this smoke.

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