Well, if there was anything that could snap us out of our funk over the abrupt ending to a promising season (oh, who are we kidding, we bought Guitar Hero for our P.C., trust us folks, this isn't a pretty site which is why we haven't been around lately) it was the reports of the Caps and Natinals being sold steroids.
We happen to be a little too jaded and cynical (shocking, we know...) to think that this is just the ramblings of a desperate individual who now finds himself in deep, deep trouble with the law. So what he's an accused felon and by definition, is a slimeball? Does anybody dispute that Jose Canseco is slimeball but absolutely 100% correct about his allegations against his fellow Major League Baseball players?
We don't think so.
We happen to put the odds of this guy telling the truth at 50-50. And should the coin flip work in his favor, we can't say we're surprised. We'd be very disappointed but not all surprised.
First of all, six mostly former Natinals players were named in the Mitchell Report with one other getting bust that the IOC for a substance that was not banned by MLB at the time. Jose Guillen was the only player to be accused of doping while playing with the Natinals and it certainly explains his explosive temper. The idea that a Major League Baseball team has now or had at one time a player doping is not far-fetched at all.
As for the Caps, well, aside from the obligatory denials and requisite weasel wording it wouldn't be too far-fetched either. First of all, yes, we said "weasel wording" because the explicit "past two seasons" gives the Caps cover for anything prior to the 2006-2007 season. If you've read the stories, the dealers have been in business for 10 years. That's eight years the NHL and the Caps weren't looking and who knows what was going on. As a matter of fact, of the players who were on the opening night roster for the 2003-2004 season only Alexander "Slappy" Semin remains and he was a healthy scratch that night. Michael "Meadowlark" Nylander (who was on injured reserve when the season began and was traded at the deadline), Brooks "and Dunn" Laich, and Shaone Morrrissonnn also appeared that season but in limited roles. Again, who knows what was going on then or earlier.
And don't think that all dopers have to look like Big Head BALCO Barry Bonds* either. Floyd Landis who tested positive for steroids and Lance Armstrong, who has been under constant suspicion, are anything but big muscled brutes like Big Head BALCO Barry Bonds* or Roger Clemens. The fact that Tomas Fleischmann gets knocked over by a stiff breeze does not mean he could not possibly be doping.
Now before anybody tries to get us in trouble, we are NOT accusing any current or former Caps of being dopers. We are listing these names to establish the possibility that this guy could be telling the truth. First of all, Viktor Kozlov and Sergei (#3) Fedorov have off season homes in Florida. Former Cap and current Islander Brendan Witt also maintains an off season abode in the state. Again, we are not accusing these guys of being dopers, we're just saying that these guys live in the same state as the arrested dealer and could possibly be clients. We don't know for certain and quite frankly, we hope that isn't the case.
But remembering like the Venerable Off Wing Opinion did how the NHL's drug testing policy was ripped by the World Anti-Doping Agency President and reading in Sports Illustrated about how the NHL had to clean out Sudafed from its locker rooms in advance of the 1998 Olympics (Sudafed contains pseudo ephedrine which was a banned stimulant under the IOC at the time, it is now regulated by the WADA) the idea that doping at the NHL level becomes less and less far fetched.
We do however feel that the Caps and the NHL are handling this situation appropriately, at least in public. They should conduct through investigations including former players. We should also note that many of the star players have played in international competitions in recent years (Kozlov 2006 Olympics, Fedorov 2008 World Championships) and few if any have ever come back with positive tests. Jose "Alvin, Simon," Theodore tested positive for a masking agent but not a PED. What this tells us is that the star players aren't very likely to be the culprits. If we were bettors, we'd bet that the lesser players, the NHL equivalent of a Nook "LaLoosh" Logan being caught instead of the superstars.
However at this point, the idea or accusation of performance enhancing drugs in a professional sport should sadly no longer be a surprise.