Morning Free Association: A Suspension!

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On Friday, word broke that Nate Schmidt of the Vegas Golden Knights had failed a drug test for a performance enhancing substance. He is due to miss roughly a quarter of the season, 20 games, for testing positive for a banned substance. And he is automatically referred to the NHL/NHLPA Program for Substance Abuse and Behavioral Health.

When I found out about this, I was shocked, not because Nate Schmidt was suspended after having a career year but, because the NHL actually had a performance enhancing substance drug testing program. I had never heard nor known that they actually tested for these but that the NHL was aware of other drug usage by players and started testing for that last year.

Anyway, the last instance of a player being snagged for performance enhancing substances was Brian Berard in 2005. The test identified a steroid called 19-norandrosterone and Berard became the first NHL player to test positive for a steroid. He was not suspended by the NHL but was barred from international competition for two years afterward.

Schmidt denies intentionally using a substance other than what was provided by the team. He also defends himself based upon the amount found in his sample.

His team, the Vegas Golden Knights also issued a statement this weekend:

Nate Schmidt likely cannot appeal this suspension since there doesn’t seem to be wording in the CBA that allows for it. However, one aspect of the Substance Abuse/ Performance Enhancing Substances Program calls for the salary the player forfeits as result of testing positive will defray the costs of the program.

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the german hammer

About the german hammer

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Long-Winded Striped Mofo
Long-Winded Striped Mofo

Hey Pals!
Welp, at least we’re talking hockey!
Also, and you heard it here first (from LB) , VGK will not win the Cup this year. Caps will be scary again, and Toronto….. all leagues like their all time loser to win. It’s great publicity.
Nice weekend, albeit sans Jo. Worked on the house, a bit on Saturday. Worked on a neighbor’s roof for a bit. Went to an auction in Wilmington, VT, along with neighbors – what a hoot!
Paddled the class 4 behind our house Sunday. Only got my ass kicked once. Great fun, even if I have my ” crap my pants ” look on in all the photos.
Back to work! Crap!

The London Bear
The London Bear


Hope you had a good Labor Day.

Just noticed I have labelled two of my pages for tomorrow “august 5” – the time is just going too fast!

That’s tough luck on Schmidt, but I think they have to take a zero-tolerance approach to things like that. I remember a tennis player who tested positive for cocaine claiming it was because he had kissed someone.

VGK are favourites for the Cup with some bookies over here.

I think I read 12 Vegas players put up career-best numbers last year. As any statistician will tell you, that makes it highly unlikely they’ll match those numbers this year. I might bet them to miss the playoffs (then they’ll definitely win the cup!)

Long-Winded Striped Mofo
Long-Winded Striped Mofo

. I might bet them to miss the playoffs (then they’ll definitely win the cup!)

Sound strategy! I may borrow this.


That’s tough luck on Schmidt, but I think they have to take a zero-tolerance approach to things like that.

I disagree. “Zero-tolerance” policies have been tried for all manner of bad behaviors, with little to no evidence that they even reduce the behaviors they’re intended to stop. There’s just too much incentive for people to violate the policy (bigger contract paydays in the case of PEDs), so they’re willing to take the risk. And “zero-tolerance” policies eliminate the ability of those implementing them to use their judgement in cases like Schmidt’s, where he clearly wasn’t trying to cheat but is still being punished like a cheater.