A heads up from Danno. Danno’s definitely on my executive team when I own the Canadiens.
SPORTS ILLUSTRATED ASKS: Did NHL cover up drug probe?
April 20, 2010
This is not really a surprise given the NHL’s irresponsible don’t-ask policy regarding performance enhancing drugs, but good for Sports Illustrated for producing a story that will appear in the April 26 edition.
Here is today’s SI release, under the headline: Did the NHL and Washington Capitals attempt to cover up an investigation related to steroids?
Upon having more than $200,000 worth of pills, bottles and syringes—some containing steroids—seized from his Polk County (Fla.) home in May 2009, former bodybuilder Richard Thomas pointed to the Washington Capitals as one of the teams he had supplied for. SI staff writer David Epstein, renowned for his steroids reporting in Confronting A-Rod (SI, 2/16/09) and What You Don’t Know Might Kill You (SI, 5/18/09), explores the possible short shrift given by both the NHL and the Capitals in response to subsequent investigations: “Last month detectives from the Polk County Sheriff’s Tactical Drug Unit, working with the U.S. marshal’s office, arrested a Thomas client, Douglas Nagel, a Virginia chiropractor who has treated Capitals players and keeps an office in a mall adjacent to the team’s practice facility. Last September, Nagel told investigators that he was a client of Thomas’s and that he had mailed money for steroids, including testosterone and nandrolone.”
Both the NHL and the Capitals released statements claiming that they conducted thorough investigations following Nagel’s arrest, claims that were later called into question by Ian Floyd of the Polk County Sheriff’s Tactical Drug Unit. In an e-mail to his boss, sheriff Grady Judd, that was shared exclusively with SI, Floyd wrote: “I called and spoke with [NHL executive vice president of security] Dennis Cunningham today in reference to the official statements made by the Washington Capitals and NHL regarding the ‘thorough investigation.’ Mr. Cunningham admitted that contrary to the below issued statements, no investigation was ever conducted into Dr. Nagel and his ties to steroids and Capitals players by anyone with the NHL.”
Epstein adds: “Unlike MLB or the NFL, the NHL does not test during the off-season, nor once the playoffs have started. (This week the Capitals are facing the Canadiens in an Eastern Conference quarterfinal series.) Polk County officials noticed that of the 10 FedEx and U.S. Postal Service labels for packages mailed in 2008 and ’09 between Thomas and Nagel that law enforcement officials obtained in their investigation, eight are dated during the period when the Capitals were either in the playoffs or out of season, and one was dated the day before the end of the 2007–08 season.”