Let's Not and Say We Did

Okay, so, the story so far: Guy is busted for dealing steroids. He says he dealt to Washington Capitals players. A client of the dealer (also busted for dealing) is a chiropractor who treats some of the Caps. The team and the NHL issue statements that they have each concluded thorough investigations and found nothing. End of story.

Oh, except this from Sports Illustrated, in the April 26 issue:

However, according to an April 7 e-mail from Ian Floyd of the Polk County Sheriff's Tactical Drug Unit to Judd (his boss), there are serious questions about the investigations conducted by the NHL and the Capitals. "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,'" reads the e-mail, which Judd allowed SI to review. "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."

That doesn't worry me. Obviously the NHL didn't do it because the Caps did and they left no stone unturned.

According to Floyd's e-mail, when he asked the Capitals about their investigation, a team official also told him that none had been undertaken.

Never mind.

"During a conversation I had with [Capitals assistant general manager and director of legal affairs] Don Fishman," the e-mail reads, "he advised that no investigation had been conducted by the Capitals into Dr. Nagel's potential involvement with steroids and Capitals players. Mr. Fishman advised that any investigation would have been conducted by Dennis Cunningham from the NHL's security office."

Would have been. But. Wasn't.

Capitals spokesman Kurt Kehl wrote in an e-mail to SI that the team conducted a "brief investigation, but the more extensive investigation was led by the NHL and Dennis Cunningham." The league would not make Cunningham available for comment. [...] "We have nothing to hide here," [Capitals player Shaone] Morrisonn told reporters on March 24. "We're all tested throughout the year. The NHL has a testing policy, and it's not an issue with this team."

That's true! The NHL does have frequent testing! So, what was I worried about? Whew!

But unlike MLB or the NFL, the NHL does not test during the off-season, nor once the playoffs have started.


[...] 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.


After the arrest of Nagel, says Judd, "the NHL head of security was more concerned about how we got jurisdiction to arrest him [in Virginia]." "I don't know whether the NHL has a steroid issue or not," Judd says, "but they certainly are very uncomfortable with us asking questions about it."

I commented on this earlier (How I Know the Kings aren't on Steroids), when the Nagel "investigation" that didn't take place was concluded by the NHL and the Caps. I just re-read that post and my thoughts really haven't changed. I am still imagining the nightmarish perfect storm of steroids and head-shots merging into a catastrophic uber-scandal. But I tell myself that's just kooky.

There's only reason I can think of for the NHL not to conduct an investigation but lie and say they did. And that's they don't want to look because if they don't look they won't know.

At the very least, the whole playoffs/off-season loop-hole needs to be closed. Yeah, we'll get right on that.