Like most Monday's at work I start my day reading hockey blogs and drinking lots of Pepsi (I'm just not a coffee guy). Today there was a post by the loveable Ryan Lambert of Puck Daddy squashing an Alex Ovechkin steroid accusation. A columnist named John Steigerwald, who writes for the Observer-Reporter thinks the main reason for Ovechkins lack of goal scoring is because of lack of PEDs.
Lambert made sure to note that John Steigerwald is the brother of Penguins broadcaster Paul Steigerwald, and is also a Penguins fan himself. So many people can look at this as a Crosby fan bashing Ovechkin as Steigerwald has some pretty wild ideas of why Ovechkin would be guilty of taking them.
Here are some of quick hits from Steigerwald's post and our thoughts on them:
- "He managed one shot on goal against the Penguins Thursday night. What's wrong with this guy?" - Only 1 shot?!?! He must be off steroids now! If we're measuring shots on goal as proof of PEDs than Dustin Byfuglien must be taking cocktails of them because he had 12 shots last week in a game against the Senators.
- "There are whispers and maybe even some out-loud conversations around the hockey world about Ovechkin's problem being a lack of artificial help." - What you hear in your head is not the hockey world talking.
- "Is any of this proof that Ovechkin's performance was enhanced before, and now it's not? No. But, you combine it with the fact that his doctor was charged with bringing PEDs over the border from Canada, and it gives you the right to be suspicious." - As Lambert says in his article, there is no evidence or connection of Ovechkin to this doctor that was charged. Looks like Steigerwald is a regular on HFBoards.
- "I've taken the position that if you're performing at a near super-human level and your doctor is arrested for selling steroids, you are guilty until proven innocent." - So although Ovechkin has passed every drug test, he's still guilty?
- "Former Penguins enforcer Georges Laraque wrote in his autobiography that steroid use was common in the NHL. He said one good indicator was a guy whose performance dropped off after the Winter Olympics. Laraque says the Olympics testing procedure is much tougher than the NHL's, and players picked for the Olympics have to quit the PEDs." - Laraque played for the Canadiens that season, how would he know if Ovechkin was doing anything? It seems like Steigerwald's thinking here was: Laraque played for the Pens once > GO PENS > Crosby is better than Ovechkin > Ovechkin must be using PEDs.
As a Canadian kid growing up in the 80's and 90's I thought every great Russian athlete was on steroids thanks to Rocky IV. I am sure Steigerwald dreams of Crosby working out the old school way of running up mountains and drinking raw eggs while Ovechkin works out in some lab in front of scientists getting injected by needles.
But as an adult now, I know that Ovechkin has been getting tested for years and nothing has come up. So how can I accuse him of steroids? I am wise enough to look at the stats and understand that if you are shooting substantially less and getting less time on the powerplay, that you will probably score less goals. That's common sense isn’t it? It's not that hard to imagine that NHL players and coaches are finding a way to box Ovechkin out of the good scoring areas and that Ovechkin needs to find a way to change his game up. Ovechkin doesn't need any juice to score goals.
My grandfather always had some great advice for us growing up playing hockey: SHOOT PUCK. Ovechkin just needs to Shoot Puck, and the goals will come, but surely when those goals do come, so will Steigerwald's PED accusations.