When Team Sweden came out to play for gold this morning, they did so without Nicklas Backstrom. We were told then he had a migraine, which has kept him out of games in the past before. Later we learned Backstrom was prohibited from playing because he tested positive for a higher-than-allowed level of pseudoephedrine, something that was in his allergy medication.
This morning at Kettler Capitals IcePlex, head coach Adam Oates — several days after defending Alex Ovechkin — went to the podium and did it again.
This time he took the IOC to task. There was some head shaking.
What are you thoughts about Backstrom not playing in the gold medal game?
Adam Oates: We feel so sorry for him. I mean it’s terrible. The circumstances: we all don’t know all the facts. He took cold medicine that’s allowed. He said to the trainer, “I got a cold or an allergy.” They give him the medicine Zyrtec D that’s okay all the time. And then all of a sudden it’s not okay. It kinda doesn’t make sense to me. I know it’s time released and all that because every body type is different. You could have some athletes 60 pounds heavier than one guy, right? Every body metabolizes different and all that. For us, it’s just a shame he didn’t get to play in the game. It’s a shame.
When he was talking in Sochi, he said he was disappointed in not playing in the biggest game of his career so far. How do you help a guy through that?
AO: Yeah. We’ll talk and I’m sure he’ll talk to the guys and [the media]. I know it’s a blunder. It’s an innocent blunder – it’s still a blunder – but it’s another weird thing [with the] Olympics. When we have mistakes in our league, that summer the GM’s all meet and try and fix it for the next time. And obviously to me, this is one the IOC will have to try and fix for the next time because it’s not fair to the athletes. It’s not. To me it’s not fair to Backy. He matched all the protocols he’s supposed to match.
Do you feel for him because he’s a character guy, behind-the-scenes type of teammate?
AO: Yeah, because these things smell bad and it shouldn’t, right? I feel for him because obviously that’s a game he wanted to play. He’s been a big contributor for that team and like you said, “biggest game of his career maybe to date.” And he can’t play for that? It’s just terrible. [shakes head]