Photo: David J. Phillip

Nicklas Backstrom did not participate in Sunday’s gold medal game against Canada. Originally reported as suffering from a migraine, we later learned Backstrom tested positive for a banned substance. Swedish hockey officials have stated that drug is an allergy medicine.

Here’s everything we know so far.

After participating in every game so far, Backstrom was unexpectedly announced to miss Sunday’s game early in the morning (Eastern time).

Initial reports said Backstrom was suffering from a migraine. Backstrom, otherwise known as an iron-man player, has a history of migraines and has missed time due to them in the past.

Greg Wyshynski and Yahoo Sports broke the news that Backstrom had tested positive for a banned substance, presumably allergy medicine. UPDATE: It was Zyrtec D.

The banned substance Backstrom is alleged to have tested positive for is pseudoephedrine. Pseudoephedrine is the active ingredient in Claritin and Sudafed. Those drugs have legitimate uses– particularly as decongestants, but they are also widely abused in pro sports. The 2013 edition of the World Anti-Doping Agency’s list of prohibited substances includes pseudoephedrine as a stimulant under section S6.b. If a urine test detects more than 150 micrograms per milliliter, the athlete is in violation of international rules.

Swedish Olympic Committee spokesman Bjorn Folin says Backstrom has been taking allergy medicine for seven years. In the past seven years, Backstrom has participated in three World Championships and two Olympics. He had not been disqualified from any tournament until now.

The IOC committee has previously found no competitive advantage in using pseudoephedrine but has upheld suspensions and disqualifications regardless of the effect or the athlete’s intent.

Earlier this week, Latvian hockey player Vitalijs Pavlovs was expelled from the games for taking a specified stimulant. Pavlovs said his KHL club, Dinamo Riga, put him on food supplements. Findings like Pavlovs’ and Backstrom’s are considered more likely to be inadvertent and generally carry less severe punishment.

Swedish representatives are not happy about the finding.

The Swedish team is not expected to receive any punishment for the drug test, but Backstrom may not receive a silver medal for his participation. There is precedent for this. In 2000, Romanian gymnast Andreea Răducan was stripped of her gold medal after testing positive for pseudoephedrine in her cold medicine.

This post will be updated as we learn more.


Here is Nick at the press conference, via


Tweets from the press conference.

Conspiracy theories getting tossed around.

The test was performed on the 19th, but Sweden was not notified until the 23rd.

@PeteCuster pointed us to this document from the World Anti-Doping Agency, which states that one day’s dose of Zyrtec wouldn’t put someone over the limit, but multiple days could.

A possible explanation as to how Backstrom had been eligible for other IIHF tournaments over the last seven years:

Here’s the full statement from the NHL:



SOCHI, RUSSIA (Feb. 23, 2014) – National Hockey League Deputy
Commissioner Bill Daly today released the following statement regarding
Nicklas Backstrom:

“We understand that Nicklas Backstrom tested positive for a substance
banned ‘in competition’ by the International Olympic Committee. It is our
further understanding that the positive test was the result of a common
allergy medication taken by the player knowingly, with the approval of the
team doctor and without the intention of gaining an illegal or improper
performance-enhancing benefit. In addition, the specific substance that
resulted in the positive test is not currently on the League’s Prohibited
Substances List.

“Subject to confirmation of the facts as we understand them, and
given the fact that the substance is neither prohibited in the NHL nor was
used in an improper manner here, we do not anticipate there being any
consequences relative to Nicklas’ eligibility to participate in games for
the Washington Capitals.”

And here’s the full statement from the team:

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE – February 23, 2014

Statement from the Washington Capitals on Nicklas Backstrom

ARLINGTON, Va. – Nicklas Backstrom did not participate in Team Sweden’s Olympic gold-medal game on Sunday due to the allergy medication he has been taking intermittently for seven years, including this season while playing for the Washington Capitals to combat severe allergies. The medicine was approved by the Swedish national team. It is not anticipated that this will impact his participation in NHL games.

From Aftonbladet on television, translated via Magnus Cadelin (@DenTadd):

Sweden’s Team Doctor, Dr. Björn Waldebäck: “He asked me if he could take one pill and I said yes. I’m responsible for Nicklas getting caught. I’ll have to put a big question mark on myself for giving a pill with a banned substance to an athlete.”

And: “I feel a huge responsibility for this. But we couldn’t anticipate the consequences of something that isn’t performance-enhancing.”

More from that Aftonbladet TV report, this time from the head of development for Team Sweden, Tommy Boustedt, again translated by Magnus:

“The NHL and the NHLPA is extremely annoyed by this. They’re saying it’s been dealt with in a amateurish way.”

“[Backstrom will] be playing with Washington on Wednesday but misses out on this [gold medal] game. It feels horrible.” [Ed. note- The Capitals will play on Thursday.]

When asked what would’ve been a proper consequence: “A warning.”

“Every other player has allergies. In Nicklas’ case, I think it’s pollen. He has to take his medicine to do his job. It’s absurd to suspend him. This is a miscarriage of justice!”

[Ed. note-  The exact translation was “judicial murder.” “Miscarriage of justice” is the corresponding idiom in English.]

“We were really sad, Nicklas and I. We shed a couple of tears together.”

“If this ends up at the IIHF, he’ll probably be acquitted.”

“We might end up suing the IOC.”

Tagged with:
  • Fedor

    Pavlovs was also stripped of a diploma players receive for making the quarterfinals.

  • Casey Grenier

    Well, this just sucks.

  • Diploma. Wow.

  • Jack Conness

    Really unfortunate here. Now everything sucks. USA lost. Russia lost. Sweden lost. Nicky no medal. I didn’t except this.

  • Yes, he loses his Sochi ID card, everything.–nhl.html

    If this happens to Backstrom, I’m gonna be so blown.

  • Kristin_safekids

    You are missing the important point. Why does the puck in the picture look the size of a beach ball?

  • Graham Dumas

    That’s actually a pretty big deal in many post-Soviet countries.

  • Rob W.

    This just sucks so much, i hope this doesn’t effect his game for the second half of the season

  • Matt Lauer


  • Perspective is everything!

  • Mark

    Backstrom is a world class athlete, and he didn’t become one by taking pseudophedrine. I understand the need to drug test athletes, but he may lose everything he worked for because of an allergy problem. What has happened to common sense?

  • yv

    Hockey is the biggest part of the Olympics, but after such demoralizing ending ,especially for Caps fans, one might start thinking differently. Still regardless of anything they should continue to participate.

  • Guest

    Sorry, technical point: does the IIHF test in MICROgrams (µg/ml) or milligrams/ml (mg/ml).

  • Here’s the text:

    “Pseudoephedrine is prohibited when its concentration in urine is greater than 150 micrograms per milliliter”

  • Graham Dumas

    So this is really, really unfair to Backstrom. But I have to ask, did the Swedish team doctor a) not know Backstrom was taking zyrtec; b) not realize that multiple daily doses could result in a violation-level amount of pseudoephedrine; and c) if either or both of those things, why not? I feel like this is something team doctors should be aware of.

  • Tboosch
  • Graham Dumas

    Yeah, just confused b/c some on twitter citing mg, not µg. I checked the text after I posted, so decided to delete. Sorry!

  • A very straightforward question with a very complicated answer that I’m not sure I’m prepared to attack.

    In short: All doctors are busy. Some doctors are fans. Some doctors are incompetent. Some athletes are not forthcoming. All athletes have a halo effect. Some athletes are dirty. Some people want plausible deniability.

  • Question for you: would Backstrom have made a difference in this game? Could Sweden have won with him?

    I think you’d have to do a butterfly effect thing to say yes, but it’s possible I guess.

  • I mean, it definitely had to have a massive effect on the whole team. Imagine hearing your number one center isn’t playing right before warm-ups? That has to be a huge downer.

  • Eric Schulz

    Well, it certainly had to be deflating to hear you weren’t gonna ice your #1 C right before the game…

  • Graham Dumas

    That one of the int’l anti-doping bodies (can’t remember which) found no competitive advantage to pseudo would militate against Backstrom being dirty or not forthcoming; the rest of those scenarios don’t bode too well for the team doctor.

    Also the tweet about team sweden knowing ahead of time about the zyrtec. This was avoidable, and the team should have seen it coming. That’s what the med staff, team lawyers, etc. are for.

  • Hokahey Hockey

    And how many players did not play in Sochi because they had to miss games due to the bad water and food? Where does the IOC stand on that?

  • Eric Schulz

    Worst Olympics ever.

  • yv

    Yes and yes, not sure that Swedes would win, but I can imagine what a demoralizing effect it had even before the game. Their coach mentioned this after.

  • Graham Dumas

    I’d say probably, yeah. As center, Backstrom has a role on defense, is key on offense, and at faceoff time. Pretty clutch player to have off the ice.

  • c35

    This blows, but for completeness. Claritin is not pseudoephedrine And he must have taken zyrtec d. The regular stuff won’t have the pseudo.

  • Graham Dumas

    Do you have any numbers on that? Or are you speculating?

  • Claritin D is pseudo and loratadine.


    Will the caps have an ceremony to honor their Olympians?

  • yv

    Now Im wonder whether all no drowsy over counter drugs have pseudoephydrine?

  • Myan

    That is absolutely ridiculous. As someone who also suffers from severe allergies and has taken Zyrtec every day for the past 5-6 years, I’m shocked that an athlete could get disqualified from the Olympics for taking something to keep his allergies under control. Take my word for it, taking Zyrtec D daily does NOT make you a better hockey player…exhibit: ME.

    3 weeks ago, who would have thought that Mojo would be the only one to bring an Olympic medal back to DC…

  • Forget it, Jake. It’s Chinatown.

  • Myan

    Claritin D is the inferior allergy medicine. Seriously.

  • Langway’s Rod

    This, actually, is perfect. Now EVERY Capital Olympian has reason to be unhappy with Sochi…. So, come home, take all that frustration out on the NHL… And lets go get the only hardware available this year – A GIANT CUP!!

    Go Caps – now, more than ever!

  • I’m allergic only to avocado.

  • ElaineP

    Agree with all the yes’s, but we’ll never know, will we? The flip side to that question is, did the lack of his presence negatively affect Sweden? The answer to that is definitely yes. And that royally sucks, especially over something so…stupid and ridiculous. Feel really bad for Nicky. To address the larger allergy issue, I understand allergies have affected a lot of athletes in Sochi, a German even pulled out of competition theirs were so bad.

  • Kim Peacock

    So let me get this right… Nicky has allergies. Nicky takes allergy medicine every day. Nicky was in a country who’s headlines before the games were started were about stray dogs… so Nicky’s allergies may just have been a little out of whack… so Nicky took just a little bit more allergy medicine so he could breathe.

    Feel bad for the dude… one of the most elite players in the world. Could have made a huge difference in the game.

  • scrubversive

    Oh Nicky. You have been my favorite Caps fixture for many years. You are humble and reserved asking for no particular fame or glory – just to work hard and be able to compete. If there was a bright light left for me after US and RUS were ousted, it was knowing that you, in particular, would get a chance at Gold and at least the Silver.

    Whether or not you receive your medal, you didn’t get to do what you really wanted – to compete for it. To see you singled out and devastated like this breaks my heart more than any of the other Olympic let downs. Please be strong for us Nick, we’ll be strong for you.

    Now let us retire back to the “comfortable” drama of Caps hockey and hope that unwise decisions are not made as we desperately push for an ill-fated playoff spot.

  • Owen Johnson

    Wyshynski’s has MST3K in his avatar? That’s effing AWESOME!

    Also, that ruling was BS.

  • guest also

    The responsibility rests with the team doctor. Glad to see he stood up and accepted responsibility. It sucks, but since other athletes have failed drug tests for same substance under similar conditions (allergy meds), there’s really no excuse.

  • Hokahey Hockey

    Good point as teams routinely cover up injuries with “lower body injury” statements to protect their men from being targeted. I have no hard numbers, but I recall several times hearing for several games, “so-and-so” didn’t dress due to not feeling well because of something he ate.” Still, with all those physicians running around, you’d think someone would be keeping stats on illness due to food/water-borne bacteria.

  • c35

    Claritin D is no longer in formulation here in the usa. So he must have gotten it from mother Russia.

  • Tadd

    Team Sweden’s GM Tommy Boustedt on the press conference:
    – We might just end up suing the IOC.

  • Myan

    Chronic allergies are the worst. There isn’t one specific thing you’re allergic to, it just feels like you’re allergic to the world. When you forget to take your Zyrtec first thing in the morning, you just exist in general discomfort. EVERYTHING makes your nose itch, the inside of your nose gets really dry, your throat feels swollen. I’ve tried Claritin, Allegra D, and a few prescription medications as well. Zyrtec is hands down the most effective.

  • Tracypep

    Doctor said taking 1 pill everyday can lead to amounts becoming higher than the acceptable 150mg limit. He was at 190mg

  • Pill Popper
    If anyone has ever taken this stuff, you know it messes with you. No coincidence.

  • Pill Popper

    You’re kidding yourself if you think he is taking a banned substance for allergies when there are plenty of alternative allergy solutions available that aren’t illegal.

  • In the US, you have to show ID to buy anything containing pseudo because it’s used in meth. So while it’s OTC, it is tightly regulated.

  • I can’t eat guacamole.

  • The IOC Blows

    Its only a banned substance in the Olympics and I don’t think he would have expected to have it be a banned substance if he’s been taking it for seven years and it was approved.

  • Myan

    I’m sorry about that, Peter. You’re missing out. Maybe one day you can get an adrenaline shot ready and take the plunge.

  • If taking allergy meds made you a better hockey player, I’d be Bobby fucking Orr.

  • Pill Popper

    Read the article cited above, pretty clear what is going on, it’s been banned, he took a risk, and got burned:
    Take one yourself, helps allergies, winds you up big time. Even difficult to sleep

  • yv

    The last insert about Swedish doctor saying it all. Knowing about the medicine with potential problems even long time before Olympics, and still approving it during the games is big time stupidity. It is the same if coaches and players as an excuse of the loss said that they didn’t know that ice rink is wider, O/D-zones are shorter, other icing rules or about several other differences between NHL and IIHF.

  • Shawn Murphy

    More bullying by the Canadian secret hockey conspiracy WAKE UP SHEEPLE

  • pill popper

    Take it from a guy who had to quit claritin d because he couldn’t sleep, it winds you up like a clock. There’s a reason it is regularly taken by athletes as cited above and now sold behind the pharmacy counter so kids can’t get high off it

  • Dr. Johnny Cochran

    That’s just cover after getting caught. He’s taking it for a reason!

  • It’s not even banned substance in that matter. It was just to much 190mg (150mg allowed).

  • salgotnv

    Out of everything crap that occurred this tournament, this one upsets me the most. HOW DARE THEY.

  • ATPinDC

    I take it all the time. All it does to me is enable me to breathe and not have my nose run constantly.

  • Owen Johnson

    I would love to believe that. Don’t see it happening though.
    Although if we sneak in as the 8 seed and somehow upset Shittsburgh, it would all be worth it.

  • Gregory Burnett

    They don’t put it behind the counters because of folks using the pseudoephedrine itself, they put it behind counters because it is cooked up to make meth.

  • yv

    One reason – allergy, almost everybody taking it. Sochi is subtropical area in the spring, one can imagine how much different pollen are there. The commercials of these over counter drugs not stopping on TV even during Olympics.

  • pill Popper

    That’s one of the reasons as well. But its similar to ephedrine. Gives you a high

  • Myan

    I’ve NEVER gotten a high off Zyrtec and I take it every single day.

  • ATPinDC

    I’m not sure how many you’d have to take to get a high, but WAY more than the one I take every day. And way more than the tiny elevated amount that showed up on Nicky’s test.

  • Dan

    It’s important to note the difference between Zyrtec and Zyrtec-D. I’m with Backstrom of course, I think this is a ridiculous situation and common sense was forgotten. However, simple Zyrtec has no “upper” effects at all, and may actually dehydrate the user providing a competitive “disadvantage.” Zyrtec-D has pseudoephedrine, which is an upper, and can wind up the user (to most of us we notice that because we can’t sleep). Real ephedrine of course is a serious upper and almost feels like cocaine (but also goes miles in helping the user breathe — I took this when I struggled with asthma and still played team sports when I was younger – commonly found in the medication Bronkaid or Primatene). So, yes, there were upper effects from the medication, but also yes, this is ridiculous and smells liek corruption to me. Sort of like having four referees for the gold medal game who currently live in Canada. Maybe Canada was the better team, but they should have to prove that with a winning score in a fair situation. I feel terrible for Backstrom.

  • Dan

    Canada probably would have won nonetheless, and it probably would have only been truly competitive if you fill the Swedish squad with ALL of their injured/banned players. The Canadian team played some of the best team defense I can say I’ve ever seen, and as much as I wanted them to lose, they were the best team in this tournament. But the issue is that Canadian team should have had to play that great team defense in a fair setting to earn a gold medal.

  • Dan

    And this really sucks for one of my favorite athletes. It’s gut-wrenching watching his press conference. Most of these guys only get a couple chances to represent their national team on a stage like this, and to rip it away… ouch.

  • Fedor

    This is the guy’s greatest achievment to date. Do you expect Latvia to make it to the quarterfinals again anytime soon? I don’t.

    Come on, you can do better than that, Peter.

  • ATPinDC

    I take a plain Zyrtec and a separate sudafed, because the amount of pseudoephedrine in Zyrtec-D is ineffective for me. It has absolutely no “upper” effect on me, nor, I would imagine, would it have any “upper” effect on anyone who’d taken it daily for 7 years.

  • a minor change to the initial state of a complex system can significantly affect the outcome

  • Dan

    That all depends on your dosage, your body, and how your body reacts. Zyrtec-D has 120mg time-released pseudoephedrine HCI. Over the counter standard Sudafed has 30mg pseudoephedrine HCI. Considering Z-D is a 12-hour med and Sudafed is “2 tablets every 4-6 hours,” we’re essentially looking at 240mg vs 360mg per 24-hour period. Maybe the 240mg is something a person can feel at 200lbs, maybe not. Too many details… which I suppose is why the IOC banned it. But fuck.

  • Nicky Minaj

    It’s not the high that’s the problem knucklehead, it’s the performance enhancement! Either way, ITS BANNED! So what’s the excuse? He thought he could get away with it. Plenty of alternative allergy meds available…he wanted the competitive advantage and paid for it

  • Dan


    I’m sad. To hell with the winners and losers, I’m sad for Nick.

  • 123

    Tell that to all the NHLers cited in the above article. There’s a reason they take it. Even on roids, you wouldn’t be Bobby Orr

  • northernMD

    When do we get the B sample results? Also, i’m assuming “3x the amount recommended by doctors” means… 3 pills in a day or something like that.

  • Dr. Johnny Cochran
  • CLoak And Dagger

    Hey man, this ain’t /r/conspiracy.

  • HaveATissue

    You’re right, those pro athletes are wasting their time. ATP in the DC’s runny nose says it all.

  • scrubversive

    Sup trolly-man,

    You ever taken any kind of medication regularly? Pills for all sorts of ailments – from allergy medications to blood thinners for heart disease to neuropsychiatric treatments for issues from mild anxiety to life crushing depression have different routes to treat the target problem and different side-effects. People spend a lot of time trying to find the appropriate way to treat what they are trying to treat based upon how their body reacts to it. One drug may work best for someone and s/he may also become accustomed to compensating for any overt side-effects using that drug may cause. I am not well versed in allergy medication alternatives, but would it make sense for an athlete to not take a medicine he is used to using (that he has been using for years and has been approved to use by his trainers) as opposed to say, antihistimines, which might leave him foggy-headed and lethargic? This is a world class competition that requires him to be as close to his normal operating capacity as possible and is perhaps not the time to experiment with “alternative solutions” which may be ineffective or have negative consequences.

    Knowing who Nick Backstrom is as a person from years of watching him play on the ice, interview in the locker room, and be a part of the DC community, I doubt that he is the sort of person to ‘dope up’ with something like allergy medication to gain an advantage. The guy is too honest. And if he were trying to gain an advantage, why not use something that would confer more of an advantage than a dose of pseudoephedrine that is only 40µg/mL above Olympic standards.

    You know the readers here feel strongly about their player and are upset at what has transpired. In my opinion you’re just trying to stir up hate for whatever kind of jolly it gives you.

    Don’t trouble yourself too much fellow readers, with an unregistered name like “Pill Popper,” he’s just trying to piss you off. DON’T FEED THE TROLL. That being said, I probably just did, but you don’t have too.

  • Mr. White

    not just meth mr. pinkman. on its own, pseudo is used like ephedrine to give you a high. or in sports, to give you a slight enough high to increase heart rate, blood flow, much like adrenaline would!!!

  • scrubversive

    trying to double feed trolls. sorry, about that.

  • Guest

    Yeah, how dare the IOC enforce the official rules of the Olympic Games. I mean who do they think they are?!

  • Mr. White

    not just meth mr. pinkman. pseudo is also used like ephedrine to give you a high. or in sports, to increase heart rate, blood flow, much like adrenaline would!!!

  • Pill Popper

    Yes, attack the messenger, not the message. Typical Caps fan living in your own reality that is the DC bubble. The rules were clear, others have done the same and been caught. He got caught trying to get an edge and got caught. But yes, yes, I love nicky, he can do no wrong!

  • Matt McNeely

    No, if it’s all the same to you I will NOT “take if from you” and assume Niklas Backstrom is a doper because YOU feel “wound up like a clock” after taking a similar but decidedly DIFFERENT medication. You are not talking about an experience specifically with Zyrtec D, but even if you were, surely you understand that you can not assume everyone who takes that medication will react to it exactly as you have. In fact, I’d wager that lots of people feel just fine after taking allergy medication… for allergies.

  • Pill Popper

    Mmmm, or why not take a DIFFERENT ALLERGY PILL that doesn’t contain a banned substance? Oh, that’s right, because it doesn’t wind you up. But ya, I am sure watching an interview in the locker room would tell you otherwise.

  • M Taylor

    That article is dated 2/2/98, which I am pretty sure was before the changes to formulation, etc. due to these products being used to cook method. Do you have any more recent articles?

  • pill popper

    D is for decongestant. look up the active ingredient. pseudo

  • Pill Popper

    DC attitude: rules don’t apply to us!

  • Matt McNeely

    Do you have a point?

  • scrubversive

    Ah this troll can’t comprehend content and feels threatened by commentary on his behavior. OMNOMNOM.

    Keep trolling RMNB, bro. I’m gonna go enjoy the sunshine!

  • yv

    If Olympics would be in DC/Baltimore area on blossoming season half of all athletes will go down and pull out!

  • johnnymorte

    There are also plenty of OTC stimulants that they sell at GNC today that are just as strong if not stronger than the amount of pseudoephedrine in a Zyrtec-D. That is why it is not banned in the NHL. Your article is from 1998. Get real buddy. This is a Caps website. Take your Canadian propaganda and go stroke yourself with your Sydney Crosby SI cover.

  • Please don’t feed the trolls.

  • Dots Unconnected

    Your intellect is showing. Have a great life.

  • HaveATissue

    Now there’s a conspiracy theory!

  • DebateIsn’tTrollingLosers

    A can of coke isn’t slow release, it has a low after a short lived high. But enjoy living in the foggy “there are other drugs he didn’t take, which means he didn’t take it for a high” fantasy.

  • Dan

    Let’s skip the speculation. There’s no indication of anything related to performance enhancement except getting the buggers out of his nose. F’real.

  • SovietRussia

    Silence the critics. Really quite the echo chamber in here.

  • I think you misinterpreted or assumed something I didn’t mean. I didn’t know there were diplomas. That’s the “wow” to me.

    Whatever else you’re reading into that is just what you’re projecting.

  • MuzzMuzzington

    Worst Olympic Hockey tourney I have witnessed. Not because of the results, but because the last 4 games have been snooze fest, lopsided games. The Backstrom debacle is just the turd on top of the diarrhea sundae.

  • Dan

    Well I decided to take three Zyrtec-D pills right after this story broke. I have a long paper to write by midnight, and I figured with the performance enhancing, it might write itself. Sadly it has not started yet, so I’m off to nap.

  • Graham Dumas

    You know, I hear Crosby has a SERIOUS addiction to Flintstones chewables. BAN HIM!

  • Guest

    Whoa, easy. I was just explaining something. Sorry!

  • Graham Dumas

    Nm, sorry, thought you were replying to my post. Guess we’re all a little edgy right now.

  • Roman Z.

    OK cheer up everyone!

    #Closingceremony: Russia makes fun of Olympic ring that failed to open during #openingceremony

  • Chip

    I think at the next Caps home game everyone should make silver medals and throw them on the ice.

  • RT23

    That’s a really cool idea but we’d need to make sure they are plastic of something. Metal ones with warmth from hands or pockets would ruin the ice surface.

  • TaurusPT111

    Me too. He needs to come home and Release The Fury!

  • Jake Ettawakapow

    Damn. Nicky :((((

  • Steve

    I love the deleted comments from the Soviet Machine administrator. In Stalin-like fashion, they silenced opposition rather than allowing commentators to acknowledge the obvious: Backstrom broke the rules. There were numerous alternative ways to address his alleged ailment (allergies, convenient excuse, coincidentally cited by all those who are caught), yet he chose to take the medicine that is widely abused throughout sports as a stimulant because he wanted a competitive advantage without the lows that come with other stimulants

  • VirginiaPatriot

    And you got your medical degree from…………?

  • Simonezero

    Dude… This is so not ok. I feel terrible for you.

  • Thank you. It’s a hard life I lead.

  • sovietrussia

    Pseduo doesn’t take a medical degree to realize its the ingredient he was after

  • John

    Is this Canadian bias? Take out one of swedens best players so the Canadians can win?

  • Tilly

    Yes, he took allergy pills for his severe allergies. And the pills are not banned as we all know, its just that he got too much of the substance than allowed.
    But i think what sucks the most, especially for us swedes, is that it is not that he took the pills (he needed to be able to breathe though), it is that the IOC told him 2 ½ hours before the gold medal game. They had known for 4 days but they watied with it. Dont you think Nicky thought he passed the testsince he never heard anything?
    Also, I read at Aftonbladet I think, trying to find the article again, that it is allowed during practice, but not during games.. ? why would it be allowed during practice, but not during games?
    IOC have according to recent updates on aftonbladet apologized for the delay of the results.
    And the fact that the delayed the results, telling nicky, and the team 2 hours before puck drop, that makes a mess for the coaches too, they had then lost their 3 best centers (sedin, zetterberg and nicky) and had to replace nicky.
    We might not have won anyway cause the canadians took almost all the chances away, but we might have had a better chance at winning because nicky is a great player who can find those passes and makes those plays.

  • salgotnv

    A bunch of squares!

  • Myan

    Call me naive or delusional, but I’m going to take what a Finnish guy has to say about a Swede with a grain of salt. I just don’t see the Swedish hockey federation risking their credibility & reputation standing behind a player that they themselves are suspicious about.

  • NoMoBamaNation

    The IOC is composed of some very mean spirited and underhanded people, not to mention immoral. If they know that Pseudoephedrine does not provide a competitive advantage then why do they continue to enforce the strict ban on it “despite the player’s intent?” Also, if common food supplements can cause a positive test result for banned substances it seems to me a perfect method for taking out unwanted competitors. Simply slip something into their food in the Olympic cafeteria and then test them. I can’t say who I am or who I sometimes represent, but I work for another global athletic governing body. I have seen other very underhanded efforts come from the IOC. These are not nice people. To have the audacity and heartlessness to take away an Athletes earned Olympic medal is beyond reproach.

  • Erik

    “Every other player has allergies. In Nicklas’ case, I think it’s pollen. He has to take his medicine to do his job.”

    Pollen. At the Winter Olympics. In February. Thanks Putin and the IOC for staging these games in a subtropical climate.

  • johnnymorte

    The blame on this ultimately falls on the IOC. These are antiquated rules where there obviously needs to be a large amount of regulation due to the unfavorable reputation of sports such as cycling and weightlifting. There should be no Olympic involvement in the game of Ice Hockey as it relates to professionals. Leave these games to college students and pseudo-communist countries that want to develop their programs. Let there be a World Cup every four years like there is in soccer and let it be a mega tournament and celebration of just hockey for all nations.

  • FehrTheWin

    Uh I do not think this was a “competitive advantage,” nor did he try to “get away with it.” He checked with the Swedish team’s doctors first, who gave him the go ahead anyway.

    Imagine Nicky sitting in a corner of the locker room shooting pseudoephedrine into his arm, cackling maniacally while thinking “those IOC suckers won’t catch me now!”

    That image just does not compute.

  • Capsluvr19

    anyone have a link to the press conference?

  • Erik

    One should also note that he was tested AFTER a game when he was dehydrated and any substance in his body would likely appear more concentrated.

  • Robert Mattsson

    1st of all don’t take aftonbladet nor expressen as reliable media. They’re specialized at provoking people. Now they even claim that the whole of Finland wants the silver medal removed from team sweden which is not true.
    It’s indeed a tricky situation but a team like Sweden with a roster consisting 1st and 2nd liners from NHL should be able to pull off a game with a key center, 2 or 3 missing. Even Finland did that!
    I think this whole thing has been blown out of proportion. Just quit with the excuses and accept the outcome and please put the focus back on NHL 🙂

  • Robert Mattsson

    As a finn I really hate that the flagbearer for Bäckströms incredibility is a finnish doctor. Finland got nothing to win in this situation anyway.

  • FehrTheWin

    Is there an official IOC statement on this? In searching the Olympic website, IOC page, and the Sochi specific website I have found zero reference to this. Where can one find official recognition of his suspension?

  • johnnymorte

    Definitely could have. I mean, think about the psychological effect of losing your top center 2 1/2 hours before the start of the game. I mean you’re nervous as it is. Not only that, but Backstrom scores a point in any moment of the game before the end of the 2nd, it changes the complexion of the game. You can’t replace a player that is a top 5 center in the world.

  • Robert Mattsson

    There is no official suspenions. At the moment it’s all just debate and demonizing of Bäckström.

  • (he’s joking)

  • FehrTheWin

    Well that sucks. I’m getting the feeling that IOC’s playing it down.

  • Guest

    “the IOC told him 2 ½ hours before the gold medal game. They had known for 4 days but they watied [sic] with it.”

    They had NOT known for 4 days. He gave the sample(s) four days ago, but consider first of all how many tests are being run at once – it’s the damn Olympics, after all.
    Secondly, the gold standard for drug testing (which I’d hope the IOC uses) is GC (gas chromatography) with Mass Spec confirmation (read: each sample is tested once, then tested by a different method for confirmation/more specific levels). Having first-hand experience in the employment drug-testing industry, a turnaround of 3-4 days for a confirmed positive isn’t out of the ordinary at all.

    I do sort of think it’s shitty that he found out so close to the game, but it’s incredibly misleading to say the IOC had his results for DAYS, but chose to sit on them until game day.

  • bskillet


  • Peter

    I made some calculations and ended up with a rough figure of 8 pills of Zyrtec-D to get to the level of 190 micrograms per milliliter. That is based on the amount of pseudoephedrine in Zyrtec-D ( and about 5 liters of blood in a male body. This might not be the exact amount of pills nor the exact way of counting it – but if you take more bodily fluids into account, you actually need more pills. So this does give a picture of a rather heavy stroke of allergy that hit Nicky.

  • MuzzMuzzington

    Can just pretend it’s the ice at MSG

  • ATPinDC

    Is this troll arguing with himself? The back and forth and excessive obnoxious comments are ridiculous.

  • JenniferH

    I have no words. The look on Nicky’s face at the press conference just breaks my heart. 🙁

  • Dark Stranger

    Thanks for all the updates on the unfortunate situation, Peter. Great coverage. Upset about situation for Nicky’s sake. Along with the fact he was notified so late — 3-4 days.

  • Hockey mom

    That’s funny, because I am a Claritin person. When I would take Zyrtec, it would make me so tired! My doctor told me to take it at night instead, but I just couldn’t wake up in the morning. I guess everyone does respond differently.

    The one thing I definitely warn folks about is the nasal sprays. I was prescribed one a few years back, and to this day, I swear my sense of smell is not as keen as it was before I used it.

    Anyhow, I do feel bad for Backstrom getting caught up in this mess, as there is nothing worse than having your allergies acting up!

  • Myan

    Agreed on the nasal sprays! I used one for a bit a few years ago and it dried my nose out to the point that it hurt to wiggle/move my nose in any way. The skin on the inside felt like it was cracked. It was a little too effective!

  • Rhino40

    I don’t always feed trolls. But when I do, I prefer to do so with an M2A1-7.

    Stay toasty, my friends™

  • Rhino40

    I need to see a Venn Diagram, and I need to see one NOW

  • CLoak And Dagger

    I know Peter, I know that type of ironic talk from a mile away.