Faceoff.com tells us that the NHL will face off against Congress soon.
Finally, testing in the development and minor leagues -- where bulking up is most crucial for players wanting to make the show -- is non-existent or ineffectual. As baseball has shown, those at the beginning and end of their careers are most vulnerable to using performance-enhancing substances. (Just see the confessions of Boom Boom Geoffrion's grandson, Shane Monahan, who used steroids in his MLB career in the '90s.) But the NHL plan largely ignores the kids who need HGH to gain another 15 pounds to make the big time.
Generally, the NHL would not come to the forefront when steroids and professional sports are discussed. Dick Pound disagree with this thought, once slamming the NHL's policy on steroids. However, Congress is going to check this out.
You can excuse Kelly being obliged to defend this stuff. He inherited the plan from his predecessor Ted (The Snoop) Saskin. His chance at creating a better plan will come when the CBA is renegotiated -- or Congress tells Bettman that his plan is a sham.
But there isn't a fig leaf -- enhanced or otherwise -- behind which the NHL owners can hide. Oh, sure, Bettman will regurgitate the line that NHLers have almost never failed the well-announced tests for Olympics or world championships. And that the NHL alone among the sports leagues has avoided the scourge of drugs. Bully. When you don't start testing your players until 2005 and the outside tests come at predictable times, it's like saying you don't speed between radar traps. Who can prove otherwise?
Maybe Congress should talk to Nazarov -- as they did Jose Canseco -- before hearing the well-worn blather from the NHL's head office about its pristine record when the rest of the sports world was using performance-enhancing substances. Or maybe the Congress knows little about the NHL and cares even less.
For once in the NHL's life, ignorance could be bliss.
Maybe Congress can 'ice' this one.