Just moments before Sweden took the ice to square off against the dangerous Canadian National Team; star center Nicklas Backstrom was not dressed. Backstrom, a member of the Washington Capitals, was said to have failed a Sochi drug test due to an ingredient within his allergy medicine, a spokesperson for the Sweden National team reported. Throughout the game, fans around the National Hockey League and hockey in general wondered why Backstrom was not in the lineup. The question was answered, and reactions from all across Sochi reiterated the frustration deriving from anti-doping testing.
Backstrom had played previously in the 2010 Olympic games with the same allergy medicine and no issues arose. The drug was also cleared by the National Hockey League, and proved to be a major problem as Sweden was dismantled by Team Canada, 3-0. Whether Backstrom would have made a difference or not remains up for debate, but the handling of the failed drug test remains an issue that must be answered prior to the 2016 Olympics. The host nation of each Olympics needs to have a more informative and open testing cycle that’s not only effective, but accurate as well.
It is believed that Backstrom will not face any sanctions from the governing body of the NHL, and that he will be able to play in Thursday’s game against the Florida Panthers.