Canadiens Players Submitted To Drug Testing

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Okay, I know you're thinking "Here we go again!", with La Presse milking this bit for all it's worth. How timely for them that the NHL chose to visit the Canadiens practice facility for random testing within a week of the paper publishing their hole filled account of players linked (hardly) to an accused drug peddler. As you will read, the story here is interesting in that it details how the NHL goes about testing players for performance enhancing drug use. My guess is that there once again is no new "news" here, and that the paper is merely going about selling copies. Take it for what it is worth. I thought that since La Presse will likely give this the megahorn treatment, I would put it in english so all curious would understand it is much ado about nothing much.

Translated from an article by Francois Gagnon of La Presse

Whether by pure coincidence, or a consequence of last week's story in la Presse tying three players to a cocaine trafficker, all Canadiens players were submitted to drug screening tests for steroids and other NHL banned substances.

League representatives arrived at the Brossard training complex at the same time as players on Monday. In conforming with NHL rules, the players had to provide urine samples for the league reps.

The samples will be analysed over the coming weeks in order to determine the presence of anabolic steroids or other performance enhancing drugs. The tests can also determine use of narcotics and other drugs.

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Sanctions et procedures:

If tests reveal the presense of performance enhancing drugs, an automatic 20 game suspension is levied against culpable players. In cases of second infractions, the suspension is upped to 60 games. A third positive test results in players being banned from the NHL, with possibility of a reinstatement upon review after two seasons.

In addition to these suspensions, players are submitted to awareness programs and treament that seeks cure from the substances.

Players can appeal the results, during which time no information is made public.

In conformity with regulations between the NHL and the players association, tests during the season are unannounced. According to a random list, ten teams are visited once, a second group of ten is seen twice, and a third group seen three times.

Canadiens personel would not reveal whether this instance was the first, second, or third visit of the season.

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Drugs and narcotics:

In keeping with tests dsigned to detect "sports related substances" banned by the league, other testing is done to determine the usage of drugs and narcotics in a players system. These tests are also unannounced and kept confidential by the team, the NHL, and the NHLPA. It is not know which type of tests the Canadiens players were submitted to on Monday.

Reached by La Presse, Christiane Ayotte, labratory director for the Armand Frappier National Institute for Drug Research, clarified details of such testing and the possibility of detection for drugs or narcotics in the system.

"The duration period for drugs and narcotics in the body varies with the quanity of consumption, frequency of consumption, and how the body itself absorbs the products", said Ms Ayotte.

In the case of marijuana, consumption of one joint can leave detectable traces for up to one week after inhalation.

"Marijuane sticks to the body of those who consume it and takes refuge in fat tissue", explains the world reknown specialist. "In the case of cocaine, traces are eliminated much quicker. We're talking a period of 48 hours. If consumption is done on a regular basis and in abundance, traces could be found up to one week later."

Already aware of allegations pointing to Canadiens players, Ms Ayotte refused to offer any type of speculation concerning results or consequences.

She did however speak on the quality of progams offered by the NHL in the case of positive tests.

"The NHL are very serious in their undertakings when players test positive. They take care of the player, and help him beat the addiction. I would like to see more sports take on the NHL's approach. As it stands, in amateur sports, players are simply slapped on the wrist when consumption is found out, and told not to do it again. They forget their responsability for young people, and it is not by this method that they will be helped in solving their problems."

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