SUN Hockey Pool

Players pooh-pooh Pound's statistics

SCOTT ZERR -- Edmonton Sun

, Last Updated: 11:14 AM ET

CALGARY -- NHL players are verbally taking their pound of flesh from Dick Pound.

The chairman of the World Anti-Doping Agency and Canadian member of the International Olympic Committee suggested on Thursday that one-third of the league's 700 players use performance-enhancing substances.

Andrew Ference of the Calgary Flames jokingly wondered how Pound could get his hands on 700 urine samples but then offered a much more terse take on the comments.

"He can have an opinion on the way the league tests players but to make accusations and throw numbers out there and have absolutely no basis for those numbers, it's surprising he can have that job,"said the articulate Sherwood Park native whose mother is a physician at the RCMP's K-Division in Edmonton.

"It's ludicrous. We know otherwise with the numbers we have from the league and players' association and we know how big the problem is. It's very minute and we take great pride in that.

"Guaranteed it's not even close to (33%). I've been in a lot of dressing rooms and around a lot of players and it's not there. The players are mad because it's such a false statement."

Flames teammate and former St. Albert Saint Steve Reinprecht seconded Ference's take.

"It's irresponsible to make statements about stuff you have no facts on, especially by a man in his position," said Reinprecht.

Oilers captain Jason Smith added that cold medicines such as Sudafed - a "monitored" substance for its pre-game jolt of pseudoephedrine - isn't even as prevalent as it once was. As for steriods, Smith refused to believe it has a significant presence in the NHL.

"As long as I've been a player, I've never heard of a problem or thought there was a problem," said the 13-year veteran.

"It's not an issue and it's never been an issue."

Smith said he makes do with the very mildest of stimulants.

"I get enough excitement and energy from being out there playing and a cup of coffee," added Smith.

Oilers coach Craig MacTavish called Pound's statements "unbelievable" and questioned how he came up with his statistics - but only after delivering a personal view on the question of the day.

"I would comment but I'd only get 10 yards for piling on," said MacTavish.

"The thing that bothers me about the whole thing is that the five minutes I could be spending preparing for Calgary I have to talk about Dick Pound."

FAST FREDDIE: Oilers draft pick Freddie Pettersson took in practice Thursday, shortly after his Calgary Hitmen had finished their workout.

The Oil's fifth choice (157th overall) in 2005 is enjoying a banner rookie year in the WHL, with 13 goals and nine assists in 26 games. Pettersson's parents wake up at 3 a.m. in Sweden to watch the Hitmen games on the Internet.


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