Bettman: There's no drug problem

TERRY KOSHAN -- Toronto Sun

, Last Updated: 10:17 AM ET

OTTAWA -- Gary Bettman is disappointed Bryan Berard tested positive for an anabolic steroid but maintained the league's position that it's not a widespread concern.

"My own belief is that it is not a pervasive problem and it will be something we look back on as probably one of the few positive tests we see," Bettman, the NHL commissioner, said last night. "We will move forward with our program and our testing, and the fact is that in the next few months we are going to have a very clear statement of what the status is (in the NHL)."

Bettman, along with Senators owner Eugene Melnyk, was at the newly christened Scotiabank Place to help celebrate the naming of the Senators' rink, formerly known as the Corel Centre.

Testing of NHL players for performance-enhancing drugs began on Jan. 15 and will go until the end of the season. Bettman said each player will be randomly tested twice during that time. Whether the NHL tests players during the off-season is an issue that still is being discussed with the NHL Players' Association.

The NHL came under scrutiny earlier this season when Dick Pound, the head of the World Anti-Doping Agency said one-third of NHL players took performance-enhancing drugs.

"I don't think anyone thought for a minute that through the use of supplements, as in Bryan's case or otherwise, there would not be a positive test," Bettman said. "What I am told by the IIHF that, between IOC and IIHF testing in the fall of last year, there were probably 150-200 tests of NHL players done and (Berard) was the only positive."

On another collective-bargaining front, Bettman believes 23 teams will either make money or break even.

"I think this is a year of transition. The losses are less than they would have been otherwise," he said.


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