Proving Pound wrong

TERRY KOSHAN -- Toronto Sun

, Last Updated: 8:14 AM ET

Random drug testing was to begin in the NHL yesterday and the Maple Leafs are hoping the end result is an embarrassed Dick Pound.

In late November, Pound, the head of the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) asserted that one-third of players in the NHL use performance-enhancing drugs.

"It bothers me when a clown makes a statement like that and it makes (national newspaper) USA Today, because people read it and assume it must be true,"defenceman Ken Klee said. "I am ready for him to apologize when we get our first round of testing done."

Bryan McCabe, the NHL Players' Association representative with the Leafs, scoffed at the notion a sizable chunk of his colleagues use performance-enhancing drugs.

"It certainly isn't 30%," McCabe said. "I guess when they start testing they will prove (Pound) wrong. I don't think it was an issue before and I don't think it will be an issue now.

"I take vitamins and that's it. I have nothing to worry about. I think we have a pretty clean game."

Under the terms of the collective bargaining agreement, a first-time offender would get a 20-game suspension, with a 60-game suspension for a repeat offender. A third offence would result in a permanent ban from the game.

The test will be for drugs such as anabolic steroids and growth hormones, but not for stimulants such as ephedrine (found in some cold medications).

SPLINT STAYS ON

Leafs centre Jason Allison said his left ring finger, which was damaged in a game against the New Jersey Devils on Dec. 26, has not yet completely healed.

"It is coming along, but it probably won't be until after the (Olympic) break that it feels normal," Allison said. "It has been better every game and I am starting to get more comfortable at holding my stick properly and stuff like that.

"It's not perfect, but I don't really want to talk about it."

HOW THE WEST WAS LOST

The Leafs are 2-6 against Western Conference teams.

"What is showing up is the (West clubs) are much more conservative than they used to be," coach Pat Quinn said. "They are all playing sort of a more conservative game than on our Eastern side."


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