MONTREAL – Coach Bruce Boudreau said Wednesday that the Washington Capitals will not be distracted by a police investigation into a suspected steroid supplier who reportedly had dealings with the team.
Police in Polk County, Fla., interviewed the coach and some players a month ago after the arrest of Douglas Nagel, a chiropractor whose office is adjacent to the team’s practice facility in Virginia and who has treated some of their players, Sports Illustrated reported in its April 26 issue.
The report said Nagel is a client of former bodybuilder Richard Thomas, from whose Florida home police seized US$200,000 worth of pills, bottles and syringes?some containing steroids. Thomas told police he supplied performance-enhancing drugs to several pro athletes, including members of the Capitals and the Washington Nationals baseball team.
Boudreau said some members of the team were interviewed by police.
”I know the police investigated, they interviewed a lot of our players, including me,” he said. ”It was pretty in-depth.
”So I didn’t think at any time they were worried about us. They were trying to find out about trying to find out stuff on the guy who was supposed to be dealing with these things. I don’t know anything else about the story. I’d love to tell you, but I have no clue.”
Sports Illustrated said police talked to forwards Matt Bradley and Eric Fehr and defenceman Shaone Morrisonn, who had all been treated by Nagel.
Alternate captain Mike Knuble said police arrived after practice one day, talked to some players and left.
”They talked to a few guys who were in for chiropractic service,” he said. ”I don’t even know the extent.
”We didn’t talk about it that much, but I think the authorities asked their questions and they seemed to be satisfied at the time.”
The Capitals have a 2-1 lead in their first-round NHL playoff series with the Montreal Canadiens entering Game 4 Wednesday night.
”It’s not affecting any of us,” added Knuble. ”I don’t know what to say about it, whether the timing is that they meant to do, or it’s just the time when the story was broken.”
Boudreau added: ”I guess you’ve got to spring it at some point, but there’s nothing there, so I don’t think the Capitals mind either way.”
A statement from NHL deputy commissioner Bill Daly said a ”thorough investigation” was conducted by the league and there was no evidence that Nagel ever supplied performance-enhancing drugs to any player.
However, Sports Illustrated, quoting an email obtained from police, said NHL security chief Dennis Cunningham admitted that, contrary to Daly’s statement, no league investigation was ever made.
The report also called into question the NHL’s anti-doping program, which has testing during the regular season, but none in the playoffs or the off-season. It said eight of the 10 shipments from Thomas to Nagel were made during the playoffs and another just after the end of the 2008-09 season.