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Nicklas Backstrom misses Olympic final because of positive drug test

SOCHI, Russia – The Swedish Hockey Federation says Nicklas Backstrom was scratched from Sunday’s Olympic gold medal hockey game because he tested positive for a banned substance.

A spokesman for the Swedish team says the Washington Capitals forward will speak to the media later today.

Reports initially said he was suffering from a migraine headache. But Swedish Olympic Committee spokesman Bjorn Folin said the banned substance was in an allergy medication Backstrom has taken for seven years.

The Swedes lost the game 3-0 to Canada.

“It was a shocking message to get,” goalie Jhonas Enroth told the Swedish news agency TT after the final. “We found out two hours before the match.”

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Backstrom, who had been the Swedes’ No. 2 centre in the absence of Henrik Zetterberg and Henrik Sedin, had four assists in the first five games of the tournament.

Backstrom was not on the ice for pre-game warm-ups but was listed on the official lineup sheet.

Backstrom is the sixth athlete to fail a doping test at the Games. Five of the six, including Backstrom, tested positive for minor stimulants often found in food supplements.

With files from The Associated Press.

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