Skip to content

Report: Backstrom tests positive for banned substance (Update: Swedish team confirms)

Feb 23, 2014, 9:17 AM EDT

Ice Hockey - Winter Olympics Day 8 - Sweden v Latvia Getty Images

Just minutes before the gold medal game, it was revealed that forward Nicklas Backstrom wouldn’t be available for the contest.

Initially there were reports suggesting that he had a migraine, but an NHLPA source reported that Backstrom actually tested positive for a banned substance, according to Yahoo! Sports.

If that’s true, then he was pulled out of the Swedish locker room prior to the team’s pregame warmups, but after he was already initially listed as being part of the lineup. The positive test apparently came on Friday.

It’s worth adding that this might still be related to the original migraine reports. Some migraine medication count as banned substances, per CBC’s Elliotte Friedman, so that might have been why he tested positive. That being said, nothing has been confirmed yet.

Backstrom wouldn’t be the first men’s hockey player to have tested positive over the course of this tournament. Latvia’s Vitalijs Pavlovs was disqualified for the banned stimulant methylhexaneamine.

UPDATE: The Swedish team has confirmed the report, according to Sportsnet’s Chris Johnston. More to follow.

  1. csilojohnson - Feb 23, 2014 at 9:30 AM

    His migraine just got worse.

  2. coldplay519 - Feb 23, 2014 at 9:34 AM

    CBC reporting that it was Claritin.

  3. lowenni - Feb 23, 2014 at 9:35 AM

    As a Caps fan, I doubt Backstrom would be using any enhancement substances. If it ends up that he was held out just because of some headache medication he took, then that really sucks for him, and Sweden (and the many other countries rooting against Canada). Reading some articles lately I knew he was really excited for the gold medal game and was handling the pressure of losing Zetterberg and Sedin really well. Hope this doesn’t turn out to be anything major, I think Nicky B’s the most underrated player in hockey.

    • angrytwitterguy - Feb 23, 2014 at 9:40 AM

      Ya, it’s being reported as Claritin by multiple outlets now

      • lowenni - Feb 23, 2014 at 9:54 AM

        Seriously? That sucks so much. I know little kids who take claritin, allergy medicine, there’s nothing wrong with it. I’m surprised they held him out for that.

      • angrytwitterguy - Feb 23, 2014 at 10:00 AM

        Claritin contains pseudoephedrine a stimulant, athletes have lost medals over it, but nobody has been out-right banned over it. It’s not a scandalous banned substance, but currently still against the rules.

      • angrytwitterguy - Feb 23, 2014 at 10:02 AM

        By banned I mean, from future events, like an athlete would face if testing positive for other more notorious banned substances

    • bmoreredfury311 - Feb 23, 2014 at 9:54 AM

      This just keeps getting better and better. Russia sh8ts it up, then USA, then Backstrom scratched before the game for an over the counter allergy medicine. And oh the one team i didn’t want to win, wins.

  4. esracerx46 - Feb 23, 2014 at 10:03 AM

    Claritin being used for migraine medication? That would be a first for me. It’s winter, I have allergies myself and they’ve never showed up in winter. Something very fishy with that story.

    • stakex - Feb 23, 2014 at 11:56 AM

      Yes, because YOUR allergies never show up at this time of year means no one else anywhere in the world has them either…… great logic there.

    • koredan - Feb 23, 2014 at 5:26 PM

      Norwegian alpine skier Aksel Lund Svindal had to withdraw from his final events because his allergies were acting up so badly. And as we’ve seen in the many, many shots of green, snowless Sochi, there are plenty of growing things there to be allergic to right now. It’s not surprising, just unfortunate.

  5. sdelmonte - Feb 23, 2014 at 10:10 AM

    Further evidence of how nuts the antidopoers are.

  6. mclovinhockey - Feb 23, 2014 at 10:36 AM

    My allergies always happen during the change of season.. They are acting up right now and I am in Canada. Going from the US to Russia could easily do it.

    • lowenni - Feb 23, 2014 at 10:52 AM

      And if you were an Olympic athlete should you be held out of the Olympics because you took some medication to keep your nose from running? Of course not. It’s absurd.

  7. joey4id - Feb 23, 2014 at 10:52 AM

    Where the hell are the team doctors to regulate and approve medication taken by players? I don’t get it. Claritin? these guys are elite athletes playing on the world stage in a highly regulated doping environment.

    • borderline1988 - Feb 23, 2014 at 11:59 AM

      Totally agree. The players must get briefed on the doping regimens 100 times before the games.

      It’s unfortunate for team Sweden, but how could Backstrom and team doctors screw this up? It’s disgraceful.

Top 10 NHL Player Searches
  1. P. Kane (1691)
  2. P. Kessel (1457)
  3. M. Richards (1214)
  4. P. Datsyuk (1073)
  5. N. Backstrom (1034)