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Caps center fails doping test

The IOC bans a substance found in an allergy medication Nicklas Backstrom takes.

The IOC bans a substance found in an allergy medication Nicklas Backstrom takes.

SOCHI, Russia — Sweden and Capitals center Nicklas Backstrom sat out Sunday's 3-0 gold-medal loss to Canada after failing a doping test for pseudoephedrine, a substance found in an allergy medication.

"The last two weeks have been some of the best in my life. I was ready to play the biggest game of my career," Backstrom said. "And 2½ hours before the game, I got pulled aside."

He then paused and appeared to be on the verge of tears.

"It's sad," he said.

The Swedes were irate.

"The (International Olympic Committee) has destroyed one of the greatest hockey days in Swedish history," general manager Tommy Boustedt said.

Said coach Par Marts: "I think it (stinks). It's like kindergarten."

Backstrom was tested after Wednesday's quarterfinal win. Normally, results take 48 hours, but this one took about 96. Boustedt said the timing of the IOC's decision was "political."

"They waited until the final day of competition to make the biggest impact on you journalists," he said. "They need examples to scare cheaters with. Nick is not one of them."

The IOC declined to comment.

NHL deputy commissioner Bill Day said Backstrom faces no punishment from the league because it doesn't ban pseudoephedrine.

Backstrom did not get a silver medal. The International Ice Hockey Federation said it will await instructions from the IOC.

The Capitals said Sunday that Backstrom has taken the medication intermittently for seven years. Swedish team doctor Bjorn Waldeback said he spoke to IIHF doctors before the Olympics and all parties agreed Backstrom's normal dose of one pill a day wouldn't lead to a positive test.

Mark Aubry, IIHF chief medical officer, said Backstrom correctly provided information to the IOC: "He is the innocent victim of circumstances. There is no doping."

Lightning claims Chicago defenseman

TAMPA — The Lightning did not have to do much research on Mike Kostka before putting in its waiver claim. His body of work was well known as the defenseman played for coach Jon Cooper at AHL Norfolk during its 2011-12 Calder Cup run.

"I like his brain," Cooper said Sunday, after Tampa Bay claimed Kostka from the Blackhawks. "He thinks the game."

Though Cooper said Kostka, 28, might not play immediately, "We feel he'll be a good fit."

Kostka had two goals and three points in nine games this season. In 44 games, he has two goals, 11 points and is minus-4. In 2011-12 for Norfolk, Kostka had seven goals and 32 points in 52 games. In 18 playoff games, he had six goals, 12 points and was plus-14.

"He has poise under pressure, and he can shoot it," Cooper said. "He has the ability to play on the power play. To have guys who are that versatile, we felt he would help give us depth back there. And he's a great teammate."

More Lightning: Struggling minor-league goalie Riku Helnius, the No. 15 overall pick in 2006, cleared waivers, and his contract was terminated. Tampa Bay saved about $160,000 of his $650,000 salary. … AHL Syracuse defenseman Andrej Sustr, who played 38 games with Tampa Bay this season, is expected to miss several weeks with an upper-body injury. The Syracuse Post-Standard reported he hurt his shoulder/collarbone area Friday when he slid into the boards against Utica.

Times staff writer Damian Cristodero contributed to this report.

Caps center fails doping test 02/23/14 [Last modified: Sunday, February 23, 2014 10:16pm]

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