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Old
04-27-2011, 11:50 AM
  #1
RedWingsNow*
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Steroids

If you're a Red Wings prospect, chances are you've heard this before:

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“I feel confident that Ben has the skill, creativity, swagger and drive to have a shot at playing pro hockey down the road despite his size, but like most kids his age he needs to add a lot of strength,” Kolb said. “Ben’s progress in the weight room over the next four years will likely go a long way in determining how far he is able to go as a hockey player.”
For so many of these kids, it's not about improving their hockey skills, or improving their understanding of the game. It's about gaining muscle mass.

If you're an skinny kid with good wheels and offensive chops, and it's your life-long dream to play in the NHL, and you finally get drafted and it becomes clear that muscle-mass is the greatest obstacle to reaching your goal.... how tempting are steroids?

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04-27-2011, 12:23 PM
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Darkhawk07
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I think its a lot less tempting for hockey players in the new NHL than it is for a young football or baseball player. Clearly you still need to have strength and mass so you can take a hit and become much harder to move, but with the way the rules have changed I think speed/puck handling abilities are a lot more important now than being big/strong.

Obviously you'd like to have both but you can get away with being a smaller guy now if you can make up for it with speed. I think if you look at a study of average height/weight of draftees in the 80's/90's and compare them with today the numbers will be down quite a bit.

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04-27-2011, 12:33 PM
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Conditioning and training is such a huge part of the sport...these guys don't get fat and lazy during the offseason and continue to work out year around. You wonder about how they keep their edge. You'd be naive to think everyone is doing it "the right way" but so far, I can only remember Sean Hill when he was with Minnesota as being a guy getting busted for PEDs. Hockey players probably have far more respect for their sport to not out and out cheat.

Guys will look for an edge in some fashion or some will just work that much harder to get where they need to be. I just don't connect hockey with cheaters but you wonder with players as they get up in years to compete with the young bucks that they turn to something artificial to keep their jobs. Several of the guys nailed in baseball were guys later in their playing days that transformed themselves into freaks and prolonged their career...Barry Bonds comes to mind.

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04-27-2011, 01:06 PM
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I don't think you can fine tune it to that extent. The strength and muscle that hockey players have is the difference between a grown, fully mature man and someone in their late teens to college age. It's why a lot of strength sports have men in their mid- to late-twenties as the dominant age group (the peak years).

The muscle building stuff that just puts on bulk probably harms a hockey players agility more than it helps. The strength has to be throughout, not just the ability to lift more weight. I don't think you can "rush" that kind of strength development as the musculature (bone density) also has to grow into the full adult form.

Heck, if anything could be abused, it would be growth hormone.

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04-27-2011, 01:26 PM
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If hockey players try to use steroids to pack on muscle too quickly, they'll destroy their joints and ligaments. Not exactly a path to success in the NHL.

If they add muscle naturally and gradually, they'll give their connective tissues time to adapt and they shouldn't have those problems. This would be why roided up MLBers are all injured all the time - it stiffens you up and makes your ligaments and tendons prone to spraining and tearing. And then you need to take more steroids to repair them quickly. Etc.

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04-27-2011, 01:28 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by sarcastro View Post
If hockey players try to use steroids to pack on muscle too quickly, they'll destroy their joints and ligaments. Not exactly a path to success in the NHL.

If they add muscle naturally and gradually, they'll give their connective tissues time to adapt and they shouldn't have those problems. This would be why roided up MLBers are all injured all the time - it stiffens you up and makes your ligaments and tendons prone to spraining and tearing. And then you need to take more steroids to repair them quickly. Etc.
Aren't steroids also used to speed up recovery time?

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04-27-2011, 01:42 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Heaton View Post
Aren't steroids also used to speed up recovery time?
Essentially. Everyone talks about baseball players using and how it doesn't make a good player great, but it also keeps that guy up and running full bore in August. With how much we talk about guys like Z getting worn down over the course of a season and having to save it for the playoffs, the benefits of steroids become apparent.

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04-27-2011, 02:10 PM
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Originally Posted by Heaton View Post
Aren't steroids also used to speed up recovery time?
Yes but they can also cause injuries a couple different ways.

1. When a person takes steroids and does heavy weight training, they'll build a lot of muscle really quickly - more quickly than nature intended. Their tendons, ligaments, and other connective tissues won't necessarily have the strength and flexibility to handle the added tension and strain that stronger muscles put on them. This can cause an increase in ligament tears, tendon strains, etc. If you build muscle on the natural human rate, your tissues have the chance to adapt to the increase and the risk of injury is lower. But you don't get big muscles fast, and that's what athletes are looking for.

2. When an athlete is injured (or their muscles are fatigued from workout and have lots of tiny tears in them), steroids can help speed up the recovery process.

Essentially you've got a lot of athletes taking different steroids for different reasons at the same time - some to help them train longer, some to help them build more muscle from training, some to help them recover faster so they can train more often, and some to help them heal from injury faster.

Steroids don't make your connective tissues any stronger. That's the key.

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04-27-2011, 03:36 PM
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Originally Posted by Fugu View Post
The muscle building stuff that just puts on bulk probably harms a hockey players agility more than it helps.
I agree with this. At 5'10, 190lb. Kris Draper is probably the most "jacked" Red Wing in terms of lean mass and he would be a smaller guy in most serious gyms. That's not to say he isn't fit or even quite strong.

On a separate note, much of this talk about steroids wrecking havoc on joints and connective tissue is a bit misguided. There are some anabolic steroids (Nandrolone Decanoate) that have been shown to increase collagen synthesis and promote bone density.

I don't see why someone like Ben Marshall should ever have to resort to steroids. At 18 years old and 170 he could add 10-20 lbs. of mass to his frame without much trouble if he's willing to train hard and eat large in the off-season.

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04-27-2011, 04:02 PM
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Originally Posted by icKx View Post
I don't see why someone like Ben Marshall should ever have to resort to steroids. At 18 years old and 170 he could add 10-20 lbs. of mass to his frame without much trouble if he's willing to train hard and eat large in the off-season.
This hits the key point, imo. The weight/muscle gain we are talking about for these kids is very manageable at their age, without steroids. And given what they are doing in the game, compared to, say, a HR-hitting first baseman/corner outfielder in baseball, I don't think there is nearly as much allure for hockey players. I certainly wouldn't be shocked to find out that some hockey players, somewhere, tried steroids, but I don't think the problem would be anything close to what it has been in baseball.

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04-27-2011, 06:56 PM
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This hits the key point, imo. The weight/muscle gain we are talking about for these kids is very manageable at their age, without steroids. And given what they are doing in the game, compared to, say, a HR-hitting first baseman/corner outfielder in baseball, I don't think there is nearly as much allure for hockey players. I certainly wouldn't be shocked to find out that some hockey players, somewhere, tried steroids, but I don't think the problem would be anything close to what it has been in baseball.
The Red Wings don't rush their prospects so Marshall is looking at three years minimum of college. So that puts less of the pressure on to get big in a hurry. I also think the Red Wings would know pretty quickly if he decided to start juicing and would deal with that. They see him every year at the prospects camps and would be like what the hell, Ben Marshall is built like Ben Johnson.

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04-27-2011, 09:08 PM
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I have no illusions that a good chunk of NHLers are on steroids or other PEDs. I'm not that fussed though, ignorance is bliss.

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04-27-2011, 09:49 PM
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I have no illusions that a good chunk of NHLers are on steroids or other PEDs. I'm not that fussed though, ignorance is bliss.
Why do you think so? And why do you think we haven't heard about it?

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04-28-2011, 06:00 AM
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Because it's big money sports and there's every incentive to do it. It's no different from the NFL or baseball in that regard. Look at hockey player bodies today and compare the physiques to players in the 50s. It's not like those weren't generally very fit and trained, they just didn't look like combat machines.

And what exact interest does the NHL have to catch anyone? A league trying to establish itself in the mainstream American sports landscape can really use a steroids scandal with all the bad PR that comes with it. And if enough teams benefit there's no incentive to blow the whistle internally either.

Remember, we only know cycling is thoroughly corrupted by PED use because of large-scale governmental intervention leading to athletes, coaches, trainers etc. confessing. Only a small % were ever caught in tests. And that with the tight Olympic testing regime where athletes have to report their whereabouts so they can get surprise tests done etc.

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04-28-2011, 09:32 AM
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Originally Posted by icKx View Post
I agree with this. At 5'10, 190lb. Kris Draper is probably the most "jacked" Red Wing in terms of lean mass and he would be a smaller guy in most serious gyms. That's not to say he isn't fit or even quite strong.

On a separate note, much of this talk about steroids wrecking havoc on joints and connective tissue is a bit misguided. There are some anabolic steroids (Nandrolone Decanoate) that have been shown to increase collagen synthesis and promote bone density.

I don't see why someone like Ben Marshall should ever have to resort to steroids. At 18 years old and 170 he could add 10-20 lbs. of mass to his frame without much trouble if he's willing to train hard and eat large in the off-season.
Even if those steroid build collagen and bone density over time, they won't build it at the same rate that muscle is built so there is still going to be an imbalance. If I were roiding, I wouldn't count on those extra steroids to balance out the extra muscle.

Also, most of the serious work I've read on the subject says that even if you load up on protein and weight train like hell, your body is only capable of putting on 5-10 lbs of muscle a year without steroids. So what probably happens is, guys add 15-20 lbs over the summer because they're slamming protein shakes and working out a ton, but then in the fall they get to camp and their legs are sluggish. This is because they've added maybe 5 lbs of muscle over the summer, and 10-15 lbs of fat from overeating. It takes them a little while to work that fat off and get their legs back. We've seen this story a lot on RWC - "Prospect X added 15 lbs over the summer but it took him a couple months of playing to get his speed back" etc.

People don't realize that if you eat 15,000 calories a day and don't burn it off, it doesn't matter if you ate nothing but broccoli and whey isolate, you're still going to convert the extra calories to fat.

I could see a guy like Marshall or Almqvist hearing everyone tell him "you can't make the NHL at 160 lbs, come back when you're 190" and making a desperate decision.

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04-28-2011, 11:55 AM
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yes I would. If I felt that doing a cycle of steriods once over the summer or twice over two summers and felt I wasnt going to get tested and was the difference between making the NHL. I sure would.

I think a lot of you are naive to think a lot of these prospects arent juicing. Not a majority, just some who want an advantage.

I have no idea what the drug testing rules are for the CHL but ultra competitive leagues like those where most players are drafted out of I think would be a good candidate where prospects look for an advantage.

As an NHL fan, I have no problem with guys that have juiced in the past and are currently clean.

That is not to mention HGH which I dont think has a reliable test either.

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04-28-2011, 02:15 PM
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Why do you think so? And why do you think we haven't heard about it?
Does the NHL test for HGH? The NFL doesnt and Im think the majority of players use hgh that arent kickers, punters or qb's.

I think a smaller a% of NHL players would use hgh than NFL but I think it is prevelant.

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04-28-2011, 08:30 PM
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The NFL does not currently test for HGH. From what I understand the only test available is a blood test and the players union will not accept a blood test. I think the NHL should test for steroids and I have no idea how prevalent their use is amongst the players. I see guys like Patrick Kane in those Vancouver pics last season and he looks like a plucked chicken. With that being said I can see where there is incentive to juice so testing would be the best way to discourage their use. The worst thing to do would follow MLB and stick your head in the sand.

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