Should be really interesting to see how much the NHL’s Performance Enhancing Substances Program changes in the next CBA. As it stands, it seems like Schmidt’s getting fucked mostly because of wording in the current rules and how the system works. From the released statements, it seems like his defense mostly centered around the amount of substance in his body not being enough to have any kind of impact on his performance, but under the current CBA, that doesn’t matter at all. If there’s enough in you to pop positive on a test, whether or not that amount is enough to actually do anything is entirely irrelevant.
And the actual criteria for challenging a positive test is pretty much horseshit. “… the Player shall be entitled to challenge the imposition of any
discipline in the event he is able to establish…
(he) could not have reasonably
ascertained how the Prohibited Substance entered his body”. Seems somewhat difficult to conclusively argue that you don’t know how something happened. You could convince 99% of the people in the room that you have no way of knowing how it happened, but if the arbitrator doesn’t buy it, you’re shit out of luck. That’s your one shot, and if it misses, your fight ends there and you get nailed with the mandatory 20 games without pay. This isn’t a jury here, this is one person who has to accept your explanation. Maybe a committee of some sort would be better. I don’t know.
Bottom line, the NHLPA is going to have to step up during the next negotiation and fix this shit. Maybe raise the acceptable levels of certain substances to where they’d actually have to have a performance-enhancing effect on a player before they count as a positive test. Break away from the WADA guidelines, which have always been ridiculously strict. Obviously we aren’t seeing players getting suspended left and right over this, but that doesn’t make it any less important to get it right.