Do we have time to squeeze in another Sochi controversy before our collective attention moves on to other sports? [Checks watch] Sure, looks like there’s room for one more.

The Swedish hockey team was without forward Nicklas Backstrom for Sunday’s final against Canada (a game Canada won 3-0). Backstrom wasn’t allowed to compete because of a failed doping test, but both Swedish and international hockey officials claim the International Olympic Committee (IOC) was out of bounds in their ruling.

Backstrom tested positive for pseudoephedrine, a stimulant contained in his daily sinus medication Zyrtec-D. According to Mark Aubrey, the chief medical officer of the International Ice Hockey Federation (IIHF), the trace amounts of psuedoephedrine in Backstrom’s system shouldn’t have warranted a doping suspension:

We did have a circumstance in Vancouver (2010 Winter Olympics) where a player did have a level above the accepted level.



We certainly appealed to the IOC and the IOC was able to do another test on the player the next day, which did show that the level had come back to below the accepted level.



I feel strongly as a medical person that there certainly is no doping in this instance. He is an innocent victim, and certainly we support them strongly. Doping is certainly not allowed, but this is not a case of doping.

To make matters worse, Swedish coach Par Marts said he wasn’t informed of Backstrom’s suspension until two hours before the game against Canada:

I didn’t get a definite decision that he couldn’t play until during the warm-up, so then we had to just take it from there.



It’s like kindergarten. Canada is the best team in this tournament and I think we are second best. I think we should have the right conditions to compete with Canada and we didn’t have that today.



I talk for the players, I talk for the coaches and the whole staff, they’re all very upset today. Our opinion is that IOC has destroyed one of the greatest hockey days in Swedish history.

The NHL also issued a statement in defense of Backstrom:

Subject to confirmation of the facts as we understand them, and given the fact that the substance is neither prohibited in the NHL nor was used in an improper manner here, we do not anticipate there being any consequences relative to Nicklas’ eligibility to participate in games for the Washington Capitals.