First and foremost, let me introduce you the first actor of this little story.
His name is Maurice Duquette. He is an orthopedist, and is currently facing the doctors' disciplinary committee in Quebec for 14 accusations of doping athletes. It all started when former Canadian cycling champ Genevieve Jeanson was tested positive in 2005, and later admitted in an interview that Doctor Duquette started to give her EPO in 1998 when she was suffering from Anemia.
EPO, also called Erythropoietin, is an hormone that regulates the red blood cell production. It then helps in the injury healing process, and the transport of oxygen from the lungs to the muscles. In other words, we have had X-Men among the roster (Rogue-style healing injury please). I don't remember any Stanley Cup though. Doc, are you sure the product works?
Anyway, in the investigation, two teams were named: the Montreal Alouettes and the Montreal Canadiens. Duquette admitted that in 2001, he helped professional hockey players to "maintain their retail value.”
Duquette says that the players would come talk to him instead of the team's physician, fearing that their value would decrease. Going further in the disciplinary hearing, he has told that his partnership (if I may call it that way) with those players ended when they have moved to the Western Conference. I bet if the investigators kept asking, we would have gotten the names of Western teams they have moved to!
You know, that sounded like a relief for me. If he had said that those players are still in the team right now, we would have gone on and on about the Habs ending first in the East thanks to EPO!
Both teams denied having any information relating to it. "We have never heard of anything of this nature ... we found no information whatsoever," declared Donald Beauchamp, the Montreal Canadiens spokesman.
No further investigation is needed on the Montreal's side I guess. If you don't believe Mr. Beauchamp, just check out Latendresse's speed on the ice. That guy is clearly not taking anything!
If this gets deeper, maybe we will get some names sometime soon. Who knows? If those players are identified, perhaps their current contract would come to an end and that would be the chance for Bob Gainey to sign some people during the summer - just kidding.
For our own investigation, let's go back in time.
Those of you who recall a sudden boost in the Montreal Canadiens performance, if you can name specific players, it would help! If you recall that one has suddenly recovered from his injury, another skates surprisingly faster, or such, please share! Personally, I don't know what bothers me more:
The fact that those players have been taking the substance or that they could actually lie to the team's medical staff.