Blog Entry

Steroids tell-alls like Laraque's no longer shock

Posted on: November 5, 2011 10:12 pm
Edited on: November 5, 2011 10:20 pm

By Brian Stubits

Former NHL tough guy Georges Laraque has been busy since retiring after the 2009-10 season. He has visited Haiti with P.K. Subban. He has gotten involved with the Green Party in Canada and he became a vegan. He even did some rapping.

Add a somewhat salacious book to the long list.

In Laraque's book The Story of the NHL's Unlikeliest Tough Guy, he pulled a Jose Canseco, claiming that steroid use was rampant in hockey, and not just among the enforcers. The star players doped too.

"I have to say here that tough guys weren't the only players using steroids in the NHL," Laraque wrote. "It was true that quite a lot of them did use this drug, but other, more talented players did too.

"Most of us knew who they were, but not a single player, not even me, would ever think of raising his hand to break the silence and accuse a fellow player."

That's where his book differs from Canseco, who throw a lot of names under the bus in his tell-all baseball book Juiced. Laraque doesn't name any names.

But Canseco's book has done a funny thing to the sporting audience; it made people apathetic to performance-enhancing drugs in sports. At this point, it's expected. Hockey hasn't been plagued with the scandal like baseball or even football has, but I still don't think this caused many people to bat an eyelash. If they were being used in a sport like baseball, I don't think many were naive enough to think they weren't around in a physical game such as hockey.

Especially without naming names, it's even less eye-catching. At first, Canseco was hammered for his hit-and-run approach. But as one name after another was further implicated, Canseco was further vindicated. He burned bridges, something Laraque clearly isn't willing to do, but it made his claims that much stronger -- and loud.

So in a way, hockey should thank Canseco. Because of him taking baseball through the pain of the steroid scandal, the topic is a bit played out. Fans have come to expect it, while not necessarily liking it, most at least accept it. This is certainly enough to kickstart the conversation in hockey again. The league's performance-enhancing drug testing will be examined. But I'm not sure there will be the massive uproar that America's Pasttime heard.

Laraque even seems to admit that he's not giving away a big secret by saying the tough guys in the game were using. It's the inclusion of some star players that is the revelation. But without names, this carries little weight and the stain will be much easier to wipe away than the one that has plagued baseball.

Now if you were looking for dirt, there was the fact that Laraque called Wayne Gretzky "The worst coach I've ever played for." Of course, I don't think that one will surprise many either.

Information from the Associated Press was used in this report. To read the entire AP story, click here.

Photo: Getty Images

For more hockey news, rumors and analysis, follow @EyeOnHockey and @BrianStubitsNHL on Twitter.

Since: Nov 5, 2011
Posted on: November 7, 2011 11:59 am
This comment has been removed.

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Since: Oct 22, 2007
Posted on: November 7, 2011 9:13 am

Steroids tell-alls like Laraque's no longer shock

SkyHawk, depending on what one takes, there are drugs that improve one's stamina and reaction time, which are two things hockey players rely on a lot. Steroids, if one takes the right ones, can help a hockey player immeasurably.

Not all steroids and other performance-enhancing drugs are about building massive muscles. Some increase the amount of oxygen the blood can carry, which would certainly help a hockey player.

Since: Jul 8, 2008
Posted on: November 7, 2011 7:59 am

Not even ONE name ??

And you call this a story ? He dosen`t even give so much as ONE single name or source you can check with and you print this ? Man,you American sports"writers"(and i use that term lightly) must be desperate to show that it`s not just all your baseball heroes and ghetto thug NBA and NFL animals on drugs.Not one person to ask ?!? That`s called unsubstantiated rumour.Perhaps if you`d gone to some kind of accredited journalism school they may have taught you that.Or,as a layperson,the old adage "coomon sense would dictate" might also fit very well here.Nice slanderous fairy tale,without a single fact to back it up.Next thing you know you`ll have them all carrying hand guns like the ghetto thugs do.

Since: Sep 18, 2006
Posted on: November 7, 2011 12:44 am

Steroids tell-alls like Laraque's no longer shock

You cant say what inside knowledge he has !! Get over yourself. He played in a few cities along the way....montreal and Pittsburh being 2 of them. Maybe you have heard about the 2 teams. You may not like him or what he is doing, but you have no clue what he knows and has seen. A lot more than you I am sure. How about you either do what he did for a living or go on the ice and drop the gloves with him and see who is brave pinhead. He was one of the most fearded fighters of his time.....takes a brave and tough guy to do his job. Get your facts straight....hate people like you.

Since: Sep 16, 2007
Posted on: November 6, 2011 11:09 am

Steroids tell-alls like Laraque's no longer shock

Sudafed was (is?) the drug of choice just before a game. Pseudoephedrine is the main ingredient, and it works a lot like adrenaline: gives a player lots of energy, alertness, no tiredness, and also dulls the pain from fighting or that burning in the legs after a hard shift. It's long-lasting too, takes about 12 hours to wear off. This stuff is still available off the shelf in drug stores, but I notice the strongest you can get now is 30mg tablets; there used to be 90mg and 120mg available. The biggest problem drug stores have with it, is it used to be shoplifted a lot because it can be "cooked" to make meth.

Since: Sep 7, 2011
Posted on: November 6, 2011 10:32 am

Steroids tell-alls like Laraque's no longer shock

steriods make a big difference in hockey , just from the skating aspect alone , never mind the other physical aspects !

Since: Oct 20, 2008
Posted on: November 6, 2011 3:11 am

Steroids tell-alls like Laraque's no longer shock

Canseco did name names, actually.  He was roundly hated by players and fans alike, yet he was vindicated as it was discovered the players he named were terrible steroid users.  He was in the A's clubhouse, he knew who was cheating.  Laraque has no inside knowledge of what "talented players" are using steroids, so he hopes just a blanket accusation will be enough to establish credibility.  What's next- Laraque will drop a bombshell that there are gay players in the NHL (except without naming any) ?  Real brave...

Since: Feb 3, 2011
Posted on: November 6, 2011 1:25 am

Steroids tell-alls like Laraque's no longer shock

The difference is that steroids don't make a huge difference on the ice. In baseball, the juice can give you enough power to get the ball where no fielder can make a play on it. In hockey, no matter how hard you shoot the puck, the goalie can conceivably get a pad, a skate, his blocker or his glove on it, preventing a goal.
There's are many more benefits to steroid use than hitting a ball or puck harder.

As for Laraque, he was one of the most annoying enforcers because he would never fight! One of the most laid back tough guys I have ever seen.

Since: Nov 21, 2006
Posted on: November 6, 2011 12:47 am

Steroids tell-alls like Laraque's no longer shock

Bealive what you want.  Laraque burned plenty of bridges whether he named any names or not.

Since: May 18, 2009
Posted on: November 5, 2011 11:20 pm

Steroids tell-alls like Laraque's no longer shock

What a revelation. A former TOP athlete in his profession(Gretzky) not succeeding as a coach. Thanks George for that brilliant insight and analyzation of the Greatest hockey player ever! No one ever said he was a good coach. The fact is Superstar player's make for terrible coaches for one simple reason. They are perfectionist, not teachers. Go from sport to sport and 99.9% of the time it does not pan out. Like it goes, those who can't...Teach, and apparently unbeknown to George, those who can't play...Fight. Does anyone really care about what this loser says? It's not's Beer! LOL!

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