[For additional follow up, click here]
Ryan Lambert, the guy whose articles we intentionally skip on Puck Daddy, went on Trib Live radio today to confront/get confronted by John Steigerwald. On Sunday, Steigerwald wrote a column in a newspaper no one reads (the Somewhere Observer-Reporter) in which he says that it was his personal belief that Alex Ovechkin's decline in performance was the result of him stopping use of performance enhancing drugs (with some factual "updates" here). Lambert responded on Monday, purporting to have "squashed" the accusation.
Let's be clear. John Steigerwald is generally a reprehensible human being. We dislike him, and so does almost everyone else. Imagine if Rush Limbaugh had a baby with Rush Limbaugh and named it Rush Limbaugh and then that kid inseminated himself and had a baby named John Steigerwald. That's what we're dealing with here. But if there's one thing we like less than John Steigerwald it's when the Internet hockey media community unites in smug disdain for anything, no matter what it is. Today brought out the worst in everyone, including Puck Daddy. If we ever longed for #nowords, today was the day.
Read on for the worst, after the jump...
The landscape is littered with nonsense. Let's start with Ryan Lambert. His first mistake was going on the radio with John Steigerwald. It's a scientifically proven fact that you will lose every argument against a conservative radio host, even if you don't actually lose the argument. That's how it works. But unfortunately for Lambert, he actually may have lost the argument. His blind defense of Ovechkin, and reference in his column to anyone who dares raise the question of PEDs in regards to Ovechkin's decline as "idiots" reveals a stunning and unearned hubris, as well as an alarming ignorance of the past 15 years of professional sports.
Then you have his cohorts in summoning indignation and outrage: Greg Wyshynski and Dmitry Chesnokov.
Chesnokov began his sarcastic and mystifyingly unnecessary Steigerwald rebuttal on Twitter by asking questions like: "Would that author blame Jonathan Cheechoo's amazing rapid decline on PED taking too?" and "so, every player who is not close to being what they were should be assumed to have used PED?"
He then picks a fight with what appears to be the Twitter boogey-man: "One note: it is plain wrong to assume the city of Pittsburgh and Pens fans are all like Steigerwald. That's not true." I guess we kind of appreciate his defense of us, but it's an obvious point in response to an argument no one is making.
Then there is Greg Wyshynski. If you ever feel like following someone feeling good about himself in real-time, read his Twitter feed. Among other things, he:
1) accuses Steigerwald of libeling Ovechkin while evidently being unaware of the elements and burden of proof of such a claim;
2) tells us, "Steigerwald makes a great point: Evgeni Malkin, Sergei Gonchar and Alex Kovalev grew up in a steroid culture," insinuating that if Steigerwald thinks Ovechkin is on steroids then those guys are using too, which of course has nothing at all to do with whether Ovechkin ever used steroids, and;
3) pronounces that "Lambert and I both did a search for Ovechkin's links to that steroid doctor. We found none outside of Pens messages boards." One could argue this is about as thorough of an investigation as was conducted by the NHL and Capitals.
We have no idea whether Ovechkin, or his mom, or anyone else in the NHL has ever used steroids. Neither does John Steigerwald. But neither does Ryan Lambert. For Lambert, Chesnokov, and Wyshynski to rule out PEDs from the equation entirely, and, at least Lambert's case, call everyone who brings it up an "idiot," is just as irresponsible as he accuses Steigerwald of being. The truth is that we don't know, but if history serves as any guide, and it almost always does, then there's a chance Steigerwald is right.
But wait. Who the hell cares what John Steigerwald thinks, anyway?
Whatever the case, we're not "idiots" for asking the question.
[For additional follow up, click here]