Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Steigerwald-Lambert: A Postmortem

By GTOG Staff

A few follow-up points to Tuesday's post on Ryan Lambert and Puck Daddy taking John Steigerwald to task for his very Steigerwaldian take on Alex Ovechkin.

We're not defending John Steigerwald's reasoning. We don't like him or his casual put-downs of Russians and Russian culture any more than Mr. Chesnokov. And we're certainly not saying it was smart to take suspicions that Ovechkin took PEDs and put them into a "guilty until proven innocent" column. We are saying Lambert was overly preoccupied with the messenger and willfully ignores a legitimate question. We're talking about a player who looked nothing less than superhuman prior to a steroid investigation which - according to the New York Times and Sports Illustrated - involved the Washington Capitals, and who subsequently struggled to match the production of Pascal Dupuis. You don't think it's fair to ask if he might have had a little artificial help?  Put aside Steigerwald's bizarre claims about women's mustaches, and focus on the bigger picture.

We have no idea where this woman is from.
We merely responded to what seemed to us a smug dismissiveness toward the whole steroid question. The messenger (Steigerwald) and his inartful message (as communicated in his article and on his radio show) have been rightfully attacked, but part of us thinks that these attacks are designed to deflect attention away from the ultimate issue ... might steroids be an explanation for Ovechkin's seeming decline? And if so, then what else in the NHL are steroids responsible for?

Steigerwald, in his patented douche-tastic way, was essentially doing the same thing that all sports fans do in 2011 -- we look at someone and decide whether we think he/she is on steroids. Some of the facts he used to support his theory were wrong, and that makes him a bad journalist.  But it doesn't mean that we can't speculate about who is or isn't on steroids until we get a photo of them shooting up. We do it all the time.

Player X hits 50 home runs in 2010. Player X hits 20 homeruns in 2011. What do we all think? Steroids. Of course we don't know that unless there is a positive test, but isn't it at least a possible explanation? If we knew the names of any baseball players, we could probably name 50 players we think have used/are using steroids.

Consider the way a more respectable and well-respected journalist brought this topic up on Twitter just a few days before Steigerwald went nuclear.

We don't actually care whether Ovechkin is, was, or ever will be on steroids. We don't get offended when players use steroids in any sport. If Crosby is on steroids, we hope they make his skull more protective of his brain.

For Ryan Lambert to cavalierly dismiss even the suggestion that PEDs had some role in Ovechkin's precipitous decline - a decline that hockey writers have been trying to explain for more than a year, by the way - doesn't make a lot of sense to us. For Chesnokov to ask whether Steigerwald also thinks Jonathon Cheechoo's massive drop off in goals a few years ago was attributable to steroids, to that we say ... maybe. We simply don't know, but to brush it off like it's nothing is crazy. And for us to go point-by-point against Wyshynski on Twitter just shows why Twitter is a great way to get traffic to your site (thanks, Greg) but a terrible place to debate legal nuance.  If you want to do that, if you really feel you must, email us at  But you might want to read Artistry's comment first.


  1. Just want to say that I agree with you guys 100%.

    My feeling during this whole debate was that:
    1. The people ganging up on Steigerwald were not defending Ovechkin as much as their beloved game of hockey and the feeling that NHL players are all Good Canadian Boys who would never do anything to jeopardize the integrity of the sport. They were just lucky that it was a homer imbecile who's the brother of an even bigger, slightly more famous homer announcer of the team Ovechkin hates most that made the accusation.

    2. The NHL is having trouble moving out of its' parents' basement. If ESPN or the American public cared about hockey, no one would have even noticed a column in some obscure local paper of a town of 15,268 people (and I wouldn't bother looking up Washington PA in Wikipedia).