Six months ago, Nicklas Backstrom was gearing up for the gold medal game at the Olympics. Sweden was about to take on Canada for all the marbles in Sochi. Heading into the final, Backstrom had four points – all assists – in five games.
But a few hours before the puck dropped, the IOC announced Backstrom was ineligible to play. They said the 26-year-old had tested positive for pseudoephedrine in a drug test he took a week earlier. The positive was believed to come from the allergy medication that Backstrom had been taking for seven years and prescribed by team doctors. Needless to say, the Swedes weren’t pleased with the way it was handled.
Canada won the game 3-0, but because of his suspension, Backstrom didn’t receive his silver medal with the rest of the Swedish team afterwards. It wasn’t until early March that the IOC decided the one-game suspension was punishment enough and that he could receive his medal.
Today, he finally got it. Backstrom received his medal prior to a Swedish League game between Brynas and Djurgarden.
There’s no telling if the gold medal game would have played out any differently for Sweden had Backstrom been in it. He was one of their centerpieces and best players throughout the tournament, but Canada’s suffocating defense was dominant through the whole game and tournament. Odds are Canada still would have won.
But Backstrom should have received this medal long ago. Like, say, on February 23. In Sochi. On the ice. With his teammates.
The IOC strikes again.