When we point out the differences between the NHL and the KHL, it's usually to goof on their goaltending or celebrate their goonery. But here's another rather important distinction between the two: KHL players are tested for banned substances during the playoffs, while the current NHL policy doesn't allow it.
Avangard Omsk defenseman Anton Belov learned that difference the hard way in the 2012 Gagarin Cup Finals.
Russian Deputy Sports Minister Yury Nagornykh told RIA Novosti on Sunday that the 25-year-old tested positive after the fourth match of the Gagarin Cup finals against Dynamo Moscow on Thursday. He missed the fifth game on Saturday, snatched by Dynamo, 3-2, to cut the deficit in the series. "We had the information that the 'A' test was positive already on Friday," Nagornykh stated.
Belov has a chance to be justified if the 'B' tests prove otherwise. Any sanctions, including Belov's suspension from the sport, cannot be imposed until then.
The Russian anti-doping agency RUSAD confirmed the suspension, but said that "the substance could have been consumed with food supplements."
Belov tested positive after the fourth game between Avangard and Dynamo Moscow on Thursday, but no players were tested after Saturday's fifth game at Avangard's arena, Dynamo president Mikhail Tyurkin told RIA Novosti on Sunday, calling the lack of testing "outrageous."
"In relation to the players of both teams taking part in the 2012 Gagarin Cup final series, including during the period of the competition, the anti-doping measure will be strengthened," the KHL said in a statement on its website. The league did not specify how the measures would be strengthened.
Avangard lost both games Belov missed, forcing a Game 7 on Wednesday between Omsk and Dynamo Moscow.