Avangard Omsk players were told their teammate Anton Belov had failed a doping test before they played a crucial Gagarin Cup final match, Avangard defenseman Martin Skoula told RIA Novosti on Sunday.
Avangard could have won the Gagarin Cup with a win on home ice against Dynamo Moscow on Saturday, but lost 3-2, and now leads the series 3-2 ahead of the next game in Moscow on Monday.
“It was before the game, they let us know that he is not in the lineup,” Skoula said. Asked whether the team was told it was because of a failed test, Skoula said "Yes."
Skoula refused to comment when asked whether he believed the accusations, or what effect the announcement had on team morale.
Belov is “a good teammate, a good player,” he said.
The Avangard players were trying to shut out the distraction of Belov’s suspension, Skoula said.
“We are just focusing on the game. There are things that we can’t change, we can’t do anything about it and we’ll see how it turns out, what’s the official verdict is going to be.”
Avangard team doctors had never given Skoula a substance without telling him what it was, and he had never had doubts about any substances given to him at Avangard, he said, adding that medical care in the team was of “a pretty good standard.”
Officials did not carry out follow-up tests on any players after Avangard Omsk defenseman Anton Belov tested positive for a banned substance, Dynamo president Mikhail Tyurkin told RIA Novosti on Sunday.
"It's not just a regular incident, it's an outrageous situation that must be controlled. Instead of that, after the fifth match in Omsk, not one doping test was taken from either team. In my opinion it's just not logical," Tyurkin said.
It is the second major doping incident to involve Avangard in the KHL's four-year history.
In 2008, the team's 19-year-old forward Alexei Cherepanov suffered a heart attack during a KHL game and died soon after. Cherepanov, an NHL draft prospect, was found to have had a previously undetected heart condition.
Federal investigators declared that Cherepanov had engaged in doping over several months. The KHL suspended the Avangard president Konstantin Potapov, general manager Anatoly Bardin and two team doctors shortly afterwards.
Belov has played regularly for Avangard since the KHL was formed in 2008, with 45 points in 212 games.
Czech defenseman Skoula joined Avangard in 2010 after 13 seasons in the NHL, during which he won the Stanley Cup with the Colorado Avalanche in 2001.