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Sweden's Nicklas Backstrom fails doping test in Sochi, banned from gold-medal game

Associated Press - Updated: February 23, 2014 at 9:12 am 0

SOCHI, Russia — Sweden center Nicklas Backstrom failed a doping test for a substance found in an allergy medication and was withdrawn from Sunday's hockey final at the Sochi Olympics.

"I got the message 2 hours before the game that something was wrong," Sweden coach Par Marts after his team lost 3-0 to Canada in the gold-medal game.

Backstrom, who plays for the Washington Capitals in the NHL, was scratched just before the game began.

"It's too bad he couldn't play," Sweden winger Carl Hagelin said. "We lost a really good player."

Backstrom was listed in the lineups distributed before the game, and forward Daniel Alfredsson said the team was told he wouldn't play just before it started.

Swedish Olympic Committee spokesman Bjorn Folin said the banned substance was in an allergy medication that Backstrom has taken for the past seven years.

Backstrom is the sixth athlete to fail a doping test at the games. Five of the six, including Backstrom, tested positive for minor stimulants that are often found in food supplements.

Several of Backstrom's teammates declined to comment on his positive test, with Hagelin saying only that he thinks "it's a bit strange."

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Associated Press writers Karl Ritter in Sochi and Malin Rising in Stockholm contributed to this report.

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Follow Larry Lage on Twitter: http://twitter.com/larrylage

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