Does doping charge alter context of Cherepanov tragedy?

This sad new chapter in the Alexei Cherepanov story was mentioned in today's Puck Headlines, but here are the specifics from the AP:

Russia's federal Investigative Committee said in a statement experts concluded from analysis of blood and urine samples that for several months Cherepanov "engaged in doping." A committee spokeswoman refused to specify the drugs Cherepanov allegedly took.

The committee said the club's medical team may carry legal liability, contending a "row of gross violations was committed by the medical brigade" helping Cherepanov.

"Among them, doctors arrived on the scene a full 12 minutes after Cherepanov collapsed, and the battery on the defibrillator to attempt shock Cherepanov's heart back into life was drained," the statement said.

Does this new information change the nature of, and reaction to, the tragic death of Cherepanov after he fell unconscious during a KHL game in October?

Here's what hasn't changed: The KHL's medical staff's response was still woefully and fatally inadequate, and the League has taken steps to ensure this tragedy won't be repeated.

Also inadequate were the tests that failed to detect Cherepanov's myocarditis, described by the AP as "a condition where not enough blood gets to the heart." The Investigative Committee's report confirms that a player with that condition should not have been playing professional hockey.

What has changed about the tragedy: The Moscow Area Ministry of Public Health reported back in October that Cherepanov's posthumous urinalysis came back "negative for any traces of performance enhancing drugs or metabolites." As Beyond the Blueshirts points out, whether the new report is detailing blood doping or performance enhancing drug use, it's clearly in conflict with that earlier analysis.

If this new report is accurate -- and Beyond the Blueshirts writes that "the full report is expected after the new year" -- then questions need to be answered about the nature of the doping and whether it put Cherepanov at greatest risk for heart failure. If so, then we are left with the painfully confusing muddle of personal responsibility vs. inadequate testing vs. completely inadequate medical support on the night of the tragedy.

We weren't as hasty as others to demonize the KHL for its dreadful response under extraordinary circumstances; and by "others" we mean "Pierre McGuire," who basically said the tragedy closed the door for any North American players to lace up for the KHL.

This latest news doesn't change the KHL's culpability on that night. But it potentially, and unfortunately, alters Cherepanov's legacy as a 19-year-old future star who was a victim of circumstances.

At least until the next twist in a story that's had its share of misinformation and false leads.

Finally, since we don't really have anywhere else to place them, here are your KHL All-Stars for the upcoming game.

Team Yashin

Goaltenders: Alexander Eremenko (Salavat Yulaev Ufa )*; Konstantin Barulin (CSKA Moscow)

Defensemen: Ilya Nikulin (Ak Bars Kazan)*; Vitaly Proshkin (Salavat Yulaev Ufa )* Konstantin Korneev (CSKA Moscow); Alexei Zhitnik (Dynamo Moscow )

Forwards: Alexei Yashin (Lokomotiv Yaroslavl); Andrei Nikolishin (Traktor Chelyabinsk); Alexei Kudashov (Lokomotiv Yaroslavl); Alexei Morozov (Ak Bars Kazan )*; Danis Zaripov (Ak Bars Kazan)*; Maksim Sushinsky (SKA St Petersburg)*; Alexander Radulov (Salavat Yulaev Ufa); Sergei Mozyakin (Atlant Mytishchi); Alexei Tereschenko (Salavat Yulaev Ufa).

Team Jagr

Goaltenders: Robert Esche (SKA St Petersburg )*; Ray Emery (Atlant Mytishchi.)

Defensemen: Ray Giroux ( SKA St Petersburg )*; Kevin Dallman (Barys Astana)*; Karel Rachunek (Dynamo Moscow); Magnus Johansson (Atlant Mytishchi).

Forwards: Jaromir Jagr (Avangard Omsk); Marcel Hossa (Dynamo Riga); Jakub Klepis (Avangard Omsk); Pavel Brendl (Torpedo Nizhny Novgorod)*; Tony Martensson (Ak Bars Kazan)*; Jan Marek (Metallurg Magnitogorsk)*; Jaroslav Kudma (Metallurg Magnitogorsk); Esa Pimes (Atlant Mytishchi); Branko Radivoevich (Spartak Moscow)

* = voted to start by fans

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