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Sestito Accuses Teams of Dishing Pills; Says Penguins Staff Cleaned Him Up

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Pittsburgh Penguins, robin lehner, Tom Sestito
Tom Sestito: Photo by Michael Miller

It appears Vegas Golden Knights goalie Robin Lehner may have shaken loose a scandal of NHL medical staffs and dangerous unprescribed medications. A former Pittsburgh Penguins tough guy publicly supported Lehner while exonerating and praising the Penguins staff on Monday night.

Sestito credited the Penguins doctors with “cleaning him up.”

Saturday, Lehner accused teams of giving benzodiazepines and Ambien to players without proper prescriptions. In his following tweet, he called for the Philadelphia Flyers to fire the “dinosaur” coach Alain Vigneault. The combination of tweets unleashed speculation that the Flyers were one of the teams giving out the drugs.

Lehner clarified to ESPN’s Emily Kaplan he was not accusing Vigneault of being a part of the pill distribution.

The NHLPA and NHL have reached out the Lehner to learn more.

Former Pittsburgh Penguins and WBS Penguins forward Tom Sestito offered unprompted high praise for the Penguins medical staff on Monday night. He tweeted:

“Also, there are great organizations in the NHL, @penguins team of doctors were the ones to get me off all that shit and were dumbfounded as to why I had all of it to begin with,” Sestito tweeted.

In his 12-year career, Sestito had more success dropping the gloves than lighting lamps. The obvious inference was previous teams dished the pills. Sestito played the previous three seasons for the Vancouver Canucks, including the Utica Comets of the AHL, and two years with the Philadelphia Flyers.

As with any Tweet, keyboard experts attacked Sestito, who swatted them aside with the same ease he protected the stars he played with.

Sestito said once he was given a bottle of Toradol. In another instance, doctors gave him the drug 20 minutes before a game because his team didn’t have salary cap space to call up an injury replacement. He called the amounts of the drug that team doctors gave him “insane.”

As a Flyers fan pushed, Sestito also named the additional drugs doctors gave him.

The big man who received a Sidney Crosby-signed stick upon the birth of his son, Killian, which read “I felt a foot taller with your Dad in the lineup,” handled himself well again on Monday night.

He had to push back on another “Twitter expert,” too:

“…When you get on a plane after a game and the doctor says take this. You have no idea what you’re talking about, and it shows, so why don’t you sit this one out.”

One thing should be clear: knowledge or decency are not requirements to offer social media opinions.

Before his tenure with the Pittsburgh Penguins organization, which ended in 2018, he played three seasons with the Vancouver Canucks (2013-15), four seasons with the Philadelphia Flyers and their AHL affiliate (2010-2013), and four seasons primarily in the Columbus Blue Jackets minor league system (2007-2010).

In an unfortunate connection, Sestito’s first coach in Vancouver was briefly Alain Vigneault. John Tortorella, then Willie Desjardins followed Vigneault in Vancouver, but Sestito played only three games under Desjardins.

The veteran retired after 13 games with the Toronto Marlies in 2019. He played 154 NHL games over 12 seasons with 10 goals, 21 points, and 499 penalty minutes.

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Uros
Uros
17 days ago

Well, this would be more than a scandal if a quarter of it were true, let alone that at this point it seems full four quarters are true. Just looking at the list of pills they were (I should say allegedly at this point, shouldn’t I?) swallowing makes you fear for their lives or at least the quality of said lives. But we all knew this for a long time, just didn’t know the names of medications. I mean nobody is that naive to think that any sport, with all the money and pressure that goes with it, is clean.… Read more »

jackw
jackw
17 days ago
Reply to  Uros

One thing should be clear: knowledge or decency are not requirements to offer social media opinions.

Uros
Uros
17 days ago
Reply to  jackw

It looks like I’m the perfect candidate for a doctor on some of these teams.

Keith Thomas
Keith Thomas
17 days ago

Great to learn that the Pens medical staff are doing the right thing for player unlike some other teams. Good article Dan – but it would be good to know exactly what these drugs are intended to accomplish, when teams might dish a player these drugs and why they are so dangerous. Clearly, the organization is squared away in this area and that is great to know that they don’t treat players like a slab of meat.

Uros
Uros
16 days ago
Reply to  Keith Thomas

NSAIDs are known to cause, among others, cardiac and gastrointestinal problems. The guy responding to Sestito was saying that he shouldn’t make a scandal out of a couple of NSAIDs, and I couldn’t agree more, but then Sestito adds a list with several other NSAIDs, anxiolytic, hypnotic and opioid medication. And this is difficult to put in one comment so I won’t even try. Search for general info and scientific publications online. The question here is not if these medications can help. There are many situations where the benefits far outweigh the risks of taking these medications. The problem here… Read more »

Dave Davies
Dave Davies
16 days ago
Reply to  Keith Thomas

Most of the drugs listed by Sestito are pain killers and when they are given to players so freely the inference is that the team/medical staff wants those players to take them to mask the pain that they are feeling from their injuries and get back out onto the ice. It’s not surprising and similar stories have been proven to have happened in professional sports before. It’s nice to see that some of these players are willing to speak up and not just continue the cover up because they are afraid of losing their jobs.

Dorothy Tecklenburg
Dorothy Tecklenburg
17 days ago

Thanks for this sentence: “One thing should be clear: knowledge or decency are not requirements to offer social media opinions.”

trackback

[…] Pittsburgh Hockey Now story offers more detail about Sesito’s time with the Penguins.  The 6-foot-5, 230-pound Sestito only played 17 games […]

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[…] PittsburghHockeyNow: Former NHL tough guy Tom Sestito agrees with Robin Lehner and says Lehner is spot on with his accusations when it comes to drugs and the league. […]

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[…] night, former NHL enforcer Tom Sestito offered support for Lehner’s accusations with his tale told via Twitter. Sestito last played in the NHL for the […]

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[…] Sestito Accuses Teams of Dishing Pills; Says Penguins Staff Cleaned Him Up […]

Brian
Brian
16 days ago

I played college football and they gave me a lot of things I know now were not legal. At the time you just take what they give you and keep playing.

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