Dan Paille/By S. Bradley

Dan Paille/By S. Bradley

WILMINGTON — Bruins forward Milan Lucic overhears the conversation between a reporter and teammate Daniel Paille and interjects like only the boisterous Lucic can interrupt.

“Remember Danny, what’s the first rule?” Lucic said Friday. “You’re responsible for what you put in your body.”

That rule, in the exact words Lucic put it, should be in big, bold letters on posters in every dressing room in the NHL. Although players around the league have meetings with the NHLPA higher-ups and among themselves, players still sometimes fail to adhere to that motto, purposely and accidentally.

Whether you believe that Toronto Maple Leafs forward Carter Ashton’s story about borrowing an inhaler, thinking it was an approved substance and then failing a test, or not, we can all agree that Ashton’s 20-game suspension is an unfortunate product of a completely preventable situation.

“At no time was I seeking to gain an athletic advantage or to knowingly violate the terms of the program,” Ashton said in a statement. “I used the inhaler in response to exercise-induced asthma, a condition that my doctor with the Toronto Maple Leafs has since diagnosed and he has prescribed me with an inhaler.”

Ashton explained the situation by which he acquired and used the inhaler after an asthmatic spasm like this:

“One of the other athletes I was training with gave me an inhaler in order to help open my airway, which provided me with immediate relief from my asthma attack.  I kept this inhaler and used it a second time early in the training camp upon experiencing another asthma episode. Unfortunately, I incorrectly assumed that there were no problems associated with the use of this inhaler and I used it without checking to see whether its contents were permissible under the NHL/NHLPA Performance Enhancing Substances Program.”

We all know what happens when you assume. And if Ashton didn’t know that motto about assuming, he does now. He should also now know the motto Lucic offered up in the Bruins’ dressing room at Ristuccia Arena on Friday.

Paille is the Bruins NHLPA representative. Although he says that he doesn’t put anything in his body stronger than chocolate milk, he understands why guys use supplements and medications. Paille even has a prescription for an approved nasal spray for allergies. But there’s really no excuse for a player to go off the list and take something.

“I mean we have our medical staff, our trainers, they tell us what to give and what’s good and what’s not good,” Paille said. “We have meetings throughout the PA about what’s acceptable, what’s not. So with that it’s … we’re responsible, we should know what we put in. If you don’t know, you get it checked, you get it checked for sure. You do it before [you take it]. That’s for sure.”

Beyond the PA, the Bruins’ players have a closeness to the medical staff that allows them to get their questions answered as often as necessary. Forward Reilly Smith, who said he mostly dabbles in the pre- and post-workout supplements, says the process for making sure one doesn’t accidentally take the wrong thing is thorough.

“We have a meeting at the start of the year where they go through everything and they tell you what you’re allowed to have what you’re not allowed to have. They give you a brochure and a pamphlet. Definitely the information’s there,” Smith said. “And it’s one of the main things in the talk that they give us is that you’re responsible for anything you put in your body. So it comes down to that. At this stage, people have such good relationships with their trainers that they should know and you should be telling them everything you’re taking.”

Even with all the information provided at the beginning of the season, it never hurts to have a reminder. That’s where incidents like Acton’s and Nicklas Backstrom’s controversy from the Sochi Olympics last year provide a positive message for everyone but the aggrieved.

“Yeah, every time something like this happens we always joke ‘make sure you know what you put in [your body],” Paille said. “It’s unfortunate something happened to someone like that when it’s not a supplement.”

Supplements or medications, everything should be checked with the trainers beforehand, or revealed to trainers after the fact if there’s an emergency situation. Everyone has to be responsible.