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The Malik Report

I hate that snuff

Every time I've gone into an NHL locker room--especially during a prospect tournament or summer development camp--I have been greeted by the unpleasant sight of little cans of chewing tobacco, snuff, snus, dip, whatever you want to call it, and it's incredibly frustrating to see usually young fellows (and usually European ones) who have worked so very, very hard to get into fantastic shape either taking a pinch or stealing a pinch from someone else's tin of Kodiak or especially Swedish stuff.

In locker rooms these days, you've got equipment managers who wear double-thick pairs of surgical gloves to help prevent the spread of bacteria when moving equipment, you've got trainers and masseurs working players over to ensure that the players' bodies don't suffer any more wear and tear than is necessary, you've got strength trainers, you've got team nutritionists, you've got a training staff who tests everything the players bring in to use as supplements just because they want to be triply quadruply sure that the players aren't taking anything that could harm them...

And there are the little tins of chewing tobacco. Sometimes on the shelf behind top prospects' gear, or behind the gear of players who are working their way up the ladder, and you think, "Dude, you're always worried about gaining 5 pounds of muscle, and you're at 8% body fat, why the hell are you chewing that stuff?"

Henrik Zetterberg had to quit to help alleviate what were once more severe chronic back issues. Johan Franzen quit. Todd Bertuzzi blows bubbles with chewing gum for a reason. Hell, Big League Chew looks the way it does for a reason. It's just disappointing to see that ye olde nicotine has as strong a hold on the general populace as ever, even amongst the best-conditioned athletes in the world, who are otherwise given every opportunity to fuel, maintain and prepare their bodies and brains for the sake of getting paid to play hockey.

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Comments

Crater's avatar

I guess it is better than smoking their lungs/cardio away.. but I agree. Its a shame. I’ve never experienced tobacco myself, but even people I know who frequently do say its not really that great.

Henrik Zetterberg had to quit to help alleviate what were once more severe chronic back issues.

That’s crazy. Had no idea it could have those sorts of affects on the body.

Posted by Crater from SoCal on 09/16/13 at 09:27 PM ET

perfection's avatar

i have a friend who was invited to an NFL training camp this year and said chew is prevalent there as well. there’s a league rule against it but some 36 year old veteran guy chewed it on the sidelines for all the preseason games and was willing to just pay the fine if anyone said anything.

it is pretty crazy… but there was a time they were all smoking cigs. so baby steps.


also, nicotine is a stimulant. I’m sure most of these guys drink coffee and probably do so in the locker room. I know aderall and stuff is popular as well. I wouldn’t be surprised if that has something to do with it. It may be bad for their longterm health, but if it gives even a little jolt and isn’t banned, they’re going to try it.

most of these guys seem to partake in drink as well during the season, after games and on roadtrips, etc. which is fine by me, hell, I’m sure they need to decompress as much as anyone else, but I’d bet alcohol has a much more negative effect in the short term in regards to their bodies than tobacco (unless they’re smokers… have heard Brett Hull was smoking until he retired so its far from impossible)

Posted by perfection from LaLaLand on 09/16/13 at 09:40 PM ET

cowboycoffee's avatar

nasty

Posted by cowboycoffee from San Francisco, CA on 09/17/13 at 03:35 AM ET

wedge56's avatar

Zetterberg said he quit, but I have seen pretty recent interviews where I am pretty sure he still has a dip in that lower lip.

Posted by wedge56 on 09/17/13 at 09:56 AM ET

wedge56's avatar

In fairness, I have quit several times and I often resort to an all mint snuff.  So Z could be doing that.

Posted by wedge56 on 09/17/13 at 09:59 AM ET

Avatar

NFL…chew is prevalent there

I’m pretty sure that’s because most of those guys aren’t allowed to play with matches.  tongue wink

Posted by BobTheZee on 09/17/13 at 10:31 AM ET

TreKronor's avatar

I haven’t chewed before, but I used to smoke - essentially both give the same benefit.  I wasn’t a heavy smoker by any means: maybe had 6 a day here and there, but it was a nice stress reliever, and a quick and easy way to get a little buzz during college class breaks or a safe buzz when driving.  I honestly only quit because I started dating this girl who didn’t approve of it, nor did she actually know I smoked.

I’m active - I’m a fairly serious runner, I play hockey,  etc etc etc, and there is definitely still a time and a place where I appreciate a cig, albeit not very often.  But I’ll say, when your stressed or feeling a little anxiety, sometimes you enjoy that smokey embrace.

Posted by TreKronor on 09/17/13 at 01:12 PM ET

SYF's avatar

I was a student abroad in England and I took an InterCity ride from Manchester back to Liverpool (my college campus was in Ormskirk - half-hour train ride north of Liverpool).  I watched this guy take out his snuff box made of pewter which was lined with a single piece of carved cedar wood.  He took a couple of hits in both of his nostrils and put the box away.  About ten minutes just before arriving in Liverpool, he takes out this silk but disgusting handkerchief and blew his nose into it.  He didn’t do it right as a few drops of mucus found their way onto the table in front of him.  He didn’t even bother wiping it up.  Ugh…

Posted by SYF from Alana Blanchard's Bikinis and Surfboards on 09/17/13 at 01:57 PM ET

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The Malik Report is a destination for all things Red Wings-related. I offer biased, perhaps unprofessional-at-times and verbose coverage of my favorite team, their prospects and developmental affiliates. I've joined the Kukla's Korner family with five years of blogging under my belt, and I hope you'll find almost everything you need to follow your Red Wings at a place where all opinions are created equal and we're all friends, talking about hockey and the team we love to follow.