The Malik Report
by George Malik on 09/16/13 at 06:45 PM ET
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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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.