(above you see all-star players Mikka Kiprusoff and Dion Phaneuf enjoying a puff)
Ok, so is it really a big deal? I mean really. Who amongst us hasn't ventured into the abyss of a cigarette at some point of our lives only to realize that either A. we hate it and will never do it, B. Your one of those who purchases your favourite pack at least once a week, or C. you are the "casual" smoker.
So why does it seem like such a big deal when athletes smoke? Hell, even The President of the United States admits to smoking heavily before his campaign for Presidency, and has admitted to "falling off the wagon" during his campaign. The leader of the free nation was a smoker!
Who else has been linked in to the white stick in the NHL? Dany Heatley of the San Jose Sharks, Edmonton's injured goalie Nikolai Khabibulin, and even ex Canuck Mats Sundin.
Now, does this make you change your thoughts on these people or could you care less? Personally I think it's up to the players. And if you think about it, if 21% of all Americans smoke, than there has to be a smaller percentage of athletes who smoke, but a percentage non the less.
Think of it this way. If you knew Luongo smoked, would that change your opinion on him? and in no way am I saying that he smokes, I’m just merely trying to get you to think about how it would make you feel when your favourite player or a player you look up to, inhales deeply.
The only concern I have is, what if that player isn’t at the best he can be? What if we are in the Stanley Cup final and that chain smoker down the bench is coughing and wheezing and you need him to go out there and shut down their top forward? We pay these guys millions of dollars a year to perform, so does smoking hinder their ability to be at their very best?
I guess at the end of the day, it doesn't really matter. We all have the freedom to make our own choices and take our own risks in life. And as long as these athletes aren't pulling a Tiger Woods, and putting there putter in whole bunch of different bags, they can pretty much count on this to be a non issue.<BR style="mso-special-character: line-break"><BR style="mso-special-character: line-break">