Blog Entry

Should the NHL finally make visors mandatory?

Posted on: March 29, 2011 3:32 pm
Edited on: March 29, 2011 3:41 pm
 
Manny Malhotra may not have had to travel across the continent to see a surgeon in New York had the Vancouver Canucks center used one piece of equipment. 

A visor. 

The thin piece of shatterproof plastic likely would have absorbed the errant puck that struck his left eye in a game two weeks ago. The injury ended his season and could very well endanger his career --- not to mention his enjoyment of life after hockey. 

Unlike helmets that became mandatory more than 30 years ago, visors are an option in the NHL. It doesn’t help when wearing a visor is seen as a less macho in a sport that’s all about toughness. That stigma has waned in recent years, but there may be a good portion who still thinks like CBC commentator Don Cherry. He infamously said during a broadcast seven years ago that “most of the guys that wear them are Europeans or French guys."

Fortunately, a survey conducted last season by The Hockey News shows the younger players get it. The review found 65% of players 30 and younger wear a visor. It also showed that only 45% of players 30 and older do. 

“It’s tough to see the injuries like the one to Manny Malhotra,” Sharks GM Doug Wilson, one of the last players to play minus a helmet, told CBSSports.com in a Q&A. ”We recommend and encourage our players to wear shields. I wish they all would. All parties involved should be looking out for the players’ best interests.”  

Visors are already mandatory in the American Hockey League and in international play. Is it time the NHL follows suit? Or will this be another missed opportunity -- like when Bryan Berard had his career altered by a stick to the eye in 2000 -- to keep another player from suffering the same scary operation similar to the one Mahlotra underwent today?

-- A.J. Perez
Photo: Getty Images
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Since: Dec 2, 2011
Posted on: December 16, 2011 8:11 pm
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Since: Aug 14, 2006
Posted on: April 6, 2011 1:22 pm
 

Should the NHL finally make visors mandatory?

Bleed... you may only be 25 but I commend you on your intelligent perspectives.  I wrote a similar argument in response to this as well:  "It's not why visors should be mandatory, but why they shouldn't be that should be argued".

   I don't really like wearing a full mask (see my points on why I think it should be a full face-shield rather than just a visor) but I can't intelligently think of a single reason against them that is more logical than the reasons for them.

   As for the fighters... a new penalty must be written:  Fight without taking off your helmet and you receive an extra 2 minutes that punish your team short-handed-wise.  Trust me, every goon will whip his helmet off in no time if this rule is there because goons know that they are only valuable to a team for toughness if that toughness does not make their team's short-handed.



Since: Jul 11, 2010
Posted on: April 6, 2011 7:03 am
 

Should the NHL finally make visors mandatory?

Shut up. What they should do is stop protecting every player so they think they are <!-- [if gte mso 9]><xml> <w:WordDocument> <w:View>Normal</w:View>
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t; mso-hansi-font-family:Calibri; mso-hansi-theme-font:minor-latin;} </style> <![endif]--> invincible.  This goes all the way down to mites. The kids playing minor hockey don't know how to take a check nor protect themselves and very few know how to stick handle with there head up. All because of that damm mask. In National league take the helmets off  again. The game will slow a bit  and the sticks will come down. Then the respect for other players will come back. And get rid of the instigator penalty. The players can't police if it cost them everytime they try. My money is on the players, we've all seen the officiating. By the way I played too, if you play long enough you get hurt, no matter what, so stop crying.
By the way, I would like to see the masks come off the football players to.



Since: Aug 14, 2006
Posted on: April 5, 2011 4:52 pm
 

Should the NHL finally make visors mandatory?

The question is wrong.  Finding perfect evidence that visors will make a huge difference is speculation.  I think the question should be "Please provide a single undeniable reason why face-shields should not be mandatory?"

   Go ahead... try and give us an undeniable reason...

I will put forth the reasons for face-masks  (as a guy who has played 35 years of hockey at almost all but the most elite levels):

 -  All NHL players wore some type of mask until they were about 19, so they are comfortable with it.
 -  Similarly, the argument that you can not see through those things is moot.  The players saw well enough through them for their first 19 years to become players of interest for the NHL.  The difference between an NHL player and a non-NHL player is not a different skill level caused by not wearing or wearing a mask.
 -  Half visors are a joke (and I have worn one for years... and the only reason I can think I chose one is because I do not like all the chin-acne caused by chin pads.  Guess what, I know have fake teeth and a bug scar on my mouth).  Get hit in a half visor and what happens...?  You break your nose (for me, 3 times) and get cuts around the eyes!  How are those two things to be considered good things?
  -  Full face masks will prevent most nose-breaks and eye-cuts... and even provide an additional barrier preventing concussions (though nothing will ever prevent all concussions).
  -  Are the players more "recognizable" (and therefore more marketable) because they do not wear masks?  Give me a break... I know what the elite of the NFL look like as well as any NHL players, and I live in Toronto (i.e. no NFL team, but does have an NHL team).
  -  Would head-shots increase in the NHL if everyone wore face-masks?  Maybe... but the NHL rules on head-shots are there to prohibit head-shots whether the player has a visor / mask or not.  These are the rules that must remain regardless.  
  -  Would players have scars and missing teeth in order to show they are NHL players?  Who cares!!!???  (Maybe the dentists, but that is about it).  Their pocketbooks and wallets and Mercedes, etc will show that they are hockey players!  
  -  What about the effect of a mask on fights...?  Simply institute a new rule:  "Fight with a face mask and helmet on and get an extra two minutes"... players will flip their buckets off in no time for a fight!  Opposing players will let the other fighter flip is helmet off in order to avoid a broken hand!
  -  Then, there is the NHL concept that you are not a man if you wear a mask.  What a joke!  Don Cherry is a man and he wears some suits that are way less manly than a face mask is in hockey!  The only issue here is who is going to break the tradition.  Once that is done, most players will elect to protect their heads for their children's sake... and that is the most manly decision a guy can take!
  

   The NHL is going to demand visors and masks eventually anyway... society is growing more and more interested in it / the younger players obviously want to do it / the older players who want the "old time rules" are simply remembering only selective positives... so do it now, rather than later.

  We all know the game is much, much faster than it once was.  The concepts of facial / head protection must evolve to match this speed. 
   Once upon a time in the NFL, players work no face-shield and only leather helmets.  Then, the speed of the game jumped tremendously... could you imagine today's NFL game with only leather hats on?  Each team would need 200 players on the sideline just to be able to finish the game!  :-)
   I love hockey.  It's in my blood as much as being Canadian and being a man!  However, the game must evolve for the safety of the players!
      50 years ago, Howie Meeker was a super-tough player in the NHL... at 165 pounds!  45 years ago, goalies didn't wear masks!!!  40 years ago, most players used straight-bladed sticks.  30 years ago, the NHL was dominated by a guy who smoked between shifts (Lafleur).  25 years ago, Rick Vaive scored 50 goals by skating up the right hand boards and taking a slap-shot (today, he would get 5 like that per season... maybe).  20 years ago, every player used wooden sticks.  15 years ago, most players wore equipment that did not make them look like Roman warriors on skates.  10 years ago, Darian Hatcher was a good skater by NHL standards!  

    Making players wear masks is not going to change the game we love fundamentally!  I hate the ideas about bigger nets, etc... but protecting the players head and faces... this is simply, and undeniably, logical.
 




Since: Oct 2, 2006
Posted on: April 4, 2011 10:26 am
 

Should the NHL finally make visors mandatory?

I Liked your commments.  I agree that the sport can police itself.  We have enough buracrates telling us what is good for us in Washington.  Let the players decide if they want a visor or even a full cage or some type of hybrid.  How about no helmet at all?  When you do this though, there cant be any safety nets for the players to fall back on. Npo special insurnace, unless they buy it themselves, no legal action they can take. How about this, leave it up to the franchise.  After all, they are the ones paying the player.  So its their investment right? If the player doesnt want to wear the team mandated gear then he doesnt play for that team and the contract is voided or never even created.  Enough with somebody telling me what they think is good for me.  I dont need your crap opinion. 
I would submit to everyone reading this, that more equipment just makes players more risky on the ice.  Making injuries that much more significant.  I bet if you took the helmet away in football there wouldn't be a single event where some idiot leads with his head on a tackle.  Just yesterday some douchebag and his two kids were at the local rink.  The boys were about 10 to 12 years old.  They lookedlike they had just got on skates a few months ago but they had the hockey shin, gloves and elbow pads on.  Instead of learning to skate as well as my 5 year old they were slaming themselves into eachother, throwing themselves into the boards and crashing into other people.  All while their Dbag father egged them on to go faster.  This is what pads and protective visors bring to the game if mandated.  

SignedPlayer with two sons that play



Since: Apr 3, 2011
Posted on: April 3, 2011 4:13 pm
 

Should the NHL finally make visors mandatory?

You only have one set of eyes; once they are gone they are gone. Cleary there arent enough stats to back up the efficacy of the visor in NHL play to support its full time use among all players, however, why take that chance? I play hockey myself and even in our league it is mandated we have face protection. Its a good thing too as I have been hit in the face by an errant stick here or there.



Since: Mar 25, 2008
Posted on: April 3, 2011 11:26 am
 

Should the NHL finally make visors mandatory?

Hockey is the last game where players can actually police it themselves.  Your "lowbrow" comment shows what kind of "fan" you are.  The game doesn't need hippies.



Since: Mar 25, 2008
Posted on: April 3, 2011 11:24 am
 

Should the NHL finally make visors mandatory?

Does anyone here actually play hockey??  I'm so sick of the armchair comments by those who have never played the game.  Hockey is one of the fastest sports out there.  Visors should not become manditiory.  So many equipment "upgrades" in the last 20 years have failed to make the game safer.  There are more concussions now than ever before.  Get rid on the instigator penalty, and headshots will decrease.  when these pu$$ies have to pay the piper, they may think twice.  Pucks and sticks will fly regardless.  Wearing a visor will not decrease that.  The only way to fully protect your face is to wear a full shield or cage, which IMO, will never happen.



Since: Oct 10, 2006
Posted on: April 2, 2011 3:08 am
 

Should the NHL finally make visors mandatory?

Ever wonder why veterans (ie. Jarome Iginla) take off their helmet any time they fight?
Ever punch a piece of plastic and watch it shatter? Think you want that in your eyes or a fist? Not abou being all macho as you want to paint it to be. Fighting in hockey is pure idiocy and only the lowbrow fans appreciate it because that's all you can relate to.



Since: Oct 10, 2006
Posted on: April 2, 2011 3:01 am
 

Should the NHL finally make visors mandatory?

Fighting is still permitted in hockey, a visor isn't going protect a player any more less. A puck or stick in the face is rare occassion. You're more likely to get punched and elbowed in face than anything else. They need to clean up hockey before they start worrying about gear.


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