I was watching CBSsport the other night after the Avalanche blew an opportunity to take down the Blackhawks. During the post game highlight show I saw something that made me cringe and look away from the TV. Marc Staal of the New York Rangers took a puck off of his face, right above his eye. He falls to the ground and was kicking and screaming in pain. So, I”ll ask the question that the commentators asked: Should the NHL make visors mandatory?
The answer is simple. No, this shouldn’t be a mandatory thing. hockey is built on the players toughness and ability to play through pain. Making the visor mandatory will hurt that image and honestly I don’t think hockey can loose that right now. They need everything positive that they have and run with it so that people can remember why they loved the game in the first place.
Now, with that said, should every hockey player wear a visor? No, they should wear full face masks. Staal was hit right above the eye and, luckily for him, isn’t expected to have any permanent damage. How many players take a puck or a stick to the face in a season? I don’t know if they keep that stat, but in today’s game the answer is too many. They have face masks that have little if any impact on players vision and they eliminate all shots to the face.
Having played hockey myself, I think anyone that doesn’t wear a face mask is an idiot. Slap shots typically travel around a hundred miles an hour and these guys won’t wear a face mask. I understand wanting to be a tough guy. As an athlete I never want to be seen as a push over, but I have always said that I’m more important than the game. because of that I don’t take any unnecessary risk. I like my face, so I protect it when I play hockey. When I was a catcher in baseball I only got hit in the junk once in 5 years, but I always wore a cup. It’s just the smart thing to do.
I don’t think the NHL should make make visors mandatory. I don’t think that any rules should be made to protect stupid athletes. They are allowed and able to attach a face mask to any helmet so it they want to take pucks and sticks off the face then let them. Making a rule for visors isn’t a much better solution anyway. Most of the players face would still be exposed and while the eyes would be protected, the nose teeth and jaw would still be in jeopardy. If your going to make a rule then you should fix a problem and the problem is only fixed with face masks.