The visor issue is back to rear its ugly head again. Just what the NHL needs after a tragic summer filled with players passing away, a plane crash, and concussion debates.
Watching what happened to Philadelphia’s Chris Pronger the other night in the game against the Maple Leafs makes me cringe every time I see it. Apparently if you heard him scream in pain afterwards it was enough to send chills down your spine.
What should the NHL and NHLPA do about the visor situation? Do they take the hard line and make it mandatory for all players right away? Do they grandfather it in so that all new players coming into the league must wear one? Or do they keep the status quo, which is to do nothing and let these grown men decide whether their own eye-sight is precious enough to protect with a visor.
Yes, I know that visors can fog up on you during play. Yes, I know that visors can end up cutting your cheek if you are hit awkwardly into the boards. Yes, I know that sometimes a stick can get caught under a visor and still do damage to your eyes. But the bottom line is: a visor will still provide more protection than NOT wearing one.
Please don’t try to argue that wearing a visor inhibits the way certain players play. I’m sorry but I just don’t buy that. Do you want examples of players not be inhibited by their visors? Look no further than Crosby, Ovechkin, Malkin, and Stamkos. Those guys seem to find the back of the net, even with their visors. You want examples of physical players wearing a visor? Look at the Sharks’ own Douglas Murray, and the Flames’ Jerome Iginla. You can still be a tough guy with a visor on. Murray is usually the first person in a fight to actually take his entire helmet off to not use his visor as a shield.
So how could the NHL and NHLPA take a hard stance and get everyone on board with using a visor? The answer seems simple enough for me: hit players in the wallet. That usually gets them to listen.
More specifically, in the next Collective Bargaining Agreement, have a clause built into every new contract that requires players to utilize all of the standard protective equipment available while they play. If the player chooses not to do so, then he is not doing his part to fulfill his contract to the best of his abilities. Then if that player were to get hurt by an eye injury (like Pronger’s) and miss games, then he would not be entitled to receive any pay for being off while injured.
What do you all think about this possible solution? Too harsh? Too unrealistic? Too… on to something?
*** Of course I would never want anyone to suffer an injury like Chris Pronger suffered. Your eyes are one of the most precious gifts that you have.
Oh and don’t forget the Bruins’ Chris Kelly last year in the Playoffs. He wore a full face shield due to an injury, and he contributed quite nicely during Boston’s Stanley Cup run.
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