When Will the NHL Learn?

JakerContributor IMay 15, 2009

BOSTON - MAY 14:  Rod Brind'Amour #17 of the Carolina Hurricanes celebrates his goal as Tim Thomas #30 of the Boston Bruins looks on during Game Seven of the Eastern Conference Semifinal Round of the 2009 Stanley Cup Playoffs on May 14, 2009 at the TD Banknorth Garden in Boston, Massachusetts. The Hurricanes defeated the Bruins 3-2 in overtime.  (Photo by Elsa/Getty Images)

They say smart people learn from the mistakes of others, the average person learns from his own mistakes, and stupid people, they just don't learn.

What will it take for the NHL to properly protect its players? In last night's Boston/Carolina game, another of the game's elite players was carted off to the dressing room with a towel covering his face. I haven't heard a status report on Rod Brind'amour yet, but the severity of the injury doesn't matter.

Players are receiving serious facial injuries at an alarming rate in this league. Skates to the face, teeth being knocked out, loss of vision, none of these injuries have been enough to even spark a conversation about full face masks. What is it going to take?

Imagine a NFL player trotting on to the field without a face guard because it improves his down field vision. It just wouldn't happen. A NASCAR driver without a helmet because it helps him see better. I don't think so.

So why is it that NHL players are on the ice without proper facial protection? Every modern day player that comes up through the ranks wears a full face shield his whole minor league career, suddenly he can't perform when he steps onto NHL ice?

For the fans of fighting in hockey, a full face would actually be easier to remove than the half visors they presently use, so this shouldn't be an excuse. Not that this argument should come up anyway.

Somewhere down the road, a serious injury will finally make the NHL take notice. It may not be today or tomorrow, but it will happen. When it does, know that it was preventable.