Visors in NHL: 10 Reasons Mandatory Visors Don't Make Sense
After repeated incidents of high sticks hitting players' faces and multiple stitches sewn to repair them, the NHL is toying with the idea of bringing in mandatory visors for all players.
From the invention of the hockey mask, to the helmet and then the visor, the first two are now all mandatory in the NHL, however the visor still remains as a player's choice.
In the end, it's the player that will have to live with the consequences. Some of the best players today like Ryan Getzlaf, Zdeno Chara, Chris Pronger, Shea Weber and Johan Franzen play without visors, while others like Alex Ovechkin, Corey Perry and Drew Doughty wear visors.
The visors in the end protect a player's eyes and upper bridge from extensive damage. Bryan Berard lost eyesight in one eye as a result of taking an errant Marian Hossa stick in the eye on an unforgettable night in Ottawa while with the Toronto Maple Leafs. That night remains as one of games I'll never forget for all the wrong reasons.
However, I still don't believe in making visors mandatory. Here's 10 reasons why.
In the End It's the Players' Choice
The NHL is taking away many things from the players, such as money for suspensions that come from a hard hit and other things, but taking away their ability to decide what to wear with their helmet may be going overboard.
After all, the NHL played without helmets and visors for nearly 80 years. Yes, there were gruesome moments and yes, players got hurt, but the game was still great even back then. Even the goalies didn't wear face protection.
Different game, different time though.
It Decreases Fights Even More
Look at that beauty shot. Shawn Thornton connecting with a punch to the face of Zenon Konopka. Good luck not busting your hand up punching an opposing player with a visor.
Fights are one facet of the game that sells tickets. In the end, most people like to see rough and tough hockey.
The Concussion Should Be the Focus, Not Protecting Against Cuts and Scrapes
As I've said before, hockey in general should strive to improve the safety of the players' heads. Look into more protective helmets that absorb the shock of hits better.
To me, a high stick or puck that hits the eye directly has happened about as much as a skate nicking a player either in the neck or in some other area.
A concussion is much more prevalent and should be the focus of the NHL.
Let's Get Back to the Wooden Stick
Personally, one reason why high sticks are happening with more regularity is the fact players are using flimsy, light sticks. These sticks I find are tougher to control, as follow-throughs go further out and of course, the stick breaks easier resulting in lost chances, broken plays and the dreaded two-on-one the other way as a result of a defenceman breaking a stick.
Jokes: There could come a day when players are playing with Nerf sticks and playing with a tennis ball out there. I hope it never comes to that.
Where Is the NHL Heading? It Certaintly Isn't for the Tough at Heart
Progressively as the years have gone on, the NHL has adapted and adopted more of a fast, skilled game. This is a rather different game than it was 20 years ago, when the likes of Wayne Gretzky manned center ice scoring 90 goals in a year in a style of game that was full of clutching, grabbing, interference and much more.
That was the game I remember, and seriously, I've only watched the game for about that long—20 years.
Is There a Real Need for It?
According to reports in the Hockey News, about 70 percent of the NHL wears visors, and approximately 90 percent of all rookies entering the league wear a visor.
Eventually most of the NHL will be wearing a visor regardless. Players grow up wearing visors and cages, and in the end, really don't do away with them.
Get Respect Back in the Game
As the years have gone on, I've had a strange vision that players have just plain lost respect for one another out there. From the days of no helmets on goalies and players, to the days of the clutching and grabbing, never have I seen so many dirty plays than I have today.
Whether it's with a dirty hit, a sucker punch, hit from behind, use of the stick like Todd Bertuzzi and much more, players today have a real lack of respect for one another.
It's even started in junior where I've seen some pretty dirty play in recent years like the hit on Ben Fanelli delivered by Mike Liambis. That hit has stalled his development as a player as he missed the entire 2010 season as a result of the hit. Only now is he making strides in his comeback.
The Speed of the Game Is Always Getting Faster, Could Limit Your Sight
Players always have trouble seeing through visors and it's possible they can hinder a player's ability to get a full perspective of their surroundings.
It's possible with the increased use of visors, the speed of the game and the lack of respect could all work together and lead to more and more concussions. The advent of the lighter, harder equipment has had a big say in concussions as well.
A Visor Could Cause More Damage on a Punishing Hit
I've seen it before—a player who wears a visor gets taken into the end boards and gets cut as a result of that visor. Meanwhile, a player without a visor gets ridden into the boards the same way and isn't cut.
Some safety equipment does have its drawbacks; the fact you can get cut by them pretty badly is one potential drawback.
The Possibility a Stick Gets Lodged in the Visor
The one instance a visor can really do a lot of damage. It happened to Saku Koivu and it nearly ended his career. This is when the stick manages to get lodged between the helmet and visor resulting in a potentially career ending eye injury.
It hasn't happened in quite a while but the threat is always there. Most of the time players are smart enough to take the stick out slowly, but there have been some instances a bloody mess has followed.
Grasping at straws, but that concludes this article. Thanks for reading.
Slide 10 was edited to not make me look like a tool.