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  • 04/22/2011, 05:16PM ET

Should the NHL make visors mandatory?

Somebody of Note (43-13-5) vs Ogre: Batman (45-35-11)
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This debate has gone on for such a long time. But in an evolving and increasingly safety-oriented game, the answer to this question is absolutely clear to me: just like helmets were in 1979, the wearing of visors should be made mandatory and grandfathered into the NHL.

For one, it's a safety issue. There have been countless examples of players who have suffered serious injury from a puck or a high stick to the face that would not have occurred with a visor in place. The most recent calamity struck Manny Malhotra, a centre with the Vancouver Canucks, who had to have two surgeries and almost lost his eye after being hit there with a puck. The vast majorities of these injuries would have been avoided with the wearing of a visor, which makes its absence an unnecessary risk. In an NHL that's becoming more and more safety-conscious, a chance to minimize orbital injuries should be welcomed.

More important, however, is the fact that it'll be no great change for new players in the league. Already, in the CHL visors are mandatory. In the AHL visors are required. In the IIHF visors are required if born after 1974! What is the NHL waiting for? They should make this safety official.


I believe that this should be something left up to the players.

While there are no doubt some advantages of having a half visor on a helmet, there are also drawbacks and flaws with it that make it imperfect. A recent study in the ECHL concluded that a half visor actually isn't as safe as people thing. They determined that a large majority of high stickings and other blows to the face occur with an upward trajectory, which is true. The study pointed out that a half visor doesn't shield from such blows with upward trajectory, as often sticks can slip up behind the visor. As such, the study concluded that while some blows can be prevented, not all can. AND, the study found lacerations and deep cuts increased in players wearing visors. Doesn't seem all that full-proof to me.

Another issue is player visibility and personal preference. If these visors were so beneficial with little to no drawbacks, why aren't more players wearing them? Because they can impact your game in a negative way. They can reduce visibility, as this is a common complaint of players who try them. Fact is, half visors aren't for everyone.

Leave it to the players.


It's touching that you care about the players' vision. What about their loss of vision after taking a puck to the eye, a type of vision that can't be replaced by wiping a foggy screen? I'd like for you to tell me how maybe, once in a while, losing track of the play slightly (which NHL visor wearers never seem to complain about) harms your vision more than losing your eye. Which issue would YOU rather deal with?

And why aren't more people wearing them? Well, for one, more than half of the league already wears them willingly, and every eye injury switches more over. The people not wearing are mostly older players who came into the league when not wearing one made you a wimp. If you gave these guys their way, they'd be playing without helmets and with spikes for elbow pads. You give the players too much of what they want and games become massacres. At a certain point you have to take charge for their safety.

Grandfathering it in hurts nobody. The guys who don't do it don't have to change anything. The new guys coming in get to play with the same facial protection they always have. There'll be no "man culture" forcing them to do something they'll regret.


Let me ask you a question RW. If you care so much about player safety, why stop at a half visor? Clearly a full mask is the safer option, but you're proposing making something mandatory that is only slightly better than one alternative and far worse than another? Why?

Visors aren't perfect. Eye injuries can still clearly occur, and having them on only increases chances of lacerations. Plus, they promote reckless play. These eye injuries are becoming more of an issue as visors become more popular. Why? Because players are more reckless with their sticks. They feel as if all these safety measures means they have less risk of injury, when there's proof that's not true.

Grandfathering it is pointless. Half visors clearly aren't the safest option out there. There are in fact flaws, and undeniable resistance against their inclusion in the game. I get it, you feel as if it's 100% a tough guy act. But that's not true. Staal, Lucic, O'Riley, etc. You make it seem like every single young player wears visors. Fact is, they don't. Why? Because it's a matter of personal choice. Players know the risks, and they know their preferences. There's no need to force visors upon anyone.


In your argument, you're clearly trying to throw up smoke and distract me from the actual debate. Which would work if it was anywhere near good. First of all, Ryan O'Reilly wears a visor. Secondly, the two young players you mentioned are tough guys. Third, this argument is about half visors, not full ones.

And really, your insistence that cuts (yes, laceration is just a fancy word for a cut, something hockey players get all the time) are just as dangerous as severely damaged eyes would be laughable if it wasn't so shocking.

The FACT is it's not just me saying going without a visor is a tough guy act. The players are saying it too. Like Sheldon Souray, who says "It's a stubborn, old-school mentality that, admittedly, probably isn't the right mentality." Souray goes without a visor.

Can you tell me how Manny Malhotra's and Brian Berard's injuries would have happened with visors? I'll tell you: you can't.

Putting visors in place not only saves people from serious injury, but it keeps players wearing the same helmets they wore while developing as players. Bill Masterton had to die on the ice for the NHL to institute mandatory helmets. What will it take for you and visors?


Last season, The Hockey News conducted a survey about how many players wear visors. They found only 65% of players 30 or younger wear visors. Now, I'm aware that that is indeed a majority, but it seems to me that you are trying to drum up this notion that everyone but the old, tough guys wear visors. Really? So you're telling me that 35% of the NHL's younger players are all tough guys? No. This isn't an issue about older players being stubborn or people proving toughness. This is an issue about personal preference.

I agree, visors increase safety in some instances. But, it's not as if it's an end all, be all saftey measure for players. Furthermore, visors in hockey are something every player has access too. They play the game, and each time they skate on the ice they know the risks. If 35% of players under 30 and 55% of players over 30 want to continue to not wear a mask, then what's the debate? This isn't something that's essentially a given, and grandfathering it in would just make it official. You cannot argue against the proof. Players who have spent their entire hockey career wearing masks are more than willing to take them off in the NHL. And I say let them.

Comment #1 has been removed
April 22, 2011  05:23 PM ET
QUOTE(#1):

I play hockey, and I hate visors. Hate them with a passion.They get fogged up and it's a real pain to keep them clean.

that's only because you are full of hot air. Proper ventilation would help.

April 22, 2011  05:33 PM ET

I can see the owners making it mandatory. They don`t want to be paying a big time player millions of dollars to wear an eye patch all year.

April 22, 2011  06:12 PM ET

Grandfathered in or immediate requirement?

April 22, 2011  06:13 PM ET
QUOTE(#4):

Grandfathered in or immediate requirement?

I said grandfathered in.

April 22, 2011  06:16 PM ET
QUOTE(#5):

I said grandfathered in.

Missed that bit.

Hard to argue with that. No change to rising players since visor or cage is all they know.

April 22, 2011  06:20 PM ET

Visors offer safety for the players which should be the main objective for the NHL.

Comment #8 has been removed
Comment #9 has been removed
April 22, 2011  08:10 PM ET
QUOTE(#9):

As far as the TD goes, I think it should be the player's choice.It's the player's life and the player's face. They should be able to do what they want.

The lack of a choice regarding the helmet is gonna hurt that argument...

April 22, 2011  08:11 PM ET

Is this a Tourney TD? Because Left has a huge advantage... Despite MMTs auto vote rigth! haha jk

April 22, 2011  08:11 PM ET

NO. Plain and simple. It's just like elbow guards in baseball. Players decide to wear them for added protection or not.

April 22, 2011  08:15 PM ET
QUOTE(#12):

NO. Plain and simple. It's just like elbow guards in baseball. Players decide to wear them for added protection or not.

I am all for letting people make their own decisions regarding personal safety, but that is not how it will work out. I can't understand why someone would not wear a seatbelt, but it should not be a law.

April 22, 2011  08:21 PM ET
QUOTE(#13):

I am all for letting people make their own decisions regarding personal safety, but that is not how it will work out. I can't understand why someone would not wear a seatbelt, but it should not be a law.

Apples and oranges. Seatbelts protect people driving, a free will action, and provide safety to everyone else on roads. Hockey players sign contracts to play a game, confined in a rink, and played by other professional athletes who are also under said contracts.

I think making it a "rule" would take away from the game tremendously and begin another scary spiral into what has become the pussification of America.

April 22, 2011  08:24 PM ET
QUOTE(#14):

Apples and oranges. Seatbelts protect people driving, a free will action, and provide safety to everyone else on roads. Hockey players sign contracts to play a game, confined in a rink, and played by other professional athletes who are also under said contracts. I think making it a "rule" would take away from the game tremendously and begin another scary spiral into what has become the pussification of America.

you gotta be kidding.

April 22, 2011  08:25 PM ET

Grandfather them in, you already have to wear them in junior so it wont be like the players aren't use to them.

April 22, 2011  08:26 PM ET
QUOTE(#1):

I play hockey, and I hate visors. Hate them with a passion.They get fogged up and it's a real pain to keep them clean.

They only fog up when you are sitting on the bench or not moving. Start skating an they usually clear up.

April 22, 2011  08:26 PM ET
QUOTE(#15):

you gotta be kidding.

About which part? That comparing seatbelts to hockey visors is well,odd?

April 22, 2011  09:07 PM ET
QUOTE(#14):

Apples and oranges. Seatbelts protect people driving, a free will action, and provide safety to everyone else on roads. Hockey players sign contracts to play a game, confined in a rink, and played by other professional athletes who are also under said contracts. I think making it a "rule" would take away from the game tremendously and begin another scary spiral into what has become the pussification of America.

Huh? Both are willing participants in a dangerous activity. How is requiring safety devices acceptable in one case and not the other?

 
Comment #20 has been removed

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