You can argue both sides. For starters, the obvious answer is “yes” and the facts are obvious — especially after Marc Staal took a puck right off his eyelid on Tuesday. When incidents like Staal’s and many others happen, it makes us all wonder what precautions can be taken in order to minimize these situations that seem to be a common occurrence in the NHL.
But if you remember, Steven Stamkos was struck by a shot from Johnny Boychuk off his nose in Game 7 of the Eastern Conference Finals back in 2011. Stamkos had always worn a visor, but after that incident he quickly switched to a cage. Maple Leafs captain Dion Phaneuf, who was also wearing a visor, was unfortunate to have the same incident happen to him in a game against Winnipeg last season.
The Players’ Association will continue to fight this action, but at some point things have to change. How many more injuries does it need to take before they agree to switch the rules around for the betterment of the players? Old-schoolers in the hockey world will fight this forever. This league was built on guts, will power and determination, they say. No one necessarily “needs” a visor and the players are the ones on the ice night after night — if they do not want to wear them, don’t make them.
Rick Nash may have said it best.
“I’ve never played a game without one. That being said, I’m not in favor of making visors mandatory,” Nash told the New York Post. “I believe it should be your option. Maybe I’m older-school, but we’re playing the highest level of hockey in the world and I just think we should be allowed to make that decision ourselves.”
Player safety is a hot topic among all professional sports right now. Brendan Shanahan has done a remarkable job enforcing rules to suspend players for dangerous hits, but now the puck is on Gary Bettman‘s stick, but how will he handle it?