The Detroit Red Wings former captain and current Tampa Bay Lightning General Manager Steve Yzerman is asking his players to consider wearing visors. In a recent article, the hall of fame forward explained his position on the matter. Steve explained that it took a traumatic injury in 2004 to get him to wear a visor, and now Vincent LeCavalier is going to be considering doing the same.
LeCavalier had his cornea scratched and bruised in a game late in the season versus the Chicago Blackhawks. An errant stick blade was the culprit. In a game that moves as quickly as NHL hockey, it is a wonder that there are not more injuries of this kind.
From pucks traveling over 100 miles per hour to sticks, elbows and shoulders, the number of risks to the players face and eyes are numerous. However, there are many that still resist the change. There have been some cases in which a player was hurt because of a visor. In the 2008 Stanley Cup playoffs, Jiri Hudler fell to the ice and had facial lacerations because of the edge of his visor. There have been rare occasions when stick blades have gotten stuck inside a player's visor and even broken off.
Still, these instances are rare. Players often resist adding equipment that can change their movement or line of sight, especially during the season. Changes for added protection usually happen after an injury (during rehabilitation) or during the off-season when a player can test them out. In some cases, it takes a team owner or general manager to mandate the additional protection. Once upon a time, there were hardly any pads or helmets worn. Now, the suit of armor is a standard affair.
With the influx of European and collegiate players who are used to the added facial protection, the league will certainly continue to lend bring an increase of visor usage within the league. It will be interesting to see what extra gear will be introduced in the off-season. We will most likely see more visors, Skate Fenders, and alternative upper body protection like the Down Low Hockey pads as owners and general managers review tapes of injuries and decide on new safety guidelines. Stay tuned to see what changes are on the horizon.