Wednesday, October 19, 2005


Report: 62% of NHLers Willingly Put Their Vision at Risk!

Ok, so the actual headline was "Survey: 38 percent of NHLers use visors", but we know statistics can be manipulated into shocking headlines :)

According to a survey conjured up by The Hockey News...

The hockey publication's findings revealed that 244 of approximately 640 NHL skaters (38 per cent) are wearing visors in 2005-06.

The new totals cap off what has been a steady increase of players going with facial protection. In 2000-01, only 131 NHLers (24 per cent) wore visors. In 2001-02, the total rose to 191 (28 per cent). The number went up to 209 (32 per cent) in 2002-03 and 227 (35 per cent) in 2003-04.

The Colorado Avalanche lead the NHL with 13 players using visors, while the Ottawa Senators and Philadelphia Flyers are next with 12 apiece.

At the other end, the Chicago Blackhawks and defending Stanley Cup-champion Tampa Bay Lightning only have four visored players each. The average is 8.1 visors per team.

It's nice to see the trend is rising rapidly, especially in the face of dumb comments like that of Mighty Ducks GM Brian Burke that each piece of new equipment becomes a weapon.

Hmm, how do you use a visor as a weapon? Unless you headbutt the guy, that argument doesn't hold Diet Rite.

Meanwhile, Tom Fitzgerald (formerly of the law firm Fitzgerald, Lindsay, Straka FPLC), woke up and realized what a dorkus he was for not wearing a visor.

I'm an idiot for not doing it," Fitzgerald said.

Not Fitzgerald. As quickly as he volunteered that he's never really worn one — save for a one-week stint in the 1996 playoffs with Florida — he said, "I've probably never given it an ample opportunity.''

"I don't know why," he said. "I've seen what happened to Mats (Sundin), Owen Nolan.

Indeed. This is one trend worth following, kids.

A visor might not be a weapon, but it certainly can be a hazard. Kevin Stevens was knocked out cold after running into the one worn by Rich Pilon. The more protection worn, the more invulnerable players think they (and their opponents) are. Sticks and elbows can be carried higher because there are no consequences. There is no question that sticks were held lower when players went into a corner against helmetless guys like Lafleur and Mactavish.

Another argument against visors is double minors for high sticking - you're less likely to draw one if half your face is shielded.

I am not arguing against visors - anyone who doesn't wear one is a fool. But if they are to be mandatory, the league has to find a way to keep the sticks down. For a start, they have to call the double minor if a guy's visor is obviously scuffed by a high stick.
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