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(Jonathan Hayward)
(Jonathan Hayward)

Should visors be mandatory in the NHL? Add to ...

These people think that if the league just cracked down on the players wielding the sticks the problem would go away. It is to laugh.

While players who are careless with their sticks should be punished severely, it will not make NHL rinks any less dangerous. Berard was blinded by a follow-through on a slap shot, not by someone swinging a stick. Yet players still put forward the tired old excuses, with visors restricting vision being the favourite.

Leafs forward Gary Roberts, one of those guys who spends a small fortune on personal trainers, came out with this beauty a day after his second teammate underwent retina surgery: "But if you're [a physical]type of player, you take the risk that a visor can cut you."

Yikes! A cut! What hockey player could risk that?

And don't look for the league or the NHL Players' Association to play the hero here. The league would have to make it a bargaining issue, which makes it easy to do nothing, and the union routinely shrugs because its surveys say the players like things the way they are.

There was once some thought the big insurance companies might ride to the rescue by refusing to pay disability claims for players without visors. But Dr. Devenyi found out this was a non-starter.

"I looked into that a couple of years ago," he said. "[The companies]won't do it because they are all clamouring for these policies because they make a lot more than they pay out in claims."

If you're looking for a hero, maybe Tie Domi is your man. After seeing three Leaf teammates stricken, he said he plans to wear a visor in practice and may do so in games.

In the unlikely event that Domi follows through, that would make him the first NHL enforcer to wear one regularly. If he persevered through the inevitable taunts about his manhood, just think what an influence that would have around the league.

Call him the latter-day Jacques Plante.



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