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Video: Is it time for mandatory visors?

Mar 5, 2013, 11:31 PM EDT

Almost any time a hockey player takes a nasty shot to the eye area, the inevitable debate boils up: should the NHL make visors mandatory?

That happened once again on Tuesday after New York Rangers defenseman Marc Staal took a puck to the face in a scary moment against the Philadelphia Flyers. While his precise condition is unknown, Keith Jones and Mike Milbury took the opportunity to debate the issue after the game.

Check out their reactions in the video below.

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  1. r8rbhawk - Mar 5, 2013 at 11:38 PM

    Hate to see anyone take a puck in the face, but no it is not time to make them mandatory.

    • 1943mrmojorisin1971 - Mar 5, 2013 at 11:41 PM

      Why not? If player safety is so important to the league then this is a logical step to improving that.

      • stakex - Mar 5, 2013 at 11:50 PM

        Then why not ban contact all together if its all about player safety? Far more careers have been ended over the years by legal, clean hits then by shots/sticks that will be prevented by shields. They can even outlaw slapshots as well, and start using one of those soft pucks for kids just to be safe.

        I mean seriously, where does it stop? The sport will always be dangerous, and there will always be some new piece of equipment you can require players to wear. Soon hockey players will be wearing more armor then a 14th centruy knight. There has to be a point at which you say “Ok, its the players own safty…. let them make the choice”, especially when its equipment intended to prevent freak accidents, such as pucks to the eye (which are very rare).

      • 1943mrmojorisin1971 - Mar 6, 2013 at 12:07 AM

        I know you’re playing Devil’s Advocate and I’d be better off ignoring you but I’ll bite. Physicality is part of the game and guys where equipment to protect themselves. Some of the stuff they wear today is basically body armour. Taking a stick or puck to the eye is not a neccessary part of the game and the players have next to nothing for protection in that regard if they choose not to wear a visor.

      • r8rbhawk - Mar 6, 2013 at 12:17 AM

        I guess you could say I am pro-choice…

      • tsi431 - Mar 6, 2013 at 7:21 AM


        They do ban pretty much all contact. Do you actually watch a game anymore. No more boarding, ejected because you may get in a fight later in the game. It’s turned into the NFL with all the puzzy rules.

      • pepper2011 - Mar 6, 2013 at 1:02 PM

        visor probably saved his career.

      • pepper2011 - Mar 6, 2013 at 1:04 PM

        All of these guys are required to wear either a mask or cage until they make it to AHL/NHL (not sure about Euro leagues). Why not?

  2. DTF31 - Mar 5, 2013 at 11:43 PM

    If I was an owner I’d make them mandatory for my team. Give the guys a bottle of visor spray if they want to complain about hampered vision.

    • biasedhomer - Mar 6, 2013 at 12:01 AM

      Agree, let other teams have players have the option of visors or not. I want the players on my favorite team to avoid incidents like the one above.

    • hockeyflow33 - Mar 6, 2013 at 12:57 AM

      The NHLPA wont allow that.

    • tfaltin - Mar 6, 2013 at 8:59 AM

      It looks like Stamkos, Crosby, Ovechkin, Kane, Gaborik, Kopitar etc can all see just fine. The best scorers do wear visors already.

    • buckcat - Mar 6, 2013 at 6:01 PM

      Since the NHLPA won’t permit the owners to require face protection, the owners should consider the risks associated with signing a player who chooses not to wear it. For instance, as CBJ fan and hypothetical owner, if I felt the risk of signing Prospal because he does not “use protection” is greater than that which his skill set brings, then I can choose not to sign him. If I’m looking at two players, equal value for for and cost to my team, one wears protection, who should I choose? Who presents the lesser risk? The players will soon learn these are factors that go into their ability to be employed, and they will adjust as time goes on and this becomes a bigger issue. However, in the end, I do feel it is and should be a player’s choice in today’s game.

  3. stakex - Mar 5, 2013 at 11:43 PM

    Keith Jones says it best… a lot of players just don’t like to wear them, so why should they be forced to? If a player wants to take the risk of not wearing one, knowing full well what might happen, then so be it.I mean we aren’t talking about helmets here, which are a no brainer. Even with them, head injuries are a common thing in the NHL. Serious injuries that would be prevented with a visor though? Very few and far between.

  4. sjsharks66 - Mar 5, 2013 at 11:45 PM

    Scary incident tonight for the rangers, but why now? Players take pucks to the face all the time? Why is it this one to have this debate?

    I think the staals just have a puck magnet in their heads.

    • 1943mrmojorisin1971 - Mar 6, 2013 at 12:09 AM

      This debate pops up every once in a while. This isn’t the first time a guy has almost lose an eye and the hockey world repsonds by posing this exact question.

  5. chanceoffleury1 - Mar 5, 2013 at 11:45 PM

    I think it is already naturally progressing to that point. Most guys coming into the league are choosing to wear them since they’re already required in the AHL. Pretty much every star player I can think of off the top of my head that’s under the age of 26/27 wears a visor. I think they should just do it and use a grandfather clause similar to what they did with the helmets. Some guys might fight it a little bit, but for the most part I think players will be indifferent. You can’t really argue with something increasing your safety and it shouldn’t come down to a superstar going blind to get the rule enacted.

  6. valoisvipers - Mar 5, 2013 at 11:47 PM

    Why not,they wear them as kids so why take them off? Hey it’s the politically correct world we live in today.

  7. slumdog66 - Mar 5, 2013 at 11:52 PM

    These players are making a lot of money to be on the ice. If I were a GM, I would make them mandatory.

  8. thehighcountrybear - Mar 5, 2013 at 11:56 PM


  9. ravenscaps48 - Mar 5, 2013 at 11:58 PM

    It’s the player’s choice. He knows what the consequences are.

    • chanceoffleury1 - Mar 6, 2013 at 12:41 AM

      Do they really though? The players *think* they know the consequences of not wearing one, but in reality they don’t. At all. They think the consequences are “I’ll get hit in the face with a puck and require a few stitches.” But as somebody who has spent tens of thousands of dollars and hours upon hours of studying on my degree in the medical field, I can assure you that it is so much more complicated than that, and it just proves how minimal the effort is by the league in actually educating players about what they’re facing when they are choosing not to wear a piece of safety equipment. I would be willing to bet that most players could not tell you what Hyphema or retinal detachment is or the effects of those medical ailments. Both are fairly serious injuries for somebody who takes a puck to the eye area. What about even more serious conditions like lens displacement or vitreous hemorrhaging that a direct blow to the eye could easily cause? These conditions won’t just effect their hockey career, they will almost certainly end it and also completely alter their entire quality of life outside of hockey. So, I ask again, do they *really* know the consequences of a visor-preventable injury, or does the league give them a false perspective of safety?

      • hockeyflow33 - Mar 6, 2013 at 12:58 AM

        It’s great that you think so little of the players that they are not eligible for personal choice.

      • chanceoffleury1 - Mar 6, 2013 at 1:36 AM

        I don’t think little of the players. I think little of the league for choosing to not properly educate the players (whom are their employees and moneymakers) on the medical conditions they are potentially facing by choosing not to use certain safety equipment. It’s like a parent denying their children more than one can of pop or juice per day. Children are not educated on the risks of things like cavities that they are facing by drinking a lot of sugary drinks. As you get older, you learn these risks and become capable of making that choice on your own. If the league required some sort of system or class that educated the players on the medical ailments that a puck to the eye could cause, then by all means they are qualified to make that decision. But the league doesn’t do that, so there comes a time when the people who are properly educated in the field need to step in and save the players from themselves. That time should be before a player’s career ends because they go blind from a puck to the eye.

      • captcallywantsthecup - Mar 6, 2013 at 9:36 AM

        So using your logic I guess baseball players should wear a full face shield because you never know when a fastball or line drive can get up on you. Smh. Stick to medicine and let the athletes play the game the way they want to play it

      • chanceoffleury1 - Mar 6, 2013 at 4:46 PM

        captcallywantsthecup, while a hockey slapshot and baseball leave the stick/bat at about the same speed (80-90mph) hockey pucks are slightly heavier than baseballs. More importantly, hockey players are taking the hit from a significantly closer range. The closest player to a ball coming off a baseball bat will be the pitcher, who is just over 60 feet away from home plate. A third/first baseman will be 80-90 feet away, and a second baseman or shortstop will probably be closer to 100 feet away.The FARTHEST distance a puck will travel from the blueline to a person’s face will be 60 feet. It is usually closer as most people who get hit in the face aren’t sitting at the goalpost after a shot was sent from exactly the start of the blueline. It has the potential to be as close as 5 feet or so away, though. Baseball players are playing a far slower-paced game and can be more focused on the player at bat than a hockey player could be on a player shooting. They are trying to skate while focusing on moving around and getting open for a pass and also avoiding running into other players or getting hit in the head with flying sticks and such. Baseball players don’t have a fraction of the external distractions a hockey player has surrounding them when a player shoots a puck. So I don’t think it’s really that similar. I’ve played both and I find hockey a much more distracting sport.

    • mmeyer27 - Mar 6, 2013 at 11:12 AM

      I have just re-thought my stance that it should be the player’s choice. They are getting paid millions! per year to play hockey. If they get injured, they keep getting paid millions to rehabilitate or recover. If I was an owner/team I would want every precaution to be taken to avoid as much injury as possible. Unless they sign a waiver, stating that if they get a puck or stick to the face, they won’t get paid while recuperating (and you KNOW that’s not gonna fly), then wear them, they should. Personally, I don’t understand why they take the cage off. Most of them are used to that from pee-wee – college.

  10. dbarnes79 - Mar 6, 2013 at 12:23 AM

    Yes its time. Also, they need to make it mandatory for them to actually have their chin straps tight too. Enough trying to look cool.

    • hockeyflow33 - Mar 6, 2013 at 1:00 AM

      These aren’t 13 year olds, they’re high-functioning adults playing at the highest level of their profession. Why do you know better than them?

      • budvw14 - Mar 6, 2013 at 3:14 AM

        35 years ago guys didn’t want to wear helmets. Mandatory visors are coming. There is too much money invested in the players to have guys being injured short or long term(Malhotra) to injuries that could be avoided by something as simple as a visor.

  11. dan46778 - Mar 6, 2013 at 12:36 AM

    I have went with a visor n with out a visor n I chose not to wear one, the reason y I do not wear it one reason is feel I can see better with out one

    • manchestermiracle - Mar 6, 2013 at 12:46 AM

      Right up until you get hit in the eye with a stick or puck…

    • nothanksimdriving123 - Mar 6, 2013 at 12:47 AM

      Now, cover one of your eyes and walk around your home, do some reading, watch TV. Perhaps even risk riding a bike, skating, driving. Still willing to risk it? Bear in mind, it’s for the rest of your life.

  12. hockeyflow33 - Mar 6, 2013 at 12:59 AM

    The arrogance of adults telling other adults what to do and what choices they are allowed to make never ceases to amaze me.

    • nothanksimdriving123 - Mar 6, 2013 at 1:10 AM

      Stop torturing the neighbor’s cat. Oh, you’re right, we shouldn’t have rules.

      • hockeyflow33 - Mar 6, 2013 at 2:35 PM

        Thanks for adding nothing to the conversation.

  13. rsl22 - Mar 6, 2013 at 1:00 AM

    Over the top 20 scores in the NHL, one player doesn’t use a face shield: Eric Staal. Think he’ll change his stance soon?

    Players not in the top 20 in scoring that wear visors are Ovechkin, Sundin twins, Toews, Backstrom, Kovalchuk, Lecavalier, Marleau, Rick Nash…..and on and on.

    Anyone who says the visor limits vision or is some sort of impediment is a jackass. If the best players in the league can deal with it, so can the grinders, scrubs, and defensemen.

    • rsl22 - Mar 6, 2013 at 1:07 AM

      Just to add a bit….out of the top 50 scorers in the league, only Eric Staal and Wayne Simmonds go without the visor (and Simmonds wore a visor in LA, but for some reason took it off when he went to Philly).

      Visors are not bad, and there is no reason they shouldn’t be mandated for players entering the league.

  14. r8rbhawk - Mar 6, 2013 at 1:02 AM

    Hey guys, I know this is off topic, but I hope you are able to catch this Blues vs. Kings game. It has been a helluva game, it has had everything.

  15. comeonnowguys - Mar 6, 2013 at 1:06 AM

    Well, two major precedents (league mandate of helmets and NHL’s vocal stance on increasing player safety). It feels more like a question of “when,” not if.

    • nothanksimdriving123 - Mar 6, 2013 at 1:17 AM

      Yeah, I’m older, and I remember when Red Kelly was the only guy in the NHL wearing a helmet, after an injury. Sawchuk and Plante wore masks. Then in 1968 Bill Masterton died after his head hit the ice. Very soon, some of his North Star teammates donned helmets. The toothpaste was out of the tube and it doesn’t go back in. Now if a goalie’s mask comes off, play stops. You don’t have to like the future, but it will show up anyway. And it will probably include visors on every player, not just the smarter ones.

  16. misterchainbluelightning - Mar 6, 2013 at 1:21 AM

    Every player had to play with a full face shield untill they were 18. Half visor is a non-issue, nobody can say they, lol can’t see with it. Everyone entering the league comes from a league where full face is required, so it’s not like it’s something new for the players.
    Grandfather the rule into the league. Let see who’s the McTavish of no face protection.

  17. ethanmacleod1685 - Mar 6, 2013 at 5:48 AM

    @!#$ visors! There hockey players ffs

  18. tlndma - Mar 6, 2013 at 7:08 AM

    Let’s ask Bryan Berard what he thinks?????

    I recently had to wear an eye patch for 48 hrs on one eye. That sucked! Players that don’t want a visor, should try that for a while. Lose an eye, career over. It’s not like a broken bone.

  19. spavs412 - Mar 6, 2013 at 7:53 AM

    Not 1 Staal brother wears a visor. Pretty crazy those back pond Ontario boys are! Hope ur ok Marc

  20. spavs412 - Mar 6, 2013 at 7:56 AM

    I hate that rebuttal, their vision can be worse with a visor… Really everyone of the NHL players grew up playing with a bird cage on.. Think about it, and a stop sign above their last name on their jersey.

    • spiciercheez - Mar 6, 2013 at 11:40 AM

      yeah players will see that stop sign in the split second they have and they wont hit…..dohkay

  21. orangandblack - Mar 6, 2013 at 7:58 AM

    I get what people are saying when they say things like “they’re grown men, they know the risks”, but from an owners perspective, these guys are making a ton of money to be on the ice and not nursing preventable injuries

    • hockeyflow33 - Mar 6, 2013 at 2:45 PM

      This is the best argument to be made for the pro-visor contingent.

  22. kegmen7 - Mar 6, 2013 at 8:17 AM

    Not only is it time for mandatory visors, it is time for mandatory full cages as not only will this cut down on eye injuries, but concussions as well. Look at every single player’s helmet’s chin strap, it hangs loosely down below the chin. That means on impact, the helmet pops off the head and basically at best limits and at worst negates the ability of the helmet to absorb impact and protect the head. By mandating full cages the helmet will remain in place through contact because the chin strip secures the cage around the jaw instead of hanging loosely down, securing the helmet to the head and allowing it to do its job. If the NHL is serious about improving player safety and not losing players to concussions this is the simplest and easiest measure to implement- and potentially the most effective. Not to mention no one will go blind in one eye or suffer horrible injuries like Ian Laperierre anymore.

    • hockeyflow33 - Mar 6, 2013 at 2:43 PM

      Please go back to playing soccer

  23. 8man - Mar 6, 2013 at 8:21 AM

    Full cages to the lower lip. You aren’t a wimp if you want to retire with all of your teeth and both of your eyes.

  24. norcalirish - Mar 6, 2013 at 9:43 AM

    Gun control argument.

    We should ban pucks!

  25. spiciercheez - Mar 6, 2013 at 9:44 AM

    Full cages should me mandatory because they could still be hit in the mouth! Oh and neck guards too!…………… Maybe they can make their own choices? This rarely happens anyways. But honestly, how is a visor much different than a full cage? If you get hit under the visor your face is still messed up. Let the players choose.

    • misterchainbluelightning - Mar 6, 2013 at 12:10 PM

      Learn the difference between face getting messed up (aka lose teeth) vs blindness

      • spiciercheez - Mar 6, 2013 at 1:29 PM

        So they can’t make that decision on their own? Inneresting

      • misterchainbluelightning - Mar 6, 2013 at 3:09 PM

        Ya, just like they can’t decide not to wear helmets. What is this fascination with applying personal choice options in a business environment? With guaranteed contracts and insurance rates this is a no-brainer for the NHL. The NHLPA is clueless as usual.

  26. bobhpine - Mar 6, 2013 at 9:48 AM

    Assumption of risk. Marc Staal knew he could get hit in the eye with the puck. It’s unfortunate that it happened, but if you know you’re exposing yourself to a greater likelihood of injury but you do it anyway, you acknowledge that injury might happen. This is an adult making and living with his decisions. The NHL has never been a nanny state.

    • 8man - Mar 6, 2013 at 5:19 PM

      Marc Staal is not smart enough to make that decision for himself unless the NHL is totally released from liability.

  27. andromedagalaxe - Mar 6, 2013 at 11:21 AM

    For the love of Pete, configure the videos for mobile. This isn’t 2007, NBC!!!!!

  28. steelers88 - Mar 6, 2013 at 12:51 PM

    Yes it is totally time to make visors mandatory. Don’t want to see this happen ever happen again!

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