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Visor debate: Senators’ Phillips began using one after a puck to the eye

Mar 7, 2013, 6:00 AM EDT

Ottawa Senators v New Jersey Devils Getty Images

Ottawa Senators defenseman Chris Phillips has played 14 NHL seasons with a visor. The one season he didn’t use one – 1998 – was the same year he took a puck to the eye.

And, just like that, he went back to the visor, an obligatory piece of equipment during his junior days in the Western Hockey League.

“Once was enough and that was a pretty good one,” said Phillips told the Ottawa Sun on Wednesday.

“It was pretty scary at that time. I remember it like it was yesterday. I couldn’t see anything out of my eye. I asked the doctor if I was going to be able to play again (and) he basically couldn’t answer me.”

The debate about whether visors should be mandatory in the NHL has been a hot topic in the last two days.

New York Rangers defenseman Marc Staal was the latest victim to an eye injury. He took a puck to the eye Tuesday night, and is out of the Rangers lineup indefinitely. The doctors are optimistic that he can make a full recovery from the injury.

Staal was not wearing a visor.

NHL deputy commissioner Bill Daly emphasized the league’s stance that it wants visors to be mandatory.

The NHL Players’ Association, on the other hand, rejects the idea of mandatory visors.

Former player Mathieu Schneider, now the special assistant to the execution director of the players union said in a statement: “The players support visor use being a matter of individual choice.”


  1. chicagobtech - Mar 7, 2013 at 9:48 AM

    In five years time everybody will be wearing visors, and only grognards will continue to complain that “players choices” are being dictated to them. Everybody else will wonder why it took so long for visors to become mandatory.

  2. manchestermiracle - Mar 8, 2013 at 9:43 AM

    All the arguments on these threads claiming “player’s right to choose” leaves out one forgotten truth: Your right to choose has to take into account everyone it affects. You don’t operate (or play) in a vacuum. This isn’t like the right of picking what you want to eat for dinner.

    It’s somewhat comparable to the seat belt argument: If you are single and friendless, as well as planning to only crash into, say, a tree, then go ahead and don’t wear one. Except even that costs other people money and valuable time, i.e., the first-responders who have to clean up the mess, to say nothing of the property damage. And almost no one is without family, friends, and responsibilities, so that argument becomes worse than moot, it becomes selfishly stupid.

    I work in the towing industry and am often flabbergasted by how many people (who should know better), including fellow drivers and those goofs on TV “reality” shows, refuse to wear their seat belts even when working. They’ve all worked countless wrecks (I refuse to call avoidable crashes “accidents” and they’re virtually all avoidable) where people have been seriously injured and killed because they didn’t wear their belt, yet the prevailing attitude is that it should be their choice. Except it’s required in every state that wants to keep getting federal highway funds, so those dumbasses are also breaking the law.

    Unfortunately there will always be a segment of the population (mostly young and in good shape like hockey players) who feel that something like a puck or stick in the eye (or a sudden car crash) won’t happen to them. Or that if it does, it won’t be that bad. Sorry, guys, you aren’t invincible, any more than the poor bastards whose cars leave the road and roll over, ejecting and killing them in the process.

    Wise up and protect yourself so that everyone who has invested in you, from your family to the team owner to the fans, can keep watching you do what you do best instead of having to wonder what might have been if you hadn’t been so pig-headed about something so obvious. Oh, and don’t forget to put that seat belt on when you drive home.

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