Should pro hockey players be required to wear visors?

Discussion in 'After Hours Lounge (Off Topic)' started by LanceJ, May 4, 2004.

  1. LanceJ

    LanceJ Producer

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    First of all, let me say that I like ice hockey enough to have taken lessons for it and this summer will finally finish my last one so I can join an adult novice league, so I'm definitely not complaining about the game itself. But after watching Steve Yzerman writhe in obviously incredible pain a few days ago after being hit by a deflected puck, I (and others obviously) instantly again wondered why pros don't wear some kind of eye protection.

    Living here in Texas, I didn't grow up around hockey and don't really understand its much-discussed "macho man" culture but I figured any sane person that has seen someone get wacked by a puck and the damage it can cause would put aside any thought of being manly in favor of maintaining their ability to see.

    I don't like the thought of forcing the current pros to wear protection--since they are adults and can make their own decisions--but what about the other side of this coin? From a purely logical performance/results perspective I am seeing teams losing valuable talent and in turn loss of scoring opportunities because (most of) these same adults won't put on a $50 visor. And much worse, what if the injury turns out to be a career-ender???

    But I do like the idea of the grandfathering concept--the current pros don't have to wear visors, but by a certain date, all new incoming athletes do. Most younger guys are used to them anyway (NCAA hockey players for example) so this plan would cause minimal tension on the teams.....I think.

    Anyway, I think anybody playing professional hockey has already shown they aren't your run-of-the-mill guy simply because they are already playing the game itself, so there is no need to PROVE to anyone they are Mr. Testosterone.

    Anybody else have any thoughts on this subject? And I hope if anybody answers, they don't get unruly about it because I wouldn't want the moderators to lock the thread before some good ideas were discussed.

    Thanks!

    LJ
     
  2. JamieD

    JamieD Supporting Actor

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    Yes. They should be required to wear half visors, at least, with a grandfathering clause. They are setting a horrendous example.
     
  3. Scott Merryfield

    Scott Merryfield Executive Producer

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    This is exactly how the NHL introduced the mandatory helmet rule. As fast as the puck flies around the ice, I think it's time for a mandatory face guard rule (and Don Cherry's macho attitude be damned).
     
  4. ChrisMatson

    ChrisMatson Cinematographer

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    Yes. They did the grandfather thing with helmets. I remember going to a Washington Caps game when I was little and seeing a player without a helmet. CRAZY!!!
     
  5. Brian Perry

    Brian Perry Cinematographer

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    I think there was a period of time when GOALIES didn't wear masks. Now that's insane!
     
  6. Scott Bourden

    Scott Bourden Second Unit

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    I think it should be up to the players.

    Do I wear a viser when I play hockey? I've been playing for about 16 years, and yes, I always do.

    Do I think these professionals, the best of the best in this sport, are intelligent enough to decide whether they would like to wear them? Absolutley. They know the risks and accept it, I'm not going to presume to decide what is best for them, if they don't want to do it themselves.
     
  7. Richard Travale

    Richard Travale Producer

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    Yes, they should be mandated to wear them. Of course they would have to grandfather them in. I don't see why the youngsters aren't wearing them since they have to wear them in the minors anyhow.
     
  8. Micheal

    Micheal Screenwriter

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    I agree with Scott. They still have not made the perfect visor. Until they do I believe that it should be up to the player. I've seen some players get serious injuries to their face, they wear the visor until it heals and then take it off.
    Why? They can't see as well, it fogs up... etc...

    What happened to Stevie Y was nasty. Did he know that something like that could happen? Of course he did. It's a known risk and 99% of the players walk away without any serious injury to their eyes. It's a dangerous sport, people get hurt.
     
  9. Seth--L

    Seth--L Screenwriter

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    That's all well and good, but what you forget is that teams are investing millions of dollars into players. A team wants their players to be as healthy as possible so that they can play in as many games as possible. Not using a visor, helmet, padding, etc, increases the chance of injury and potential number of missed games. Also keep in mind that people pay to see certain players, and they're going to be less likely to attend or watch a game if their favorite player is injured.

    This is the reason why the NFL has players wear so much padding to the point that Europeans make fun of the sport, and why some experts think that few people were actually killed back in the days of gladiators.
     
  10. LanceJ

    LanceJ Producer

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    Thanks for everybody's responses.

    I didn't want to mention it at first because in one way it reduces the athletes to nothing but figures on an accountant's balance sheet, but I have to agree with Seth-L's thought concerning the team's financial investment in a player.

    If these athletes really think of themselves as professionals, isn't it also being professional to think of their financial impact on the team that hired them if they are injured needlessly?

    Some sports writers have mentioned that this kind of casual attitude toward safety is one reason why hockey isn't more popular with the mainstream public. As far as I'm concerned I don't really care what Joe Blow thinks is exciting. But I will admit that when I tell people I like ice hockey many people's first words are "You mean you like to fight and don't mind getting your teeth knocked out with that puck thing?" To them, the words "hockey" and "violence" go hand in hand which is really sad. I try to tell them I like the aggressiveness of hockey--not the violence--and the speed of it but do not enjoy seeing people getting needlessly hurt, myself included. I think if the petty violence and childish fighting was made 100% illegal, along with mandatory eye protection, more hockey fans would be created. Because right now I think potential fans are being turned off by the cavemanish stuff, and/or frightened by seeing another human being violently injured for no good reason.

    BTW: can anyone tell me WHY hockey can get so ugly, i.e. the fighting, high sticking, etc? Has it always been this way?

    LJ
     
  11. Shane Martin

    Shane Martin Producer

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    Alot of it imho is the heat of the battle and the intensity of folks during a game. People get so competitive that they don't do rational things. It's the best players who know how to act while under pressure.

    Yes I think they should be mandated to wear protective face gear.
     
  12. Seth--L

    Seth--L Screenwriter

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    You'd probably lose fans at the same time. I think that one of the reasons people like the sport so much is because players are allowed to just go at it. Spectators go as wild during fights as a goal.

    The fighting has turned me off to the sport. My father has had incredible Flyers seats since season 1, and in the last few years we've been cutting back on the number of games we attend because the fighting has just become so boring. Having games come to a halt so that we can watch two guys dry-hump and roll around on the ice has lost its charm over the years. And some of the misconduct is just ridiculous.
     
  13. Jeff Gatie

    Jeff Gatie Lead Actor

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    Boy, I could write a book, but I won't. Please let me preface this with the fact that this is a summary at best why fighting is a part of the sport.

    Fighting and high sticking (cheap shots) are two different things. Fighting has always been in the sport. It serves multiple purposes.

    1)It allows retribution that cannot always come in the form of a penalty (it is the fastest game around and a referee cannot always follow behind the play, so most penalties are missed).
    2)It allows a usually harmless letting off of steam that could otherwise result in a Bertuzzi/McSorely incident because of some perceived slight or aggrievance (contrary to popular belief, injuries in hockey rarely result from fighting, the cheap shot can end a career, a knockout just injures your pride).
    3) It allows a protection of sorts for the highly skilled, non-physical player who would otherwise be subject to less skilled "agitators" (i.e. guys who give cheap shots, Tucker, Samuellson, Kasperitis etc.) who are out to injure. Take a look at the PIMS racked up by Semenko and McSorely on the Gretzky led Oilers in the 80's. We're talking 300-400 PIMS a year and they weren't all tripping penalties.

    Note that this applies to hockey before the strict enforcement and extra 2 minute powerplay/10 min./game misconduct of the instigator rule. To get back to the high stick, it used to be that high-sticking was a cowards penalty that expected a beating to take place. Now, with helmets and shields, it is one of the most frequently called penalties. This, along with knee-on-knee (the most dangerous, despicable act in hockey), cross-checks to the face and blindside hits are much more frequent since a team has to deal with a 2/10/game penalty for taking the offending "agitator" to task. Used to be that if Gordie Howe got a stick in the lip, the offender got a beating and both went to the box. Now, the offender gets a penalty (if the ref calls it, big if) and any retribution gets the other guy an extra two and at least a 10 minute misconduct. If you are one of these "agitators", would you care if you injure the star on another team if your only penalty is a possible power play for your team and the removal of the other team's player for at least 10 minutes? Of course not and this is why this type of "agitator" has a place in hockey, where before he'd not even have a place on the bench (clean agitators like Pie McKenzie or Ken Linesman not withstanding). Not one player, coach or GM likes the instigator rule and there has been talk about repealing it, but the NHL does not want to imply that it is doing anything to increase the "violence" of the sport (fighting) so it is stuck with the true violence - the stick swinging, cheap shots, knee-on-knee and turtling cowards that we've had to watch for the last 10-12 years. When almost everyone (even superstars) fought and those that did not were disdained, the league was safer for all, with the Rocket Richard and Ted Green/Maki incidents being anomalies, not everyday.

    I have gone on far too long, but I suggest you read the Todd Bertuzzi thread, much of this was discussed in there.
     
  14. Micheal

    Micheal Screenwriter

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    That's what insurance is for.
    (If we are strictly talking about finances...)
    All the teams have insurance for this sort of thing.

    Like I've said before... how often does a serious eye injury happen in the NHL? Not very often. In fact, even Yzerman won't have any permanent eye damage despite how bad the injury is. I know that one serious eye injury is too many but it really is up to the individual player and what risks he is willing to take.

    Don't get me started on high sticks and fighting. [​IMG]

    One thing though... if football players carried around clubs with them on the field and it's only purpose was for them to use the club on the ball... do you really believe that nobody would ever lose it? Your damn right they would.
    Things can and will happen in the "Heat of the moment".
     
  15. Grant B

    Grant B Producer

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    Well a little.
    I use to watch Glenn Ramsey play in the IHL. Great goalie but he was in the Montreal farm system and never moved up. I believe he played for over 25 seasons without a mask.
    One good thing to remember the "butterfly" didn't start till after masks. You almost never saw a goalie on the ground. Curved sticks, the slapshot all changed goalies way of playing.
    I think the last maskless goalie in the NHL was Gump Worsley of the Minnesota North Star ( Started as a Hab I believe). He was a tandem with Caesar Maniago(SP?) and stopped more pucks in a game then goalie now stop before the break(well close.....[​IMG] )
     
  16. Seth--L

    Seth--L Screenwriter

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    I have fire insurance, but that doesn't mean I don't mind that my home is a fire hazard.
     
  17. Micheal

    Micheal Screenwriter

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    I have car insurance but I still put my life in danger by getting in it and driving on a daily basis.

    These analogies are pointless.

    They are grown men and serious eye injuries are a VERY RARE occasion. I think they know the risks involved. Pretty soon we won't be able to walk down the street without body armor. [​IMG]
     
  18. Lew Crippen

    Lew Crippen Executive Producer

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    Actually none of the goalies used to wear masks (at least in the NHL)—it was considered unmanly. Gary Cheevers of the Bruins of the late 60s–early 70s was famous for painting stitches on his mask to show where he would have had stitches had he not been wearing one.

    I’m not entirely sure who was first, but Terry Sawchuk of the Red Wings began to wear a mask in the late 50s. He might have been the first—if not he was the first ‘big name’ to do so (but then I followed the Wings, so I may not be entirely objective).

    A big reason was the Bobby Hull had really started to make the slap shot popular. Before Hull, most goal scorers depended on a wrist shot (e.g. Gordie Howe), which was not nearly so dangerous to a goalies' health and safety as Hull winding up a few strides over the blue line.
     
  19. Micheal

    Micheal Screenwriter

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    There was another Montreal goalie that tried it in the 30's but he ended up scrapping the idea.
     
  20. Jeff Gatie

    Jeff Gatie Lead Actor

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    Hull was known to waste his first shot on net by firing at the goalie's head. Tended to "open the net" a little for subsequent tries. Saw Cheevers stand aside and "ole'" one of his shots into the net in a 5-1 or so game.

    Interesting stat - Bobby Hull's slapshot was once measured at 118mph. This was with a wooden stick and in a game situation. In the All-Star Hardest Shot Challenge today, the winners barely break 100mph, despite having the perfect windup on a stationary puck using modern composite/aluminum sticks. Amazing!

    Oh, Lew, that's Gerry Cheevers (not Gary, easy mistake), or "Cheezy" as we call him here. That mask is in the HOF and was affectionately known as the "ghoulie" mask. The stitches were hand painted by longtime (and unlicensed) Bruins trainer "Frosty" Forrestal.
     

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