Poll results: PHT readers think all players should be required to wear visors

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You have to be at least a little bit crazy to be a hockey player and maybe professionally insane to be a professional hockey player.

From blocking shots to the very real risk of getting a wooden stick to the face to hitting and being hit, there are plenty of ways to experience the painful sides of the sport. Really, what other sport rewards you for bleeding like hockey does? (A high sticking penalty can become a double minor if it draws the red stuff.)

So telling hockey players to worry about their safety is akin to scolding Matt Hoffman for ignoring the reality of gravity. Sure, they’re paid to score goals and skate like the wind, but part of that paycheck comes with the understanding that their bodies won’t be the same after every season.

Yet there are ways to make the dangerous sport at least a bit less life-threatening. Curbing hits to the head is one measure the league is striving to reduce. One debate that tends to crop up when someone suffers a scary facial or eye injury is whether or not the league/NHL players association should force its athletes to wear visors. With that in mind, we asked PHT readers if they thought that all players should face a mandate to don them, if incoming players should be forced to wear them while current players would be “grandfathered in” or if the status quo of players making their own choice should remain in place. Here are the poll results.

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It might look like the voting results are pretty close, but there are two variations on the affirmative, splitting the votes a bit. So really, more than two-thirds of PHT readers want NHL players to be required to wear visors in some way while less than one-third would prefer it to stay the same.

Personally, I prefer the “Yes, but let current players be grandfathered in” option, but can live with the status quo. If hockey players want to take huge risks with their eyesight, that’s their choice. After all, they’re not very shy about taking bold risks in general.

Larkin will start season with Red Wings

Dylan Larkin
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Dylan Larkin — despite being just 19 years old — will begin the season on the Detroit Red Wings, a team not normally accustomed to having teenagers in the lineup.

Coach Jeff Blashill confirmed the news this morning. Larkin could apparently start on a line with Henrik Zetterberg and Justin Abdelkader.

Larkin, the 15th overall pick in the 2014 draft, had three goals and one assist in five preseason games. A natural center, he’s shown the potential to one day step into the kind of “big-time” role that Zetterberg and Pavel Datsyuk have played for so long in Detroit.

“You have to give our scouts credit,” former coach Mike Babcock told ESPN in May. “We got a great pick where we picked. How high end is he? How soon?”

Related: Coaching change ‘one of the reasons’ Larkin signed with Wings

Preseason stats: Five goalies with good numbers, five goalies with…not

Anders Nilsson
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Yeah, yeah, it’s a small sample size and it’s just the preseason, but here are some goaltending stats anyway.

Five goalies with good numbers

Anders Nilsson, Edmonton — zero goals on 53 shots. His solid play a likely factor in the decision to waive Ben Scrivens, who actually wasn’t that bad in the preseason (4 goals on 56 shots).

Martin Jones, San Jose — three goals on 100 shots. The Sharks are rolling the dice on a couple of cheap goalies. Jones and Alex Stalock have a combined cap hit of just $4.6 million.

Jacob Markstom, Vancouver — three goals on 79 shots. Can he finally get over the NHL hump? If so, he could make it a real competition with Ryan Miller.

Sergei Bobrovsky, Columbus — five goals on 122 shots. The Blue Jackets have scored a ton of goals in the preseason, but there remain questions about their blue line. Bobrovsky has the ability to make a so-so defense look good.

Anton Khudobin, Anaheim — two goals on 67 shots. A good early sign for the Ducks, who have Frederik Andersen in the starting role and want to give young John Gibson more time to develop in the AHL.

Five goalies with bad numbers

Thomas Greiss, Islanders — 14 goals on 94 shots. Has to be a bit of concern in Brooklyn. The Isles got below-average backup play last season from Chad Johnson. They wanted to fix that with the Greiss signing.

Robin Lehner, Buffalo — 11 goals on 95 shots. Tim Murray paid a hefty price to get the 24-year-old out of Ottawa. With the aforementioned Johnson in the backup role, the goaltending story is worth watching.

Jeff Zatkoff, Pittsburgh — 11 goals on 74 shots. Granted, Marc-Andre Fleury and Matthew Murray weren’t particularly sharp either. The Penguins conceded 28 goals in eight games.

Kari Lehtonen, Dallas — 15 goals on 84 shots. For a Stars team that desperately needs better goaltending, that has to be worrying. Antti Niemi wasn’t a whole lot better either, allowing eight goals on 65 shots. Fair question to ask — how many of all those goals were attributable to poor defensive play?

Pekka Rinne, Nashville — 12 goals on 91 shots. Has earned the benefit of the doubt, but thought we’d point it out anyway.