Earlier in the week we saw Montreal’s Max Pacioretty have his neck broken and sustain a severe concussion when he was hit by Zdeno Chara into the stanchion between the benches in Montreal’s Bell Centre. That hit has sparked debates over player safety in the rinks as well as debates over the amount of respect players have for each other.
Between periods today, Mike Milbury and Pierre McGuire levied their opinions on what should be done to help curtail the number of violent hits and concussions as well as what should be done to help make the playing area safer in general for the players. As always, the opinions are biting and loaded with truth.
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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.