Last night we were horrified by seeing Flyers captain Chris Pronger hunched over screaming in pain after taking a high-stick to the eye. Seeing a gargantuan and intimidating man like Pronger hunched over in terror that perhaps he’d had his eye irreparably injured is an awful sight for anyone to see but it’s something that’s very preventable thanks to visors.
Of course, visors aren’t mandatory in the NHL and over the past few years we’ve seen situations like this happen far too often where a player takes a stick or a puck in the eye that would’ve been prevented or deflected by a plastic visor. We saw Manny Malhotra go through the same horror late last season. Bryan Berard famously nearly lost his eye years ago and Steve Yzerman too nearly suffered such an injury when he was playing. Ian Laperriere said he’d wear a shield after taking a slap shot off his forehead. Of course, he’s still dealing with concussion problems from that shot. Things don’t always work out as planned.
While Pronger’s diagnosis seems to be good with a 2-3 week timetable for return, the Flyers are making him comeback with a visor when he’s ready to play. Why not just have all players wear them all the time, instead and spare the players the terror of seeing another of their colleagues suffer a needless injury.
We’ve made this case before, and we stand by it. The AHL already makes visors mandatory, it’s high time that the NHL and NHLPA got caught up with the times and protected themselves.