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

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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.”