Found October 25, 2011 on The Victory Formation:
Boston_bruins_v_abbb

The video doesn’t show anything graphic, but it will make you sick to your stomach. Considering the guy that got injured, it makes it even more shocking just how bad the reaction was and how quickly he got off the ice. Last night at Wells Fargo Center, Chris Pronger took a high stick from Mikhail Grabovski on a shot follow through. You can hear in the video Pronger screaming in pain as he comes off the ice. Pronger doesn’t wear a visor now, but the general manager of the Flyers, Paul Holmgren, will make sure he does when he returns.

As it currently stands, visors are not mandatory for NHL players. Some players wear them, some don’t. Pronger isn’t the first Flyer to suffer a facial injury in play. This morning, Puck Daddy’s Greg Wyshynski referenced Ian Lapierre’s facial fracture that was suffered from taking a slap shot to the face. Now, I only played hockey for a very short amount of time. However, I can tell you that taking a puck to the face is not fun. Just like Lapierre, ever since I took one to the nose as a kid, I’ve worn either a cage or a visor ever since.

I mean, like Kramer once said, my face is my livelihood man!

This is no joking matter however. Pronger is lucky that his injury isn’t much more severe. From the looks of it, he’ll miss around 2-4 weeks and his eyesight will not be dramatically affected. It could have been much worse though. Bryan Berard’s career was nearly ended when he took a stick to the eye from then Ottawa Senator (and still champion in all of our hearts) Marian Hossa. It’s time we made visors a mandatory part of NHL equipment. It’s already that way in the American Hockey League, where many of the younger players are coming up through now. Holmgren even made sure to emphasize this in his postgame remarks:

“Well, when Chris comes back, he’ll be wearing a visor,” Flyers general manager Paul Holmgren told us on Monday night. ”We made it mandatory in the American Hockey League and to me it’s not an issue. Players should wear them. Obviously some of these players have been around a long time and for whatever reason they don’t want to wear them. When Chris comes back, he’ll be wearing a visor.”

The way that younger kids are being brought up in hockey now has them wearing facial protection from the time they begin playing. Junior hockey, college hockey and the aforementioned American Hockey League all have rules in place that require players to wear either a cage or a visor. If something like Pronger’s injury has brought the attention to the NHL game, then I welcome it. Let’s hope it doesn’t have to get any further for an actual rule to be put into place.

Most of the complaints from players that don’t wear them stem from their ability to see on the ice. I had never worn a visor back when I played as a kid but from Holmgren’s comments, it sounds like the advancements are there. The visor I currently employ in beer league hockey doesn’t restrict my vision in the least. In fact, getting a tip from another former player, I just put some Pledge on it and it doesn’t even fog up now. So what’s the hold up with players wanting to wear them?

Machismo. That’s what.

If players want to lose their vision or have career altering facial injuries, that’s their choice, right? It’s time to take that choice away from them and force these players to wear visors. There’s such a focus on player safety now with concussions and other head injuries, yet we’re still ignoring a simple measure that can be taken to avoid other injuries to the head. Make it mandatory. It’s a simple measure and it needs to be taken.

No one needs to see another barn as quiet as Wells Fargo was last night. In fact, Chris Pronger is lucky he’s able to see at all today.

THE BACKYARD
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