No one wants to talk about the 2012 NHL Lockout anymore than they want to see players lying on the ice, immobilized because of an injury that could end their career – or potentially their life.
What we were fed during the lockout as players and owners fought over how to divy up hockey related revenue and maximize their money the same story line from the NHLPA. Owners are in for the long haul, and players have a relatively short shelf life to make as much money as possible before entering into second careers as philantropists, coaches, or announcers.
For the New York Rangers and Marc Staal – it was almost the end on Tuesday night. A deflected puck rose quickly and caught Staal in the eye – ending his night, and potentially his career.
Thankfully, doctors expect him to make a full recovery from his injury – but he will be sidelined indefinitely.
How will that affect the New York Rangers short term plans this season?
Sitting just outside the playoff picture – Staal was the leading point getter among Blue Shirt Blue Liners. The Rangers are looking for veteran Roman Hamrlik, claimed off of waivers from the Washington Capitals will be able to step in and fill the void on the blue line. While reports are out there that are saying the Rangers were going to put a claim in on Hamrlik despite the Staal injury – it probably made the decision easier to make.
More importantly however – why wasn’t Staal wearing a visor to protect his vision?
Back to the lockout – players continued to stand by the pillar of short careers and maximized returns. If your that worried about such a short career – why not wear the proper protective gear to maximize your earnings as opposed to freezing the fans out in order to get more money to maximize your career?
The NHL has gone through a head injury issue in the past – and it took several years to rid the league of non-helmet wearing players.
Starting with the 2013-2014 NHL season, the NHL should require that all players wear a protective visor with certain minimum protective guidelines.
Its a tough call for the NHL. They are already on rocky grounds with the NHLPA after the lockout, and the dreaded realignment issue will be beat to death in the coming months leading up to the season.
Additional equipment requirements might be too much for the NHL and the NHLPA to hash out while a contract is in place, given the other issues.
If players are going to kevlar reinforced socks to prevent the near occasion of a skate slip (intentional or otherwise) – should the National Hockey League take a more serious stance on player protection?
The debate rages on – and Yahoo’s Sports Puck Daddy does a great job of encompassing all sides of the debate.
The National Hockey League is archaic in getting on board with the visor rule. From the AHL on below in North America – and most European leagues mandating eye protection (even the US military makes eye protection in a combat zone mandatory now).
Players are almost begging for the NHL to protect them. If you didn’t read the entire Puck Daddy article, here is my favorite part:
They see it as a political issue. That the NHL shouldn’t determine how to best protect the players, because the players know better than the NHL how to do so. That the NHL would be taking away a right from players that generations have enjoyed…
As employee’s of a team in the National Hockey League – they are an asset of said teams and the leagues – and don’t they have a vested interested in protecting their assets?
Take it out of the players hands – pass a rule to make visors necessary. Those that are bitching that it will take away from their ability to play the game – will adapt and play just fine with the visor on.
Is it that much of a right of passage that a guy who makes it to the bigs gets to take his visor off if he wishes? Or do we wait until a player loses an eye or his vision to make a move on protecting the game, the players, and the players futures?