Blind Ambition: NHL crime
Brian Gionta, we have to talk. I was glad to see you score the Habs’ 20-K goal in the NHL. That’s enough pucks to outweigh the current Canadiens’ roster. That’s enough goal pucks to pile 24 Bell Centres high. Or as high as 567 Stanley Cups one on top of another.
But Captain, you need to change some of your teammates’ ways. Don’t look away, Habs Goodfellas---I’m looking at you.
Travis Moen, I’ll go into the corners with you on this one. Drop the gloves Ryan White, because you’re next. Not to pick on Colby Armstrong and Tomas Kaberle, but I’m coming for you ex-Leafs as well.
We can see clearly now. Visors must be mandatory in the NHL.
No matter how quickly Marc Staal of the Rangers recovers from taking a deflected slapshot in the eye, the accident should become an urgent issue for the NHLPA.
Josh Gorges, you’re the assistant captain and player rep. You wear a visor. Get on this.
Marc Bergevin and other NHL GMs must take charge and be sure their players are doing all they can to protect themselves from injury: for the sake of their teammates, their fans, but mostly for themselves.
There is no reason for any pro to go “topless” when it comes to eye safety. NHL players are groomed in minor hockey and junior systems that require protection.
Only antiquated expressions of false bravado make players revert to the NHL’s caveman days. It makes as much sense as Carey Price deciding his mask interferes with his vision and pulling a Gumper. If the men in the masks can keep their headgear on in the pros, every defenseman and forward should too.
While I had the privilege and pleasure of working on CJAD 800 Canadiens radio broadcasts, there were 2 frightening moments that stick with me.
Saku Koivu taking a Justin Williams stick in the eye is second only to the Pacioretty-Chara incident for frightening moments I had to describe. Our captain in pain, bleeding. An on-ice official right there but failing to come to the blinded veteran’s assistance.
Koivu wears a visor. But DON’T turn that into an arguement to say they are useless. It’s like saying helmets don’t prevent concussions or that seatbelts don’t save lives.
John Tortorella’s blunt assessment after the Staal injury: “scary.” Then talk to every one of your remaining players who do not wear visors and remind them “this could be you.”
It has always astounded me that there were so few of these kinds of injuries. NHL coaches shouldn’t turn a blind eye either---put helmet and visor on when you’re on the ice.
No one wants NHL games played by bubble-wrapped players. But one player losing an eye in the all too often eye-for-an-eye world of pro hockey is too many.