BY JUSTIN DICKIE
OTTAWA – While the National Hockey League mulls over the idea of whether visors should be mandatory for every player, the vast majority of the 2008 first round draft picks plan to wear one anyway.
In a survey of the 28 first-round picks who could potentially wear visors in the NHL – Nashville’s Chet Pickard and Detroit’s Thomas McCollum might look silly with one wrapped around their goalie masks – 20 said they will likely wear face protection. Six were undecided.
Destroying the myth ‘only Europeans and French guys’ wear visors were Phoenix Coyotes’ pick Mikkel Boedker, from Denmark, and Philadelphia’s Luca Sbisa, from Switzerland. The two Europeans were the only players in the first round crop to hint they were leaning towards removing their visor. When asked if they planned to wear face protection, Boedker answered with a straight up “No” while Sbisa said “I could see myself without one.”
Answers varied among the other first-rounders. Some players laughed at the question, but for different reasons.
“A visor?” Toronto’s Luke Schenn said with a chuckle. “That’s a ways away. I’m not too sure.”
“Oh yeah, of course (I’ll wear a visor),” Nikita Filatov said, laughing as if there wasn’t any need to think over the decision.
Further debunking the myth was Chicago’s rough-and-tumble power forward Kyle Beach, who said there was no question; he will be wearing a shield when he makes the jump to prime time.
“I took a puck this year with the visor on and I broke my nose and my cheekbone, so there’s no doubt that I’ll have one on,” Beach said.
The most colorful response came from New York’s Michael Del Zotto. There was no doubt in his mind he would wear one, but not necessarily to prevent an injury on the ice.
“My mom wouldn’t be too happy if I didn’t wear one, that’s for sure,” Del Zotto said.
Of the top five picks, Tampa Bay’s Steven Stamkos, Los Angeles’ Drew Doughty, and Atlanta’s Zach Bogosian all figured they’d be wearing a visor in the pros, while St. Louis’ Alex Pietrangelo and Toronto’s Schenn were undecided.