Caught an interesting debate Tuesday between Bruins GM Peter Chiarelli and American Hockey League president Dave Andrews on TSN’s Off The Record program over visor use at the highest levels of hockey.
Andrews, smart man that he is, told the assembled panel he believed it was “only a matter of time” until the NHL made visors mandatory for all its players.
Chiarelli, member of the conservative NHL GM group that he is, said wearing proper eye protection was a player’s choice and should stay that way.
Thankfully, Andrews exposed that backwards line of thinking for what it is – a severely flawed rationalization that doesn’t hold up to even the slightest scrutiny.
“I don’t think there’s any reason for a player to take (a visor) off,” said Andrews, whose league made visors mandatory for its players at the start of the 2006-07 season. “Every player now turning professional…whether they come from Europe, NCAA or major junior, has been wearing a visor, and to play without one is to consciously take it off.”
I quite liked the way Andrews framed that. It isn’t about players putting on visors anymore, it’s about the guys taking off a piece of equipment they’ve played with throughout their formative years.
Andrews also shot down the typical anti-visor propaganda regarding the supposed rise in stick work that would follow the mandating of shields.
“Sticks are down in our league,” Andrews said. “Sticking majors are down by 35 percent. We haven’t seen any negative results.”
All in all, it was an exemplary display of reason and good judgment by the AHL president. If only the NHL – and NHL Players’ Association – had someone with the gumption to disregard players’ excuses and do the right thing, right away.
• I’d be remiss if I didn’t direct you to the latest in an endless line of gems from The Onion.
My favorite line of the piece came when the satirical magazine wrote the following about the “foreign-born Penguins player Alexander Ovechkin:”
“…(L)ike most (hockey) players, (he) has based his life around the sport and has no real-world skills.”
It’s funny because it’s often true.
Adam Proteau is The Hockey News’ online columnist and a regular contributor to THN.com. His blog appears Mondays and Wednesdays, his Ask Adam feature appears Tuesdays and Fridays, and his column, Screen Shots, appears Thursdays.
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