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Senators Watch: Kudos for eye protection

The Ottawa Senators are one of the teams in the NHL that can clearly see that using a visor is a good idea. A recent study by The Hockey News concluded that a total of 16 Senator players wear eye protection, which puts them second in the league behind the 18 players who wear visors on the Minnesota Wild.

And good for the Senators for eschewing the ridiculous notion that wearing a visor somehow compromises your manhood. It’s amazing to realize that some people really do still think that way about this issue and it’s refreshing to see a group that, generally speaking, doesn’t listen to such malarkey.

Let’s take Senators captain Daniel Alfredsson as an example. Alfredsson has worn a visor every minute of every game of his 14-season career and anyone who would suggest that he doesn’t play a robust, passionate or physical game would be laughed out of the rink. And while we’re exposing myths here, wearing a visor certainly hasn’t affected his superior on-ice vision. You don’t become the 10th-highest scoring European-born and trained player of all time – and he’s gaining on Alexei Kovalev for No. 9 – by skating around in a visor-induced fog.

Personally, I believe that visors should be mandatory in the NHL. The league has bailed on this notion repeatedly, saying that it is seeking the blessing of the NHL Players’ Association on the matter before making the visor an essential piece of equipment.

This, of course, is a prime case of passing the buck by the league. The wearing of visors is a workplace safety issue and the employer has every right to demand that the employees adhere to minimum safety standards when they show up for work. The same way that construction workers can’t demand the freedom to wear bathroom slippers instead of steel-toed work boots on the construction site, the NHL players should not be able to demand they have the option to leave their eyes unprotected.

Lucklily, though, this is not a problem with the Senators. There was a time when players who wore visors often took them off because they faced the peer pressure applied by teammates or they removed them when they went into a slump, stupidly thinking that would change their fortunes. But thanks to teams such as the Senators, that’s changing.

Now, perhaps, the guys wearing the visors can actually shame their teammates into wearing them, too.

This article also appeared in the Ottawa Metro newspaper.

Ken Campbell, author of the book Habs Heroes, is a senior writer for The Hockey News and a regular contributor to THN.com. His blog will appear Wednesdays and Fridays and his column, Campbell's Cuts, appears Mondays.

For more great profiles, news and views from the world of hockey, subscribe to The Hockey News magazine.

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