I'm pretty sure that we all remember the horrible fluke accident that left New York Rangers defenseman Marc Stall bleeding on the ice:
"Oh, boy." Yep, I'm sure that's what Staal was thinking too. Thankfully he made it back in time for game three of the Rangers' series against the Bruins, but Staal's realistic about his prospects. He doesn't think his eye will ever make it to 100% again. As he tells ESPN's Katie Strang:
"It's probably not going to be 100 percent," Staal said of his injury, "but that's not to say it's not going to get a lot better. It's still improving."
Asked about his potential to get back to playing at the level he was playing before suffering the injury, Staal said: "My belief is that once everything settles down and I get comfortable with it, I'll never have to be asked about it again. I don't think it'll be an issue."
Hopefully that is in fact the case for Staal. What his injury has started, though, is a constant debate about the use of visors on players. Should it be mandatory? Some tough guys and old school players prefer not to wear them, either because they get in the way if a fight happens or because it hinders their vision of the ice. I don't think we'll be seeing Barret Jackman sporting a visor any time soon, but 73% of active players currently do.
The NHLPA's Competition Committee, along with a select group of GMs, coaches, and owners, deliberate potential rule changes on an annual basis. This year the committee is made up of Ron Hainsey, Cory Schneider, Michael Cammalleri, and Blues David Backes and Alex Pietrangelo. On the slate for Tuesday's deliberations is whether or not a rule should be enacted requiring new players to wear visors to protect themselves from avoidable injuries such as Staal's. Players currently in the league will be grandfathered in to their choice.
Will this help prevent injury? Of course. Will this face pushback? Not as much as you'd expect. Most players coming up now already wear visors, and have been wearing them for years now. The old guys who prefer not to don't have to.
Now, you want meaty discussions? Here you go:
NHLPA competition committee will discuss both embellishment and the future of the trapezoid(!) at today's meeting.— Greg Wyshynski (@wyshynski) June 4, 2013
Discussions on the removal of the trapezoid, just in time for Martin Brodeur's eventual retirement. Of course!