Does the NHL need to change their helmet situation?
By Ryan Fedrau
After seeing the Johnny Boychuk injury tonight, we ask a question, should the NHL reassess their helmet situation?
You might be saying, what does this have to do with the Chicago Blackhawks? It has a lot to do with the Blackhawks.
On June 24th, 2013, Andrew Shaw took a puck right to the face. As he laid there on the ice in a pool of his own blood, I questioned the NHL’s helmet situation. I asked myself, why do players have their faces exposed, without wearing a visor?
Well, Brandon Saad wears a visor! Does that fix the problem? No, Saad in 2015 and 2018 took a puck to the face. Even though Saad wears a visor, he still has the same risk as a player without a visor.
In 2015, Saad spent four hours in a dentist chair getting his teeth fixed. In 2018, Saad missed time with the Blackhawks and needed 15 stitches to his face and mouth area.
Does anyone remember when Duncan Keith took a puck right to the face in 2010? He lost at least seven teeth during that injury. Keith was wearing a visor and still lost teeth. Is the visor really that helpful?
More from Blackhawk Up
- Blackhawks: Three Noticeable Improvements in Comeback Win vs Blues
- Blackhawks: Key Takeaways from 3-2 win over the Blues
- Blackhawks: Grading Connor Murphy and a position comparison
- Blackhawks: Shuffling the lines to try and spark offense at 5 on 5
- These Lineup Changes could Solve the Blackhawks’ Scoring Problem
Patrick Kane has been injured multiple times because of his helmet. Early in his career, he was nailed by teammate Jonathan Toews (on accident) and was cut in his mouth. Fast forward to 2018, he was hit by a puck to his jaw. If he didn’t have a visor, that puck could have done more damage.
How about Connor Murphy getting elbowed in the face back in late 2018? He was gushing blood and looked terrible!
This should at least be looked at. Even players that wear mouthpieces get cut. It seems like at least once a week, an NHL player is cut by a high stick. That happens even if the player is wearing a visor. In some cases, the visor could actually hurt the situation. If a puck or stick gets stuck in the visor, it can do damage.
What about the player’s eye? These questions need to be answered. The beautiful thing about hockey players is their grit and toughness on and off the ice. As we aim to make the game safer, what can we do?
Another option is having players wear a full visor, something that you see many injured players use when nursing a face injury. It’s the closest look to what NHL players have right now. It won’t fully take the look “cool” away from players. It just takes away from losing teeth or being cut by pucks, elbows, and high sticks.
Mouthpieces do help when colliding with another player. It does absorb some of the blow that the player’s head will take. I don’t think that players will all want to switch to wearing a mouthpiece. If they decided to add that to the game, there would be a lot of injuries prevented.
It’s something to think about. Gary Bettman, the puck is in your rink.