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Talking The Visor Rule

from Joe Haggerty of CSNNE,

“I don’t even know all the new rules yet. Nobody has explained them to me,” admitted Thornton. “What if a guy’s helmet is taken off during a fight? Are they going to stop the fight? I know he’s not allowed to take off his own helmet. I’m not looking forward to punching [a visor] when I’m throwing at somebody’s face. If I’m in the middle of a fight with a guy with a visor on, I’m getting his helmet off. That’s the first thing I’d be doing.

“Why don’t they invent a visor that can be pulled off [the helmet]? How hard would that be? There has to be something you can just clip in, and then when you get into a fight you can click it off and toss it. I should invent it.”

Protective visors came to the forefront of NHL safety conversations following the serious eye injury suffered by Rangers defenseman Marc Staal last season. Bruins forward Carl Soderberg was seriously injured in Sweden when he took a stick to the eye earlier in his career so there is sensitivity to the subject in Boston.

But the sense is also that the NHL is creating an environment where it’s more difficult for hockey fights to happen -- not by out-and-out outlawing fighting or heavily penalizing fighting majors, but instead by introducing additional safety measures.

Players that take off their helmets prior to a fight will be served with a minor penalty along with the five minute fighting major this season. Whispers around the NHL also indicate that linesmen have been instructed to break up hockey fights as soon as either combatant’s helmet comes off during the scrap.


added 12:07pm, Below I have added a fight video from last night, Joe Vitale against James Wisniewski, both with visors on. Also, reports today stat the Penguins are observing Vitale, who took some mean punches in the fight.

Someone is going to break their hand if the helmets remain on the head during these types of fights.

Filed in: NHL Teams, | KK Hockey | Permalink


Hank1974's avatar

First off, that fight last night (which I saw live - thanks free Centre Ice preview!), was a dandy.
But for those concerned with hands breaking, so be it. Fighting is still against the rules and players need to be protected from themselves (hello NFL settlement!). Plus, it’s the nature of the beast.
It’s like complaining that someone might get a splinter if they engaged in a stick-swinging fight.
If you really wanted to protect the players, then why not have goons where a button that when pressed, a giant cage descends from the rafters and then both participants get in there with mouthguards, gloves and a referee.

To be honest, I’m all for getting rid of goons in hockey. Outside of the entertainment factor, they’re completely useless in helping protect teammates or earning wins.

Some of the most dangerous players in the past 10 years (Cooke, Torres, etc) have had to ‘answer the bell’ against enforcers and it didn’t stop them from being idiots on the ice. Not until the league grew a pair and levied huge suspensions did they start to learn their lessen.
Just like Jordan Nolan will continue to play the game hard, and on the edge, despite having to fight Biznasty last night.
It won’t be until he nearly kills someone and gets a 25-game sitdown that he’ll adjust his game.
Till then, 99% of pests would gladly trade in having to chuck knuckles every few games for an NHL paycheck.

Posted by Hank1974 on 09/16/13 at 12:42 PM ET

Da lil Guy's avatar

Not sure if Shawn Thornton has thought his new detachable visor design through…

Posted by Da lil Guy from Guelph, Ontario on 09/16/13 at 01:23 PM ET

Primis's avatar

I really don’t have an opinion on fighting either way, so I find it interesting that the NHL is in fact seeming to try to go this route.  I agree with the article—it’s a subtle attempt at taking out fighting.

It won’t work.  Even in NCAA and Olympic hockey stuff happens and guys snap.  Honestly though I don’t think that’s the fighting the NHL wants to get rid of.  I think they want to get rid of the Bissonettes who literally have no other game and server no other purpose.

If the league could keep and allow fights between guys like Iginla and Lecavalier only (or heck Datsyuk and Perry)... they’d do it in a heartbeat.

Posted by Primis on 09/16/13 at 02:01 PM ET

clownfat's avatar

Which would you rather players break in a fight their hands or their heads?

I agree this will lead to some pretty mediocre and strange fights but I bet it also leads to less concussions from fights. I would think Thorton would recognize this given how he was concussed last year after a fight with John Scott. I guess he doesn’t care? I’m not really sure I do if the fighters themselves don’t.

Posted by clownfat on 09/16/13 at 07:15 PM ET

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Paul Kukla founded Kukla’s Korner in 2005 and the site has since become the must-read site on the ‘net for all the latest happenings around the NHL.

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