Canucks and Beyond

Put on the Visor

03/29/2011 at 6:19pm EDT

From AJ Perez at CBS Sports Eye on Hockey:

Manny Malhotra may not have had to travel across the continent to see a surgeon in New York had the Vancouver Canucks center used one piece of equipment.

A visor.

The thin piece of shatterproof plastic likely would have absorbed the errant puck that struck his left eye in a game two weeks ago. The injury ended his season and could very well endanger his career—- not to mention his enjoyment of life after hockey.

Perez goes on to cite a survey done by The Hockey News which determined 65% of players 30 and under use one, but just 45% of those over 30.

With visors being mandatory in the AHL and in international competition, when will the NHL follow suit?

Vancouver has a particular stake in this argument, having seen two players go down with horrific eye injuries in recent years. Manny Malhotra, obviously, and before that, Mattias Ohlund. From Wikipedia:

Prior to the start of the 1999–00 NHL season, in a pre-season game against the Ottawa Senators on September 21, 1999, a puck deflected off Öhlund’s stick and struck him in the right eye. The injury forced Öhlund to miss the first 38 games of the season. [...] The following year, he missed an additional 17 games after undergoing surgery once more to relieve building internal pressure on his eye.

After that experience, Ohlund had this to say:

“Back then you didn’t see a lot of the bigger guys wearing visors. And I’m not going to lie to you, it is a little more comfortable without it and once you take it off for a while it’s hard to imagine putting it back on. I was lucky. I’d never take that chance again.”

Hopefully Manny Malhotra gets the same opportunity to have a second chance.

And maybe it’s time the NHL itself legislated this change for everyone else, too.

Official Update on Malhotra—4:30 PT

Vancouver, B.C. – After further consultation with specialists and team doctors, today Vancouver Canucks forward Manny Malhotra underwent a second successful eye procedure. Manny Malhotra’s health continues to be the primary concern of the hockey club. Progress updates will be made available at the appropriate time. No further comment is planned at this time.

Prognosis is said to be clearer, according to Bob McKenzie, in about another 6-8 weeks

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