Pens' union representative unhappy with visor policy
By Josh Yohe
Published: Wednesday, June 5, 2013, 12:27 p.m.
BOSTON — The NHL competition committee is recommending that players entering the league be required to wear a visor.
Penguins right wing Craig Adams, the team's union representative, said the decision should remain with the players.
“It's always been the player's choice,” Adams said Wednesday, hours before the Penguins and Boston Bruins played in Game 3 of the Eastern Conference final. “How hypocritical is it of me to say I'm not going to wear one, but I'm going to make everyone else wear one?”
The competition committee wants the rule to be instituted at the beginning of next season. The league's board of governors must approve the change.
In March, Rangers defenseman Marc Staal sustained an eye injury when he was struck by a puck. He missed about two months but attempted to return for the postseason. He played in just one game.
Staal's brothers, Eric and Jordan, started wearing a visor because of the injury. So did Penguins defenseman Brooks Orpik.
Many players insist a visor interferes with their ability to see, and others have said breathing is more difficult while wearing one.
“Maybe in 10 years, everyone will look back and say how dumb we were for not wearing visors,” Adams said. “To me, it's a personal decision. I don't feel like I should tell anyone else they have to do it.”
Adams is surprised so many seem to be in favor of the ruling.
“Unfortunately, we've had some bad injuries,” he said. “I'm sure some guys took that into account.”
A few Penguins — Adams, defenseman Deryk Engelland, left wing Tanner Glass and left wing Brenden Morrow — don't wear visors.
One of the youngest Penguins wouldn't think of not wearing one.
“I don't have to wear one, but I'll do so my entire career. It's for safety reasons,” right wing Beau Bennett said. “It's not a big deal.
“It always takes something happening for something to spur interest in it. Something did happen to bring up the issue again. You see a couple of more guys put it on just from seeing that.
“You don't think it's going to happen to you, but if something does, you'll regret it.”
Bennett wore a full face cage in college, per NCAA rules. It actually was comfortable, he said, and made him feel safer.
As for a visor, Bennett said it is a case of common sense.
“I'll wear one the rest of my career,” he said.
Josh Yohe is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. Reach him at firstname.lastname@example.org or via Twitter @JoshYohe_Trib.
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