I'm old enough to remember a few dudes in the NHL who played without a helmet. Dinosaurs of an earlier age like Brad Marsh and
Greg Smyth Craig MacTavish were grandfathered in, showing what was left of their mullets and their intelligence while substituting machismo for brains (or the prospect of having a working one in the future).
Twenty years later, NHL players still flaunt protection in favor of comfort (or, for brawlers, that same machismo). Despite numerous gruesome facial injuries in the past few years, a quarter of NHL players eschew the visor. Maybe that will change after what happened tonight at Madison Square Garden, as Rangers defenseman Marc Staal took a puck to the eye, leaving a pool of blood on the ice and Staal's body writhing in visible pain.
It was audible pain, too, as is apparent to eagle-eared TV listeners. But we're more interested in promoting mandatory visor use, mostly because we like pro hockey players and would prefer their careers last as long as possible. So here's every angle of the gruesome injury Staal took against the Flyers tonight, and when we get an update on his condition we'll be sure to provide you with it. [MSG, Comcast SportsNet Philadelphia, NBC Sports Net]