Visor issue takes precedence as NHL GMs meet

Published March 20, 2013

| Sports Network

The men who are in charge of the 30 teams in the National Hockey League met at the league's Canadian office on Wednesday, but it was the players' association which made the most headway with an important issue facing its ranks.

The NHL has gone on record previously as wanting all of its players to wear visors attached to their helmets, but the players have expressed resistance to the league imposing its will regarding the issue.

Mathieu Schneider, who currently serves as special assistant to executive director Don Fehr, said the union will push for current players who do not wear visors to be exceptions to any future rule.

"I think by the sheer number of players wearing them, I think you have seen a big change," Schneider said. "That's going to be something we will be talking to the players about; certainly this year. I'm certainly an advocate. A bit of hypocrite myself because I played my entire career without one. The game is extremely fast and guys come into the League having had to have worn a visor before. We are definitely going to talk to the guys about grandfathering them in."

Roughly 73 percent of NHL players wear some sort of facial protection, and every player who has entered the league has played with some sort of protection before. The NHLPA said it plans to poll its membership this summer to see if mandatory visor usage has gained more traction than it did the last time the subject was broached four years ago.

As far as the general managers were concerned, major topics on the table included: a coach's challenge for video review; the implementation of a hybrid-icing rule; issues surrounding embellishment of fouls by players; modification of rules regarding the size of goalie equipment; potential tweaks to the rules governing shootouts and faceoff concerns.

The challenge option was introduced in 2010 but shot down by a 28-2 vote, while goaltending equipment has been the topic of discussion before in finding ways to maintain safety but increase scoring which did not entail altering the size of nets.

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