In light of the frightening injury suffered when Marc Staal was struck in his eye by a deflected puck on Tuesday, there was a discussion at this morning’s skate over the merits of grandfathering in a rule that would make face shields mandatory for all players entering the NHL, and Darryl Sutter shared some of his opinions on the subject.
Darryl Sutter, on face shields:
“I’m a proponent of the shield. These kids, they play their whole life…with a shield or a cage, so why wouldn’t you continue to protect it once you’re playing at the highest level you can? That’s not Marc [Staal], that’s everybody. The kids that come from the American League take their shields off to play. The one time they shouldn’t have the helmet on or the shield on is warmups. I mean, that’s the only time they ever get to do anything without a [helmet] on the ice…and I think that’s their right as their identity. I believe that should be their right. That should be their 16 minutes [for] people to see that he’s got blonde hair, or sideburns. That’s good. Like, really, that’s the only time ever that you get to see them with their gear close to competition. But other than that, I believe that they should [wear shields].”
Sutter, on irregular use of face shields:
“You know what? Look, go through it. Kids that come from the American League take their shields off when they get here. It doesn’t really make that much sense. But you know what? It’s their right. It doesn’t matter until it’s a grandfather [clause] or a rule or a parent or a wife or a son that says ‘Dad, honey, you know what?’ That’s the way it works. There’s not one thing I or any of us can do about it. My first year playing in the NHL was the first year it was grandfathered in. It was the last year you could not wear a helmet. So within three years, there were only like four guys without helmets. Like, everybody was wearing them…Really, the only guys that were left…that were my age group were Doug Wilson and Craig MacTavish. But other than that, everybody put them on. And it’d be funny, because there would be guys that would be hot or cold, and they’d not wear a helmet, they’d wear a helmet. If they hadn’t scored for like three games, they’d take the helmet off. You were still allowed to do that. But that was the last year, and then you signed the waiver….If you signed it, either you were going to wear it or not wear it. Then you had to do it, But we had lots of guys in Chicago. They’d not wear a helmet, they’d like wear a different type of helmet. It was funny, actually…Chicago was probably one of the last teams with most guys without helmets.”