The Visor Thing

by Kolby Solinsky

Editor, White Cover Magazine

LINE - White Cover Magazine

People who say silly things must hate the Internet.

The silly things they say just never go away. It happens to me all the time, and fair enough. I write a lot, therefore I get a lot wrong. Or take the case of Vancouver Canucks’ defenceman Kevin Bieksa, who still won’t wear a visor on his helmet, even after seeing his 2011 teammate Manny Malhotra nearly lose his vision and his career, or after seeing Marc Staal’s face cave in like the pastry under Jason Biggs in American Pie. (I mean, just watching Staal’s legs writhe around on the ice after that clip is enough to make any on-the-fence parent pull their kids from the sport.)

And even after Sunday, when Bieksa himself got popped in the eye by the puck and escaped injury by only the luck of his hairy chin-chin, the blueliner still probably won’t wear one.

But between 2007 and 2009, Bieksa suffered two rather serious injuries, when skates sliced his leg during games against the Nashville Predators and the Phoenix Coyotes. The injuries were complete flukes, not unlike when someone else’s shot or stick smacks you in the retina or the cheek or the nose. After the first injury, Bieksa said his foot was “essentially paralyzed”. And hockey players need their feet. You know, to skate.

So Bieksa did the logical thing. He started wearing kevlar socks. And he actually campaigns for them.

Here’s a line of his from February, 2013, after Ottawa Senators star defenceman Erik Karlsson had his Achilles tendon severed, much like how Dexter severs his ham in every episode’s intro.

“It’s a personal choice, but I don’t see why guys wouldn’t.”

Exactly.

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Some players will tell you it’s their choice, so they can do what they want. That’s true, of course. But just because it’s your choice doesn’t mean it’s not a stupid choice. And wearing a visor doesn’t make you a pussy, not anymore than wearing a seatbelt does. Or not smoking cigarettes does.

Other players will tell you they don’t see as well with a visor on. This is ridiculous.

Firstly, wear the thing for two games max, and you won’t realize it’s there. Secondly, Bieksa wore one when he captained Team Canada at last year’s World Championships. Thirdly, the evidence suggests otherwise… a quick scan of the NHL’s brightest stars shows, visors don’t affect your vision at all.

I can’t imagine Bieksa’s high-scoring teammates Henrik Sedin or Daniel Sedin have issues seeing the puck. Often, their opposition has trouble seeing the puck, especially when the twins have it.

The Sedins wear visors, always have. Same goes for Radim Vrbata, or Bieksa’s longtime former teammate Ryan Kesler. Or Bieksa’s superior defensive partners Chris Tanev and Dan Hamhuis. Or Pavel Datsyuk. Or Sidney Crosby, Jonathan Toews, Patrick Kane, Anze Kopitar, Drew Doughty, Shea Weber, Henrik Zetterberg, Evgeni Malkin, Alex Ovechkin, Nicklas Backstrom, Patrice Bergeron, Tyler Seguin, Rick Nash, Jarome Iginla, Teemu Selanne, Jaromir Jagr…

Wait, should I keep going?

Apparently, I should.