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Why does everything have to be a controversy?


Chris Pronger took a hockey stick to the eye on Monday October 24, 2011 in a 4-2 win against the Toronto Maple Leafs. Please see attached clip & photo for your viewing pleasure: http://www.nhl.com/ice/news.htm?id=597339

Pronger left the game and is now projected to be out for the next 2-3 weeks while doctors monitor his eye. Pronger’s injury has whipped up intense debate over the simple issue of whether or not players should be required (read, forced) to wear face shields. When I heard this, I thought “why does everything have to be a controversy?! I mean sports pundits are going nuts over this. I know we need things to talk about in between hockey games, but c’mon! Really?! Is it that slow of a news week that we have to revert to shock journalism? “It’s a controversy!!” pundits say. No, the JFK assassination is a controversy. This is a much simpler issue.

To me, this is a no brainer. Chris Pronger is 37 years old. Pronger has been in the NHL for 18 years spanning five teams, and winning one Stanley Cup. Pronger is a big boy. If he doesn’t want to wear a face shield, then he doesn’t have to wear one. Something tells me though that after this incident, he’s going to wear a face shield. This is simple child psychology. You burn your hands on the stove by touching it when it’s hot, guess what?! You don’t touch the stove when it’s hot any more. It takes incidents like this for players to realize, “oh yeah, maybe I should wear that protective covering thingy.” But if you choose not to, that’s fine by me. You’re the one who has to live with the consequences.

Now maybe the shield would have protected him and maybe it wouldn’t have. If you watch the replay, my guess is that it could have gone either way. The stick could have been blocked by the shield or gone straight up and hit him in the eye anyway. The simple fact is we’ll never know because Pronger wasn’t wearing one. It’s like putting on your seatbelt when you get into a car. Isn’t it better to wear your seatbelt then you know, not?

Some pundits have suggested the mandatory use of face shields while others have suggested grandfathering it into the league. If you grandfather it into the league, current players would have the right to choose whether or not to wear one, while new and incoming players would be required to wear face shields just like college hockey and the minor leagues.

Author’s side note: Wouldn’t it be cool to have full cage helmets in the NHL like they do in college?! That would be so sick!! I just think the visual image is funny. It would make fights pretty difficult though. You would have more broken hands & fingers and that would create a whole new problem. Ok, back to the blog…

Other pundits have suggested that it should be up to the players to choose what is right for them. I am solidly in this camp. For the most part, the players are adults. They should be free to make decisions for themselves. If at some point in the future, injuries spike up so high that NHLPA and the NHL feel that it would be in the player’s best interest to wear face shields, then by all means let’s have that debate. But in the meantime, can we please stop creating unnecessary issues where there aren’t any?

IN OTHER NEWS:

He’s baaaaaaack! After spending 14 days on  injured reserved, Drew Doughty will make his return to the lineup Saturday night when the Kings face off against the Phoenix Coyotes. 6:00 PM on Fox Sports West. GO KINGS!!


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