New York, NY
When New York Rangers defenseman Marc Staal was hit in the eye by a puck, it renewed whether a mandatory visor rule should be in effect in the NHL.
The issue was raised during the labor talks in January, but the union held firm to protect the "player's choice" in the matter.
The league would like that rule to become mandatory soon.
According to NHL Deputy commissioner Bill Daly, there is a continuing discussion over the matter between the league, the players' association and the general managers.
He said that the NHL has been consistently in favor of a rule mandating visors, but the players' association wants to maintain 'player choice,' coupled with continued education and sensitization.
Daly said he was not sure if a single incident will materially change or impact the ongoing discussion or approach.
According to NHLPA-gathered statistics, visor use among NHL players continues to increase. Approximately 73 percent of players are wearing visors this season, up from 69 percent in 2011-12.
Mathieu Schneider, special assistant to the executive director of the NHLPA, confirmed Daly's take on the union's stance.
"While the players support visor use being a matter of individual choice, we continue to regularly educate the players on the benefits of wearing a visor so that each player can make an informed decision," he said in a statement. "We will further discuss visors and other important equipment-related matters at our player meetings this summer."
The American Hockey League made protective visors mandatory in 2006 after Portland Pirates defenseman Jordan Smith lost vision in his eye after an incident similar to Staal's.
The Rangers released a statement saying Staal's condition has "improved significantly" and is expected to make a full recovery.
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