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Tracking the Storm

Staal Brothers Don Visors

Friday, 03.22.2013 / 3:00 PM ET / Tracking the Storm
By Michael Smith
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Staal Brothers Don Visors
Enough is enough, the brothers Staal have decided.

Michael Smith
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Eric Staal and Jordan Staal donned visors at practice on Friday at Raleigh Center Ice with the intention of wearing them regularly for the first time in their NHL careers.

It’s a decision spurred after their visor-less brother, Marc, was hit in the right eye with a puck in New York on March 5. Marc remains out indefinitely as the swelling around his eye lessens and his vision improves, and when he returns, he likely will wear a visor.

Now he won’t be alone.

Eric and Jordan both said they plan to continue practicing with the visors on in hopes of wearing them in-game beginning Tuesday against Winnipeg.

“It’s a decision that’s been brewing for a little while,” Eric said. “I just feel like the risk isn’t worth it right now.”

“It’s a smart thing to wear,” Jordan said.

On Monday, Eric and Jordan visited with Marc while the Hurricanes were in New York, as they saw first-hand the severity of an eye injury.

“Sometimes you feel like your invincible, but as many guys have seen, you’re not,” Eric said. “I’ve had someone extremely close to me go through something you don’t want to see anyone go through, so I’ll put one on.”

The decision to wear visors, which the brothers initially dodged yet likely heavily reconsidered after Marc’s injury, was one that Eric and Jordan made together, of course encouraged by their spouses and mother.

“They’ve been harping on me for years about it, like anybody,” Eric said. “Jordan and I talked about it, and we’re going to give it a shot.”

“All of them are probably pretty happy that we’re giving it a shot right now,” Jordan said.

Head coach Kirk Muller, who said he didn’t wear a visor or a mouth guard during his playing days, had recently approached Eric about the subject. He wasn’t too surprised to see the new look today.

“The game’s changed. It’s so fast,” he said. “It’s a different generation and a different mindset.”

With visor usage already mandatory at nearly every level of competitive hockey, from college to junior leagues in North America to the American Hockey League, it’s not uncommon to see droves of visor-wearing young players in the NHL. Now, a visor requirement may have the support of the NHL Player's Association. Just days ago, the NHLPA’s Mathieu Schneider said players will be surveyed on a potential mandatory visor rule, which would include a grandfather clause for players already in the league, something in which Jordan favored.

Though Eric and Jordan have not regularly worn visors in the NHL, this isn’t their first experience with them. International Ice Hockey Federation rules stipulate that anyone born after Dec. 31, 1974 must wear a visor. Eric, born nearly 10 years after that cut-off line on Oct. 29, 1984, had to wear a visor with Team Canada in the 2010 Winter Olympics en route to winning a gold medal.

Jordan, who made his international debut with Eric on Team Canada in the 2007 World Championships, had to wear a visor. That team also won gold.

“It’s something I’ve worn in the biggest competition in the world, the Olympics. I wore it for the whole tournament and had no problem at all,” Eric said. “It’s just a matter of doing it.”

Still, it’s an adjustment for someone who is so accustomed to skating without one. This is Eric’s ninth season in the league and Jordan’s seventh.

“It’s more of just the freedom of not having it – the air in your face, being able just to wipe the sweat, all the simple things. That’s basically the difference,” Eric said. “As far as playing wise, once you’re out there, you don’t really even think about it. You see the same and you do the same things.”

“It’s there, but it’s not a huge deal,” Jordan said. “It was a little different, but it’s something that every player can easily get used to.”

For the Staals, the temporary adjustment is worth their long-term health.

“As we’ve seen in the past with anybody that’s had an eye injury, they put [a visor] on after,” Eric said. “So why am I going to wait until that happens to me to put one on? Why not just put one on now?”



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EASTERN CONFERENCE
  TEAM GP W L OT GF GA PTS
1 x - MTL 76 47 21 8 200 169 102
2 x - NYR 74 47 20 7 226 172 101
3 TBL 76 46 23 7 244 198 99
4 PIT 75 41 23 11 207 188 93
5 NYI 76 44 27 5 230 211 93
6 DET 74 40 22 12 216 201 92
7 WSH 75 40 25 10 218 186 90
8 BOS 75 37 25 13 199 195 87
9 OTT 74 37 25 12 216 199 86
10 FLA 75 34 26 15 186 205 83
11 PHI 76 30 29 17 198 219 77
12 CBJ 75 36 35 4 207 232 76
13 NJD 75 31 32 12 167 192 74
14 CAR 74 28 36 10 173 202 66
15 TOR 76 28 42 6 198 244 62
16 BUF 75 20 47 8 144 254 48

STATS

2014-2015 REGULAR SEASON
SKATERS: GP G A +/- Pts
E. Staal 69 21 28 -11 49
J. Faulk 74 15 32 -17 47
E. Lindholm 73 16 21 -19 37
J. Skinner 69 18 13 -21 31
V. Rask 72 11 20 -11 31
R. Nash 68 8 17 -10 25
N. Gerbe 70 7 17 -13 24
J. McClement 74 7 13 -3 20
A. Nestrasil 46 7 13 4 20
J. Staal 38 4 16 -7 20
 
GOALIES: W L OT Sv% GAA
C. Ward 20 21 5 .911 2.40
A. Khudobin 8 15 5 .903 2.62