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Tracking the Storm

Staal Brothers Don Visors

Friday, 03.22.2013 / 3:00 PM / 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 TBL 51 32 15 4 166 133 68
2 MTL 49 32 14 3 130 111 67
3 DET 50 29 12 9 149 129 67
4 NYI 49 32 16 1 158 139 65
5 PIT 50 28 14 8 145 129 64
6 BOS 50 27 16 7 134 124 61
7 NYR 47 28 15 4 139 112 60
8 WSH 50 25 15 10 147 129 60
9 FLA 47 21 16 10 115 132 52
10 PHI 51 22 22 7 140 151 51
11 OTT 48 20 19 9 136 136 49
12 TOR 51 22 25 4 144 156 48
13 NJD 50 19 22 9 113 138 47
14 CBJ 48 21 24 3 120 151 45
15 CAR 49 17 26 6 105 129 40
16 BUF 50 14 33 3 94 179 31

STATS

2014-2015 REGULAR SEASON
SKATERS: GP G A +/- Pts
E. Staal 44 16 14 -6 30
J. Faulk 49 10 19 -15 29
E. Lindholm 48 9 11 -12 20
R. Nash 49 7 13 -4 20
J. Tlusty 42 12 7 -14 19
J. Skinner 44 10 9 -9 19
N. Gerbe 45 5 13 -7 18
V. Rask 49 6 9 -13 15
A. Sekera 47 1 14 -7 15
J. McClement 49 1 9 -2 10
 
GOALIES: W L OT Sv% GAA
A. Khudobin 6 8 2 .914 2.41
C. Ward 11 18 4 .913 2.42