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Wild vs. Hurricanes
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?”




1 MTL 64 41 18 5 172 142 87
2 NYR 63 39 17 7 197 155 85
3 NYI 65 41 21 3 207 182 85
4 TBL 65 39 20 6 213 171 84
5 DET 62 36 15 11 182 160 83
6 PIT 63 36 18 9 182 158 81
7 WSH 65 35 20 10 193 162 80
8 BOS 62 31 22 9 165 161 71
9 FLA 64 28 23 13 156 181 69
10 OTT 62 28 23 11 176 167 67
11 PHI 64 27 25 12 170 186 66
12 NJD 64 27 27 10 144 165 64
13 TOR 64 26 33 5 173 195 57
14 CBJ 63 26 33 4 163 201 56
15 CAR 62 24 31 7 144 167 55
16 BUF 64 19 40 5 123 215 43


J. Faulk 62 12 28 -18 40
E. Staal 57 18 20 -12 38
E. Lindholm 61 11 16 -18 27
J. Skinner 57 16 10 -17 26
N. Gerbe 58 7 16 -10 23
R. Nash 59 7 15 -10 22
V. Rask 60 8 12 -16 20
J. McClement 62 6 13 3 19
J. Staal 26 4 12 -4 16
A. Nestrasil 34 4 11 4 15
C. Ward 17 20 4 .911 2.43
A. Khudobin 7 11 3 .905 2.61