....at the option of the team management.
For the life of me I cannot understand this debate. Team management determines a course of training for its players, diet, game plans, travel plans. etc. Why should they not have a say in protection? Let's not be naive here. Players are "assets" with values that affect the balance sheets of their teams. The salary cap only emphasizes this. Management should have the ability to protect their assets much in the way that they insure themselves against catastrophic injury. If a team decides to leave it to the players then so be it but if they wish their players to wear visors then there shouldn't really be any discussion. I know that some players feel that the visor impairs their vision on the ice but, as a "portfolio" manager, the team should have the ability to determine the level of risk they're willing to endure. I know the argument here that if a player's stats suffer because they're uncomfortable with the visor it could impact their earnings. Really? I would assume that most current players have worn a mandated cage or visor at some point in their development. Would this really be a valid point? Certainly, the playing field would be level if everyone were wearing them but I don't know that a league-mandated policy is the right thing to do. The league would be telling the teams how to manage their assets. And while I understand that the league acts on behalf of the owners....collectively, giving individual teams the choice would seem to be a compromise worth exploring.
Did anyone else see Konopka's hit on Anisimov? If you don't know about it it's because Anisimov was wearing a visor that probably spared him a long term injury and spared Konopka from a suspension. If it were my team, I'd start by making it mandatory and see how it impacted my players.
Speaking as a fan...I'd be fine with a league-wide mandate. I want to ensure to extent possible that the next time I spent $$70-700 (each!) at the Garden to see some of the leagues stars that they're actually available to play.
All I'm saying is that the stakes are larger now and the stakeholders need to have more say. It requires some form of policy to protect both the team's and the FAN'S interests. If a player wants to be an individual they should give up professional hockey and join a pick-up league.
Does anyone believe that the helmet mandate of the 80's was wrong? (Why did I open that can of worms....)