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October 16, 2005 - No seeing the light on visors

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No seeing the light on visors

When even players who lose the sight of an eye say they won't endorse a movement to make visors mandatory, what chances does a league-wide vote have of passing into rule?

Probably slim.

And none.

Columbus Blue Jackets defenseman Bryan Berard lost a high percentage of vision in one eye several years ago but has gone on record to state he believes in individual choice.

Now, as NHL players prepare to respond to a non-binding Players' Association survey, it appears that most union members are in agreement with Berard.

In other words, to each his own.

Reportedly, the Los Angeles Kings already took a poll of team members and the result was clearcut opposition.

Even the Toronto Maple Leafs, whose captain, Mats Sundin, recently suffered a broken orbital bone in his eye socket, sound like they're against any such legislation.

"I'm old school,'' Leafs player rep Bryan McCabe told the Toronto Sun. "It should be up to what you want to do. But everyone has their own opinion. I know if you talked to Mats, you would probably get a different story than if you asked before the injury.''

About half the Flyers (Jeff Carter, Eric Desjardins, Peter Forsberg, Simon Gagne, Michal Handzus, Sami Kapanen, Joni Pitkanen, Branko Radivojevic, Mike Richards, Dennis Seidenberg and Patrick Sharp) wear eye protection.

Captain Keith Primeau says he's had up to 10 cuts in or around the area of his eyes in just the past few seasons but remains opposed to wearing a shield.

It isn't that he doesn't value his eyesight. It's just that he has difficulty seeing with a visor. Not only is it hard for him to pick up the puck at his feet, he claims, but it creates blind spots which leave him open game to attacking forwards.

That's why he won't wear one.

"It's not stubborn,'' Primeau said. "I feel more susceptible with the visor on. I lose some of my peripheral vision and I don't have the same sense on the ice."

Ask Sharp about visors. He was cut across the face by a skateblade Tuesday night and only that thin piece of plastic kept him from possibly suffering irreparable damage to his left eye.