Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Oilers Update - Hall Receives 30 Stitches - Should Helmets be Mandatory?

A freak accident just before game time between the Edmonton Oilers and Columbus Blue Jackets left Taylor Hall with 30 stitches.  In the video below you can see Taylor Hall tripping on a loose puck and then taking out teammate Ladislav Smid - moments later Corey Potter's right skate caught Taylor Hall's left eye. According to GM Steve Tambellini Hall was ready to play. "I was talking to him when the doctors were with him.  Typical Taylor he said 'I'm ready to go, I'll be playing tonight.'  But I think it's best that we sat him" said the Oilers GM. Sure, maybe Taylor Hall was fine after receiving medical attention and perhaps the dynamic forward probably could've played during the 4-2 loss last night.  However, the accident now has hockey pundits asking 'why isn't it mandatory for players to wear helmets during warm-up?' 

In my opinion, it's called machismo.  Let's face it, these players are showing off their faces, some are showing off their hockey locks or "flow" as Oilers' forward Ryan Jones calls it.  In other words, the pre-game warm-up is the opportunity to look your best just prior to game-time and to give the fans something to look at.  

However, for hockey player, the pre-game warm-up is also the last opportunity to relax, to feel loose and to feel comfortable before the puck drop. For some, it is part of their pre-game ritual to skate around a rink with full gear without a helmet.

Yet, in recent weeks the Oilers have lost top players due to injury - and with Edmonton sinking faster in the standings than the Titanic, they can not afford to lose more players.  I wonder if Tambellini and Co., will look to make it compulsory for every player (investment) to wear full gear during pre-game.

Despite the outcome, nobody wants to see to someone lose an eye, or get severely injured or killed because he or she opted to not wear protection. 

"Definitely terrible, you never want to see your teammates go off the ice like that." said Corey Potter.  I turned in the corner, had two guys sliding at me and just tried to get out of the way.  I don't think I've ever seen a cut that was pretty deep and long. It was pretty gross. 

Breaking News!

Hours after this blog was posted according to 630 Ched, Defenseman, Theo Peckham was quoted "Seeing something like that with Taylor makes you reconsider.  We're putting in place that everybody is going to be wearing helmets now in warm-up."

It is also said that the New York Rangers will make it mandatory for their players to wear helmets at all times.

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