It's a good thing that modelling companies don't rely on National Hockey League players to fill their ranks.
If they did, then the list of potential models would be shrinking fast due to a surge of facial damage, most of which could have been avoided.
The Flyers' Eric Lindros had to miss Philly's first three games against Buffalo because a puck hit him under the eye, which caused a clot. Rangers' captain Mark Messier nearly lost an eye when he took a biscuit in the face.
And Pittsburgh's Kjell Samuelsson needed over 100 stitches to the face when he was brutally high-sticked in the mouth last Thursday. Samuelsson was out for the first game of Pittsburgh's second-round series with New Jersey.
All of these injuries and countless others every year can be avoided. The problem is, players don't seem to care.
The situation isn't as bad now as it used to be, when players, didn't even wear helmets. Craig Mac-Tavish of the Flyers is the only numbskull [sic] who still has a chance at leaving his brains on the ice. (He came into the league before headgear became mandatory.)
The case for better protection in professional hockey is the same as for seatbelts. I'm sure many of you don't wear them and would rather they were not mandatory, but people cant' assume that their wonderful driving will prevent them from being in accidents.
Likewise, hockey players are always at risk of taking a puck or an inadvertent stick to the face. Some players are careless, and other are sly enough to wield their cutlery in others' faces when the referee isn't looking.
Therefore, the league needs to step in and protect players from themselves. They should be forced to wear some type of mask, whether it be the clear plastic shield or the gridded helmets.
Face shields are mandatory for college players. Why shouldn't they be so for professionals?
The arguments most commonly made against the plastic helmet is that it gets so hot inside the shield, so that you sweat a lot more. Also, peripheral vision is hurt. The gridded helmet, on the other hand, faces many complaints because of hampered visibility.
If the players aren't mature enough to control their own sticks or their own gloves, they shouldn't be allowed to leave their faces unprotected.
Furthermore, even if the league cracks down on the high-sticking and fighting, errant pucks will still cause many injuries.
Unless they like people gazing at their toothless grins when they're interviewed after the games, It's not a manly thing; it's completely foolish.