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Phoenix Coyotes Talk / Time For A Visor Rule?


Last night, the Phoenix Coyotes had a chance to win a game and be tied for FIRST in the WESTERN CONFERENCE, a mere 15 places higher than where you picked them to finish this year, right?  Admit it.  …I know I have a million times already.

Why aren't we wearing visors again?

Unfortunately, the Chicago Blackhawks were able to restore the natural order of the world, and all feels normal again for another day with them atop the standings.

After the Coyotes hot start, I repeatedly said what I thought was a simple truth – “their roster will catch up with them.”  You can only overacheive for so long, and over the long sample size of the NHL season, reality sets in at some point.

I actually stood by that concept until March third, when the Coyotes emerged from the shadows and killed the league in terms who made the most quality trades.  All the sudden they had a great start (“start” is a tad of an understatement), and a much improved roster.  Well ho-ly-crapsticks.

They still don’t have a Stanley Cup team, but the right draw could make them a favourite to get to the Conference Finals, which is only slightly more impressive than building an ark and putting two of EVERY kind of animal on it (especially after watching shows like Planet Earth and Life).  I hear you Yotes fans yelling at me for saying they won’t go the finals, but whatever, I’m right.

{Tangent: Watch ”Life” on Sunday’s, Discovery Channel at 5:00 and 6:00 PM.  You’ll thank me later.}

Nice white uni's. These? meh.

My buddy down here just bought a kamillion playoff tickets, so I’m scrapping press row for WHITE OUT seats (the way it should be), where I can feel the emotion and energy of the game, unlike those “actually” covering the game.  I’d love to see them make a deep run, especially since the team could probably use the ticket sales, and I kinda need them to stay in Phoenix.  I also (clearly) need to form a stronger bond with my hometown team.  Wolski and Stempniak have been the push I needed to find them watchable entertaining.

For those of you wondering why the Coyotes haven’t been sold to their hopeful new owner yet – Ice Edge Holdings – it’s apparently not the group holding up the sale, it’s the banks.  And for pretty obvious reasons, actually:

The Tampa Bay Lightning were recently sold for something like a hundred million.  Bettman is trying to sell the Coyotes for something like $160 million.  The banks, as they do with real estate, are looking at the comparables, and saying “wait…. why would we finance the Coyotes for this amount, when they have less attendance, no parking and no concession?”  Soooo, I guess they’re still trying to find someone willing to finance the deal (is the completely unsubstantiated rumour I heard from a guy who knows a guy in the Ice Edge Group).


Of the top ten teams in NHL attendance from 2009 (top 13, actually), only four teams have won a Cup during my lifetime (and one was in 1989). Ahhh, the joys of fanhood….


Once this head shot rule hits stores (maybe tonight, according to a Darren Dreger tweet…. he’s our Adam Schefter hey?  Kinda knows what’s up), the next issue we’ll end up being forced to tackle is visors.

And once the mandatory-visor rule is implemented, it won’t even be a year before we go “how was this not a rule before?”  I like getting to see player’s expressions and all, but HOLY CRAP WEAR A VISOR YOU F**KING IDIOTS.  It’s mind bending.  Not to chuck salt in Travis Moen’s 50-stitch wound, but really – was that risk worth “better” vision?  The game is getting faster and more dangerous, so it’s time to grandfather-rule this thing in (did the AHL ever do that?).


I went through about three visors a year, because I couldn’t see through the scratches and puck marks that would’ve been on my face.  But I guess you can’t blame some of the players that choose to play without, when you see how badly it’s damaging the careers of guys like Crosby and Ovechkin.

So, I’ll start the push now, since there’s gonna be nothing head-shotty to get on my soap box about soon.  MAKE A VISOR RULE MANDATORY!

Happy Wednesday. 


A Link:  USA Today Power Rankings (Top ten teams, top five MVPs, Rookies, Goalies, Defensemen), and some Crosby/Ovechkin pre-game discussion: Who’s gonna win the Hart?  (Hint: Ovechkin is).  I weigh-in with comments in the left margin.



28 Responses to “Phoenix Coyotes Talk / Time For A Visor Rule?”
  1. Char says:

    Yes yes yes on visors. Johnny Boychuk took a slapper in the face this season and broke an orbital bone – a centimeter or two to the left and he’d have lost his eye. You have to be insane not to use a visor.

    Um, you put animals on an ark, not an arc. Sorry, I’m an editor – I can’t help myself. ;-)

  2. House says:

    What amazes me is how these guys can play for 15-19 years wearing full cages and then say a visor impairs their vision, so they don’t wear one.

  3. jtbourne says:

    Haha, crap. I knew it didn’t look right but slogged on anyways.

  4. Madeleine says:

    Well, at least my Leafs have fan attendance going for them.
    Totally agree about the visors. That video kinda made me sick to my stomach.

  5. Amy Jo says:

    Aww you kinda like us now. Maybe. A little bit.

    Yes, please come dress in white and be our fan, we need butts in the seats.

  6. Lizzie says:

    Totally agree on the visors. I was born after the helmet rule, and haven’t read much about the reaction, but I imagine it was about the same… Protest that it would impair some players’ games at the time, but now we all say “were they CRAZY? Can you believe some guys didn’t wear HELMETS?!” (Perhaps it’s time for my friends the Zambonis to write “the Visor Song” as a follow up to their smash hit “the Helmet Song.”)

  7. Ozzie says:

    just a simple question; Why is it that during the Olympics / World Championships guys like Joe Thornton and Getzlaf will put on a visor, but then take it off for NHL play? Insurance reasons? Worried about guys like the Latvians getting chippy? Any insight on this would be helpful.

  8. kev says:

    There’s an IIHF rule where anyone playing in an IIHF event that was born after 1974 has to wear a visor. Therefore you see guys play Thornton and Getzlaf wearing visors, but it’s optional for the guys born before 1974.

  9. MikeB says:

    Tanget of the tanget – If going to buy the LIFE series on DVD, buy the BBC version not the discovery channel/disney version, Oprah narrates the Discovery Channel one while David Attenbourgh (the guy who narrated planet earth) does the BBC/european version. But still stunning and the best thing to ever hit HD and Blueray.

    Speaking of visors… there is a rule with them that ties into the instigator with them, Simon Gagne got dinged with it last night. If you take an instigator while wearing a visor/cage (goalies incl) you get a 2min unsportsmanlike penalty, however if you take it off (goalies incl) you do not get the extra 2. That rule will need to be changed. Is there another league in the world that you can go without a visor? If they play by IIHF rules everyone needs one if they were born post 1974 (I think) and there is getting to be fewer and fewer of those players left.

    Ozzie – both thorton and getzlaf wore visors while playing jr. Guess they wanted it off in the big leagues.

  10. PVeltkamp says:

    Agree about the visors, but it definitely should be a grandfather rule. There is no reason guys coming out of junior/college couldn’t CONTINUE to wear a visor.

    As far as your amount of cup winners from the top 13, I think you missed a couple because I count more then 2 from whenever it was you were born….. which I am sure is before 84?? Montreal, Calgary, NY Rangers, Detroit? Unless I misunderstood your point.

    By the way you can take the foot off the pedal in the pool!!

  11. Blake says:

    It is interesting that hockey players wore a cup before they wore helmets…

    As soon as the ‘Yotes fired Gretzky, I picked them to make the playoffs. Everyone thought I was crazy, but meanwhile I thought of the old adage of a great player doesn’t always make a great coach and, not to toot my own horn, I was right.

    Gretzky was a horrible coach, especially for a young team like Phoenix. Now that they have a real coach instead of a marketing gimmick, their true talent is shining through. I do agree though, Justin, that they aren’t a Cup winning team. The West is just too stacked for that. It speaks wonders about the depth of your conference when your 12th and 13th place teams would be just two points out of a playoff spot in the East.

  12. Blake says:


    The reason they put a visor on in international play is that it’s a mandate that players born after a certain date have to wear a visor. I’m not quite sure what that date is, but that’s the reason.

  13. jtbourne says:

    Blake – Damn man, that was horrible of me to miss two teams (born in ’82)…. Hmmm…. Funny how I blocked out the two cup titles where I wanted the other team to win (Kings, Canucks).

  14. Frank says:

    how about going a step further and requiring cages in pro hockey? You played 4 years in the WCHA wearing a face cage, do you think your vision improved dramatically when you went to the pros, Justin? Is that extra vision worth broken teeth or shattered jaws/cheekbones?

  15. jtbourne says:

    Frank, my vision didn’t improve dramatically, but it improved enough that even having shattered my face I’d still be anti-cage. Tyson Strachan (Blues) just wrote on my facebook wall: “Bourney: mandatory visors is an awful idea.” So that’s where a lotta guys stand on that. I just wrote a piece for THN on this topic, should be posted tomorrow!

  16. Everyone in the AHL has to wear a visor and it does not seem to cause anyone to slow down or impact their play. Like you said, Crosby and Ovechkin have no issues.

  17. Following up to your newest comment… it’s probably an aweful idea because it’s a change. After spending most of your life wearing a cage growing up guys probably enjoy the freedom a little more and don’t want to go back. I have nothing to base that off of other than the way people usually act about rules.

  18. Jeff K says:

    On the Coyotes….

    There has been LOTS of talk about them lately-well deserved too- but not one suit in front of a mike has the guts to call a spade a spade.

    Greztky had to be an awful coach. There was no dramatic roster changes. Mueller was supposed to get better-didn’t.

    I dunno…… Wayne will never coach again. I doubt he will manage either. 2002 in Salt lake was good sure, but 2006 team?

    Anyway, hope Coyotes play the Sharks and send em home!

  19. jtbourne says:

    Maybe you misphrased that – not one suit in front of a mic is dumb enough to openly disparage arguably the greatest player in league history, when you can just heap praise on the much deserving Dave Tippett instead.

  20. Char says:

    Superstars seldom make great coaches; they can’t relate to the average guys. The best coaches are guys who know how hard it is.

  21. Marc says:

    I have a question for you as far as enforcement on safety from officials. Obviously we’re seeing some crazy inconsistencies (if you can even call it that) in the NHL. Was the WCHA (and NCAA D1 as a whole if you think you can comment) any better or worse? Obviously they’re playing a different style of game with slightly different rules but overlooking the cages and full face shields in college, is the play “safer” right now, and was it worse a few years ago?

    I ask mostly because At the Final Five about a week back now, the officials called at least 3 penalties for “contact to the head.” I can’t remember that call being made during the 5 seasons worth (03-08) I got to watch and I’m wondering if its part of a trend to clean things up a little or just that the Final Five games got a little more intense than usual.

  22. Taking their cue from the IIHF rule, the UK made it mandatory for all players born after September 1st 1974 to wear at least a visor.

    There are one or two senior players who wear cages, mainly because the vast majority of senior league players in the UK are semi-pro at best really and some don’t want to go to work with a black eye or missing teeth. Though they do get some heat from other players for it…

    You see quite a few rec guys wearing cages

    Sadly, the knock on is that most of the guys who wear cages (inc. under 18s) have very poor stick discipline as a result! High sticks ahoy!

  23. Marc says:

    Aye. That is one draw back, not as big as say…. getting a puck in the face… but it is there. I have 2 helmets, one with a cage I use for league games and drop ins when I dont know people. And another with a shield when I know everyone on the ice and can trust not to get a stick in the face.

    Then again I’m also paranoid enough to not take my ear guards off any of my helmets under any circumstances. Everyone’s weird :P

  24. jtbourne says:

    Ear guards are my “you have to draw the line somewhere” thing on protection… I know better to have them than not, but c’mon…. Negative style points.

  25. Marc says:

    I dunno, I feel like I can prevent getting hit in the face to a degree: keep a glove in front of your mouth if you block a shot, dont drive into the net, etc – but ears…. they’re just….vulnerable :P Its like being more scared of your plane is crashing than the leadfoot cell phone talker driving through the intersection into you :P

  26. ToYouWhoYooHooIdoToo says:

    This is rich. Justin Bourne….the “I’m-a-wannabe-journalist-who-played-hockey” blogger, who, at the beginning of this NHL season actually managed to pawn HIMSELF in a mega-fail, classless Phoenix debut by trashing the Coyotes…is STILL sticking his foot in his mouth!

    I see Bourne is trying to massage history here by claiming he said the Coyotes “roster would catch up with them”. As if! Fortunately, we have the Internet to remind us that he ACTUALLY said:

    Justin Bourne on the Coyotes Team 10/1/09:
    “For any of the dozens of reasons the Coyotes are struggling to make it work in Phoenix, there’s really only one that matters: They suck.”

    Justin Bourne on the Coyotes Players 10/1/09:
    “…the star-power of a WNBA game, minus Candace Parker and that other woman.”

    Justin Bourne on the Coyotes Fans 10/1/09:
    “How much do you have to hate yourself to sit through 41 games of cheering for B-level stars taking A-level beatings?”

    Still, even though he says “Admit it. I know I have.”, he still can’t let it go, can he? In this article, he now says about the Coyotes: “They still don’t have a Stanley Cup team…” What the blank does that mean? No one has a Stanley Cup team until after they win the cup, genius. Be honest…you mean you thought the Hurricanes had a “Stanley Cup team” (whatever that is) BEFORE they won it? The Lightning?

    But wait…he’s not finished showing off his sterling aptitude for being…wrong:

    “…the right draw could make them a favourite to get to the Conference Finals…”. Whu-huh? What exactly is Bourne’s “right draw” this year in the West? Detroit-Chicago? L.A.-Vancouver? Good grief, every team in the West is solid this year. Nashville is on fire, Detroit is back, San Jose has won 4 straight…there is no “right draw” this year…it’s going to be a battle, regardless.

    Whoops…that was a bit of a trollish rant, wasn’t it? I should stop. Sorry, it’s just funny to watch this Bourne dude hoisted by own petard again and again when it comes to the Coyotes. This is going to go down as one of the biggest cinderella sporting stories of the century (league-owned lowest-payroll team goes from bankrupt-cellar to playoffs), and Bourne manages to position himself as the evil step-sister! Hilarious, he just can’t get enough, it seems…he definitely wins the watch-me-kill-my-career-before-it-even-starts Darwin Award for sports bloggers this year!

  27. jtbourne says:

    Damn, that Bourne dude’s an idiot.

    I said the “roster would catch up with them” on “03/02/09”, Guy-Who-Takes-This-Stuff-A-Mite-Too-Seriously. You do know that article was on fan attendance, not the team right?

    But you’re right; the Coyotes are a star-studded NHL team.

    And you’re right, drawing Detroit (Last 10: 8-1-1) or Colorado (Last 10: 4-5-1) would be an equally difficult draw.

    And you’re right, since they haven’t given out the Cup yet this year, no blogger should speculate who has a Cup team and who doesn’t (after all, they haven’t won it yet, right?).

    So thanks for your comment (and use of words like “petard”. Neat! I had to Google it). If I do win that Darwin Award for “career that ends before it starts”, pass the news along to those make-shift publications that have me on staff, would you? And just out of curiousity – if picking Phoenix to suck this year is a career-ender, who’s hockey columns are you going to read next year?

    Man, I just got “pawned”.

  28. Travelchic59 says:

    I’m right there with you on the “Life” series on Discovery. Great stuff!

    As for the visor issue, I think players that don’t wear them are MORONS! You only get one set of eyes in this lifetime.Why take the chance of losing your eyes or your sight? Never understood the mentality of not wearing one. My question to these guys is if you have kids or plan on having them, wouldn’t you want to protect your sight to see them born, grow up, maybe teach them to drive a car, get married, etc.? I don’t get it. Sight is one of the most important senses we have.Why not protect it?

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