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Marc Staal supports mandatory visors, won't return to 100 percent

By Brian Stubits | CBSSports.com

Marc Staal played just one game after his eye injury on March 5. (USATSI)
Marc Staal played just one game after his eye injury on March 5. (USATSI)

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New York Rangers defenseman Marc Staal used to not wear a visor. Now he is in favor of every player wearing one. Right away.

As you'll recall, Staal took a shot to the face this season, severely damaging his eye. It was a gruesome injury that knocked Staal out of the lineup effectively for the rest of the season.

Since then Staal has seen the light, moving to the pro-visor side. His brothers, Eric and Jordan, joined him in Carolina by wearing visors for the latter portion of the season as well. Marc had said before that he thinks players should have to wear visors and he's not backing off now.

While there is certainly growing support for mandatory visors in the NHL, I don't think there will be equal zeal for institution of visors without that grandfather clause, a clause that would allow for players already in the NHL to decide if they want to use a visor or not but require all incoming players to wear one. There are still a lot of guys in the league now that wouldn't want to switch to a visor, probably enough to prevent any across-the-board implementation.

Regardless, it's pretty easy to understand why Staal is taking the position he is now. His career was put in jeopardy over something that was preventable, or at least could have been mitigated with a visor.

The good news, though, is that Staal is getting there. He tried to make a return in the playoffs but was only able to play one game vs. the Capitals before returning to the press box with the scratches. Still, he is improving, and while he said his eye won't ever be 100 percent again, he does think he can play at a high level once more.

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