NHL players might have to wear visors

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TORONTO — New NHL players might soon be forced to wear visors, and the rest might join that group in the not too distant future.

The league’s competition committee recommended on Tuesday that visors be mandatory for all players entering the league, beginning next season. The group also suggested that hybrid icing be tested during the 2013-14 preseason, as were shallower nets.

Any changes must first be approved by the league’s board of governors. That also includes a change that makes all four-minute, high-sticking penalties subject to video review.

But the decision on visors was the biggest item. Former NHL defenseman Mathieu Schneider, special assistant to NHLPA executive director Donald Fehr, said a “clear majority” of players supported grandfathering visors. But he declined to say what percent of players voted in favor of the change in an internal survey.

Five owners and five players reached a consensus to grandfather in mandatory visors, meaning that all current players will still have the choice but incoming players must continue to wear them as they have in junior, college and in Europe.

“I think the biggest thing is that every player coming into the league has to have previously worn one,” Schneider said. “We have 70-plus percent of the guys currently wearing them in the league. Overall, it’s just been a change in attitude.”

The eye injury to New York Rangers defenseman Marc Staal in March heated up the debate.

KINGS: Center Mike Richards missed Game 3 of the Western Conference finals with an apparent head injury.

Coach Darryl Sutter said his leading scorer would sit out his second consecutive game Tuesday for the defending Stanley Cup champions.

Richards received a big hit from Chicago’s Dave Bolland late in Game 1, and didn’t play in Game 2 on Sunday despite participating in pre-game warmups. Richards hadn’t missed a game all season.

Richards has 10 points in the playoffs. His absence is another blow for the low-scoring Kings, who are averaging fewer than two goals per game in the playoffs.

Rookie Tyler Toffoli is likely to replace Richards in the Los Angeles lineup again, with Jeff Carter moving from the wing to Richards’ spot at center.


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