Fusspot rants, embarrassing photos of yourself and general correspondence go here: universalnicks@gmail.com

For all the talk about head shots in the game -- what's clean, what's not and so forth -- there's a highly relevant issue being overlooked.

How many NHLers are truly wearing their helmets correctly, in order to protect themselves from injury?

The most improperly used piece of equipment on the ice today isn't the referee's whistle; it's the chinstrap. Think of all the times we have seen a player get clocked and hit the ice at full throttle, only to have his helmet pop like a champagne cork. What good is head protection if it isn't there when you need it most?

Mark Messier is attempting to make strides with his M11 helmet, which is designed to prevent head injuries. But if a player refuses to wear it correctly, one has to wonder how much difference it will make in the grand scheme of things (assuming we remain at status quo).

Go ahead and chew on that. More later.

3 responses to "Your Tuesday afternoon Chewable"

  1. You are absolutely right about the chinstraps, of course. Here's my question - in addition to not enforcing a standard on chinstraps, why does the NHL allow its players to modify the helmets? Every last player in the league has removed the ear pieces from the helmets. Here's a dirty little secret - many of them have helmets specially shipped from the manufacturer with thinner lining on the inside. Take a look at the players on the bench during the next televised game, and you can tell which guys have thinner than regulation padding inside their helmets. (*Cough * Chris Neil * Cough). This is appalling - the league is allowing players to destroy the CSA certification on their helmets seven ways to Sunday, with the tacit approval of the NHLPA. Unreal.

    If the League did nothing other than insist that players properly wear unmodified, CSA approved helmets, it would go a long way towards preventing head injuries.

    Dennis Prouse

  2. Every last one of them? Are you sure about that? Take a look at Sidney Crosby next chance you get. That's one off the top of my head.

    As for the chinstrap.....is there anyone who wears a looser chinstrap than Todd Bertuzzi?

    Great blog Erin. This is an issue that is never talked about or enforced as it should be. Could someone please explain to me what exactly is so cool about wearing a loose chinstrap which appears to be the goal of those players who wear choose to wear it that way?


  3. Does Crosby have an unmodified helmet? If so, I'm glad, but there can't be any more than a small handful of them - I watched the Canucks and Coyotes last night, and didn't see one guy with an unmodified lid.

    The loose chinstrap is a cousin of the loose helmet - it's a "comfort" issue, according to the players.

    Dennis Prouse