Blogs > Red Wings Corner

Up-to-the minute updates and insights from the Red Wings locker room at home and on the road. By Chuck Pleiness of The Macomb Daily.

Monday, September 29, 2008

Lidstrom's view on visors

DETROIT -- While Nicklas Lidstrom carried on a conversation, Chris Chelios reached into the Red Wing captain's locker and pulled out his helmet. With Lidstrom looking the other way, Chelios put on Lidstrom's helmet and frowned.

It was a most unusual sight … hockey's elder statesman, a living connection to the past, squinting to see through a visor.

The first thing that Chelios did was reach up to wipe the fog from the inside of the visor. After three more seconds, he took the darned thing off, put it back in Lidstrom's locker and went to his post-practice workout.

Lidstrom doesn't have that luxury at the moment. A broken nose, swollen blackened eye and over-the-brow stitches mean that Lidstrom will be wearing a visor for at least the short term.

This morning, Lidstrom skated through a morning practice at Joe Louis Arena, working through the adjustment of having something strapped a few inches from his face while he plays hockey at a remarkably high tempo.

"It just takes some time to get used to having something right in front of your face," said Lidstrom. "Once you get used to it, I don't think it will be a problem. It's just getting over the hump. Especially where the visor ends, there's a line that it's tough to see."

There's fog and there are beads of sweat that drip onto the visor when you look down.
Visors are higher tech than when Lidstrom last wore one -- as an NHL rookie in 1991-92. Lidstrom disliked visors then, partially because they weren't as effective. He laughs now when he describes the shape, using his hands to cut a box-like figure in front of his face.

"It's a lot different," said Lidstrom. "You can see better, clearer. They're formed nice now. The old ones almost had edges."

Still, Lidstrom uses phrases like "for now" and "we'll see" when he talks about wearing a visor, sounding much like a veteran of 15 visor-less NHL seasons.

Lidstrom has had just two days with the visor. Kris Draper said that it took him two weeks to feel totally comfortable after he put on a visor three years ago, after being struck in the eye with a puck.

"Now it's just another piece of my equipment," said Draper. "I remember lying on the table. I had blood in my eye, couldn't see. I was like, basically made a deal right then that if everything's alright, the visor's going on and never coming off. There was never a choice whether it took two weeks or a month."

Of the 18 skaters in the lineup when the Red Wings clinched the Stanley Cup last spring, Lidstrom was one of seven who didn't wear a visor.

The preponderance of visors and the success of visor-wearing players took away any excuse Draper could muster.

"You look around the league and there's world-class players wearing a visor," said Draper. "I can never make an excuse like, 'I can't see the puck' or whatever. If Pav (Datsyuk) and Z (Henrik Zetterberg) can wear it, I can adjust."


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