Hot Stove panel calls for mandatory Kevlar pads
Injury to Erik Karlsson brings conversation to the fore
Add the guys on the Hot Stove Tonight to the chorus calling for league-wide use of Kevlar socks and wrist protectors.
The conversation came up in the second intermission feature of Hockey Night in Canada and was a rare chance for the panel to agree with each other.
It was in response to a season-ending injury to Ottawa’s Erik Karlsson, after he was struck in the left Achilles tendon by the skate of Matt Cooke of Pittsburgh last Wednesday, causing a 70 per cent cut.
"You have to investigate the possibility of making it mandatory for a player to wear," said Kevin Weekes, a former goaltender, as he pointed to Kevlar socks and wrist guards the panel had brought with them.
Glenn Healy, also an ex-backstop and executive with the National Hockey League Players’ Association, pointed out that just this season there is a million dollars a day in injured players across the league, and steps have to be taken to protect people more. Even if it has to be from themselves.
"I say, do what the [New York] Rangers do," Healy said. "The Rangers say you’ve gotta put a pad on your glove if you are going to block shots with our team. Everyone does it, to a man.
"Force the players to do it, deal with the grievance with the [Players’ Association] later." P.J. Stock, a former forward, said he doesn’t understand why the players don’t protect themselves in the best way they can.
"There’s 150 guys in the league wearing these socks," added Healy.
"And I know they’re uncomfortable, socks are so uncomfortable, but they said that about helmets [when they were made mandatory in the late 1970s], and they said that about visors, and there’s 75 per cent of the players in the league now wearing visors."
Many players interviewed across the league after the Karlsson incident who use the Kevlar socks say they don’t notice they’re wearing them now, after getting used to them.