A freak accident that took Edmonton Oilers winger Taylor Hall out of Tuesday's game against the Columbus Blue Jackets has become a hot topic of discussion, as many questions are popping up as to whether players should wear helmets every time they step onto the ice.
While Hall wears a helmet with a visor during games, he doesn't wear one during warm-ups. It's habit for some players to not wear a helmet during warm-ups, which is their discretion as established by most NHL teams.
"I'm not sure we ever encouraged non-use of helmets during warm-ups for marketing reasons (except perhaps with use of touques in one game prior to Winter Classic to help promote the event)," NHL Deputy Commissioner Bill Daly said on Wednesday night.
"To the contrary, I think we have consistently encouraged use of helmets in warm-ups. I know its come up at the GM's meeting on occasion in favor of mandatory use. And I know some clubs do require their players to utilize helmets in warm-ups. We try to be proactive on safety issues and appropriately responsive to things that happen on the ice, but I'm not sure its appropriate to "legislate" on the basis of one freakish accident that may occur in a game. I'm sure the issue will be re-visited over time, both with the general managers and with the Players' Association."
With flying pucks, primarily ones that deflect off the crossbar or post as players skate by, one might wonder why they wouldn't wear one. Players wear helmets in games and in morning skates, so why wouldn't they wear one in pre-game skates?
"Personally, I don't know why you wouldn't wear it," Vancouver Canucks forward Daniel Sedin said. "There's pucks flying and there's 20 guys on your half of the ice that are skating around.
"Then again, guys aren't wearing visors either so I don't think (things will change)."
The New York Rangers have a team rule mandating helmets for warm-ups. But for players like Ottawa Senators captain Daniel Alfredsson, skating without a helmet is an opportunity to market themselves and allow fans to see them.
"For the fans, it's a chance for them to see us," said Alfredsson. "I remember guys that didn't wear helmets in games, so we've come a long way."
Senators forward Jason Spezza added that the only chance to be on the ice without a helmet on is in warm-ups.
"As a kid growing up, I always dreamt about skating with my helmet off and having fun in the warm-up," said Spezza. "There's no real rhyme or reason behind [why I do it]."
While the Hall incident was clearly an accident and may not happen again soon, should players be made to wear helmets during warm-up? As always, It's Your! Call.