It didn’t take long for the referees to steal the spotlight on the NHL’s opening night.
After drawing criticism from players and fans alike for their whistle-happy ways during the preseason, the officials made an early statement in the Toronto-Winnipeg game on Wednesday.
Maple Leafs forward Leo Komarov was penalized for having his visor tilted too high six minutes into the first period. The pesky forward pleaded his case, as did head coach Mike Babcock, but to no avail.
NHL player safety is making an increased emphasis this season to enforce rules relating to player safety, including visors, which was grandfathered into the league in 2012-13.
According to Rule 9.7, “Visors are to be affixed to the helmets in such a fashion as to ensure adequate eye protection.”
Komarov, who has always worn his visor above his eyes, was also warned about it during the preseason and opted to remove it instead of wearing it lower.
“The ref told me they changed some rules and to keep it down,” Komarov told reporters. “I don’t see through it. That’s the reason I’m wearing it up there.
“So it’s not like I’m being cocky or anything. It’s how I play forever. So I took it off, but I don’t feel safe without it, so we’ll see what’s going to happen.”
Along with enforcing visor regulations, the NHL has also made it a priority to crack down on slashes to players’ hands along with faceoff violations.