The NHL instituted a bunch of new rules this season, one of which was that all players with less than 26 NHL games under their belt must wear visors. Another rule to piggyback off of this was that fighters would be assessed a minor penalty if they removed their helmets themselves before a fight.
Fighting with a visor on is considered ‘weak’ and all that, but it also runs the risk of cracking the shield, which could potentially slice a hand or face open and generally be bad for everyone involved. So, last night in Newark when Brett Gallant and New Jersey’s Krys Barch squared off for Round Two, they did what the kids do in junior hockey where there are similar rules; they took off each other’s visors.
(Upon further review, it looks like Gallant is taking them both off, but it’s the general idea. Also, Barch did undo his chinstrap before the two engaged.)
Both players got five for fighting but nothing more. The referees didn’t seem keen to call the additional minor penalty on either player for the helmet removal. Here’s the exact rule if you’re curious, Rule 46.6:
Helmets – No player may remove his helmet prior to engaging in a fight. If he should do so, he shall be assessed a two minute minor penalty for unsportsmanlike conduct. Helmets that come off in the course of and resulting from the altercation will not result in a penalty to either player.
All that said, I can only image it’s a matter of time before the league closes the Gallant-Barch loophole with another new rule.