I remember Sami Salo saying in an interview that he wore a neck protector for a while but quit because he got tired of his teammates making fun of him. One would think that after what happened to Zednik the attitudes would've changed.
Maybe this has something to do with the body language of when you're facing someone with your nose up giving the impression that you're not afraid to the extent that you even keep your most vulnerable part visible and uncovered. This is just me thinking out loud because in reality I have no idea why hockey players talk about safety and wear some protection but at the same time aren't interested in wearing some very sginificant pieces of equipment. The idea of (male) players wearing full face masks would make most hockey fans laugh.
Great story. Shows how hockey, as much as any other sport, really celebrates old school machismo, and is slow to adapt to modern realities. I remember a similar story about Tony Granato in the 90's after he had some concussion problems, and players made fun of him for wearing a thicker helmet. Guys like Gretzky wore those Jofa helmets that were basically a thin piece of plastic with only enough padding to make it comfortable. They weren't even HECC certified. A lot of players they asked about it basically said that "vanity" and not wanting to get made fun of were the primary reasons they didn't wear more equipment.
Occasionally, you'd hear a guy say that they couldn't see as well through them, but given that 61% of the league now wears some type of shield (including Crosby and some of the highest skill players), that's obviously mind over matter.
I would mandate it to "save players from themselves", the same way helmets needed to be mandated, and even then, Craig MacTavish was still allowed to risk cracking his head open into the mid-90's. People say it's overreaction to a freak accident, but that's absurd. There's been SO many close calls. Brendan Shanahan almost lost an eye when he was with the Devils. Yzerman had the orbital bone fracture and started wearing one full-time afterwards. And the Hossa/Berard incident wasn't a "near miss", that really did wreck Berard's career.
Will it prevent eye injuries from ever happening? Probably not. But I see no that it would harm the game in any other way, and I think it could only help. Henrik Sedin got absolutely rocked in the face by a shot late last night, from almost the same angle as the M. Staal shot. It stunned him and knocked him on his feet, but he got up and was perfectly fine afterwards, and I think the only difference was the visor.