With the NHL season upon us, players have a lot of questions.
Here are some of the most common ones:Can I wear a mask?
Can I drink water in the locker room?
Can the equipment manager check my equipment?
Will my locker room temperature be higher than the rest of the team?
Can my teammates play with their masks on?
Can a team captain play without a mask on?
Some players are using the material to prevent injuries, like Boston Bruins center Nathan Horton, who wore a mask during Game 3 of the Eastern Conference semifinals.
But others, like Toronto Maple Leafs center Auston Matthews, say it’s more for a mask for protection.
“I can’t believe I have to wear it.
I can’t tell you how many times it’s been put on,” Matthews said on NHL Network.
“I’m going to wear my mask for the rest, I don’t care what the rest is.”
Some players don’t want to wear a protective mask, like Montreal Canadiens defenseman Ben Scrivens, who said he doesn’t wear one at home.
“For me, that’s the mask I wear when I go to practice, I just want to be able to keep my head out of harm’s way,” Scrivinges said.
“But I also want to go out there and be able go out and get the puck and be aggressive, and it’s not a helmet on.”
It’s unclear if other teams have asked players to remove their masks, but if they haven’t, they can always request it through the league’s concussion policy.
“When you do something like that, there are some guidelines that are put in place and some things that are not,” NHL Head Coach Bob Hartley said.
Hartley said there are a number of ways to go about it, like removing a mask before a game and having it removed before the next practice.
Players will be required to wear the mask at all times, but they can wear it under other clothing if it’s appropriate.
“We do a great job of getting the players’ attention when they’re wearing a mask,” Hartley added.
“We’ll try to get that done, and then we’ll just let them wear their masks.”
Can the team bring in another player with a mask or do they have to make do with just one?
Hartley has said he’d prefer that the team keep one player on the team, but that’s not an absolute.
“The way it goes is it’s up to the NHL, but I think they’re trying to figure out a way,” Hartly said.
“One player is the one who’s going to have the responsibility of putting the mask on, and the other player, we’re just going to be looking to get the rest.”
Hartley is hoping the players will keep wearing masks throughout the playoffs.
“It’s going be a challenge, but it’s something that’s going get us there,” Harty said.