The end of the 'summer lull' didn't come as abruptly as I thought it would have (thanks to my guy not being in Panini's high-end product Prime) but I'm in no rush to jump back in the deep end. There's still some good chases I'd like to land before then.
Anyways, onto the topic at hand. Another 'Did You Know' post.
What I like about these are the discoveries (through the hockey cards sitting in boxes in my closet) that I might never have unearthed if not for this blog. Sometimes it's the photo on the front, other times it's the write-up on the back.
I remember this card catching my eye back in the day and it always stuck out in my mind. It's easy to have that happen when it shows something that you just never see in the game.
There's been a handful of players who have skated with a tinted visor during their time in the NHL. Eric Weinrich (wore yellow throughout his career), Marian Hossa, Nikolai Zherdev and I think most famously Alex Ovechkin (with the ultra-tinted visor.....later banned).
But Kyle McLaren's story has some uniqueness to it. With the other guys, the tinted visor was a choice, for Kyle it was due to his crafty teammates.
note: in doing some research on this, there are some slight discrepancies from story to story. I will do my best to go with what I found the most often and by the most reliable sources (especially interviews with McLaren himself).
Back in the 2003/04 season, the big, hard-hitting defenceman was injured when a Sami Salo slapshot caught Kyle right in the noggin. While the front of his helmet took the brunt of the force, it still left him with a deep cut across his forehead. He was not wearing a visor at the time.
Before his return to the ice, his teammates thought it would be fun to swap his newly fastened clear visor with a tinted yellow one. Kyle went out and played the game not knowing the difference.
Turns out - he's colorblind.
Kyle noted after wearing the yellow visor for a while that the tint takes the glare off the ice from the lights. Regardless of the on-ice benefits or off-ice enjoyment by his teammates, McLaren's unique look made him instantly stand out in a crowd.
That is until the 2007/08 season. The Sharks, heading into the playoffs.....and having had little success in past years, decided to switch back to a conventional clear visor in hopes of changing the fortunes of his team in the postseason.
While the Sharks finished first in the Pacific with 108 points, the were ousted in the second round by Dallas 4 games to 2.
Maybe that yellow visor is the curse the Sharks have dangling over their head.