Hockey players, like most pro athletes, are creatures of habit, reluctant to change and tend to be superstitious.
To make a change in equipment, they have to be fully convinced "new" also means "better." And that's the case with Canes defenseman Aaron Ward and his new helmet.
Ward now is wearing an M11 helmet. The Messier Project helmet uses a liner system that manufacturer Cascade Sports — in conjunction with Mark Messier — believes significantly lessens the chance of concussions. Much like shock absorbers, the cushions inside the helmet provide lateral displacement to better absorb the impact of the hit.
"It's probably the most comfortable helmet I've ever worn, by far," Ward said today. "Doctors can fix anything in your body but your brain. It's one of the wisest moves I've made in terms of protecting myself.
"What sold me, even after looking at what it has inside the helmet, is it's probably the most comfortable thing I've ever put on my head. Sometimes, you have comfort and you discount the protection, but this has a lot of protection."
The technology of the helmet is similar to that of the Xenith X1 football helmet introduced a couple of years ago to reduce the chance of concussions and other head injuries.
Chad LaRose was another wearing the M11 helmet Wednesday and others have indicated they will give it a try this week.