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Neely Thinks It’s Time To Take A ‘Hard Look’ At Neck Guards

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Boston Bruins team president Cam Neely thinks the tragic death of former Pittsburgh Penguins center Adam Johnson this past Saturday can be the necessary push for the NHL and the NHLPA to reevaluate neck safety on the ice.

Adam Johnson, 29, was playing for the Nottingham Panthers in a game against the Sheffield Steelers in the EIHL in the United Kingdom on Saturday and took a skate to the throat area. The game was postponed, and Johnson was rushed to a local hospital, where he sadly passed away from his injury. His death has reignited the conversation about whether or not the league and the players association should grandfather in neck guards.

“My guess is the league and the PA are getting together right now to see what the best course of action is because, obviously, it was a horrific and terrible incident,” Neely said on the NESN Bruins pregame show on Monday night before the Boston Bruins played the Panthers.

“I’m sure they’ll look at it. If there are ways to protect anybody, really, they should look at that hard. I know they brought it at the lower leagues, and it’s something that they’re certainly going to look at now.”

NESN Boston Bruins pregame host Sophia Jurksztowicz then asked Cam Neely if NHL executives like him have seen the latest neck protection equipment.

“I haven’t really even thought about it, to be honest,” Neely admitted. “Most people haven’t, and then you get an incident like this, and it puts it on the front burner. You’re right, the technology has changed dramatically. You see the [protective] socks that the guys are wearing now, so it’s something that they’re going to look at.”

NESN analyst Billy Jaffe pointed out how there have been numerous conversations about better neck protection but pointed out how, just because neck guards are mandatory in lower leagues, such safety measures are not always accepted in the NHL right away. Neely agreed but felt like this tragedy would have a much greater effect.

“Obviously, when we played, you didn’t wear face masks, but I think there was a little more respect with your stick,” Neely concurred and pointed out. “So when you grew up with cages, and you’re not getting hurt, the respect factor diminishes a little bit.

But, if you’re having injuries like that and it results in someone dying, then you gotta really take a hard look at what we do differently.”

 

 

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