BUFFALO – Sweden mandates that hockey players wear neck guards, so Sabres defenseman Rasmus Dahlin wore one growing up and during his short stint playing pro.
Dahlin, 23, grew accustomed to the protection – “I had no problem with it,” he said – and considered it part of his normal equipment.
“I got here (in 2018) and then I somehow stopped using them,” Dahlin said following Thursday’s practice in KeyBank Center. “But I think it’s an important equipment to use because bad things can happen.”
Former NHL player Adam Johnson’s death from a skate blade cut to his neck during a game Saturday in England has stunned the hockey world and made Dahlin and other players consider wearing neck protection. The NHL doesn’t mandate neck guards.
Dahlin wore a guard early in Wednesday’s 5-2 road win over the Philadelphia Flyers but took it off because he felt warm and uncomfortable. Sabres defensemen Connor Clifton and Henri Jokiharju sported protection during Friday’s morning skate. Jokiharju kept it on for the Sabres’ 5-1 loss to the Flyers.
“It’s super sad what happened,” Dahlin said. “I kind of tried it out for the first time during a game, so it didn’t last that long. But, for sure, I want to use and I want someone to develop a nice, breathable neck guard.”
Dahlin said if he uses a guard a couple of times, he will get used to it again.
“I think in the future it’s going to be a must,” he said.