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Red Wings’ Walman Ponders Wearing Neck Guard



Jake Walman, Red Wings

Detroit Red Wings defenseman Jake Walman hasn’t watched the video related to former NHLer Adam Johnson dying from a cut on his neck during a game in the United Kingdom.

“I don’t want to see it,” Walman said Friday. “I don’t really want to talk about that. When something like that happens in your circle, you take it to heart. I’m thinking of everyone that knew him and his family. It’s just a game that we play. A lot of guys have more important things going on in life. That’s what you gotta think about when you make that decision to wear (a neck guard).”

Walman wore one in practice Friday and hasn’t ruled out wearing one in Detroit’s home game Saturday against the Boston Bruins.

“I’m definitely thinking about it,” Walman said. “I wanted to try it in practice and we’ll see. I don’t know.”

Will Get Used To It

He said the trial run in practice went fine. “Just getting use to something obviously it’s not easy,” he said. “I’m sure I’ll get used to it.”

Walman hopes to see other samples to see which one gives him the desired protection and comfort.

“Hockey players are very particular with their gear,” Walman said. “Like me, I don’t really like trying new things but obviously for this reason it’s different. Yeah, comfort but protection is first.”

Walman said the neck guard had no impact on his movement. Did he have any problem with it?

“Breathing a little bit just because it’s around your neck,” Walman said. “I’m sure they have ones out there that are comfortable. It’s protection. That’s what guys are putting it on for. They’re not doing it for style or anything. It’s protection.”

For now, Walman is the only Red Wings player thinking about wearing one in a game.

“I’m sure other guys will follow suit,” Walman said. “I think it’s just something new. I don’t know. I’m one to try new things. Like I said, it’s important to me.”

Detroit coach Derek Lalonde had considerable interest in Walman’s reaction to it.

“I have a 17 and 15 year old playing AAA hockey. It scares me, the reality of it,” Lalonde said. “I’m looking into it myself for them. It makes sense. It’s funny hearing different feedback. They had to wear it when they were kids but the technology of it is awful. This day and age, technology, his seemed to be a one-piece, it looked comfortable, makes sense. Good on him. I think it’s probably where hockey is going to be heading.”