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Burroughs Is 1st Sharks Player To Try Neck Guard in Practice

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Kyle Burroughs knows what it’s like to go face-to-face with a skate.

Back when he was playing hockey as a teen, when masks and neck guards were still mandatory, he took a skate through the cage, to the mouth, and had to get 25 stitches.

“It was kind of right when ‘The Dark Knightcame out, and I kind of looked like one half of Heath Ledger’s Joker,” he joked about a then-terrifying moment.

“I was wearing a neck guard too, but it could have hit my neck or hit my eye in a lot of situations,” he recounted. “I’ve had a lot of close calls and that was obviously the closest, but you have skates come up in a game and stuff like that. It’s a quick game, and with that happened, you don’t really want to think about it.”

Burroughs became the first San Jose Sharks player to publicly wear a neck guard on Tuesday.

A few players, Sharks or otherwise, have noted their willingness to try a neck guard after the tragic death of Adam Johnson in October, but the 28-year-old defenseman out of Vancouver was the first Shark to give it a go.

“I think it would be kinda silly not to, and it was mostly nice to be able do it when you’re not going to be stressing yourself too much,” Burroughs said of wearing it before a game. “But for me, it’s just more about trying to protect myself and obviously, with what happened, it’s pretty scary, so I’m just trying different options.”

Burroughs donned a strap neck guard, as opposed to a turtle neck guard, for a portion of the team’s morning skate ahead of its clash with the Detroit Red Wings before he took it off for the latter half of the skate.

Finding the right fit is still a work-in-progress for Burroughs.

With more players moving towards turtle neck shirts with a built-in guard, that could be the next piece of equipment he tries before settling on a permanent fit.

“Those ones are probably a bit more [comfortable]. You see more guys are wearing those and they are probably the hottest ticket to grab right now,” he said.

Burroughs’s review of his neck guard today?

“I think [the strap] was just a little bulky for me,” he said. “Maybe I was wearing it too tight, too, but I haven’t worn a neck guard since minor hockey.”

He noted that it was a different experience looking down at his feet with this particular neck guard, which was rated the most protective.

“Did feel like that obvious strain from the Velcro on the back,” he said. “But it wasn’t that bad.”

Adding a neck guard to his arsenal is going to be a bit of an adjustment for Burroughs to make, as it will be for an NHL player.

Burroughs said that the last time that he wore a neck guard, he was a teenager.

The same was said by teammates Tomas Hertl, Mario Ferraro, and Ryan Carpenter when asked about it in October.

Sharks Open to More Neck, Wrist Protection After Adam Johnson Tragedy

 

“I’m a pretty old-school guy in the sense of how I think the game and play the game,” Burroughs said, “but you are not tougher than a skate when it comes down to that situation.”

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