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by Staff Writer / Buffalo Sabres
Lindy Ruff (photo: Getty Images)
(Buffalo Sabres head coach Lindy Ruff addressed the media following practice Monday and answered a barrage of questions concerning Richard Zednik's injury.  Two questions in particular focused on the possible use of neck guards and the mentality of young players in the league.  Those two questions are below.)

Does this raise concerns regarding equipment from a league-wide standpoint?  Would league-wide neck guards need to be worked into the Collective Bargaining Agreement?  If so, would you be in support of that?

"Collectively bargained?  I don't buy that.  If a player feels concern after seeing a situation like that and you want to put a neck guard on, put a neck guard on.   It doesn't hurt. 

"I think there is always concern in this league and players have concern, 'well, I don't like that way it looks on me.  I don't like the way it feels.' 

"You don't have to collectively bargain that [safety]; put one on. Any player.  I would endorse them.  I'm sure there is an equipment company that can build one that's comfortable, light, protective and as least invasive as anything else.

"That's two situations now within 17 years, or whatever it is.  Two life threatening situations. 

"I think our league is all about reacting when something really bad happens.  We've now had two situations here. 

"If a player wants to put something on to be more protected, he's more than welcome to and I would endorse it."

Is that mentality of the younger guys that they are invincible when it comes to helmets, visors, neck guards or cages?

"That's always been the mentality.  When I first got here [as a player], it was the first year that helmets were mandatory. 

"And thank god, because I would probably have been stupid enough not to wear one.

"That's just the way it is.  That's just kind of your young mentality that you're fearless, that you can play, you can be macho and you can be everything.  

"There's more and more visors now.  From 1979 on, along came more helmets.  Even players that didn't want to wear [helmets], wore them.  Players that were grandfathered in from that case, some of them actually started putting them on. 

"In today's game, you wouldn't even think about playing without a helmet."
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