As NHL officials debate a neck guard mandate for players, Washington Capitals forward TJ Oshie and Pittsburgh Penguins' Erik Karlsson made a personal choice to wear protective neck gear. The debate took off after former Penguins forward Adam Johnson was killed by the skate blade of Matt Petgrave in England last week. Oshie sported a neck guard for Thursday night’s game against the New York Islanders. .Spittin’ Chicklets podcast posted a clip inquiring, “Will we see more players follow suit?” .“For youth, I want them to know it’s really not a distraction from my game (to wear neck protection),” Oshie said after the game. “I think I played pretty decently and I was actually really comfortable.”“I didn’t even notice it after one shift.”“Youth players, if they’re able, should get some type of neck protection,” he said. “NHL guys, I think it’s super important that they know it’s available, and hopefully their teams can help provide that.” “We’re grown men. If you don’t want to do it, then don’t,” he said. “For at least now, this early in the season, I don’t know if it’s necessary to mandate it. You can make your own choices.”“I made my choice for my kids. I want to stick around for them.”.Karlsson, who’s ankle tendon was seriously injured following a slash in 2013 while playing for the Ottawa Senators, wore a neck guard during Thursday’s practice. “Just trying it out, it is available for us. I don’t think it is a bad thing, and I’ll probably try it out for a bit and see if I can get accustomed to it and go from there,” he said. .“The magnitude of the situation that unfortunately happened puts a lot of things in perspective. We all have families and friends; we do this because we love to do this and we get paid well to do it.”“At the end of the day, we do it 'cause it’s a choice... I don’t think anyone would keep doing it if it meant risking your life every day going out there. If you can wear a small piece of equipment to hopefully prevent something like that again, I think that’s a win.”“We’re going to try it out for the foreseeable future and see if I can wear it regularly, I hope I can and I hope more and more guys try to do the same at least.Karlsson’s injury in 2013 sparked a debate in the NHL about whether players should be mandated to wear Kevlar socks, made of slash-resistant material. .“Because I don’t think really anyone was wearing it before that, and then after that I think most guys now just wear it,” Karlsson said. “It is just like a normal sock anyways, I think they have done a good job with it.”Lars Eller, Marcus Pettersson and Ryan Graves joined Karlsson in wearing neck guards during Thursday’s skate, according to the Pittsburgh Penguins. “I got cut on the wrist one time when I played back home, so ever since that, I’ve been wearing them,” Pettersson said. “I wear socks, too,” he added, speaking of the Kevlar sock. “Comparing what could happen versus wearing that, it's a pretty small detail,” Graves, who suffered a severe chin clip two seasons ago, said. “So, it's a work in progress. I think that guys will start experimenting with them.”“It's a fast game. It's getting faster every year that it goes on,” Graves added. “You trust that guys can control their bodies, and you don’t want skates to get that high, but it happens. It’s scary what happens, you know? Everyone's had close calls."Pens head coach Mike Sullivan is also behind the push for protective neck gear. “Hopefully, there will be an initiative here moving forward. I think that could be one of the positive things that could come out of this terrible tragedy,” he said. “We can't do that at the NHL level, but we can certainly strongly encourage and that's our hope. Hopefully, as a league, we can work towards developing more options for guys in the protective department.”Pittsburgh’s minor teams have mandated neck guards, as has the Western Hockey League. .“Obviously with what just happened, I think everyone’s trying to do their best to avoid that. I think everyone’s going to take a good look at it,” said Sidney Crosby, who did not wear a neck guard.