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Chris Neil’s hit leaves Brian Boyle concussed, out for Game 6

Apr 21, 2012, 10:40 PM EDT

To some, it’s amazing that Ottawa Senators tough guy Chris Neil was even able to land a controversial – and according to New York Rangers head coach John Tortorella, concussive – blow on red-hot forward Brian Boyle. Earlier in Game 5, Neil was the victim of this knee-to-knee hit by Rangers newbie Chris Kreider:

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That hit wasn’t the subject of much discussion. Instead, it was Neil’s hit on Boyle later on in the third. Boyle actually looked pretty good in the limited time he played after leaving the ice briefly from the hit – he registered one of New York’s best chances – but Tortorella said that he has a concussion and that “he’s out” for Game 6.

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Naturally, Tortorella wasn’t happy with the hit and even compared it to Raffi Torres’ infamous check.

Torts says that the league has “blueprint to follow” for how to handled Neil hit after similar hit by Raffi Torres on Marian Hossa.

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Meanwhile, Arthur Staple caught up with Neil, who called the hit “clean.”

“The hit was clean,” Neil said. “When you’re cutting through the middle with your head down, you’ve got to expect to be hit.”

Again, we’ll have video of that hit soon enough, but feel free to start the debate if you’ve already seen it. Should Neil get a suspension? If so, for how long?

Going further, should Kreider sit for his knee-to-knee on Neil? Do tell.

  1. njdevils44 - Apr 21, 2012 at 10:43 PM

    Ya ok nice try torts

  2. tru2joelu4eva - Apr 21, 2012 at 10:48 PM

    clean hit. doesn’t leave his feet, boyle had the puck, and really neil made shoulder to shoulder contact, it’s just that boyle put had his head down after shooting, which is on him, not neil.

  3. habsman - Apr 21, 2012 at 10:49 PM

    Torts is starting to sound like Claude Julien, it’s always the refs fault.

    • tru2joelu4eva - Apr 21, 2012 at 11:26 PM

      comparing this to the torres his is an absolute joke. if i was a rangers fan i would be embarrassed (but not surprised) that torts is even trying that….

      • tru2joelu4eva - Apr 21, 2012 at 11:27 PM


  4. jaybyrd99 - Apr 21, 2012 at 10:53 PM

    3 games minimum . Boyle didn’t have possesion and it was a head shot,something the league preaches about not doing,correct.

    • sens101 - Apr 22, 2012 at 11:38 AM

      It wasn’t a head shot and if it was it was on the follow through contact was shoulder to shoulder first. Boyle should learn to keep his head up when cutting through the middle of the ice. Everyone knows that you leave yourself vulnerable when you do that

      • jaybyrd99 - Apr 22, 2012 at 5:08 PM

        was letang wrong here ? max got 3 games . very similar plays. is it legal or not. according to the nhl,they don’t know.confused ,surprised,i’m not.

  5. SDR - Apr 21, 2012 at 10:56 PM

    Nice try Torts. Hit was CLEAN. & If Boyle was really concussed – why the H*LL was HE STILL PLAYING AFTER THE HIT???? Can’t have it both ways…

    • villi5ed - Apr 21, 2012 at 11:06 PM

      Hit wasn’t clean. Woulda been let go a couple seasons ago. But it’s ahead shot, and these days
      that will get Neil at least a game.

  6. Doesnotmatter - Apr 21, 2012 at 10:58 PM

    Its a head shot. Reminds me of the Cooke-Savard hit. Pacioretty on Letang. Neil should get a few games off. We’ll see what the wheel of justice says.

    • Doesnotmatter - Apr 21, 2012 at 11:00 PM

      Rome on Horton…

      • th86cj7 - Apr 22, 2012 at 9:25 AM

        Im not sure if you two are high or what. Go look back at the tape, Cookes hit on Savard was one on the dirtiest cheapest hits ever, it was 3 strides after he had released the puck and Cook went directly with the elbow and shoulder to the head, for which Savards career is now over and is life is in shambles. Romes hit on Horton, Horton had his head up, he released the pucked one step inside the red line and got hit at the blue line with a charge. How on earth are these hits comparable to.Boyle being hit cleanly the second he releases the puck with his body slumped over after releasing the puck? You people obviously have.never played.competitive hockey, there is a difference Play and a clear penalty and cheap shot. And fyi i am a die hard rangers fan, i am just sick of the uninformed biased fans who have no idea what they are talking about, Boyle got his bell rung, but Shanny will probably suspend Neil 10 Games while giving Stephen Neal of Pitt one game for going after Courtier and GirouxS heads on the same shift !

      • Doesnotmatter - Apr 22, 2012 at 10:07 AM

        You’re talking about hockey plays and cheap shots so you’ll probably agree that an illegal hit is not necessarily a dirty hit. Cooke’s hit was a blatant cheap shot. Neal got one game for a hit that was very similar to what Torres did to Hossa. Rome’s hit on Horton was very late but not necessarily a dirty play. Horton was looking at the puck he had just passed to one of his teammates and got rocked. Same thing happened with Letang. He shot the puck and was watching it, got hit by Pacioretty. He even came back and played out the game but then missed the next 20 or so games with a concussion.
        My point is that while Neil may have not intended to hit Boyle in the head, he still did. That makes the hit illegal. End of story. It would be great if Shanahan would be more consistent with his rulings.

      • th86cj7 - Apr 22, 2012 at 10:54 AM

        While you make a good point i have to disagree with the fact that if a guy gets hit in the head the hit is all of a sudden illegal. Rome was late left his feet and went high on Horton, Neil here stayed on the ice his feet came off a few milimeters after contact due to momentum, with no intent on hitting the head. I thin intent needs to be factored much more than results. We have all seen the erroneous boarding calls where a player is lined up for a hit and turns at the last second and puts himself in a bad position and gets hurt, same thing with this B oyle hit. No reasonable person can expect a six foot seven inch player.who.on skates is about seven feet will have their head at the level of Neils shoulder. This is my problem and my i brought the Stephen Neal incident up earlier, he deliberaletly went after two guys heads, connected once with the exact same hit as Torres, and only because no one is hurt. We all know that Neil will get suspended because of this, its setting a bad precedent that intent means nothing. I can purposely try and take your head off but if nothing happens no suspension, but if i lay a.good clean hit and accidentally hit your head, suspension, its not right. Your going to see players turn and duck into hits soon if this is whats going to happen. Yes there was contact to the head but Boyle is the second tallest player in the Nhl his head was not targeted

      • Doesnotmatter - Apr 23, 2012 at 12:14 AM

        ok, we can agree to disagree here. I have no problem with that. Intent is a difficult thing to prove though. Neal’s explanation for his hit on Coutorier was that he was bracing himself for the collision. Neil just says he’s a physical player and he thought he just knocked the wind out of Boyle. Torres was just “finishing his check”.
        Personally, I don’t think Torres intended to injure Hossa, but he definitely intended to hit him as hard as he could. Just my two cents.

  7. jaybertx - Apr 21, 2012 at 11:05 PM

    We’ll know that Brian is concussed if he shows up for game 6 wearing this:

    <img src=";

    • jaybertx - Apr 21, 2012 at 11:05 PM

      html tag fail. damnit.

  8. elguapo12 - Apr 21, 2012 at 11:09 PM

    Neil probably didn’t see him…the ghoul should get out in the sun sometime.

  9. kitshky - Apr 21, 2012 at 11:21 PM

    Its not a great hit, and admittedly the optics and timing around it make you question Neils intelligence ..but..

    When you see the clip above it looks like intent to injure and far far too late, and that’s the problem with slow motion replays. Slow motion almost always implies intent and makes it impossible to judge how late it actually is.

    I think in real time it’s not nearly as bad as it looks in the clip above

  10. taytay099 - Apr 21, 2012 at 11:32 PM

    I know a lot of people will hate this comment, but it looks like Boyle cuts to the middle with his head down and gets crushed. Neil should not be suspended for that hit. Cutting through the middle is always a risky play and Neil should be able to hit him without fear of suspension. If Boyle doesn’t lower his head then it would be a shoulder to shoulder check.

    Clean hit.

  11. sterogatory - Apr 21, 2012 at 11:33 PM

    What a joke. If you want to talk about head shots lets talk Staal on Spezza game 4. Losing respect quickly for Tortorella. Paul McLean is nothing but class.

  12. villi5ed - Apr 21, 2012 at 11:44 PM

    Not a great hit but I can see why Neil’s defenders are rushing to his side. However
    he did leave his feet. Not a Raffi launch, not nearly as bad. But slow the tape down and
    you will see both skates off the ice as he is making contact with Boyle’s head.

    Again, it is true that Boyle had his head down, that Neil had every right to crank him,
    and that the puck had been played by Boyle within a — just barely — defensible frame of
    time. But this was a blow to the head, and as such are hits that like it or not may be
    subject for suspension.

  13. zabala81 - Apr 22, 2012 at 12:00 AM

    Chris Neil is a redneck

  14. mydadyourmom - Apr 22, 2012 at 12:44 AM

    Beauty hit. Later Boyle.

  15. redscarfunion - Apr 22, 2012 at 1:06 AM

    Clean hit by a beauty player! Torts is such a hypocrite! Calls out Crosby for whining?! All this guy has done all playoffs is whine!

  16. sjsharks66 - Apr 22, 2012 at 1:18 AM

    Clean, he had just let go of the puck “admiring” his shot.

  17. thehighcountrybear - Apr 22, 2012 at 1:31 AM

    Garbage head-hunting takeout from a lateral line on a vulnerable player…the head was targeted and the primary point of contact: throw the book at this stooge! Still, the pandering clods on TSN twisted the analysis; ever keen to justify everything Canadian teams pull as being legitimate, they simply moved the demarcation line for acceptable risk to accommodate Neal’s assault! Bye Chris, you’re another low-life-low-brow thug rationalizing a lethal play while declaring the hit as a good hockey hit…? GTF loser…

    • sens101 - Apr 22, 2012 at 12:55 PM

      your an idiot. theres really nothing else to say

      • sens101 - Apr 22, 2012 at 12:57 PM

        and if you played hockey for 44 years then you should know that you should never cut across the middle of the ice with your head down!

  18. herc883 - Apr 22, 2012 at 1:36 AM

    Clearly there are too many fans that have never played the game and therefore don’t understand the dynamics of it. If you played the game at any level you would understand that you don’t cut back into the middle and take a shot or make a pass while admiring it… You are just asking to get your clock cleaned. There should be more onus on the players to not expose themselves to these types of hits. Keep your head up! Why would Neil and the rest of the Senators allow a guy to waltz into their zone and take a free shot at their net? If Boyle wants to cut in he should have his head up… Otherwise drive wide.

    • amonte13 - Apr 22, 2012 at 1:19 PM

      Admiring it? He hadn’t finished following through, you’re a moron.

  19. thehighcountrybear - Apr 22, 2012 at 2:07 AM

    herc883: I’ve played the game for 44 years and still do: does that somehow have my assessment of the hit preclude anyone else’s? No! That being said, the biggest change needed in hockey culture is the notion a body check, originally intended to separate a puck-carrying player from the puck, has somehow been legitimately allowed to evolve into the kind of so-called ‘good hit’ attacking a player who has already yielded puck possession by passing, shooting or being otherwise checked-off possession. The rules are clear…a player cannot move laterally to attack a vulnerable player, let alone target the head as did Neil. The guy’s a goon, plain and simple…

  20. jagrbomb18 - Apr 22, 2012 at 2:41 AM

    I’m sorry as much as I hate NY and Boyle(let’s face it he’s a douche) this is just friggen wrong…these guys need to draw the line somewhere, someone is seriously going to get killed…what a shame…

  21. pjwhockey - Apr 22, 2012 at 7:45 AM

    Neil did not leave his feet, it was a full body hit, Doyle had his head down and just shot the puck. Contact occurred at about .25 second after Boyle shot the puck, all good. BTW, Neil is not a goon and has never been suspended in his 12 year professional career.

    Now if somebody threw a hit like that in a beer league, I say kick him out of the league, we all gotta got to go to work tomorrow! As a coach in minor hockey I asked my players kids to ease off in those situations.

    That being said, the last I checked, the Rangers and Senators are professional sport franchises, whole different ball of wax.
    And that is why we can’t make any money selling tickets to our pickup games, the intensity just ain’t there.

  22. bostongiant - Apr 22, 2012 at 8:21 AM

    I’ve learned in these playoffs that the NHL punishes damage, not intent (Zetterberg is fine, no suspension for Weber. Alfie is concussed, 3 games for Hagelin). Boyle is concussed, so Neal will get suspended.

    • pjwhockey - Apr 22, 2012 at 8:28 AM

      Neil will not be suspended because it was a clean hit. Although suspensions do vary based on the amount damage created by a dirty hit.

  23. eigglesnosuperbowls - Apr 22, 2012 at 9:09 AM

    If it was neal on crosby ,,,15 game minimum ! Here in philly rinaldo can’t come within 5 feet of a penguin without a game misconduct ! To the Ranger fans Iam sorry he should get multiple games ! Your coach is right they have set a blueprint on this but in my sad humble opinion neal on boyle = 1game max !

  24. spavs412 - Apr 22, 2012 at 11:02 AM

    0 games :) I remember when you paid for admiring you shot/pass this is hockey still? Right?

  25. hsnepts - Apr 22, 2012 at 3:33 PM

    There are many rules about the mechanics of a hit – principle point of contact, high elbows, late hits, knee on knee, clipping/ducking, leaving the feet, from beind (boarding), accelerating into the hit (charging).

    There are no rules about the intent of a hit – predatory hits, hitting a guy when he doesn’t see you coming, blindside hits that are not headshots, taking runs at players, retaliatory hits, hitting a guy with a second left to go on the clock.

    Until there is some kind of ‘respect’ rule – or maybe allowing some kind of major unsportsmanlike penalty for clean but obviously predatory hits – we will be discussing hits like these forever.

  26. jaybyrd99 - Apr 22, 2012 at 5:19 PM

    how was neil’s hit different than this ? just curious as max got 3 games. quite similar imo. either it’s legal/suspension worthy or it’s not.make up your mind NHL !

  27. sens101 - Apr 22, 2012 at 8:26 PM

    Firstly, with that being the only angle I’ve seen of the hit, it is pretty difficult to assert what the principal point of contact is. It looks to be pretty much his entire body from lower torso to up to his head, but Neil also makes an effort to avoid his head by turning his body (watch him turn as soon as he makes contact). Pacioretty completely and only makes contact with the head and it is not as definitive with the neil hit. Boyle’s head also looks like it snaps back from the impact. Either way, I can agree with you in the fact that Shanahan has been so wishy washy with his decision making it is ridiculous.

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