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Neil on Del Zotto: “I’m sure I’ll catch him with his head down one of these times”

Apr 23, 2012, 11:03 PM EST

Chris Neil was understandably unhappy over a questionable hit from Michael Del Zotto during Monday’s 3-2 loss to the New York Rangers, but he might have taken things too far after the game.

“I’m sure I’ll catch him with his head down one of these times,” Neil said in reference to Del Zotto.

That sounds an awful lot like a threat and given the warranted sensitivity regarding concussions, it’s a particularly bad one to issue. Who knows what kind of punishment will be given to Neil for that – and won’t it just please Senators fans if Neil gets punished, but not Del Zotto – but at the very least he’ll be under intense scrutiny. If Neil actually makes contact with Del Zotto’s head during Game 7 on Thursday after issuing that statement, then the league will have all the cover they need to throw the book at him.

That’s of course assuming that both of them are allowed to play in Game 7, which right now doesn’t seem like a certainty.

  1. brian32556 - Apr 23, 2012 at 11:13 PM

    Hey Neil you loser! Live by the sword, die by the sword! You just signed your own death warrant!

    • nobandwagoners - Apr 24, 2012 at 12:32 AM

      I heard a description of Neil that I think is pretty accurate. Neil is (at least one of) the “dirtiest” clean player(s) out there – he hits to hurt but for the most part he doesn’t do that via illegal hits. Some are questionable and he often is something of a dick out there running around to cause mayhem but it’s not too often that he is “dirty” per se.

  2. 1943mrmojorisin1971 - Apr 23, 2012 at 11:14 PM

    Going out of your way to light a fire under the Rangers before Game 7 is such a smart move.

  3. alexb64 - Apr 23, 2012 at 11:15 PM

    Why wouldn’t either be playing in Game 7? Nether of Shanahan’s “criteria” for a suspension was met for Del Zotto’s hit, POC was not the head & Neil didn’t suffer an injury. As for Neil’s comment, how could that warrant a suspension? “catch him with his head down…” can be interpreted as a threat or using “head down” as a reference to not paying attention or capitalizing on a mistake. Then again that’s the problem, it COULD be argued that Del Zotto went for his head intentionally, but what decision that Shanahan has made gives anyone even the slightest idea of what the ruling would be. Shanahan will spin the wheel & Ottawa fans are hoping it lands on at least “1 game suspension” or it could land on “all expense paid cruise to The Bahamas!”.

  4. kitshky - Apr 23, 2012 at 11:27 PM

    Take it like a man Neil.

  5. HitsDingers - Apr 23, 2012 at 11:29 PM

    Anyone who has ever played a contact sport knows that catching someone with his head down means a chance to stick a hard hit on your opponent, and in no way implies a dirty hit or even a hit to the head

    • oconnor007 - Apr 23, 2012 at 11:31 PM

      Oh please, Neil is looking for him to have his head down to end Del Zotto’s series

  6. envlguy - Apr 23, 2012 at 11:30 PM

    I have watched the reply and to me the hit seems similar to Neil’s hit on Boyle in game 5. And since that hit was followed with no penalty or league review i don’t see why this one would be.
    When Neil got back to the bench he motioned as if to say he had caught an elbow which from the review does not seem to be the case.

    I guess i’m hoping someone can explain why this hit is drawing so much attention when Neils hit on Boyle was shrugged off so quickly.

  7. gaborik104life - Apr 23, 2012 at 11:36 PM

    Says the person that gave Boyle a concussion. Smart move Neil. Try anything on DZ and see what happens. The Rangers and League now have you premeditating a move and your hit on Boyle was worse. Take it like a man and move on.

    • soro17 - Apr 24, 2012 at 12:56 PM

      Take it like a man. From a Gaborik fan? Hilarious. Has he even played in this series?

  8. stakex - Apr 24, 2012 at 12:25 AM

    What is “questionable” about that hit? Elbows down, doesn’t leave his feet, doesn’t hit the head, and its not from behind. That hit is as clean as it gets, and is just as (if not more so) clean as the Neil/Boyle hit. I hate how every big his these days is described as “questionable”.

    Making a threat against another player though? Thats not cool. I doubt the league will suspend Neil, but at the very least they should fine him… and keep a close watch on what he does in game seven.

  9. j0ey15 - Apr 24, 2012 at 12:39 AM

    This suspension stuff is out of control this is a rough game deal with it

  10. jimw81 - Apr 24, 2012 at 12:50 AM

    Neil just made himself a target for the refs in game 7

  11. bobhpine - Apr 24, 2012 at 12:57 AM

    The league is persecuting both teams and it must be stopped

  12. balewsquare - Apr 24, 2012 at 2:06 AM

    I actually didn’t like the Neil hit on Boyle, or many of the questionable hits in this playoffs, but this is clean to me. Doesn’t seem east/westish (does the league still care about those…Neil), principal contact is not with the head. I actually must say this is one where the hittee needs to keep his head up…stop watching your pass behind you Neil.

    • jeffchadwick - Apr 24, 2012 at 8:59 AM

      To start, fan of neither team. That being said, I feel exactly the opposite. The Neil-Boyle hit seemed much more like a “hockey” play than this one, which clearly targets Neil’s head. Either way, I can see how folks would find both hits questionable.

      I also don’t have a problem with Chris Neil. He’s an old time agitator who backs it up with fistacuffs when necessary. He’s much less deplorable than, as a for instance, Raffi Torres, who’s just dirty, or .

      • jeffchadwick - Apr 24, 2012 at 9:02 AM

        P.S. – similar hit to Torres-Seabrook from last playoffs, which IIRC, did not result in a suspension of any kind.

      • stakex - Apr 24, 2012 at 11:44 AM

        If you honestly think Del Zotto hits head first, you need glasses….. or you need to actually watch the hit.

        No offense, but its people like you who are going to ruin hockey. Guy throws a perfectly clean hit and you ignore all the facts simply to call the hit into question. If you don’t like big hits like this, go watch golf or something…. thats probably more your speed.

      • brian32556 - Apr 24, 2012 at 6:03 PM

        @jeffchadwick
        I think you better take another look at that, especially from the down ice angle. Neil’s head doesn’t even move as MDZ brushes past him. Its “clearly” to Neil’s shoulder and the impact so insignificant that MDZ hardly shudders. This is “clearly” an embellishment by Neil to try and get an unjustified call. I’m glad he tells us he’s going after MDZ so he’ll get his loser butt thrown out after the first questionable hit!

  13. HawaiiHockey - Apr 24, 2012 at 3:31 AM

    Can someone email this to Shanahan? I heard he was making posts about players not premeditating hits or some crap…

  14. sbs0311 - Apr 24, 2012 at 7:06 AM

    Neil is laughable. Del Zotto hit him body to body and the momentum of the hit carried Neil’s head into Anisimov. No one HIT him in the head. Maybe he was still woozy.

    • soro17 - Apr 24, 2012 at 12:59 PM

      Where did he complain he was hit in the head? He was probably pissed because the hit was late.

      • envlguy - Apr 24, 2012 at 1:41 PM

        when he gets back to the bench he clearly claims, to the ref, to have been hit with an elbow to the head.
        I’ve watched the clip and i don’t notice an elbow, perhaps all the people who claim he caught an elbow to the head have a different camera angle then those i have seen.
        If so please post a link or tell me where to find the view where you saw an elbow.

  15. anthonykornheiser - Apr 24, 2012 at 7:35 AM

    IM sure this is how it will go down. Lundqvist will get fined 15-25k for his comments about the refs, neil won’t have to pay a dime. Far from an avery supporter but he was suspended indefinitely for making a comment about someones GF. Neil all raged up after he was blown up by a clean hit threatens to catch someone. I am curious to see how the league responds. obviously if anything happens it’s pre-meditated. what does the league say if del zotto gets injured or another player by him? this should be interesting.

  16. biffnasty - Apr 24, 2012 at 10:30 AM

    What a clown…it was a clean hit, didn’t even go for his head. Kinda funny after all the cheap/dirty shots Neil has dished out this series that he takes a clean hit and already planning his pay back. Seriously, have Rupp go out there and take him out

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