Skip to content

Del Zotto claims he was bracing himself during Neal hit

Apr 5, 2013, 11:31 PM EDT

mdzottogetty Getty Images

While there’s no debating the fact that Michael Del Zotto elbowed James Neal late in the Pittsburgh Penguins’ 2-1 shootout win against the New York Rangers on Friday, there’s plenty of debate about his intent.

Del Zotto told the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review that he was just bracing himself during the collision, but admitted that the NHL might perceive the exchange differently.

“I think they just dumped (the puck) in, and I knew I was going to get hit on the forecheck,” Del Zotto said. “I just tried to kind of reverse hit and brace myself. I’m not sure exactly what happened.”

The Penguins provided mix reactions. Head coach Dan Bylsma didn’t really give the 22-year-old defenseman a free pass and didn’t provide a lot of detail about Neal’s status.

“Don’t have an update right now,” Bylsma said. “I don’t think there is any question what the contact was and where (Del Zotto) made contact.”

Depth forward Craig Adams was a bit more diplomatic.

“I can’t say that it was intentional. But the fact is, he elbowed him right in the chin. That’s not good,” Adams said. “You have to give the refs the benefit of the doubt. If they would have seen it, they would have called it.”

Either way, a Neal injury could be a dirty blow to the Penguins’ chances.

Check out the video one more time:

Latest Posts
  1. Preds torch Crawford, Hawks; even series at 1-1

    Apr 18, 2015, 12:31 AM EDT

    Chicago Blackhawks v Nashville Predators - Game Two Getty Images

    Talk about taking the game out of the officials’ hands.

  2. Video: Controversial Kane goal has Laviolette fuming

    Apr 17, 2015, 11:21 PM EDT

    lavioletteap AP

    All the breaks seem to be going Chicago’s way.

  3. Video: Frantic end to period includes Josi goal, Preds-Blackhawks fight

    Apr 17, 2015, 10:52 PM EDT

    NHL Playoffs: Chicago at Nashville, Game 1 Getty Images

    Not a great start to the playoffs for Corey Crawford.

  4. Washed over: Caps control Isles, tie series 1-1

    Apr 17, 2015, 9:53 PM EDT

    John Carlson, Nicklas Backstrom, Marcus Johansson AP

    Quite a comeback win for Washington.

  5. Video: Nifty work from Nicklas Backstrom

    Apr 17, 2015, 9:25 PM EDT

    Boston Bruins v Washington Capitals Getty Images

    He blew the Islanders’ minds on this one.

  6. Stone’s in for Senators tonight

    Apr 17, 2015, 7:02 PM EDT

    P.K. Subban, AP

    He seemed tentative in warm-ups …

  7. Sedin says tonight’s game versus Flames is ‘must-win’

    Apr 17, 2015, 5:07 PM EDT

    Calgary Flames v Vancouver Canucks - Game One Getty Images

    “It seems when we lose a game everyone’s really focused to get back on the winning track.”

Featured video

Sens need to control emotions after Subban slash
Top 10 NHL Player Searches
  1. M. Pacioretty (4240)
  2. P. Kane (3710)
  3. R. Nash (3310)
  4. K. Letang (3186)
  5. M. Giordano (2469)
  1. M. Stone (2390)
  2. M. Fisher (2353)
  3. Z. Kassian (2335)
  4. J. Abdelkader (2274)
  5. M. Perreault (2225)