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. Burke: Athletes that can’t separate violence in game with outside world don’t deserve paycheck

    Sep 20, 2014, 7:03 PM EDT

    Brian Burke AP

    He was asked how he would have handled the Ray Rice situation.

  2. Could Burns bounce between forward and defense?

    Sep 20, 2014, 6:07 PM EDT

    BrentBurns3

    Do Thornton and Marleau disagree with coach Todd McLellan on this point?

  3. Sabres’ Reinhart will debut in preseason opener Sunday

    Sep 20, 2014, 5:05 PM EDT

    Sam Reinhart AP

    It’s his first chance to provide his argument for why he should make the team.

  4. Bruins ’14 first-rounder Pastrnak injures shoulder

    Sep 20, 2014, 4:08 PM EDT

    David Pastrnak Getty Images

    Tough timing for him as he had been playing alongside fellow countryman David Krejci.

  5. Bruins’ Warsofsky taking Krug’s spot

    Sep 20, 2014, 3:30 PM EDT

    David Warsofsky Getty Images

    Optimistic about sticking with the big club out of camp.

  6. Report: Clarkson, Bozak out with lower body injuries

    Sep 20, 2014, 2:13 PM EDT

    David Clarkson #71 of the Toronto Maple Leafs skates in a pre-season game against the Buffalo Sabres on Sept 22, 2013 at the Air Canada Centre in Toronto, Ontario, Canada.
(September 21, 2013 - Source: Claus Andersen/Getty Images North America) Getty Images

    Expected to miss a couple days according to Randy Carlyle.

  7. Would the Leafs break up their top line?

    Sep 20, 2014, 12:31 PM EDT

    Phil Kessel AP

    Experimentation process has begun as team looks for secondary scoring.

  8. Lindback, Rynnas battle for backup job in Dallas

    Sep 20, 2014, 11:47 AM EDT

    Tampa Bay Lightning v Pittsburgh Penguins Getty Images

    Stars searching for a suitable No. 2 behind Kari Lehtonen.

  9. Avs’ Tanguay looking to bounce back from injury riddled season

    Sep 20, 2014, 10:51 AM EDT

    SUNRISE, FL - JANUARY 24: Alex Tanguay #40 of the Colorado Avalanche skates with the puck against the Florida Panthers at the BB&T Center on January 24, 2014 in Sunrise, Florida. Colorado defeated the Panthers 3-2. (Photo by Joel Auerbach/Getty Images) Getty Images

    After playing in just 16 games in 2013-14, he’s looking to be a contributor this season.

  10. Evander Kane: I know I can score 50 goals

    Sep 19, 2014, 11:01 PM EDT

    Evander Kane AP

    The Winnipeg Jets would settle for far less after he scored just 19 last season.

  11. Tom Wilson (broken leg) not sure when he’ll return

    Sep 19, 2014, 10:03 PM EDT

    Tom Wilson Getty Images

    The last thing he wants is to suffer a setback by rushing his recovery.

  12. ‘C’-less Thornton comes out swing against Wilson’s ‘tomorrow team’ talk

    Sep 19, 2014, 9:37 PM EDT

    TORONTO, ON - DECEMBER 3: Joe Thornton #19 of the San Jose Sharks skates against the Toronto Maple Leafs during an NHL game at the Air Canada Centre on December 3, 2013 in Toronto, Ontario, Canada. The Sharks defeated the Leafs 4-2. (Photo by Claus Andersen/Getty Images) Getty Images

    That’s not the only summer statement he took exception to.

  13. Video: Grieving Ryan Suter talks about his late father

    Sep 19, 2014, 9:04 PM EDT

    uwbadgersbobsuter

    Bob Suter was a defenseman on the “Miracle on Ice” team.

  14. Desjardins: Canucks comfortable carrying three goalies

    Sep 19, 2014, 8:02 PM EDT

    Jacob Markstrom Getty Images

    That usually doesn’t end well, but this might be an exception.

  15. Clowe ‘advised’ to fight less, not sure he will

    Sep 19, 2014, 6:59 PM EDT

    CloweDevils Getty Images

    He suffered three concussions in under a year.

  16. Orpik heard good things ‘human-being wise’ about Trotz

    Sep 19, 2014, 6:00 PM EDT

    Brooks Orpik Getty Images

    It’s part of the reason why the defenseman is playing for Washington.

Sign up for Fantasy hockey

Top 10 NHL Player Searches
  1. J. Quick (1366)
  2. B. Schenn (1136)
  3. N. Horton (1056)
  4. B. Bishop (1026)
  5. R. McDonagh (1015)