Skip to content

Neal admits kneeing Marchand was ‘not the smartest decision’

Dec 10, 2013, 1:36 PM EDT

Pittsburgh Penguins v Boston Bruins Getty Images

Now that James Neal has had his hearing with the NHL and been suspended five games, he can finally admit it — kneeing Brad Marchand in the head was “not the smartest decision I’ve ever made.”

That quote comes courtesy Dave Molinari of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, who also has Neal saying there was “no intent to injure” Marchand and there’s “really no excuse for” what happened.

Neal, of course, was a little less forthright in the immediate aftermath of Saturday’s emotional game, which saw lines crossed by both his Penguins and their less-than-cordial hosts, the Boston Bruins.

“I haven’t, like, seen the replay or anything, so I mean I hit him in the head with my leg or my foot or my knee or shin area,” Neal said, per Yahoo! Sports. “I don’t know. But I mean, he’s already going down, and I guess I need to try to avoid him, but I have to look at it again.”

When pressed, Neal added: “I mean, what do you want me to say? That I was trying to hit him? No, I’m going by him. I don’t get out of the way, like I said. I need to be more careful and I guess get my knee out of the way, but I’m not trying to hit him in the head or injure him or anything like that.”

The problem many will have with Neal’s “not the smartest decision” admission is that he’s made other not-so-smart decisions in the past. So, will this latest punishment — which comes with the forfeiture of $128,205.15 in salary — help keep his emotions in check?

We’ll start to find out on Dec. 19, when Neal’s eligible to return from his suspension versus Minnesota. But the real test will be when the playoffs begin and the temperature of the games goes up.

Latest Posts
  1. Getzlaf: ‘I was terrible’ in Game 6

    May 27, 2015, 11:47 PM EDT

    Frederik Andersen, Jonathan Toews, Ryan Getzlaf AP

    He wasn’t the only Anaheim player that deserved to be blamed tonight.

  2. Of course: ‘Hawks, Ducks’ back-and-forth series is going to Game 7

    May 27, 2015, 11:01 PM EDT

    Getty Images Getty Images

    Chicago endured Anaheim’s comeback attempt to win this one.

  3. Video: Goalie interference? Silfverberg bumps Crawford on Stoner goal

    May 27, 2015, 10:29 PM EDT

    Stoner goal

    The Ducks might have caught a break there.

  4. Video: Maroon stays hot in playoffs, gives Ducks hope

    May 27, 2015, 10:08 PM EDT

    Maroon goal

    He has seven goals in 15 playoff games.

  5. Video: Saad comes up short in first frame, opens floodgates in second

    May 27, 2015, 9:46 PM EDT

    Saad goal

    Chicago scored three goals within four minutes.

  6. Kings’ AHL team advances to Calder Cup Final

    May 27, 2015, 9:32 PM EDT

    Jordan Weal Getty Images

    Jordan Weal has been a big part of Manchester’s success.

  7. Voynov’s wife in counseling, still doesn’t want to testify

    May 27, 2015, 7:04 PM EDT

    cd0ymzcznguwzdbhnduynddiytjhm2yyzthlmtjjotqwyyznptzhzjmymgu1y2i3mgyxogjlmddmmte0zdlimze1mwjm AP

    She’s previously been warned that this course could lead to her being found in contempt.

  8. WATCH LIVE: Ducks at Blackhawks, Western Conference Final Game 6

    May 27, 2015, 6:06 PM EDT

    cd0ymzcznguwzdbhnduynddiytjhm2yyzthlmtjjotqwyyznptzinjawowi5ytdjzgvlogu3zwq0ndm4ywmxndq3zmu2 AP

    Anaheim has a chance to advance to the Stanley Cup Final tonight.

  9. Ehrhoff likely headed to free agency

    May 27, 2015, 5:24 PM EDT

    Christian Ehrhoff Getty Images

    After just one year in Pittsburgh.

  10. McQuaid camp ‘holding out hope’ to re-sign with Bruins

    May 27, 2015, 4:16 PM EDT

    Boston Bruins v Tampa Bay Lightning Getty Images

    One of the many decisions facing new GM Don Sweeney.

  11. As Bolts deal with illness, extra day of rest could prove beneficial

    May 27, 2015, 3:49 PM EDT

    New York Rangers v Tampa Bay Lightning - Game Three Getty Images

    Game 7 of the Eastern Conference Final goes Friday at MSG.

  12. Robinson calls DeBoer ‘a good choice’ for Sharks

    May 27, 2015, 3:27 PM EDT

    New Jersey Devils v Philadelphia Flyers - Game One Getty Images

    The two men worked together for a season in New Jersey.

  13. Etem likely to draw back in tonight versus Chicago

    May 27, 2015, 2:40 PM EDT

    Anaheim Ducks v Chicago Blackhawks Getty Images

    Tomas Fleischmann likely on his way out.

  14. Foley moves company to Vegas, hopes NHL sees him as ‘local owner’

    May 27, 2015, 2:21 PM EDT

    Hockey Vision Las Vegas News Conference To Announce NHL Season Ticket Drive Getty Images

    “We’re going to be embedded in this community.”

  15. Hitch thinks ‘goaltending is the least of our problems’

    May 27, 2015, 1:46 PM EDT

    Jake Allen AP

    “I get the fact there were three goals that went in that were ugly. That’s the growth of a young player.”

  16. On Kreider, and trying ‘to turn the other cheek’

    May 27, 2015, 12:39 PM EDT

    Rangers forward has had issues with it thus far.

  17. Report: Sharks to name DeBoer head coach

    May 27, 2015, 12:32 PM EDT

    Peter DeBoer Getty Images

    Former Panthers and Devils coach will take over a team that missed the playoffs for the first time since 2003.

Featured video

End of an era coming for Blackhawks?
Top 10 NHL Player Searches
  1. R. Nash (1500)
  2. M. Carle (1405)
  3. K. Yandle (1307)
  4. A. Vermette (1299)
  5. N. Horton (1136)