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Pens lose Neal to concussion

Mar 14, 2014, 12:39 PM EDT

James Neal Getty Images

Pittsburgh forward James Neal has been diagnosed with a concussion, according to Pens head coach Dan Bylsma.

Neal, who missed eight games last season with a concussion, didn’t participate in the last two Pittsburgh practices while getting checked over by team doctors.

Yesterday, Bylsma said both Neal and Kunitz were “dealing with bumps and bruises.” Kunitz was shaken up during Tuesday’s 2-0 win over Washington, a game in which Neal played 14:53 but only took four shifts in the third period for 3:05 of ice time.

The 26-year-old winger will be held out of the Pens lineup indefinitely and will miss this weekend’s home-and-home set against the Flyers.

Neal has 22 goals and 49 points in 44 games this season, one that has already seen him miss extensive time to an upper-body injury (15 games) and suspension (five games).

The Neal concussion is also another health setback for Pittsburgh to endure. The club is already without the services of defensemen Paul Martin (broken hand) and Kris Letang (stroke) and, earlier this season, lost forward Pascal Dupuis for the year with a torn ACL.

Beau Bennett, Chris Conner and Tomas Vokoun are also currently on injured reserve.

  1. runhigh24 - Mar 14, 2014 at 12:44 PM

    At this point i’m beginning to think the Penguins built Consol Energy Center on an Indian Burial Ground or something.

  2. steelpenbucs87 - Mar 14, 2014 at 12:48 PM

    Yikes – hopefully he’s back soon.

    On a positive note – at least its a short trip from WBS to Philly for Jayson Megna/Harry Z

  3. pitpenguinsrulez - Mar 14, 2014 at 12:49 PM

    Well looks like Beau Bennett will see action with Geno

    • steelpenbucs87 - Mar 14, 2014 at 1:38 PM

      Maybe – not this weekend though.

    • c9castine - Mar 14, 2014 at 11:17 PM

      yeah probably at some point not now though not sure what you mean. I imagine hell be back late next week.

  4. bcsteele - Mar 14, 2014 at 12:52 PM

    Is it just me, and I mean no offense, but am I the only one that thinks the Pens are going to be in trouble come play off time if they don’t get Martin and Neal back come pay off time? I’d say Dupuis as well but it sounds like he’ll be ready by then.

    Just curious how Pens fans feel right now…

    • JoeAvg - Mar 14, 2014 at 1:05 PM

      Dupuis? Where did you see he’s coming back? Training camp maybe.

      Pens are in trouble if they can’t find a way to get scoring from their bottom 6. Sutter does all the right things but needs help on the wing. Glass and Adams are consistently good at doing what they do best, but unfortunately that doesn’t include scoring. Gone are the Kennedy/Staal/Cooke days. That was an effective 3rd line.

      • bcsteele - Mar 14, 2014 at 1:19 PM

        I meant Kunitz; that’s my bad

      • darksidecowboy - Mar 14, 2014 at 4:11 PM

        Keep hearing about the bottom 6 not scoring, but don’t you think it might because of the top heavy contracts to the top 6, plus Letang?

      • JoeAvg - Mar 14, 2014 at 4:27 PM

        Who would you let walk?

    • 19to77 - Mar 14, 2014 at 1:07 PM

      They’re both top players on the team. Neal is a point-per-game scorer and Martin is normally amongst their leaders in ice time. They’re huge losses if they’re long-term. The Pens can handle going without them if they have to, but it would be a major blow to their depth.

    • c9castine - Mar 14, 2014 at 11:25 PM

      dupuis won’t be ready and i saw you meant Kunitz but kunitz isn’t out. Kunitz played the rest of last game and just took a day off. Hell be in the lineup.

      Not worried. Martin will be back at some point and it will be a big boost…but skill and experience will never be an issue on this team. bennett is going to add a lot to the scoring aspect of our depth as long as he stays healthy and progresses as he plays games. stempniak and goc did a lot to bolster top and bottom 6 depth.

      you have to know how this team is really built. they can actually survive without one of crosby or malkin, a coupe top Dmen and wingers, but if Niskanen, Maatta, Sutter, Glass, or Kunitz got hurt, wed be in a bad spot at this point. Dupuis is a rough one, and so is Martin even more than letang. But there are other guys who can fill those roles, but if they go down then yeah. Im concerned.

    • sumkat - Mar 14, 2014 at 11:57 PM

      Just curious (I know the injury is kinda new), but any word on severity? Grade 1/2/3 or whatever they rate it by? I would think they not only want him back, but would want him to get a few games under his belt before the playoffs (especially if they draw Philly, I don’t think they will, I think Philly finishes 2-3, but they could)

  5. ibieiniid - Mar 14, 2014 at 12:59 PM

    until he stops kneeing people in the head, I have 0 sympathy… unpopular idea or not.

    • Tyler - Mar 14, 2014 at 1:14 PM

      Zero sympathy for a serious and potentially life altering injury. Got it.

      Stay classy.

      • ibieiniid - Mar 14, 2014 at 1:16 PM

        seeing as how he wasn’t thinking about those things either when he kneed a downed player in THEIR head, I’m ok with lacking a bit of class here.

      • 19to77 - Mar 14, 2014 at 1:20 PM

        You’re judging him for not caring if other people get hurt… and that’s your justification for not caring if he is. Clever one, you are.

      • ibieiniid - Mar 14, 2014 at 1:26 PM

        I’m not the one throwing knees, bud.

      • pahkthecah1387 - Mar 14, 2014 at 1:47 PM

        Just as classy as the scumbag this article is about, the cheapest player in the league easily.

      • ibieiniid - Mar 14, 2014 at 1:52 PM

        and he’s in a position where his lack of class gets people hurt, yet Tyler thinks I’m the bad guy with my keyboard.

      • pahkthecah1387 - Mar 14, 2014 at 2:48 PM

        Besides the one example regarding Marchand show me any other play where he has the “intent to injure” Marchand is a pest and barely that anymore. Neal has a long history of classless mindless and dangerous hits.

    • pastabelly - Mar 14, 2014 at 1:43 PM

      Here’s my problem with Neal with Neal after his own coach called him out for a knee to the head.

      “Am I sorry for it?” Neal said “Yeah. I hurt my team. I hurt myself. It’s not something I want to be talked about for.”

      What’s missing here? Yup, Neal is only sorry for hurting his team and himself, but had no regard or compassion for his victim. Why should others feel badly for him when he doesn’t have it in himself to express sympathy to others. Sorry, he’s a jackass.

      • jpelle82 - Mar 14, 2014 at 2:40 PM

        did marchand feel bad when he lowbridged salo and gave him a concussion? no he claimed he was protecting himself and he was upset he got suspended. he never took ownership on that one either and never even said he was sorry to his team for it. something neal did do at least. should we really care neal kneed a guy in the head who has a history of intent to injure other players? by what i’m reading here neal shouldnt get any sympathy (ibieniid) which i get and i dont give him any but why do we all of a sudden feel sympathy for marchand who is as dirty as they come?

      • ibieiniid - Mar 14, 2014 at 2:46 PM

        I didn’t feel sorry for Marchand then, and I don’t now. none of this says I was sympathetic for Marchand. all it says is that I don’t feel sorry for players that do dirty things and get the karma right back, regardless of who they’re hitting.

      • ibieiniid - Mar 14, 2014 at 2:48 PM

        I also want to make clear that I’m not wishing them further injury. I’d never WISH an injury on a player I don’t like, even if they’re a sh**ball. but if they have a history of dirty play, I can’t feel sorry for them when they eventually get it back.

      • pahkthecah1387 - Mar 14, 2014 at 2:48 PM

        Besides the one example regarding Marchand show me any other play where he has the “intent to injure” Marchand is a pest and barely that anymore. Neal has a long history of classless mindless and dangerous hits. But rationalizae however you please.

      • pahkthecah1387 - Mar 14, 2014 at 2:50 PM

        Also pelle, who in this forum ever said they felt bad for Marchand?

      • jpelle82 - Mar 14, 2014 at 3:08 PM

        i dont think anyone here feels sorry for neal except maybe Tyler but marchand had it coming from neal in my opinion because of the boarding call in the playoffs, and the slew foot he put on niskanen – if not just the karma for all of the other crap he’s done including the elbow on umberger and the clip on salo. i dont blame neal for not saying he was sorry to marchand

      • drewsylvania - Mar 14, 2014 at 3:28 PM

        He’s worse than a jackass. He’s a criminal, or should be considered one.

      • girouxsalem89 - Mar 14, 2014 at 4:17 PM

        How about when he launched himself into Sean Couturier’s head in the playoffs in 2012 and got suspended?

        That seems like a pretty good example of him being a scumbag.

    • flyerspsu - Mar 14, 2014 at 3:21 PM

      not even his only time delivering blindside headshots before claiming it was all accidental, the guy has a history of it

      • pahkthecah1387 - Mar 14, 2014 at 3:33 PM

        This is the quintessential hit when it comes to Neal, all you need to know about this player and his “character” can be found in this video. P.O.S. through and through and if he continues to play the way he has in recent years past he can expect more concussions.

      • ibieiniid - Mar 14, 2014 at 3:55 PM

        lol at the downthumb but nobody putting their name on standing up for that hit with a comment. coward.

      • 7mantel - Mar 14, 2014 at 4:05 PM

        How could pen fans defend this guy?

      • ibieiniid - Mar 14, 2014 at 4:17 PM

        the answer is in your comment. they’re pens fans.

      • mvshark - Mar 15, 2014 at 4:24 PM

        Pens fans defend him the same way they defended or never said anything about Cooke….

  6. sjsharks66 - Mar 14, 2014 at 1:08 PM

    Ouch, big loss for the pens.

  7. penguins87and71 - Mar 14, 2014 at 1:16 PM

    I’m beginning to think the same thing, ever since the Penguins moved to Consol they have cursed with tons of injuries, and they can’t beat the Flyers at home!

  8. sjsharks66 - Mar 14, 2014 at 1:48 PM

    It is bad karma catching up with Neal. I really enjoy him as a player, just wish he would clean his game up a bit. Maybe after this concussion, he will.

    Hope he has a fast recovery.

  9. ironyisadeadscene - Mar 14, 2014 at 2:06 PM

    Who cares, he’s a jacka$$

  10. drewsylvania - Mar 14, 2014 at 3:19 PM

    Oh noes. Hopefully he’ll quit hockey so we no longer have to put up with his bull ****.

  11. flyerspsu - Mar 14, 2014 at 3:23 PM

    Maybe now he’ll think twice before delivering another blindside headshot knowing the possible consequences of them

    • phillyphanatic77 - Mar 14, 2014 at 5:18 PM

      Highly doubt it. The guy seems unable (or unwilling) to grasp the consequences of his dangerous actions. Plus, he seems like a complete tool off the ice (cares more about his hair than the players he injures). I don’t wish injury on anyone but it does seem like some kind of karmic retribution.

    • sumkat - Mar 14, 2014 at 11:55 PM

      Yeah, and nobody is going to take a cheap shot after Giroux’s head (most likely after the whistle) if they play in the playoffs again (See Neal, Geno and I can’t recall the 3rd guy that last time)

      Oh yeah, then when G finally snaps after constant cheap shot, and goes high on a guy seconds after not getting the same penalty called, he’ll be called the dirty player, because you know, he’s a flyer

  12. joey4id - Mar 14, 2014 at 4:01 PM

    You guys are brutal. I wouldn’t wish a concussion for some of my worst critics despite all the naming calling and derogative comments written about me. You don’t puck around with blows to the head. Do you get that? Regardless of the source. It blows my mind how you can be all over a guy for kneeing (which I agree is completely inappropriate) but, you brush off fighting. The effects to the brain whether from a knee or a punch are the same. Hockey is a great sport because of the ability of players to pass, shot, skate and use the body to impede the offensive progress of a player. Deliberate acts to hurt another player is not the essence of the sport.

    • drewsylvania - Mar 14, 2014 at 4:05 PM

      Which is why Neal should never return to the ice. He’s an unabashed repeat offender and it’s better for the health of the league’s players that he never take the ice again. What part of that don’t you understand?

      In fact, why am I bothering with you?

      • joey4id - Mar 14, 2014 at 4:23 PM

        Indeed! Why are you bothering with me?

        Anyway, a shot to the head is a shot to the head. You can put lipstick on a pig, but it’s still a pig. If you don’t let Neal back in the league, then that tells me you don’t want those players throwing punches in the league.

        Note: Please resist your urge to hit reply ;-)

    • spiciercheez - Mar 14, 2014 at 4:36 PM

      At least when you are fighting you choose to do so (for the most part)….

  13. darksidecowboy - Mar 14, 2014 at 4:16 PM

    Neal was pulling this dirty stuff in Dallas as well. If not for his lethal shot he wouldn’t have a job in this league.

  14. theageofquarrel - Mar 14, 2014 at 4:24 PM

    This is more like it!!!

  15. thomasvanek - Mar 14, 2014 at 4:31 PM

    Karma sucks. Doesn’t it Neal?

  16. pens5829 - Mar 14, 2014 at 5:13 PM

    Hilarious! All the Cryer and Beanhead trolls coming out before St. Patrick’s Day weekend. Go back in your glass houses!!!

  17. thesportsjudge - Mar 14, 2014 at 6:38 PM

    A couple quotes seem appropriate:

    Bruce from Family Guy: “Oh no!”

    Jerry Seinfeld from Seinfeld: “That’s a shame”

  18. timmons94 - Mar 14, 2014 at 7:03 PM

    He would be worshiped in Philly

  19. bsfan77 - Mar 14, 2014 at 8:00 PM

    Karma baby. It has nothing to do with the Consol. Pens are a dirty team that like to hack and slash behind plays then dive to get calls. The one you call “Duper” collides with Cindy and blows out his knee. Hmmmmmmm, karma? I would say so seeing that he got away with a 2 hand slash to Kelly’s leg that Pens fans claim happened when he was a going for a puck that was more than a sticks length away. Neal has been cheap shotting his whole career. Im not defending Marchand either. He is a pest and he also crosses the line on many occasions. The Bruins also get a lot of bad calls on teams that love to flop. You guys can keep applauding your team for being on top of the Eastern Conference and how many winning streaks you have each year but when it comes down to it, top heavy teams go nowhere in the playoffs. Your goalie ends up in the fetal position, sucking his thumb, and pooping in his diaper when the playoffs arrive. Your “supermen” disappear and get held to a big goose egg when they are needed the most. The highest powered offense all season, excluding playoffs, held to 2 goals in 4 games. Doesn’t look any better this year, so keep your fingers crossed and hope karma gives you a little break.

    • pens5829 - Mar 14, 2014 at 9:13 PM

      25 years ago the internet was born, allowing trolls like you to show your stoopidity.

      • bsfan77 - Mar 15, 2014 at 1:54 PM

        Nice comeback! You come up with that all by yourself? Pit is done for the season. 0 depth. Gooooooo Flyers. Get the golf clubs ready! Look at your own tem before you call others troll.

  20. sumkat - Mar 14, 2014 at 11:52 PM

    A shame something like this had to happen to such a classy……..nevermind

    But still, you don’t want to see anybody get injured (hurt yes, injured no), especially with something that, coupled with his past concussions, could seriously effect him post-hockey

  21. pens5829 - Mar 15, 2014 at 11:02 AM

    Two words Boston trolls. Shawn Thornton.

    • mvshark - Mar 15, 2014 at 4:35 PM

      I know the guy or dog doo I am mentioning is no longer on your team, but Cooke? Not once did your Mario ever come out and throw him under the bus…he continued to be a dirt bag…just like Neal is continuing…Claude J did throw Thornton under the bus and Thornton handled it like a MAN not like Neal. Remember, Thorntons classless act, came after several including Neals knee to Marchand, Penguin cheapshots…And I believe that Marchand got a talking to by the Bruins brass as he has turned his game around completely.

    • drewsylvania - Mar 15, 2014 at 5:23 PM

      Who committed a single ugly transgression. Can you not discern the difference between one incident and a career full of them?

      • mvshark - Mar 16, 2014 at 11:31 AM

        Drew who do you mean by who committed a single ugly….Cooke and Neal have multiple transgressions each…please….and I will also admit that Marchand does also…I call it as I see it. Neal on Marchand and Couturier blind shot as seen above…Cooke on Savard and Tyutin…just to get you started..please Drew, call a spade a spade.

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