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James Neal respects NHL’s decision to suspend him

12.10.13 at 2:59 pm ET
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James Neal was suspended five games. (AP)

James Neal was suspended five games. (AP)

Penguins forward James Neal said following Tuesday’s practice that he understands why the NHL suspended him five games for kneeing Brad Marchand in the head Saturday.

“Obviously, it’s not the smartest decision I’ve ever made,” Neal said. “I’m glad he’s OK. Going forward here, I need to learn from it. It’s something I can’t do, and I know that. I respect what the NHL’s done, but I’ve got to put it behind me and move forward here.”

Marchand was down on the ice after being tripped by Sidney Crosby, at which point Neal skated by, stuck out his left leg and hit Marchand in the head. The suspension is the third of Neal’s career.

It was at that whistle that the scrum between Brooks Orpik and Gregory Campbell, among others, took place and Shawn Thornton attacked Orpik with a slewfoot and two punches to the head. Orpik is out indefinitely with a concussion and has memory loss. Thornton’s in-person hearing with the league over the play is scheduled for Friday.

After the game, Neal had initially offered little about the play in which he hit Marchand, saying he hadn’t seen the replay. Marchand stayed in the game.

“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,” Neal said following the game. “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.”

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Bruins recall Nick Johnson on emergency basis

12.10.13 at 2:00 pm ET
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The Bruins announced a pair of roster moves Tuesday, placing Loui Eriksson on injured reserve and recalling forward Nick Johnson from Providence on an emergency basis.

Eriksson suffered a concussion in Saturday’s win over the Penguins. Placing a player on injured reserve means they can’t play for the seven days following the injury, meaning Eriksson won’t be eligible to return to the Bruins’ lineup until next Tuesday against the Flames at the earliest.

Johnson’s call-up comes with a number of Bruins battling the flu. Johnson, 27, has 11 goals and nine assists for 20 points this season with a plus-seven rating.

For more on the Bruins, visit weei.com/bruins.

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Dion Phaneuf suspended two games for hit on Kevan Miller; Shawn Thornton’s hearing reportedly set for Friday

12.10.13 at 12:18 pm ET
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Toronto’s Dion Phaneuf has been suspended two games for hitting Bruins defenseman Kevan Miller from behind late in the third period of Sunday night’s 5-2 Bruins win.

Miller went face-first into the boards on the hit and looked shaken up as he left the ice. He is expected to play Tuesday night, though. Phaneuf had no suspension history prior to this.

This marks the second suspension to come out of a chaotic weekend for the Bruins. On Monday, Pittsburgh’s James Neal was suspended five games for kneeing Brad Marchand in the head Saturday night.

The longest suspension of all is still to come, though. Shawn Thornton will have an in-person hearing with Brendan Shanahan on Friday afternoon, according to TSN’s Bob McKenzie. On Saturday night, Thornton took down Brooks Orpik from behind and punched him twice while he was on the ice. Orpik was knocked out cold and had to be taken off on a stretcher. He has since been placed on injured reserve with a concussion.

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Bruins battling flu, team still expects Johnny Boychuk back for Tuesday

12.09.13 at 6:09 pm ET
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Four players were missing from Monday’s practice in Calgary due to the flu, according to the team. Zdeno Chara, Kevan Miller, Chad Johnson and Gregory Campbell were all absent.

Campbell played Sunday’s game with the flu, while Miller left the game in the final minutes after a hit from behind from Dion Phaneuf.

Johnny Boychuk did take part in the skate but said he “didn’t feel awesome,” according to the Boston Globe. Boychuk has been out with a sprained back since last Thursday, but Claude Julien is still optimistic he’ll be in Tuesday’s lineup.

As of Monday afternoon, the Bruins had not made any more callups. If they have to recall a defenseman from Providence, Zach Trotman would be a logical option.

For more Bruins coverage, visit weei.com/bruins.

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Penguins’ James Neal suspended 5 games for knee to Brad Marchand’s head

12.09.13 at 1:18 pm ET
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Penguins forward James Neal was suspended five games by the league on Monday for delivering a knee to the head of Bruins forward Brad Marchand during Saturday’s game at TD Garden.

Marchand was getting up after being knocked to the ice when Neal delivered his cheap shot. Neal claimed after the game that the hit was not intentional despite video evidence that made it apparent he went out of his way to contact Marchand.

“While Neal does not kick or violently thrust his leg toward Marchand, it is our belief after reviewing this incident that this is more serious than simply not avoiding contact with a fallen player,” NHL directory of player safety director Brendan Shanahan explained in a video review of the incident. “While looking down directly at Marchand, Neal turns his skates and extends his left leg, ensuring that contact is made with Marchand’s head.”

The suspension will cost Neal $128,205.15 in lost salary, which will be donated to the Players’ Emergency Assistance Fund.

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Dion Phaneuf to have hearing for hit on Kevan Miller

12.08.13 at 11:54 pm ET
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According to TSN’s Bob McKenzie, Maple Leafs defenseman Dion Phaneuf will have a disciplinary hearing with the league for his hit on Bruins defenseman Kevan Miller late in Sunday’s game.

Miller was shoved from behind into the corner by Phaneuf in the final minutes of the Bruins’ win, though there was no penalty called at the time. Miller left the game, but Bruins coach Claude Julien said that his injury was “very minor” and that the team expects him to play Tuesday against the Flames.

 

Miller had scored his first career goal earlier on in the game and played a career-high 22:12 in the win, due in large part to the fact that the team lost Dougie Hamilton (lower body) in the first period. Hamilton is out for at least a week.

For more Bruins coverage, visit weei.com/bruins.

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Dougie Hamilton out at least a week, Kevan Miller expected to play Tuesday

12.08.13 at 11:46 pm ET
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Bruins defenseman Dougie Hamilton is out for at least a week, Claude Julien told reporters after Sunday’s game.

Hamilton left the Bruins’ 5-2 win over the Maple Leafs in the first period following a hit along the boards. The injury is lower-body and Hamilton will fly to Boston Monday to be be evaluated.

Kevan Miller, who also left the game after being hit from behind by Toronto defenseman Dion Phaneuf, is likely to play Tuesday against the Flames. Julien said that the status of Johnny Boychuk will determine whether the B’s call up a defenseman for Tuesday, with the team “more optimistic than pessimistic” that Boychuk will be available.

For more on the Bruins, visit weei.com/bruins.

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