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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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Bruins lose Dougie Hamilton, Kevan Miller in win over Maple Leafs

12.08.13 at 9:43 pm ET
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Chad Johnson

Chad Johnson

The Bruins picked up a 5-2 win over the Maple Leafs Sunday, but lost yet another player to injury.

Dougie Hamilton left the game with what seemed to be a lower-body injury after taking a hit along the boards in the first period. It was the latest injury for a team that is already without two regular defensemen in Johnny Boychuk (back) and Adam McQuaid (lower-body). Kevan Miller also left the game in the final minutes on an apparent head injury suffered on a hit from Dion Phaneuf.

Peter Holland scored the first goal of the game, sending a bouncing puck past Chad Johnson after Torey Krug couldn’t clear it from the crease. The Bruins bounced back in the second period with three goals, two of which came on the power play. Carl Soderberg took a feed from Reilly Smith and sent it past Jonathan Bernier, while Krug scored his eighth goal of the season on a slapshot from the right circle that went past a screening Zdeno Chara and then Bernier. Kevan Miller made it 3-1 on his first career NHL point.

The Leafs made it a one-goal game 37 seconds into the third when Jay McClement beat Johnson on a rebound, and the B’s had to kill off a pair of third-period penalties before Jarome Iginla made it 4-2 on his sixth goal of the season. Patrice Bergeron scored an empty-netter after the expiration of a hooking penalty.

The Bruins were already down three forwards given Loui Eriksson’s concussion, Chris Kelly’s broken fibula and Shawn Thornton’s pending suspension, which forced Matt Fraser to make his Bruins debut and Ryan Spooner to play his third game of the season for the B’s. Both players skated on the third line, while Jordan Caron stepped onto the fourth line in Thornton’s place.

The Bruins will next play Tuesday in Calgary.

WHAT WENT RIGHT FOR THE BRUINS

- Krug’s goal made for yet another in which Chara has had a big hand of late. Chara, who scored the game-winning goal Saturday and was in front of the net on David Krejci’s tying goal against the Penguins, was also in front on Krug’s goal Sunday, which made for a span of three of four goals in which Chara either scored or provided a critical screen.

With eight goals this season, Krug is now tied with Erik Karlsson once again for the lead among NHL defensemen.

- Spooner began the night taking faceoffs for the Bruins but quickly surrendered those duties to Carl Soderberg after losing his first four draws. It paid off when Soderberg won a second-period faceoff clean and got the puck to Miller to set up the Bruins’ third goal of the game.

It wasn’t all good for Soderberg on faceoffs, however, as his lost draw vs. McClement early in the third led to the Leafs making it a one-goal game.

- Milan Lucic can skate, and he did it again when he took the puck into the Toronto zone, took two Leafs with him and threw the puck in front to Iginla for the Bruins’ fourth goal.

WHAT WENT WRONG FOR THE BRUINS

- If Hamilton and/or Miller is out for any period of time, the Bruins will have to make yet another call-up. The guess here is that it would be the right-shooting Zach Trotman, though David Warsofsky might also be an option.

The 6-foot-4 Trotman would make sense over the 5-foot-8 Warsofsky for multiple reasons, most notably that he’s a right shot, and Miller was the only righty on the Bruins’ back end after Hamilton went down.

- Sunday was the fifth time this season the Bruins have had to play the majority of a game with only five defenseman. They’ve lost Johnny Boychuk twice, Adam McQuaid and Dennis Seidenberg once and now Hamilton once.

Just like Thursday, the B’s also saw their remaining defensemen take penalties despite being down a blueliner. Both Seidenberg and Miller took third-period penalties, which forced Krug to play 1:04 on the penalty kill.

- Speaking of defensemen and penalties, Dennis Seidenberg got Jerry D’Amigo with a hit to the head in the corner in the third period. Seidenberg may have been trying for the shoulder, but he got him high and was given a minor penalty for an illegal hit to the head.

- Phaneuf somehow didn’t get a penalty for his hit from behind on Miller in the corner, which sent the Bruins defenseman into the boards head first and forced him from the game.

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Chris Kelly out 4-6 weeks with broken right fibula

12.08.13 at 11:33 am ET
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Chris Kelly will miss four to six weeks with a broken right fibula suffered in Saturday’s game against the Penguins, the Bruins announced Sunday. Kelly was injured on a slash from Penguins forward Pascal Dupuis in the second period and has been placed on long-term injured reserve.

The Bruins also announced that they’ve placed Adam McQuaid (lower-body) on injured reserve and have called up forwards Ryan Spooner and Matt Fraser from Providence on an emergency basis.

The Bruins are now without Kelly, Loui Eriksson (concussion) and Shawn Thornton (awaiting suspension) and are missing both Johnny Boychuk (back) and McQuaid on defense.

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

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James Neal has phone hearing for kneeing Brad Marchand in head

12.07.13 at 11:25 pm ET
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James Neal will likely be suspended. (AP)

James Neal will likely be suspended. (AP)

Shawn Thornton isn’t the only player who figures to be suspended for their actions in Saturday night’s game between the Bruins and Penguins, as Penguins forward James Neal will have a phone hearing for kneeing Brad Marchand in the head.

Because it’s a phone hearing, any suspension for Neal will be five or less games. Thornton’s is in person, which would allow the league to suspend him for more than five games.

Marchand had fallen to the ice after some stick work from Sidney Crosby, at which point Neal glided by and stuck out his left leg to hit him in the head.

“I was skating by him. 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 I don’t know,” Neal said after the game. “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. I haven’t gotten a chance to look at it.”

Asked if he intended to hit him in the head, Neal, who has twice been suspended by the league, denied it.

“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,” he 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.”

Marchand was clearly told by the Bruins to not divulge his thoughts on the situation. Asked whether he saw the replay, Marchand happily and confidently replied, “no.” He gave the same response when asked if he had an opinion on the play.

“I can’t comment on this, guys,” Marchand said after a few questions. “I know you guys can tell I can’t comment. You know I want to, but I can’t.”

Marchand didn’t even honestly shed light on Crosby’s role in the play.

“I think I just tripped myself,” he said. “Tough skates today. Two left feet.”

Penguins coach Dan Bylsma admitted that the play could have been avoided.

“It was a sequence there where I think Marchand and Sid were in it physically,” Bylsma said. “Marchand went down as Neal was skating by, and he didn’t really make an attempt to get out of the way on Marchand.”

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

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Loui Eriksson has concussion from Brooks Orpik hit, Chris Kelly also out for Bruins

12.07.13 at 10:38 pm ET
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Loui Eriksson

Loui Eriksson

The Bruins will be without three forwards for at least Sunday’s game against the Maple Leafs, as Loui Eriksson has a concussion, Shawn Thornton will not travel as he awaits his suspension and Chris Kelly is out with a lower-body injury.

Eriksson suffered his second concussion of the season in the first period Saturday on a hit from Penguins defenseman Brooks Orpik. Thornton was later given a match penalty for attacking Orpik on the ice on a play after the whistle in which he threw Orpik to the ice and knocked him out with two punches to the head.

Kelly suffered a lower-body injury on a slash in the third period. Orpik, as you could probably guess, has a concussion.

“It’s just an unfortunate situation,” Claude Julien said. “As you know, Shawn’s got a hearing with [Brendan] Shanahan now, so he won’t travel with us to Toronto tomorrow and I don’t know what’s going to happen from there. At the same time, Loui’s not traveling with us either. He’s got a concussion, and the other guy we just found out at the end of the game, Kelly has suffered an injury from a slash and he won’t be traveling with us either.”

Julien was clearly upset with the actions of both teams, including Orpik’s hit on Eriksson.

“Those are unfortunate incidents when you see guys getting injured,” Julien said. “That’s called Eriksson. It’s also called Orpik.”

Penguins coach Dan Bylsma thought rather differently.

“Well I think the hit by Orpik is a good hockey hit. Eriksson touches the puck, the puck’s coming around the wall there, it does take a strange bounce, he does touch the puck, and it’s a good hit,” Bylsma said. “Clearly they took exception to it. They put people on the ice to take exception to it, and the events that ensued, you saw Thornton.”

In addition to inserting Jordan Caron into the lineup, the Bruins will have to recall two players from Providence. Mark Divver of the Providence Journal reported Saturday night that those players are Ryan Spooner and Matt Fraser.

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

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