James Neal has phone hearing for kneeing Brad Marchand in head
|12.07.13 at 11:25 pm ET|
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.”
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