James Neal Handed 1-game Suspension

James Neal Penguins
James Neal was suspended 1 game by the NHL Tuesday night. (Jeanine Leech/Icon SMI)

In what has become a postseason dominated by disciplinary actions, hockey fans, writers, and analysts alike spent yet another day anticipating Brendan Shanahan’s verdicts today.

This time for Penguins forwards Arron Asham and James Neal.

With each player’s respective hearing reportedly over for hours, Shanahan and the Department of Player Safety deliberated over the Pittsburgh forwards’ fates for an unusually long period of time.

Alas, around 10:30 PM, Shanahan and company finally announced that Arron Asham would be suspended four games for his cross-check and sucker punch to Flyers forward Brayden Schenn. And, James Neal was given a 1-game suspension for his hits to both Sean Couturier and Claude Giroux.

The Penguins will miss Neal’s scoring prowess as they try to mount an unlikely comeback against the Flyers.

Despite scoring 40 goals this season, Neal is no stranger to the NHL discipline office. Having been suspended twice before, Neal falls into the “repeat offender” category.

Not to mention, Neal’s hits on both Couturier and Giroux warranted two separate hearings.

As such, the 1-game ban for James Neal will leave many fans, who have already deemed Brendan Shanahan’s rulings inconsistent, with yet another bullet in their firing chambers.

Luckily, neither Couturier or Giroux was injured from Neal’s reckless hitting.

But, as Neal barreled in on Claude Giroux and finished high clipping the back of Giroux’s head, it sure seemed the intent to injure was there.

Perhaps the duration of Neal’s suspension is a product of his Star status, or a leniency rooted in Brendan Shanahan’s own gritty playing days.

Either way, the verdict will leave many in the hockey community unsettled and displeased.

One game is better than none.

But isn’t it about time the NHL got player safety right?

4 thoughts on “James Neal Handed 1-game Suspension”

  1. 2 hits. 42 seconds apart. Both hits to the head. Repeat offender. Shanahan said all these things but still only gave him a game? What a joke.

    •  Well, like it or not, 1 game seems reasonable.  Look at the photo and you’ll see that, regardless of what Shanahan says, Neal’s skates were both on the ice when contact with Giroux was made.  They left the ice after contact.  He did not take any strides for about 10 feet before contact was made.  And Giroux was playing the puck.  You can see that in the photo too.  So it was a legal hit.  And the Couturier hit could well have been accidental.  As the play changed direction, Neal turned and 
      Couturier was right there.  Looked like he was trying at the last second to avoid hard contact, and that is what he claimed.  But, Neal does have his history, and there is no way to say with certainty that neither was without intent to injure.  So 1 game seems reasonable.  If either was as so many are saying, then more games would be warranted.  But unless Neal says he was trying to hit and hurt those guys, I can’t see it.  I suspect that without Neal’s past history, and the situation of the game at that time, there would have been no suspension.

  2. I at least hope that Shanahan will get his brain back into his head and ban Torres for AT LEAST the rest of the quarter-finals – that hit to Hossa was nasty

  3. Neal should have gotten at least 2 games Brendan Shanahan should be fired He does not know what he is doing!!!!!

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