One of my favorite NHL columnists is ESPN’s John Buccigross. I trust the man’s judgment, and he just released his Olympic rosters.
On Team Canada, he (probably mistakenly) forgot Brenden Morrow, but he put James Neal as an alternate.
Here’s his quote that I love:
Neal is the most underrated player in the NHL.
Very nice, Bucci. Very nice.
James Neal is a flipping monster. He had a great rookie season, and he’s on pace for an even better second season. No sophomore slump here, eh?
There’s so much to love about Neal. He’s physical, passionate, focused, slick, and just plain awesome. Another thing I love is his sense of humor. He’s funny in a wry way, and I love it.
Neal is the sort of guy you can’t really compare to any other player, because he’s a mix of great players. The way I see him is that James Neal is Brenden Morrow with Mike Modano’s scoring touch. Gotta love that, right? Yeah, I thought so.
Hopefully Neal is a staple in this franchise for the rest of his career. There’s been so much good stuff from the “Real Deal” and I’m sure we’ll see more.