The Last Days of James Neal’s Innocence

James Neal was given a two-game suspension for his hit on Derek Dorsett of the Blue Jackets.  I’m really PO’ed about this, and it’s taking all of my self-control not to drop the f-bomb every other word.  I’m mad because Neal’s gone for two games, because this really sucks, and just because Neal had to do that. 

I’ll admit that, yes, Neal deserved a suspension.  I don’t think he intended to injure Dorsett, but he did.  What angers me about Neal is that this is his third boarding penalty this season, and he’s getting worriedly agressive in his play.  Now Neal has a record.  And it’s not good.  With a record, Neal can get suspended again.

Oh, and just look at the probably true flow chart from Down Goes Brown.

That’s what Neal’s got going against him now.  This is bad.  I love James Neal, I really do.  I don’t want him to have a reputation like Corey Perry as a gritty, talented douche bag.  Unfortuantely, the hit on Dorsett was eerily reminiscent of a play I’ve seen guys like Perry and the man himself, Todd Bertuzzi, do many times before.

Neal’s not a bad guy.  He’s like Brenden Morrow in the sense that he occasionally takes it too far, like last night.  I’m willing to bet that Neal’s our future captain.  But will he have a reputation like Pronger?  If he gets suspended again, then maybe.

People are already calling Neal a punk.  They’re mostly Columbus fans, but still.  If anyone’s a punk, it’s Ribs, and I love him for all of his punkiness.  They accuse Neal of hiding behind Trevor Daley when Dorsett challenged him to fight.  No.  Neal didn’t do anything of the sort.  Neal’s not afraid to fight.  Just ask Derrick Brassard.  Neal has more balls than that entire Blue Jackets team.  Don’t call him a punk, because he’s not.

What really irks me more than anything, though, is the inconsistency of the league’s discipline.  They’re more inconsistent than the Stars, and that’s saying something.  Why is it that Mike Richards wasn’t suspended for that hit on David Booth?  What’s different between the Richards hit and Neal’s hit?  You can chalk part of it up to Richards’ superstar status.

Another problem Neal faced in discipline was the classic, “He was in the wrong place at the wrong time.”  It’s true; he was.  The league has recently said that they’d crack down on head shots, and Neal had poor timing in his.  It’s just an unfortunate fact.

Those are my thoughts on this.  You can watch the YouTube and see for yourself.


2 responses to “The Last Days of James Neal’s Innocence

  1. I don’t think Neal will ever be anything like a Bertuzzi or a Pronger. He’s a physical player for sure, but not a dirty one.
    You DO have a great blog!

  2. Thanks, Teri. I’m glad you like the blog 🙂

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