Penguins F James Neal has phone hearing scheduled for kneeing Bruins F Marchand

Dec 7, 10:59 PM

According to the NHL's Department of Player Safety, Pittsburgh Penguins forward James Neal will have a phone hearing for an incident, which occurred on Saturday night. 

Neal kneed Boston Bruins forward Brad Marchand in the head while Marchand was lying prone on the ice during the first period of Saturday night's game between the Penguins and Bruins.

A phone hearing means that Neal cannot be suspended for longer than five games.

Dec 10, 1:44 PM

James Neal: kneeing Brad Marchand 'not the smartest decision I ever made

Dec 10, 1:44 PM

Pittsburgh Penguins forward James Neal has accepted the NHL's decision to suspend him for five games after delivering a knee to the head of Boston's Brad Marchand. 

He also admitted "It’s not the smartest decision I ever made."

However, Neal contends he had no intention of causing injury on the play.

Neal added he knows that head shots are "something we’re trying to get out of the game,” and confessed he has to be "smarter and control my emotions a lot better." 

The 26-year old is eligible to return when the Penguins face Minnesota at home on Dec. 19.

Dec 9, 5:45 PM

PHOTO: Suspended F Neal featured on Penguins game program

Dec 9, 5:45 PM

There is never a good time to lose one of your team's top scorers to a five-game suspension, but James Neal's suspension seems particularly poorly timed for the designers of Pittsburgh's game programs.

That's a photo of Monday's program for the game between the Penguins and the Blue Jackets, which will be the first of five contests Neal must miss for kneeing Bruins forward Brad Marchand in the head Saturday.

Here's hoping Boston did not choose Shawn Thornton for the cover of its next home game program.

Dec 9, 1:12 PM

James Neal suspended five games for knee to the head of Brad Marchand

Dec 9, 1:12 PM

The NHL's Department of Player Safety has announced a five-game suspension to James Neal of the Pittsburgh Penguins after a kneeing incident involving Boston Bruins forward Brad Marchand on Dec. 7.

The video cites Neal's failure to avoid Marchand, and while he did not kick or violently thrust towards the fallen Bruins forward, he does ensure that contact is made. 

Brendan Shanahan also points to Marchand not being injured on the play and Neal's history of supplemental discipline as a factor in the decision.

The ban also comes with a heavy price tag.

Dec 9, 12:53 PM

Report: James Neal suspended five games for knee to the head of Brad Marchand

Dec 9, 12:53 PM

The NHL's Department of Player Safety has suspended Pittsburgh Penguins forward James Neal for five games after his knee to the head of Boston Bruins forward Brad Marchand, according to multiple sources. 

The incident took place during Saturday's ugly affair in Boston.

Neal's hearing was held over the phone, meaning he was given the maximum allowable penalty according to the league's disciplinary program. He'll be elibigle to return on Dec. 19 against the Minnesota Wild.

Dec 8, 6:34 PM

Claude Julien criticizes James Neal for 'pretending' knee on Brad Marchand was accidental

Dec 8, 6:34 PM

Claude Julien took a not so subtle shot at Pittsburgh Penguins winger James Neal on Sunday evening while speaking with reporters in Toronto. 

The Boston Bruins head coach noted that Bruins forward Shawn Thornton had apologized for his attack on Penguins defenseman Brooks Orpik, which is "more than we can say about players that pretend it wasn't on purpose." 

The Bruins coach was rather obviously referring to Neal. During the first period of Saturday night's game between the Bruins and Penguins, Neal appeared to intentionally strike Bruins forward Brad Marchand in the head with his knee.

After the game Neal claimed that it was an accident. Here are his post game comments on the incident (via Yahoo! Sports' Puck Daddy blog):

“I haven’t seen the replay of anything. I hit him in the head with my leg or my knee or my shin. He’s already going down. I guess I need to try to avoid him. 

I was going by him, I don’t get out of the way, like I said. I’m not trying to hit him in the head or injure him or anything like that."

As a result of his actions on Saturday night, Neal is facing a phone hearing with the NHL's Department of Player Safety on Monday and a maximum five game suspension.

Dec 8, 3:56 PM

Report: Penguins F Neal to have phone hearing Monday

Dec 8, 3:56 PM

The National Hockey League's Department of Player Safety will reportedly conduct a phone hearing with Pittsburgh Penguins forward James Neal on Monday, to review his actions in Saturday's 3-2 loss to the Boston Bruins, according to Rob Rossi of the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review.

Neal was less-than-remorseful in his post-game comments after he received a minor penalty for steering his knee into the side of Bruins forward Brad Marchand's head in the first period.

Dec 7, 10:32 PM

Penguins HC Bylsma admits that Neal didn't do enough to avoid kneeing Bruins F Marchand

Dec 7, 10:32 PM

In addressing a series of nasty incidents that occurred in the first period of Saturday night's game between the Boston Bruins and the Pittsburgh Penguins, Penguins head coach Dan Bylsma didn't shy away from criticizing his own player for a dirty play.

Bylsma was asked specifically about a sequence in the first period where Penguins winger James Neal kneed Bruins forward Brad Marchand in the head. The play occurred while Marchand lay on the ice after being knocked down by Penguins center Sidney Crosby. 

Bylsma rather frankly and refreshingly admitted that his own player didn't do much to avoid any potentially injurious contact:

As for Marchand, the Bruins pest perhaps wisely declined to comment on the play:

Dec 7, 10:08 PM

James Neal describes knee to Marchand's head as 'unintentional'

Dec 7, 10:08 PM

Following Saturday night's vicious game between the Boston Bruins and the Pittsburgh Penguins, Penguins forward James Neal commented on his knee to the head of Bruins forward Brad Marchand. Unsurprisingly Neal described his knee to Marchand's head as "unintentional" and claimed that he hadn't had a chance to review the play

Neal skated by Marchand while the Bruins winger was prone on the ice and struck him in the head with his knee  in the first period. That play caused a scrum, which ultimately resulted in Bruins forward Shawn Thornton mugging Penguins defender Brooks Orpik and sending him to hospital.

Dec 7, 8:34 PM

GIF: Penguins F James Neal knees Bruins F Brad Marchand in the head

Dec 7, 8:34 PM

Saturday night's game between the Boston Bruins and the Pittsburgh Penguins turned very ugly in the first period. 

First Bruins forward Loui Eriksson was injured by Penguins defenseman Brooks Orpik and left the game. Then an incident occurred where Bruins pest Brad Marchand was subtly double teamed by Penguins forwards Sidney Crosby and James Neal. 

Here's a .gif of Crosby's slew foot on Marchand, which is immediately followed by Neal "unintentionally" kneeing Marchand in the head: 

After this sequence a scrum ensued during which Bruins forward Shawn Thornton attacked and gruesomely injured Orpik...