Well, well, well, the Penguins serial offender is at it again. James Neal gets a $5000 fine for cross checking Detroit’s Luke Glendening to the head.
Its not so much the fine of this incident that bothers me, it is the fact this is Neal’s third recorded offence the department of player safety has had look at since the 2012 playoffs, and there were two suspendable incidents the one game.
Historically, James Neal has four reviewable incidents inside two seasons, of which he has missed a total of nine games, NINE! So obviously those 9 games have made James Neal think twice about his style of play, not to get his stick up high, not to be reckless and make contact to the head. Never mind the fact Neal himself was coming off a two game break from concussion symptoms himself.
It is perfectly obvious that for James Neal, the limited number of games (and $$’s) he has forfeited over the last 18 months has done absolutely nothing to make Neal consider changing his reckless nature on the ice.
The Pittsburgh Penguins had to deal with Matt Cooke on their own, the NHL’s inability to enforce any type of deterrent suspension upon Cooke lead to the Savard concussion and the Penguins themselves having to place a 30 game suspension upon Cooke. It looks as though the Pittsburgh Penguins are going to have to do the same with James Neal.
In realitiy the Penguins are not going to suspend Neal this season, even though they should. The only way Neal is going to change is to have the game taken away from him. I have advocated for tougher suspensions over the last couple of years, our archives are down at the moment, once they get back up I will list the previous suspension. From the
At the moment our archives are a bit of a mess from the update of the website, however Neal has a previous carryover of 128 points just from his 'rampage' in the 2012 playoffs against the Flyers.
What I hadn't added was Neal's woeful knee to the head of Brad Marchand back in December 2013, I don't care what he said, he wanted to get Marchand in the head, and he did.
So Neal's current carry over total is: 174.1 points to add to this latest incident to be reviewed.
So from this review of the Neal $5000 fine, we can see a massive hole in this system. The point of contact was the arm/shoulder, due to the intent of Neal to harm Glengening with his stick, the stick slide up and got Glendening in the head. So under this system there is a whole category that doesn't get any points on the board at all.
Even with this factor 'missing' Neal still gets 10 games, it's aparent that Neal is not going to change on his own, either the Penguins are going to have to sit him down, and I mean have him miss games like they did to Matt Cooke, or they are going to have to trade him.
He is going to become a liability to the team, calls are going to go against him, it happened against Tampa with Sami Salo, so unless Neal shows he can change on his own it will be up to the Penguins to punitively punish Neal, the league has shown it is not capable of enforcing change.
At the end of this season I obviously need to have a look at a gaping hole in this system. The point of contact in this situation was the shoulder, however Neal's stick ended up at Glendening's head, there are going to have to be some changes moving forward. Any ideas would be great, let me know.
Thanks for reading.