Pittsburgh Penguins v New York Islanders

Penguins’ Neal called for boarding Del Zotto; could call from NHL be next?


Could James Neal, a repeat offender within hockey discipline circles, be expecting another call from the NHL’s Department of Player Safety?

Neal, the Pittsburgh Penguins forward, was given a minor penalty for boarding after a high hit on Nashville Predators’ defenseman Michael Del Zotto late in the first period of Tuesday’s game. A replay of the hit can be viewed here.

Neal hit Del Zotto as the blue liner’s back was partially turned to the play. Neal’s left forearm also came up and appeared to make contact with the back of Del Zotto’s head.

Del Zotto stayed in the game – his next shift after the incident came early in the second period.

Neal has already had a run-in with the league for a knee to the head of Boston Bruins forward Brad Marchand in December. As a result, Neal was handed a five-game suspension.

Neal and Del Zotto also have a history with each other.

Last spring, the Penguins announced Neal suffered a concussion after an elbow from Del Zotto when he was still with the New York Rangers. You can see the video by clicking here.

Report: Sean Avery was arrested last week

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From the Southampton Press:

Sean Avery, the former National Hockey League player, was arrested by Southampton Village Police last week on two criminal charges.

According to authorities, Mr. Avery was arrested September 30 following a routine traffic stop on Jennings Avenue in the village at about 4:09 p.m. He was charged with fourth-degree criminal mischief and two counts of seventh-degree criminal possession of a controlled substance, all misdemeanors.

Police said the criminal mischief charge involved an incident the day before, when Mr. Avery allegedly threw objects at passing vehicles.

As for those counts of possession, according to the newspaper, Avery was found to have “two prescription drugs, acetaminophen with oxycodone and roxicodone.”

He was released on $500 bail and ordered to appear in court at a later date.

Did we mention he’s supposed to get married this weekend?

H/t Gawker

Devils send ’15 first-rounder Zacha back to junior

2015 NHL Draft - Round One

Pavel Zacha was this close to making his NHL debut.

Just days prior to opening their season against the Jets, the Devils returned Zacha — the sixth overall pick at this year’s draft — back to his junior club in OHL Sarnia.

The move comes after Zacha, 18, impressed throughout training camp and the preseason. He appeared in four exhibition games for New Jersey, scoring one point while endearing himself to the organizational brass, coaching staff and players.

“He understands the game. He plays with a maturity. It’s crazy to think an 18-year-old coming out of high school is up here and playing with the maturity and understanding of the game with the new system,” Kyle Palmieri told NJ.com. “I think he’s got a lot of raw talent there as a power forward. He’s got the body for it, the puck-handling skills and the nose for the net.”

At 6-foot-3 and 210 pounds, Zacha has the frame and physical stature to play at the NHL level, and looked the part for long stretches of the exhibition season, getting turns on New Jersey’s top line.

The decision to send him back to junior is probably the right one, however.

Zacha only turned 18 in April and has limited experience even at the OHL level; ’14-15 was his first year with Sarnia, though he did appear in 38 Czech League games (for Liberec) the season prior.