James Neal wants you to know Paul Martin is not his girlfriend

39 Comments

Pittsburgh Magazine — a prominent lifestyle magazine covering the Pittsburgh metropolitan area — recently caught up with Penguins winger James Neal, he of the recently-inked six-year, $30 million deal.

In an lengthy Q&A, the magazine got Neal’s take on a variety of subjects: Twitter wars with Evgeni Malkin, grueling workouts with Gary Roberts, Tyler Kennedy’s heavy breathing and why Pascal Dupuis is his favorite teammate to make fun of.

There was also some investigation into Neal’s, ahem, relationship with a certain Penguins defenseman:

Q: You came over via trade in the middle of the last season, which is always a difficult thing. Who did you bond with right off the bat?

A: Paul Martin. We lived together before I got my house. He’s a great guy—goes about his business and doesn’t say a word about it. We drive to the rink every day together and go out to dinner a lot. I mean, he’s not my girlfriend or anything. [Laughs]

Q: Paul seems to get a lot of unfair criticism from Pens fans. Is it frustrating to read that stuff?

A: It is frustrating. They give him such a hard time. Paulie goes out and does an unbelievable job every night. He does all the little things as a hockey player. Maybe he doesn’t score much, but you have to think about what he does in his own end, how good of a stick he has and how hard he is to play against. If you really know hockey, you’ll understand how smart and how skilled he is.

So, to recap: Neal and Martin used to live together, drive to work together and usually eat dinner together. Neal also praises “Paulie” for doing the little things and having a good stick.