In retrospect, Pittsburgh Penguins forward James Neal realizes that kneeing Brad Marchand in the head wasn’t too bright.
What compounds it though, and what might have contributed to his suspension being five games, is the fact that this isn’t Neal’s first run-in with the NHL’s Department of Player Safety. Prior to this incident, he had previously been suspended twice before.
That’s a cause for concern for the Pittsburgh Penguins.
“There needs to be some education there,” Penguins coach Dan Bylsma told the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. “There needs to be some learning in how he needs to play the game and how he can play the game.”
Bylsma has already talked to Neal at length about the incident and it seems likely the subject will be brought up again.
For his part, Neal acknowledges that in addition to it not being his “smartest decision,” he hurt the Penguins with his actions by removing himself from the lineup.
“He’s a 40-goal scorer and has to be able to play that way without crossing that line,” Bylsma said.