Predators happy Neal is ‘on our side now’

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Now that James Neal is a Nashville Predators forward, goalies in Tennessee are sure happy to call him a teammate.

Neal hit the ice in Nashville for unofficial workouts and, as Josh Cooper of The Tennessean shared, goalie Carter Hutton is happy he won’t have to face him outside of practice.

“I’m happy he’s on our side now,” Hutton joked. “A lot of guys give you more information. You can kind of read where pucks are going. With him, it’s hard to pick up his stick blade and where it goes from there.”

There’s a reason why Neal is a former 40-goal scorer in the league and his wicked shot is a big one. Last season, he put up 27 goals for the Pittsburgh Penguins but was traded to the Predators this summer to help give them something they haven’t had since Paul Kariya took to the ice in Music City – a bonafide goal-scoring threat.

While the Preds will get their logjam of centers, both new and incumbent, figured out – Neal arrives as, ahem, the real deal when it comes to putting the puck in the net.

If Neal takes to new coach Peter Laviolette’s style right away, fans in Nashville will like it, love it, want some more of it often¬†this season.