Much to the chagrin of the insufferable John Tortorella, Chris Neil will not face any supplementary discipline for his hit to New York Rangers forward Brian Boyle.
In his post-game press conference last night, Torts drew parallels between Neil's hit and the Raffi Torres hit on Marian Hossa; even going so far as to say that Boyle had sustained a concussion and that the NHL has a blueprint for how to proceed (with its discipline).
Suffice it to say, Neil hit a vulnerable player who had his head down and was cutting across the middle of the ice with the puck, however, the hit wasn't late. The principle point of contact wasn't the head and despite Tortorella's assertion to the contrary, Chris Neil has never been suspended.
Video of the hit can be seen below:
While Tortorella's act could have been some misplaced diversionary tactic, designed to deflect attention away from the fact that the heavily favored Rangers are on the verge of being eliminated by the Eastern Conference eighth seed, it did prompt an echoing chorus of "Oh, fuck off"s around the nation's capital.
Fortunately, now that this incident has been cleared, emphasis on the Rangers failing to live up to their expectations can be renewed. (Read: it's your move Larry Brooks.) Or at the very least, should Ottawa get a lead in tomorrow night's game, the Rangers may lose focus and attempt to exact some retribution on Neil.
Alfie Feeling Better...
After some unintentionally comical "Daniel Alfredsson is on the ice", "Daniel Alfredsson is off the ice" and "Daniel Alfredsson is back on the ice" tweets from Ottawa's beat writers, the Senators' captain did participate in today's optional practice and Paul MacLean did acknowledge that Alfie had made progress.
According to Bruce Garrioch, Alfredsson could return to tomorrow night's lineup if he remains symptom free for the next 24 hours. Given the level of success that the team has had in his absence, it will be interesting to monitor who would come out of the lineup to make room for the captain. Smart money is on either Bobby Butler or Mark Stone, but I'm interested in hearing what you readers have to say in the comment thread. Have at it.
Really tough call Nichols. I think you take Stone out. When the puck was in the Sens zone and #60 was on the ice, my nerves couldn't take it. I'm not saying he is a defensive liability but he might be more susceptible to the pressure. If Stone was higher on the depth chart than Butler all season, he should have been up with the Sens. Butler has the Calder Cup experience and hasn't really done anything to play himself out of the lineup.