No suspension for Neil: Fair or foul?

April 22, 2012, by

News this morning broke that Chris Neil would not have a hearing –thus no suspension– for his hit on Brian Boyle that knocked the Rangers most dominant skater in this series* out of the game (and likely season) with a concussion. The hit (video below) had Boyle looking down at the puck while skating over the middle, and Neil specifically seeking him out ad delivering the hit.

*-It’s sad when Boyle is the most dominant skater in the series for the Rangers.

Before focusing on the hit, let’s look at Neil’s history. He has only been fined by the NHL once, in 2003 no less, and never been suspended. So Neil is not a repeat offender. Neil is an agitator that toes the line.

When watching the hit, it reminds you a lot of those hits Scott Stevens would deliver. Using the freeze frame below, it appears that Boyle’s head is the area that gets hit, but the angle itself of the video doesn’t necessarily prove that. Neil could be targeting the opposite shoulder, which is also not necessarily proven by the image either.

The thing about this hit is that it is eerily similar to the hit Marc Staal delivered on Matt Stajan last season (video below). The ruling on this hit was that Staal was targeting Stajan’s shoulder, and he did not receive a suspension.

So while Brendan Shanahan has been incredibly inconsistent this postseason with handing out Shanaban’s, this ruling on Neil is actually consistent with previous rulings that went in favor of the Rangers.

It’s a tough call to say if that hit was illegal because everything happens so fast, and the camera angles in the Neil hit are very inconclusive. Hockey is a physical game, and stuff like this happens. Personally, I think not even having a hearing is a bit odd, especially when you include the fact that Boyle has been a target for the Senators since Game One, and that the NHL wants to take hits like this out of the game.

Do I think Neil should have been suspended for that hit? My heart says yes because I hate to see a questionable hit like that happen to the Rangers. But my brain says no because Staal wasn’t suspended for a very similar hit.

Categories : Analysis


  1. tmd39 says:

    This is bullshit. Hags get 3 and Neil gets nothing? Neil might not have an offical NHL record, but he has a history of these type hits. Does anyone remember the same hit to Drury when he was in Buffalo? And to give Neil a free pass less than 24 hours after the 25 game suspension to Torres is a **** joke.

  2. Tim says:

    The refs have missed sooo many calls this series. Hagelin hits Alfredsson and is suspended. Neil hits Boyle and isnt suspended. Seems like every call is going into The Senators favor.

  3. Bloomer says:

    Lets see Cartner went after Boyle (a chickenshit sucker punch) he got a slap on the wrist. Then Neil who doesn’t have the balls to drop his gloves with Prust or Ruff takes a head shot at Boyle; a hit that was a day late and again no foul. The Rangers could have put John Scott in the lineup in game 3, but instead took the high road and decided not to goon it up. I played hockey and been a hockey fan for years but what I am watching in NHL is a total **** disgrace. Bettman truly has his head up his ass. Im am done with hockey…**** you Betman and Shanahan.

  4. Walt says:

    It is clear as day, Buttman has a hard-on for Dolan, and the Rangers!!! Every posting is right on, this is a side show, staring Gary, up Mario’s ass, Buttman, and Shanny, I can’t get the suspensions right. During the winter classic, Dolan made the remark about winning the cup, this must have pissed off the NNL office big time, and they have had an ax to grind ever since.

    In spite of Buttman’s blow jobs to Mario, the cunt sisters were eliminated today. Good bye Igor the heckerhead, and Cindy the purse.

  5. Jeff P says:

    NHL is a joke after this.
    However, if the Rangers don’t take runs at Spezza and Karlsson in this game they will lose my respect.
    If the NHL isn’t going to do anything, they should do it themselves.

  6. Chris F says:

    The hit on Boyle was very hard to take, given the end result. However, fellow Rangers fans, the answer is not to get a victimhood complex, even though the League has made it abundantly clear that the Rangers are on its hit list. The hit was borderline, but it was not a blatant head shot. The Rangers can’t let this frustrate them and get distracted by what the League chooses to do or not do. The answer is to come out hard, hard, hard. Play Rangers hockey. Hit Neil every chance. Rupp, Bickel and Prust need to drop the gloves. Pound Spezza, Michalek and Karlsson. Don’t let up. Let the Neil hit be a motivator, not a distraction. Lets do this Blueshirts!

    • Walt says:

      You have echoed my words from the begining of this series! Pound the crap out of their Crosby want a be’s.

      • Chris F says:

        Seriously. Ottawa is not offensively deep. Unfortunately, neither are the Rangers. They cannot win on skill alone, they need to play the body and force mistakes by the Senators.

        On a good note, last night’s game, the Rangers put pucks on net and crashed. They were very close, they had chances. But Anderson came up big. They gotta keep that coming, and get even more physical.

  7. The Suit says:

    He should of been suspended and this pic proves why. https://p.twimg.com/ArGJzRuCQAERZIL.jpg

    • Dave says:

      Is that any different from the Staal hit on Spezza when Spezza was hunched over?

      Just playing devil’s advocate.

      • Chris F says:

        I think the Neil hit is much different than the Staal hit, Dave, for a couple of reasons.

        Chiefly, Spezza was coming in quick and dropped low just prior to contact with Staal. Boyle was somewhat leaning, but I think he was consistently in the position as he seer through the motions of shooting. He didn’t seem to make any drastic movements just prior to being hit.

        Further, Staal’s hit consisted of him pushing off as Spezza came in, as he customly does to push a defender off the puck. Spezza going low at the last minute left his head directly in the path of Staal’s forearms. Neil on the other hand raised his shoulder and led with that. Nothing wrong with leading with the shoulder, unless of course the shoulder makes direct contact with the head, as it did.

        Neil’s was much more egregious. And, given the injury (the League’s new benchmark apparently), I thought a suspension was forthcoming. But, I’m not really surprised about the League’s response.

        Boys just need to bring the pain game 6.

        • The Suit says:

          Agreed, plus Staal didn’t approach from blind side and take skate through him, which is what happen with Neil on Boyle.

  8. Mikeyyy says:

    Keep playing hard. Start taking out players. Suspensions be damned. If your gonna go out. Go out with a bang. I expect special and michalik to be injured by the end of the next game. I want dirty hits. I want blood. This is how hockey is played… They take one of yours out. You take one of theirs. An eye for an eye.

    The NHL just made it open season on the sens. By choosing not to penalize a hit like that, they set a president that you can take head shots and get away with it.

    Shame on you shanny. Just when I thought you could bring hope to the front office you do this.

    And yes , I don’t care if players get suspended. It’s time for on ice justice, old school hockey.

    Like Eddie shore coach

    Yep. Like Eddie shore

    • Chris F says:

      If the eye for an eye metric stands, wasn’t Boyle for Alfredsson?

      • Jeff P says:

        They’ve been running at our best players since game 2, it’s just that they finally got one.

  9. jpstevens says:

    Sather always had muscle surrounding his star players in Edmonton. He is an old school, eye for an eye SOB. While the sport has changed over the years, violence and intimidation are still central elements of the game. Sather understands this. Torterella on the other hand is an egomaniac who believes his system transcends the violence and intimidation. He is exceedingly loyal to players who buy into his system, even if they are short on talent. Torterrela was against Sather making any roster moves before the trading deadline because of this loyalty. Sather knew the Rangers lacked both the offensive talent and intimidation factor of great teams – thus his desire to acquire Nash. Torterella argued against making any roster moves. The end result was one small deal for Scott. Fast forward a couple weeks and Sather was dead on in his assessment. The Rangers are a soft team lacking a scoring punch. Had Torterella inserted Scott into the lineup for Game 2, maybe things would be different right now