The NHL has dealt out its first suspension stemming from Saturday’s chippy, physical Bruins-Penguins matchup.
The league announced Monday that James Neal has been suspended five games for kneeing Brad Marchand in the head while the Bruins winger was down on ice. Marchand remained on the ice for a few minutes and was taken to the locker room, but he later returned to the game.
The hit, which the Penguins winger said was not intentional, sparked the scrum during which Shawn Thornton dragged Pittsburgh’s Brooks Orpik to the ice from behind and punched him repeatedly. Orpik was stretchered off the ice and later placed on injured reserve with a concussion, and Thornton was assessed a match penalty and awaits what will likely be a lengthy suspension.
Neal, who has 10 goals and 10 assists in 16 games this season, was previously suspended one game for hits on Philadelphia’s Sean Couturier and Claude Giroux during the 2012 Eastern Conference quarterfinals.
Hear the NHL’s rationale behind Neal’s most recent suspension in the video below.