Did Michael Del Zotto of the New York Rangers intend to elbow James Neal of the Pittsburgh Penguins in Friday night’s loss?
Neal didn’t return to the game after the incident, which occurred with just under nine minutes remaining in the third period. The Penguins and Rangers saw this thing differently, according to Rangers Rants:
“He obviously knows James is coming and he goes for a reverse hit,” Penguins coach Dan Bylsma said. “I don’t think there’s any question about where the contact was.”
...“I knew I was going to get hit on the forecheck and I just tried to reverse it and brace myself, I hope he’s OK,” Del Zotto said. “I go out there and try to play hard and within the system and if I get a call, that’s out of my control.”
So will Del Zotto receive any punishment for the incident?
The NHL isn’t expected to have a hearing on it, according to the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette:
Indications are that New York Rangers defenseman Michael Del Zotto will not face a disciplinary hearing from the NHL related to the incident that left Penguins winger James Neal obviously hurting and woozy. The Rangers play tonight at Carolina.
Neal, on the forecheck, was chasing down Del Zotto and got hit in the chin or mouth by Del Zotto's elbow in the third period of the Penguins' 2-1 shootout win Friday night at Consol Energy Center. Del Zotto had his back to Neal, but it appeared he might have seen Neal coming just before the elbow. There was no penalty on the play.
Cue another round of the nonsensical “BUT SHANAHAN USED TO PLAY FOR THE RANG-UHS!” conspiracies.