December 07, 2011
Playing against the Washington Capitals on Wednesday night, Neil's reputation came back to bite him as after laying a hit on Alex Ovechkin(notes) in the corner the Senators forward took a stick to the midsection and was assessed two minutes for unsportsmanlike conduct:
Neil left the ice for a short while before returning to the Senators' bench. Ovechkin was not penalized on the play.
It's not the first time Neil has been on the other end of a spear. Recall October 2010 during the preseason when Neil took a stick to the nether regions from New York Rangers forward Derek Boogaard(notes). No discipline was handed out for Boogaard.
Rule 62.1 defines spearing as, "stabbing an opponent with the point of the stick blade, whether contact is made or not."
Is this worthy of supplemental discipline for Ovechkin? Was it payback for the hit from Neil or was the contact of Ovechkin's stick and Neil's [Gretzky's] just part of the Washington captain's skating stride?
UPDATE: Ovechkin to Sportsnet's Ian Mendes after the game: "I'm not that kind of player...who would spear someone."
Neil to Mendes: "It was almost like a pitchfork right in the gut...we make mistakes out there and so do the refs."