Penguins’ James Neal Suspended Five Games

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A.J. Messier/NHLI via Getty Images(NEW YORK) — Pittsburgh Penguins winger James Neal was suspended five games by the NHL on Monday for kneeing Boston Bruins winger Brad Marchand in the head.

Neal committed the offense during in the first period of the Penguins’ 3-2 loss to Boston on Saturday.  Marchand was down on the ice when Neal skated by and put his knee into the 25-year-old’s head. Marchand had to be treated by a trainer and taken to the locker room before returning.

Neal received a two-minute minor for kneeing.

“With a clear view of Marchand, and plenty of time to avoid him, Neal skated directly through Marchand’s head with his left knee,” NHL’s senior vice president of player safety Brendan Shanahan said in his video breakdown on why Neal was suspended.

“While looking down directly at Marchand, Neal turns his skates and extends his left leg, ensuring contact is made with Marchand’s head,” Shanahan said. “While Neal does not kick or violently thrust his leg toward Marchand, it’s our belief after reviewing this incident that this is more serious than simply not avoiding contact with the fallen player.”

Shanahan said it was taken into consideration that Neal has been previously suspended twice and fined once.

Neal will lose $128,205.15 in salary, which will go into Player’s Emergency Assistance Fund.

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