1) James Neal.
Here, I’ll do this first one in my Brendan Shanahan voice (italic parts):
- SHIELD – During the third period of today’s National Hockey League Game 3 of the Flyers-Penguins Eastern Conference Quarterfinal series, James Neal turned into a dangerous, elbowy battering ram.
On one play, in which Sean Couturier skated through a mess of players in the neutral zone, Neal turned into a missile, launching himself with an effectiveness that the North Koreans could only dream of. He both left his feet and targeted the head area of the 19-year-old Couturier, who is currently in the midst of making Evegni Malkin his female companion (Bettman asked me not to say “bitch,” but that word would work best).
We have included an animated .GIF, for your viewing pleasure:
Couturier was forced to leave the ice, with assistance, but later returned to finish off Malkin’s sex change.
Later, Neal, while chasing after Claude Giroux – who has 8 points in 3 games – extended his elbow into the back of the Flyers forward's head. Giroux was spun off his feet and appeared to be feeling the effects of the cheap shot for several moments.
Another animated .GIF, again for your viewing pleasure: [give the rest of the post a second to load-- it's multimedia heavy]
This one via SB Nation
After the game, Neal had this to say about the hit on Couturier: [quotes via Flyers city-leading PR department]
Q: What happened there on the Couturier hit?
"I haven't looked at it again, but I'm going through a lot of guys with a lot of speed. I don't know if I just clipped him or.. I didn't mean to hit him."
"Yeah, I'm flying through the neutral zone. I'm regrouping. I didn't even mean to hit him [Couturier]. I don't even know if the puck was at his feet or not or where it was. I think we just chipped it. I let up as much as I could and it is what it is."
Q: Seems like, some guys would describe it as almost a brawl there.
"We were staying out of it, but sometimes it boils over with teams like that. Fighting happens in playoff hockey like that, the atmosphere when your emotions are running high."
Reaction from the Flyers:
Q: Sean, did you feel you were being targeting on that play [when you were hit by Neal] ?
“I don’t know. I don’t really know what his intentions were but…it was maybe accidental but I don’t know.”
Q: Can you talk about that Neal hit? Did you see it coming…were you frustrated with the hit?
“Yeah, it’s obviously frustrating to get hit like that but I mean, I never saw him coming. Maybe it was accidental, I don’t know. “
Q: Was part of the reason you were caught off-guard because the puck was no where near you?
“Yeah, the puck wasn’t close so I was actually turning to get back in our end and boom, I got hit. I mean, maybe it was just a collision, accidental….”
Q: On what happened to Couturier
“I saw that one. Frustration. It was the same thing he did on Claude [Giroux] after that. He is not the only one. For us, we can’t worry about that. We can’t control that. All we can control is ourselves, the way we stand up for each other, they way we stick together and at the same time the way we stay composed. I thought we did a really good job of that today.”
Q: On cheap shots at end
“They certainly got a little chippy and they got frustrated. I liked the way [we] stood and stuck together.”
Q: It looked like they were going after Giroux a lot…and Couturier…
“Well, on Coots, he didn’t have the puck and Neal hit him.. the puck wasn’t even close, nowhere close. I thought it was kind of dirty play.”
Given the fact that Neal performed two dangerous non-hockey plays (which are nothing knew to him), and because the league has empowered me, Brendan Shanahan, to suspend players in a random and somewhat reckless fashion, I have arbitrarily decided that Neal will be suspended for… – SHIELD -
2) Arron Asham.
Of course, there were more questionable hits– like this one, on Brayden Schenn, who had just pulverized Paul Martin:
That’s a double-tap right there. A cross-check to the jaw and a sucker punch from behind. That should be five games.
Here’s what Schenn said after the game:
Q: What happened on the Asham hit?
"It was just a hit. I didn't really see him coming at me, I didn't really expect a cross-check but that's what happened."
Q: What about after when he gave you a shot on the ground?
"That's just his temper rising, nothing more then that. Really nothing really more then a cross-check and a punch."
Q: Dirty in your mind?
"I didn't expect it, that's for sure. After the hit I thought it was clean but he just came flying off after the cross-check."
Asham didn’t speak with the media after the game.
3) Craig Adams.
And finally, we have Craig Adams, who not only was the third man in on a scrum, but also fired four punches to the back of Scott Hartnell’s head… and pulled his hair like a fourth grade boy trying to get a date:
Hartnell after the game:
Q: Where does this game rank for you as far as craziness with the fights and everything, especially in the first period?
“Right up there. We knew it was going to be an emotional game but I think that the level that they took it to was not hockey. It’s not what you want to see in hockey…cross-checks in the face, one of their best players, Neal, going up near a couple of guys heads…It’s scary when it comes down to that level. It’s not fun to play with that kind of stuff. You ask the best player in the world, Sidney Crosby, what they were thinking out there and he said ‘well, that’s playoff hockey,’ end quote. For me, that’s not playoff hockey. It’s dangerous hockey, it’s trying to hurt some people out there and it’s scary, you’ve got to keep your head up at all times. Crosby comes in and grabs me from behind and another guy comes and throws about eight bombs at the back of my head. I’m no worse for wear myself but…We’ve got the advantage right now, we’ve got to finish them off here at home.”
And perhaps Jagr summed this all up in one sentence:
Q: Is [this amount of fighting] a bad thing? Did it get out of hand?
“It’s tough to say…let’s let Mr. Shanahan decide what’s going to happen.”
Yeah, let's do that.
Full video of the Neal and Asham hits: