Neal debuts on Penguins' top line
James Neal, the Penguins' newest hope to fill their need for a long-term impact winger, scored a considerable endorsement Wednesday morning.
"I've (always) liked him," Penguins center Sidney Crosby said. "He's a good player."
A left wing with at least 20 goals in three NHL seasons, Neal and defenseman Matt Niskanen were acquired from Dallas on Monday in exchange for defenseman Alex Goligoski. In his first game with the Penguins last night against the San Jose Sharks at Consol Energy Center, Neal skated on a line with center Jordan Staal and right wing Pascal Dupuis.
Neal's 21 goals were the most among active Penguins, nine more than right wing Tyler Kennedy had scored before facing the Sharks. In addition to jumping onto the top line, Neal also was inserted as the net-front presence on the top power-play unit.
Before all of that, he chatted with the local media. Here are highlights from that scrum:
Q: Has knowing you are part of the Penguins' long-term plans made this transition easier for you?
A: Yeah, when you feel welcome it's flattering to come into that environment. Just to see the facility and atmosphere here, it's been great. It was a shock to get traded, but I'm so excited to come to this team.
Q: You are now the Penguins' leading active goal scorer. This team has had trouble scoring goals because of all the injuries. What kind of pressure does that place on you?
A: I'm just going to come in and do the same thing I've done throughout my career. Obviously, I want to put the puck in the net, but there's no added pressure. I've talked to the coaches, and they just want me to play my game.
Q: How much of a challenge was it just getting to Pittsburgh?
A: Yeah, travel was tough. The airport was shut down here. We flew into New York and got an early flight out (Tuesday). We came right to the rink, did the physicals and got that out of the way, did some video and had a late skate.
Show commenting policy
TribLive commenting policy
You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.
We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.
While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.
We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers.
We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.
We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.
We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.
We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.
- Penguins assistant coach Tocchet wants Letang to shoot more on power play
- Maatta had been back in groove after offseason surgery
- Fleury, Penguins too much for Kings
- Penguins veteran defenseman Scuderi’s game looking up
- Starkey: Hockey hypocrites, unite
- Penguins notebook: Team celebrates ‘Hockey Fights Cancer’ event
- Penguins’ Malkin admits Neal trade was surprise
- Penguins notebook: Bennett close to returning
- Penguins look to buck shots, goals trend
- Penguins notebook: Jagr still an impact player in 23rd season