Del Zotto hit Neal with an elbow to the head within the final nine minutes of last Friday night’s matchup between the two clubs. Neal appeared to be somewhat dazed by the hit, but was able to skate off the ice into the locker room on his own with the help of trainer, Chris Stewart, and linemate Evgeni Malkin. A penalty was never assessed for the hit.
Last Friday’s game was the fifth and final meeting between the Rangers and Penguins, so there’s no chance for retribution for the hit other than what was already handed out on the ice within those final minutes of the game. The Penguins dominated the series winning four out of the five.
There is still no word on Neal’s condition other than what head coach Dan Bylsma reported in his post-game interview with the media on Friday advising that they’ll wait to see how he is doing after the next couple of days. The Penguins were off on Saturday and Sunday, so Neal got a chance to be evaluated and recover if it turned out not to be too serious. Hopefully word on his status will come from the Penguins soon.
The Penguins have recently announced that they’ve recalled rookie forward Beau Bennett. This could be a precautionary move or because of the team’s ability to have an extended roster for the playoffs; however, I would guess word would come soon on Neal. At the latest, we should know something before game time on Tuesday for sure.