Pens' James Neal suspended one game, Arron Asham for four

By Brian Stubits | CBSSports.com

The verdicts are in on the Pittsburgh Penguins players who had hearings with Brendan Shanahan. James Neal will be suspended for one game and Arron Asham received four games. Each suspension came from hits in the very nasty Game 3 on Sunday.

First, here's Shanahan explaining the suspension for Neal.

It's interesting that Shanahan explains the suspension isn't for the hit on Couturier, the one that I think drew more attention from most people. Shanny says that Neal explained he jumped to brace for a collision and he bought the assertion.

Instead the suspension comes from his other hit -- and other hearing -- for a play on Claude Giroux. The intent seemed pretty clear as he lunged up toward Giroux's head, striking him in the back and leaving Giroux dazed for a moment, scary for a guy who suffered a concussion this season.

It's kind of surprising to me only got one game considering there were two hits in question and Shanahan admits that Neal was fined this season and was given not one but two other warnings. With that information, I might have guessed the suspension at two games, but since neither resulted in injury, I guess one was to be expected.

Then there was the Asham suspension, which you knew was likely going to be lengthy considering he had an in-person hearing.

Take it away, Mr. Shanny.

Asham was done in by the fact that he made several strides in a B-line right for Brayden Schenn after his big hit along the boards that was whistled for charging. Shanahan points out that the cross-check didn't actually hit Schenn in the face or throat.

Instead what seemed to make it the most egregious listening to Shanahan was the fact that Asham then dropped to the ice and took a punch at the back of Schenn's head.

Believe it or not, this is the first time that Asham has been fined or suspended in his career. He has had some incidents to raise eye brows in the past such as his "go to sleep" motion after knocking the Washington Capitals' Jay Beagle out in a fight.

There has been a lot of pressure building on Shanahan recently with all of the hits across the playoffs so people were keeping a keen eye and anticipating the rulings here.

Did he get them right?

For more hockey news, rumors and analysis, follow @EyeOnHockey and @BrianStubitsNHL on Twitter and like us on Facebook.

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