WATCH: Chris Neil takes questionable hit, later delivers one

By Chris Peters | Hockey Writer

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Chris Neil typically plays on the edge of the rules and his reputation will undoubtedly play a role in the perception of the two hits the Ottawa Senators tough guy was involved in Monday night.

In the first period against the Boston Bruins, it was Neil on the receiving end of a somewhat reckless hit delivered by defenseman Adam McQuaid.

It looked rather harmless on the initial contact in real time, but any kind of contact near the boards when a player's back is turned is going to get some attention. Neil remained on the ice for some time after crashing awkwardly into the boards, but did return to the game. McQuaid was given a minor for boarding on the play and ended up fighting Patrick Wiercioch.

The fight actually ended up negating an Ottawa power play and resulted in Wiercioch receiving 19 minutes in penalties including five for fighting, two for instigating, an extra two for instigating with a visor and a 10-minute misconduct.

Expect the department of player safety to take an extra look or two at McQuaid's hit. Considering Neil's body position never changed too much from when McQuaid made contact and that his numbers were showing will not work in McQuaid's favor. Additionally, anything near the boards is going to bring some heightened sensitivity due to the inherent danger of that location on the ice.

Fast forward to early in the second period. The apparently healed Neil collided knee-on-knee with Boston's Chris Kelly near center ice.

This is another one of those plays that is going to get interpreted a bunch of different ways by fans of both teams, but it is without question reckless. The motion that Neil makes as he collides with Kelly is a little unnatural from what you'd expect a player looking to initiate contact. Whether Neil targeted Kelly's knee or made contact with some ill intent is less certain. It seems pretty clear that Neil identified Kelly well before the contact, ruling out anything incidental.

The league will certainly be taking a long look at both hits, but whether either results in supplemental discipline is very much up in the air. For the most part, the department of player safety has seemingly taken a softer stance this season and is a little less predictable compared to last year. Both are worthy of extra scrutiny.

So what do you think? Should Brendan Shanahan be calling either Adam McQuaid or Chris Neil Tuesday?

(h/t SBNation)

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