Neil: Being injured 'sucks'

DON BRENNAN, SUN MEDIA

, Last Updated: 8:38 AM ET

The toughest Senator of all-time was obviously in a great deal of pain as he pushed off his left foot and glided across the ice to the bench -- then was helped down the corridor to the dressing room by Dany Heatley and the training staff -- late in the second period of Saturday's game against the Sabres.

It would be an unjust and disappointing exit should that turn out to be the last time we've seen Chris Neil at Scotiabank Place in the home team's No. 25.

Neil was making his third hit of the game and 106th of the season when the skate of Buffalo's Teppo Numminen sliced into his right calf. The veteran of seven Senators seasons will not accompany the team on a five-game road trip that kicks off against the Sabres Wednesday in Buffalo, and is considered out indefinitely.

"It's a good cut, quite a bit of pain," Neil said. "Not sure how long I'll be out

"It sucks."

The Senators have just five more home games before the March 4 trade deadline. There is a strong possibility GM Bryan Murray will trade Neil, rather than allow him to walk out as an unrestricted free agent July 1.

The 29-year-old Neil has proved to be an effective third or fourth-liner. He is frequently among the league's "hits" leaders and has no problem standing in front of the net on the power play.

That he scored 28 goals over two seasons (2005-07) proves he has decent hands, as well.

But Neil's greatest attribute is his fighting skills. Pound for pound, he is one of the best.

Since 2001, Neil has dropped the gloves 126 times: 104 in the regular season, 19 in the pre-season and three in the playoffs. How many of do you remember seeing him lose? Not many.

Neil missed six games earlier this season with a knee injury. When he left the ice Saturday, there was speculation he had re-injured it. That he suffered a laceration could wind up being good news, by comparison.

Without Neil in the lineup (and with Cody Bass out for the season as he recovers from shoulder surgery) the Senators have exactly zero fighters. For a team unlikely to make the playoffs, there is less to get excited about.

That Neil didn't fight with Adam Mair before Saturday was a surprise. The two have a feud that goes back to their OHL days, although Neil denied it's anything personal.

"He played in Owen Sound, so maybe I dated one of his old girlfriends," joked Neil, who grew up in nearby Flesherton. "No, seriously, I don't think I've ever even seen him off the ice.

"I know he's taken two 10-game suspensions on me," added Neil. "Once when he jumped off the bench to get at me, and then in my second year, my first game back from a broken leg, he hit me three times with his helmet.

"He's just a battler, and I like to play that way, too."

THIS AND THAT

Nick Foligno has two goals and one assist in the three games with coach Cory Clouston. "With Cory coming in, it just feels like a little breath of fresh air," said Foligno ... Clouston blamed himself for Jarkko Ruutu averaging less than seven minutes against the Kings and Bruins. He was up to 13:32 Saturday and was effective. "He was very good for us (vs. Buffalo)." ... The Captain's Tip Of The Day goes out to those who have trouble sleeping. "I take a golf course I've played, I close my eyes and visualize every hole, and every shot I would hit, and all of a sudden it's so boring I fall asleep." If it's coming from Daniel Alfredsson, it's money.


Videos

Photos