Without going to a large scale song and dance number about how I am a Penguins fan, I just want to let you know…I’m a Penguins fan. I’ll spare you the details on my favorite piece of Pens memorabilia in my collection, and I’ll bypass the details of the wedding to celebrate my marriage to Mario Lemieux I had planned when I was 8… just know that I am a Penguins fan.
With that said, who the bleep is James Neal and where the bleep did he come from?!
When you think about the black and gold, you generally think Malkin, Fleury and that one guy who’s name begins with an S and ends with an idney Crosby. Not once have I heard “OH MY GOSH! I CAN’T WAIT TO GO TO THE PENGUINS GAME AND SEE JAMES NEAL”.
He’s had a nice season thus far, scoring 35 goals and 41 assists in 73 games. But he’s really turned it on in the last two games for the Pens. Last night against Nashville, the 24-year old Whitby, Ontario native scored 4 assists in the Pens 5-1 win over the Nashville Predators. On Tuesday night, he churned out an impressive 3 goals and an assist in the teams 8-4 whomping on the Winnipeg Jets.
Fans here in Milwaukee got to see Neal in action when he spent a year with the AHL Iowa Stars back during the 2007-2008 season. In 62 games with the Dallas Stars farm team, Neal tallied 18 goals and 19 assists. Needless to say, he’s come a long way since his AHL days. His 35 goals and 76 points on the year is good for 4th in the entire NHL. Impressive, right?
As I look over Neal news, I’m making several mental notes to nab Neal early in the IWDHL fantasy hockey draft in September. Unfortunately, this reigning champion GM didn’t qualify for the playoffs this year, so I have plenty of time to devise a brand new team to take back my crown…