Mon Nov 01 03:59pm EDT
As Lambert mentioned this morning, Ottawa Senators forward Chris Neil(notes) repeatedly punched noted non-fighter Dennis Seidenberg(notes) of the Boston Bruins (video here) on Saturday night in a move that shouldn't surprise anyone tangentially familiar with the Neil oeuvre.
He's a pest, and that's what pests do.
We all know what the best NHL pests are able to accomplish when it comes to knocking an opponent off their game; much less is said about how a pest's actions affect his teammates, which is why it was a pleasure to read about Brian McGrattan(notes) today on Bruins Blog.
McGrattan, back with the Boston Bruins after an AHL conditioning stint, was Neil's teammate in Ottawa from 2005-08. He spoke with Bruins Blog about the Seidenberg incident, calling it "typical Chris Neil" and going into detail about life with a pest:
"I heard about it," McGrattan said of Neil's actions. "That's typical Chris Neil. I had to protect that guy for three years when I was there. He'd do that and I'd have to fight all his battles for him the next time we'd play a team after he'd do something stupid like that. It doesn't surprise me."
"That's the way he does it," McGrattan said. "He'll do something where he knows he'll get kicked out of the game and won't have to come back and fight anybody. I've been around him long enough to know he does that. Then I'm the one who usually has to fight his battles the next time. It's typical."
Pests are rarely also enforcers; there's usually someone else on the roster to "fight the battles," as McGrattan put it. (Consider Dan Carcillo(notes) an exception.) In reading McGrattan's take, we're reminded of that friend who has a few too many on the weekend, decides to insult the U.S. power-lifting team at a bar and then screams "what'chu gonna do about it, [expletive]!" over the bouncer's shoulder as he's being guarded by your posse and the hired muscle.
We all know that guy. We all tolerate that guy. Because no matter how much trouble you have to bail him out of, life's more interesting with that guy in it.