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Saturday column: On the Neal trade

By Dejan Kovacevic | Trib Total Media

PHILADELPHIAThe Saturday column from the NHL Draft is about — what else? — the James Neal trade to Nashville for Patric Hornqvist and Nick Spaling.

The news coverage of the trade, by Josh Yohe.

Couple of questions I had for Jim Rutherford:

Here are Hornqvist highlights compiled by the Penguins.

And some Spaling highlights, too.

Oh, yeah, there was a draft, as well. And the Penguins took Kasperi Kapanen with the No. 22 overall pick, same spot from which they took a certain other Finn just two years ago. Rob Rossi has that.

Some pretty cool pics from the Kapanen scene …

Pulling over the sweater for the first time.

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A big chunk of the new hierarchy, with Rick Tocchet and Rutherford to the left and new coach Mike Johnston way over there on the right.

Meeting in back with the reporters. Surprisingly large contingent of media from Pittsburgh, but I guess that’s just reflective of the interest.

Here’s the official team video of Kapanen’s drafting.

And here below is a six-minute collection of highlights, all blissfully featuring Finnish play-by-play …

Here’s the NHL Entry Draft 2014 official page on NHL.com.

Here’s TribLIVE’s Penguins page and our Chipped Ice blog.

Author: Dejan Kovacevic

Dejan Kovacevic, a lifelong Pittsburgher, is an award-winning sports columnist for Trib Total Media covering the Steelers, Penguins, Pirates, Pitt and, recently, his fourth Olympics in Sochi, Russia. He also appears on WPXI-TV's 'Subway Final Word’ and hosts a weekly show on TribLIVE Radio. For 2011, he was named one of the country's top four columnists by the AP Sports Editors. For 2012, he was named one of the country's top three columnists by the National Headliners. For 2013, he was named the state's top columnist by the Keystone Press Awards and top columnist in Western Pennsylvania by the Golden Quills.

Comments

  1. Bizrow says:

    I know, I’m breaking a rule here ;-)

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  2. DJ says:

    Sounds like they’re saying “Cup-a-nen” on the video.

    A good sign.

  3. DJ says:

    So we’ve got a Cup-a-nen and an El Coffee now in Pittsburgh.

    Jitters.

  4. JB says:

    Add Meadville to the Pa. list! Neal – obviously good player, but ultimately, where did he get us?

  5. prosko says:

    ocean city md

  6. KING says:

    Trading Neal was a horrible move on all levels. He should be the type of player the PENS keep & build with.

    1.Neal in his prime years. Only 26 & teaming him with Malkin for a few years would have netted Neal 35-45 goals every season.

    2.He’s 6’3 & plays with an edge. One of the ingredients Neal brought is what new brass wants. Toughness & edge.

    3. Neal is a sniper. These Guys are few & far between in NHL. A guy who can laser goals to all parts of the net.

    Neal seems to be the scapegoat for playoff failures. Thats a shame. Hornqvist & Spaldin might be good fits in the Pens system but they are no James Neal. A KING salute Mr. Neal!!! You were my FAV Penguin. KING

  7. Bull Shemmy says:

    San Diego here!

  8. DJ says:

    Post from NHL Entry Draft thread on Neal:
    _______________________________
    June 27, 2014 at 9:13 PM

    Still trying to recall his last goal from 10′ or in.

    Still pondering.

  9. Nate83 says:

    Did Rutherford know that he was doing an interview with you? He sounded like my Uncle at the end of the night at a wedding he drank too much at.

    I’m not as upset about the Neal trade as some others. I don’t care how many regular season points he gets he isn’t a playoff style player and that is all that really matters. I will have to look closer at the details of the trade to make a final assessment but I think a lot of people are putting too much value on him. I’ve heard puck possession used when describing Hornqvist by more then a few people and that I believe is what is missing in the playoffs.

  10. Poole says:

    Hornqvist is great in front of the net and scoring garbage goals. His “tools” are all pretty average but he works hard, is a great leader, and scored 30 goals in Nashville of all places. I think he is similar in talent to Kunitz a few years ago and can really shine with 87 or 71.

    That’s said, the second piece…Spaling….is not very good. And he’s quite expensive to boot. I really wanted to see the 11th pick to be the second piece of this deal. Id rather spend his money on Goc.

    Kapanen is a steal at 22. He’s been playing against men whereas all these OHL player rack up big points playing against kids their own age. He was the number 1 ranked european skater in the draft. Plus, did you hear his interview…bright kid.

  11. Poole says:

    Overall I’m happy. True to form, Rutherford made a hockey trade. No one got fleeced. Hornqvist is on a good contract for 4 more years by the way.

    I want to see us move into the 2nd round and get Ho-Sang.

    I don’t think we are done trading yet (Sutter). And I’ll all but guarantee we add a free agent….or 2 if we can shed Scud’s salary.

  12. Mike Vee says:

    That was the problem King, he didn’t play with an edge consistently the way he could and the way a power forward should. Without 71 he was lost and is a very ordinary player. They need a 6’3″ guy in front of the net not 30′ away from the crease. He can play a great 2 way game, but only does so on occasion. He had the ability to be a punishing checker but again, only did so when it suited him. That said, I really would have liked to see what Tocchet could have taught him and if he could have brought the A game consistently. Let’s just hope GMJR is trying to deal 58 and 4 or the cap is going to kill us. That’s $12 mil a year wasted right now.

  13. Karen says:

    Westford in MA. Thanks to all the people who have served and been first responders above. You are the best.
    Can I get a Cup-a-nen of El Coffee? I’m really tired and making bad jokes. ;)

  14. Ghost says:

    Mentioned this just the other day, but post got shuffled all the way to the tail end of the thread with the format changes — now living in El Cerrito, CA. Thanks in advance, Biz!

  15. Ghost says:

    Good one, actually. Captures the moment in Pittsburgh sports.

  16. pensboy says:

    Tell me, which Penguin forwards consistently went to the net? Bylsma’s system was based on stretch passes, dump, chase and endless, non-productive cycling, not driving the net and staying there. Neal played the way he was coached to play. It’s too bad we won’t get to see what Tocchet could have done with him. And now the management has to go out and find another winger to play with Malkin.

    I like Hornquist and think he’ll suit Johnston’s system well, but if Neal’s edge offended your sensibilities, well, Hornquist is just a better version of Matt Cooke.

  17. Eric Bowser says:

    Neal had to go for many reasons, none bigger than to get rid of a player that was a distraction on and off the ice. The suspensions, the attitude, laziness back checking and not showing up in the playoffs.

    I like Hornqvist but Spaling isn’t good and will probably get $1.5+ as RFA. The Pens should have gotten another pick as part of the deal or at worst swapped places in the first round.

    Rutherford says the team will need to get a forward to play with Malkin, which I wonder how with the cap at $69 million.

    I was already on the fence with GMJR, tonight didn’t make me feel any different.

  18. War_Horse says:

    Any Pirate fans on here who subscribe to MLB-TV and missed last night’s game at PNC, go to replay and watch the last of the 10th inning (Harrison’s amazing rundown escape) through to the last of the 11th (Harrison’s stunning walk-off double and team celebration). Fireworks galore!

  19. BillyBaduka says:

    I’d like to see them get back in the 2nd too but Ho-Sang went it Isles in first.

    Scherbak gone too.

    Brendan Lemieux and some other guys still available.

  20. Dave McCracken says:

    I live near Nashville but am born and bred huge Pittsburgh fan (heck my parents honeymoon was to the Pens first ever home game). What is being said in local papers here, “Two important cogs were subtracted in order to add Neal. In dealing Hornqvist and Spaling, the Predators gave up on two young players who are versatile, give maximum effort every game and have offensive upside.”

    Hornqvist is exactly what we need in Pittsburgh. Expect to see a 30 goal season from him along with solid defense and relentless effort and huge puck possession time in the corners. His signature and innate ability to slip behind the Dman in front of the net at exactly the right time and stand his ground will be exactly what makes Johnson fall in love his new top six winger. Plus, Hornqvist was an assistant captain and is known for great locker room presence.

    Spaling seems to know just when to slide into the slot and to the net and is the perfect fit for Sutter on a 3rd line. Spaling always plays, much like Hornqvist, with defense always on his mind. If that could of ever been said for Nealer then this trade may not of happened but fact is that in Hornqvist we have a guy with the aspects Neal will never have who will be a 30 goal scorer with Sid or Malkin and in Spaling we have a gritty tough 3rd line guy who should score 15 to 20 goals a season with Sutter and who plays excellent on the PK.

    I’ll trade a 40 goal scorer who does not play tough or go to the net or play D for two players who combined will get 45 to 50 goals a season who do play defense and go the net any day.

  21. Thundercrack says:

    Just watched the replay again.
    That is just a terrible effort from the Mets’ player who tried to catch the relay throw.

  22. So there won’t be any more “James Neal Shoots Low” on Twitter?

    Wonder what our resident female hockey experts, Sarah and Jandy think of the trade.

  23. chethejet1 says:

    Don’t know how this trade works out, but Neal will miss Malkin for sure. It may be the best trade for Neal to have to play a better all around game and maximize his talent. Pens will bring in another FA winger and I think another trade is coming. For all of you who believe Rutherford is a dunce, he knows what is needed and is doing what he said what was needed. A team that can play 200 feet and not just some crap system that Bylsma kept pounding into the team. The high wire circus act is over and the management clearly wants a team that does what actually wins in the playoffs beyond talent. If anything, Nashville was taking a much bigger risk.

  24. Karen22 says:

    Oh, my! Do all Finns look like Olli Maatta? Young Kapanen is a clone!

  25. Mack says:

    signing on from Brentwood!

  26. Sarcastic Sword says:

    The team needed a new mix of players. Neal’s contract allowed him to be readily shopped. The two new guys arent stiffs – wasnt a strictly salary dump – elements of grit and edge were infused into the team.

    The crying over this trade is typical yinzer – that team hasnt won crap with Neal in the lineup – he’s a talent who is stupid – people says he plays with an edge – if you take away the pathetic plays ( marchand and the others which resulted in three suspendions), wheres his edge?

    The guy trains in the offseason with Gary Roberts – with the way he fails to show up in the playoffs wouls make his mentor ashamed.

  27. hockeymonster says:

    Maybe I should move to montreal: http://www.tsn.ca/nhl/story/?id=455898

    “The GM acknowledged that he would have looked to move down the draft had the Russian been picked earlier.”

    I like Bergevin’s eye for talent.

  28. DJ says:

    Yeah, I liked Scherbak but no problem with the selection of Kapanen.

    Scherbak was likely the BPA when Habs picked 26th.

  29. hockeymonster says:

    For what its worth Kapanen’s stats in his 1st full season in top league was similar to Barkov’s and Teravainen’s. Saw some clips and he does have some slickness to his game and could still be growing. And finnish league plays on hybrid ice so he’s getting acclimated to smaller ice. Few youngster’s make the top league there and apparently he did more than hold his own while being relied on a bad team.

    Would’ve been nice to see him in WJC but his injury prior to tourney may be reason why he slipped in draft along with him being one of younger players available. Sounds like he would’ve been up there in talent on their Gold medal winning team so I’m looking forward to seeing how he does this season. If he’s up there with those other 2 in pedigree than we may have a steal.

    And here’s a clip that sold me on his upside: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=N0vK3uRyWpk

  30. Rick says:

    I’m happy about the trade, as for how it turns out – time will tell. As for Neal, he was a very one dimensional player; great shot, that was it. He was not a strong board guy, not a good puck handler and could not create on his own. The chemistry he had with Geno will be missed by Geno, but maybe he shoots more now.

    As both Rutherford and Johnston have said; it’s all about the playoffs. Neal was a big scorer during the reg season, and all but disappeared in the playoffs when time and space were taken away. The shake-up in team chemistry is badly needed, good start!

  31. DJ says:

    Saw that clip as well, HM. Some very slick moves splitting a few players.

    They say the kid is really strong in his lower half and an exceptional and very fast skater.

  32. Sarcastic Sword says:

    This may not be common knowledge to the general fan but Neal has a horrible reputation as a person. Two media guys in this town acknowledged to me that hes an arrogant jerk to them and he wasnt friendly to fans.

    This trade might also help in the dressing room too when you rid it of a selfish arrogant teammate.

  33. Mike Nolder says:

    Delanco, NJ

  34. Andrew says:

    I agree with this, don’t tell us that half the league contacted you about James Neal when the return was so paltry.

    I think it is fairly questionable that a UFA forward exists of the quality of Neal or Jokinen for what the Penguins were paying them last season.

  35. DJ says:

    Repost on Kapanen from last night:

    An admitted bias but if there are two players of close to or equal talent, taking the Finnish player 9 times out of 10.

    Responsible, respectful, hard-working, generally well coached, team-oriented, no off-ice problems.

  36. hockeymonster says:

    If anything he has a smooth skating stride that will allow him to keep getting faster. I like his hands, puck skills and shot too. His demeanor with the puck is that of a high end player. Scherbak was my preference cuz of his skill, speed and willingness to be physical. I viewed him as a bigger, faster, more skilled Kuni. Or a smaller and faster Lucic. So montreal got a future beast and IMO he’s closer to being nhl ready. Kapanen is more of a skilled finesse winger with a good shot. But i like his pedigree and fact that he’s advanced for his age in finland.

  37. DJ says:

    Good observations.

    Thought I read Kapanen is only 17 so plenty of upside.

  38. DJ says:

    Great stuff, Dave.

    Thanks much.

  39. hockeymonster says:

    Vrbata. 30%+ QoC and can be penciled in for 20-35 goals. With geno can be over 30 for sure. 3M for him is a much better investment than kulemin.

  40. DJ says:

    If we’re getting “heavier” and younger, Kulemin probably gets the Pens’ nod.

  41. Jim S. says:

    I’m ok with thus trade. So many people have said this team lacked character and grit. Maybe what they just sacrificed in talent they gained in those areas.

    James Neal is a gifted scorer, but I think he also tends to be AWOL on the ice at times, and let’s not forget that he has missed significant time with concussions. He was by no means someone who could be counted on to be on the ice anywhere close to 82 games. And, he repeatedly takes some of the most selfish penalties you’ll see.

    As for the draft, do we have any more selections today, or are we all Finnish now? :-)

  42. hockeymonster says:

    Regarding return for Neal, i bet JR had the option to get a return that’s more future based with cap relief. But seems like they went with the ‘help now’ route. Cap relief would be nice but a quality 2 for 1 works for me too. Spaling probably needs to be qualified as a RFA slightly higher than his 1.5M cap hit so if he signs for that range and accomplishes some of what cooke did, that would make for a solid addition.

    And as i posted last night, his metrics line up favorably with Fischer’s who definitely fills the score card more..ahem…but he’ll be an upgrade over Glass, adams and on the PK he’ll be an upgrade over Gibby. And at 25 coming off a career year he could still be improving.

    Hornqvist, who I’ll be calling HQ from now on simply cuz his headquarters will be beachfront property by the ocean blue paint, will take straight lines to the net and create room for his linemates. He has above average hands and won’t take himself out of the lineup. He’s due to make 4M this season with a cap hit of 4.25M and his salary will increase to 4.75M in a couple seasons that pretty explains why Nashville wanted to move him.

    Still see at least one opening for top 6. Maybe 2 if you pencil duper into 3LW with sutter to start season with spaling centering 4th line. Vrbata and Raymond would round out out top 9 very nicely. Winnik for 4th line would be swell and Fayne and Kostka for depth on D would be welcome too.

  43. hockeymonster says:

    Good stuff. Thanks for the scoop.

  44. hockeymonster says:

    :shakin jandy’s head:

    PM, kuni or Piece still need to be moved if we plan on signing anyone decent in FA. Picks could come back if their on the table.

  45. Jim S. says:

    Last year, I converted from not thinking JHay was much of an MLB player to really liking the guy for his attitude and flair for the key hit. But, I still questioned how much he should be starting, thinking his defense is suspect.

    I still don’t know if there is a permanent defensive home for JHay, but all he does is produce, night after night. That rundown last night started out as a base running blunder by JHay, but somehow he wriggled out of it. I’m a numbers guy, but I believe the value of some guys is more than just their numbers. JHay has put up great numbers, but I think he has meant so much more to this team in their recent surge. I’m fine with him continuing to start for this team most nights.

  46. Mike says:

    I’m liking the Kulemin rumor/speculation. If the writeup I saw was true he fits the “revamp” priorities of this roster. Would be a breath of fresh air to see some steady hockey instead of that high-risk circus crap the past few years.

  47. Mike says:

    How does Vrbata and Raymond figure into the “younger” part 9f the “revamp”? Are they also bringing grit? Would Kulemin be a decent fit?

  48. hockeymonster says:

    Don’t think kulemin is worth the cap hit he’ll want. Spaling had more points than him while playing on a worse offensive team. Spaling will cost less than half as much and is more versatile. He’ll want similar money to what HQ makes and has been a single digit goal scorer since scoring 30 goals. Not even sure why people think he can play in our top 6. Playing with geno in KHL means nothing to me. Maybe for 2M and hope he regains touch with geno but anything more than that and it’s a waste of money. 3M, give or take, for Vrbata makes a lot more sense. I’d be ok with 2M for Kulemin or Raymond.

  49. hockeymonster says:

    Posted above about Kulemin. Vrbata is 33 but a consistent goal scorer accustomed to playing high quality competition. Can be counted on to score 20-30 in any given season, even at 33. And teamed up with geno could give us 35 goals. Raymond is still young and could be a cap friendly fit for 20 or so goals and bottom 6 depth. Unless he really wants 3M. Wouldn’t want to pay Vrbata and Raymond much more than 5M combined.

  50. Mizery says:

    Thornton, Colorado

  51. kr70 says:

    diference between pirates and mets. Mets guy could get in a run down and gives himself up to Ike, J-hay gets in a run down and hustles his way to third base.

  52. ++++++++++++++++++++++++

  53. Arriba Wilver says:

    Initially I thought talk of JHay for the All Star team was crazy home cookin’ at worst and a pipe dream at best. Not so sure anymore. It isn’t crazy, and Clint’s on the All Star management team.

  54. Arriba Wilver says:

    EYE don’t know much about hockey, but even EYE knew Neal was a goner after they were talking “grit and character” over and over and over again.

  55. Mike says:

    From what GMJR has said that “July 1st” is when something will take place to bring in more players. That tells me no trade involved to get a top 6 winger that would benefit Geno?

  56. Mike says:

    Ya, you wondered what the heck was going through his mind with some of the stuff he did and if Sid and Geno were missing he was invisible unlike Dupuis. Its an exciting time in Pens hockey for me. true “revamp” in process hopefully.

  57. Wild Bill says:

    Back to hockey yak. Saw the salary cap is set at $69 million, up from 64.3. Some big spenders were hoping for higher, and a few teams will have to shed more salary than they hoped to.

  58. Jim S. says:

    Amazing how quickly something like this can come about.

  59. Wild Bill says:

    Read everything on the thread, and am feeling better and better about what’s happening. And this isn’t just about Rutherford; they didn’t bring in all those assistant GMs to just sit around and scratch.

  60. Jim S. says:

    Good to see you back here, Lucky! :-)

  61. Maz In Iowa says:

    Pirates manager Clint Hurdle said Gregory Polanco could get the day off Saturday to rest.

  62. Tim Boddorf says:

    Gulf Breeze,Fl

  63. Maz In Iowa says:

    The Pirates lead all National League teams with a .355 on-base percentage and rank second in batting
    average (.273) during the month of June…In addition, the Bucco pitching staff is tied for the second-best record in the N.L. this month (16-9) while ranking seventh in ERA (3.50) and third in batting average against (.232)..

  64. Maz In Iowa says:

    Seem to be hitting on all cylinders.Even the defense is better

  65. Maz In Iowa says:

    Starting pitchers have really stepped it up after Cole went down. In the last 19 games, the Pittsburgh starting pitchers have combined to go 9-4 with a 3.04 ER.Much better than the first 2 months of the season….lead by Cumpton,Worley and Locke I might add.

  66. Maz In Iowa says:

    Since May 2 the Pirates have posted the best record in the National League (31-21, .596) and the second-best
    record in all of baseball behind the Oakland Athletics (31-20, .608)

  67. Scott says:

    Trading Neal was an amazing move on all levels. He represented everything that was wrong with the Penguins over the past few years and he definitely had to be traded.

    1. True, but Hornqvist and Spaling are in their prime years as well. And Hornqvist’s numbers look a lot like Neal’s before he came to Pittsburgh.

    2. Neal is tough, but he’s “stupid tough” instead of “smart tough.” Meaning that instead of banging in the corners and crashing the net, he takes stupid penalties and suspension-worthy cheap shots. That is absolutely NOT the type of “grit” the front office wants. It’s the polar opposite, in fact.

    3. The Penguins don’t need another sniper. When they won the Cup in ’09, do you remember who Malkin’s wings were? Answer: Max Talbot and Ruslan Fedotenko. Those guys are hardly All-Star snipers. They’re gritty guys with a little bit of skill. Just like Hornqvist and Spaling. They won’t score as many goals as Neal, but they’ll make the Pens much tougher to play against.

    Neal was a scapegoat for the Pens’ failures because he deserved to be. Had he done anything at all in the past few postseasons, the Pens’ series losses might have turned out very differently. Good riddance to the overrated egomaniac who’s never won anything in his life.

  68. Jim S. says:

    I believe our offense is #1 in OBP for the season as well.

  69. Maz In Iowa says:

    Actually the altitude enhanced Rockies lead by .335 to.333…..but nobody else in the NL is over .327.Pirates are 4th in OPS as well.Not bad considering they are dead last in doubles

  70. Jim S. says:

    I find it interesting that Ryan Braun is not hitting a ton of HRs, XBH, or hitting for a very high avg. this season.

    He did get the game winning hit last night, he did torch the Bucs with a couple of huge HR a couple of nights in a row off that former Bucs reliever, and he did hit 3 HR in a game this year. But, overall, he’s hitting .283 w 10 HR and 28 XBH, where he used to routinely get approximately 80 XBH in a season. It will be interesting to see if his power stroke returns. If not, he cheated his way to a lot of money.

  71. Jim S. says:

    Thanks, Maz.

  72. Jim S. says:

    I’m ok with that. He could use a day to stop and rest a bit.

    I guess that means Snider plays if Marte is not back. Or, maybe Staing is good to go in LF, and JHay plays RF.

    So, they don’t want Tabata up. Could Dickerson or Dacker replace Snider at some point? They are tearing it up in Indy.

  73. Maz In Iowa says:

    ” that former Bucs reliever”……….:) I saw what you did there.

  74. Maz In Iowa says:

    Hurdle is also looking to get Cutch a day off this weekend as well

  75. JohninOshkosh says:

    “…they aren’t exactly accustomed to hosting hockey events in June.”

    Bravo, Dejan. Bravo.

  76. DJ says:

    Was thinking $2.5 mill for Kulemin.

  77. Wild Bill says:

    Flyer fans are vermin, period.

  78. Bizrow says:

    Thanks to all for signing in and welcome

  79. pensboy says:

    Amazing how many fans know exactly what went on in the locker room. In fact DK’s column explicitly states that Neal wasn’t a big “distraction” or whatever term you want to apply.

    Neal was actually defensively responsible especially when he first arrived. I would attribute whatever recent poor defensive habits Neal has now to bad coaching and failure to hold him accountable.
    If you read Laviolette’s comments, he says as much, that he’d rather have an agressive player and coach him to dial it back when necessary than one who doesn’t have an aggressive bone in his body (see Martin, Paul).

  80. cmat0829 says:

    love JHey but it still is crazy talk re: all star team. There is safely room between “can’t play everyday in the bigs” to “all star” to land with our admiration of JHey. It’s called “deserves to play most every night for this team and a catalyst”. Let’s land there for a while.

  81. Maz In Iowa says:

    Still no line up

  82. cmat0829 says:

    we could see cutch sit on Sunday…the Hurdle-beloved day off before a scheduled day off. I assume all of this is predicated on Marte being healthy.

  83. cmat0829 says:

    hurdle has been tardy lately in the lineups. I would think the only question would be marte or no marte (that is the question)… assume Stewart is going today as is custom… so me thinks:

    JHey RF *(el Coffee if no Marte)
    Marte LF *(JHey if no Marte)
    Cutch CF
    Gaby 1B
    Neil 2B
    Mercer SS
    Pedro 3B
    Stewart C

    but I’m usually wrong.

  84. Andrew McCutch——79 games——37 xbh——12 HR——48 RBI

    Ryan Braun————62 games——28 xbh——10 HR——43 RBI

    Braun has missed 18 games with various injuries. Otherwise his stats match or exceed MVP McCutch.

  85. Sisyphus says:

    First you chastise folks for assuming that they know what is going on in the locker room, and rightly so. Then you turn around and blame Neal’s defensive problems on bad coaching. Exactly how many practices did you attend. And how many team meetings?

    Talk about the pot calling the kettle black.

  86. Sisyphus says:

    He rushed the exchange, but he did so because there was no way he was getting the runner. Even with two perfect throws and a quick exchange, the run still scores.

  87. Sisyphus says:

    Tabata has no options and is not on the 40 man roster. You don’t bring him up unless there is a season ending injury, or something close to it. The same is true for Dickerson, but to a lesser extent, because it isn’t as bad if you lose him to a waiver claim. So if i short term solution is needed for the outfield, it would probably be Decker.

  88. Sisyphus says:

    Braun has been playing while injured, which might explain a lot more that all of those magic pill theories out there.

    Steroids don’t make you into a good hitter. Steroids don’t make you into a power hitter. Steroids make you better at lifting weights.

  89. Rishi Puran says:

    Will miss Neal’s 20+ goals but will certainly enjoy this team winning when it matters. These 2 players will certainly help add grit and character and will also score 20+ at critical times. Very excited at the the possibility of what this team could end up being.

  90. Jim S. says:

    +++

  91. Jim S. says:

    Umm … Ok.

    But, no one hits 60 or 70 or 73 homers any more like they did when a whole lot of guys were taking illegal substances.

  92. Jim S. says:

    No they don’t, Groat. He’s hitting .283 with less power in a hitter’s park that inflates homers, while Cutch is doing it in a pitcher’s park that deflates homers by nearly the largest extent in MLB. It’s laughable to say Braun is having anywhere next the season Cutch is having. Braun himself would not make that claim.

    Aside from that, my comparison is Braun when he was cheating to Braun now. If you look up the numbers, as I did, you’ll see he is a shell of where he used to be right now. I think it is very fair to ask if there a correlation. We’ll see if he hits 25 HR in the 2nd half.

    Remind me again where Cutch fits in? Oh yeah, he’s on pace for a career year in XBH.

  93. pensboy says:

    To what would you attribute Neal’s decline in defensive play? If a player comes to a team with good habits and loses them, I’d say that’s on the coaching, not necessarily on the player.

  94. pensboy says:

    Unless you have personal knowledge of how Neal is as person or acts, you should probably stop spreading rumors. So what a player isn’t “nice” to fans. Not everyone likes fanboys and fangirls coming up to them at dinner, during everyday tasks or hanging around their car after practice/games to get an autograph, picture or whatever.

  95. pensboy says:

    You all might interested in reading some the comments sent to Neal here: https://twitter.com/hashtag/AskNeal?src=hash

    This is the kind of stuff pro athletes have to put up with every day.

  96. espo33 says:

    Laurel, MD

 
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