It’s rare that any NHL player says something as intriguing as Bruins forward Brian McGrattan did the other day about Ottawa’s Chris Neil.
Unfortunately, what some of us was hoping would turn into a war of words quickly turned into a verbal TKO for McGrattan, as Neil barely put any effort into his rebuke.
“I’m sure he’s trying to get into the lineup,” Neil said in the Globe and Mail Tuesday. “I have nothing bad to say about the guy.”
Neil was of course responding to McGrattan’s comments to the Boston Globe Monday about actions Neil took Saturday night in Ottawa to start a late-game fight with Bruins defenseman Dennis Seidenberg. McGrattan, a healthy scratch all season for Boston, was on a conditioning assignment with the Providence (AHL) farm club at the time. He played with Neil for several years in Ottawa.
“I heard about it,” McGrattan said of Neil’s actions to the Boston Globe. “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.”
The Bruins and Sens don’t meet again until Nov. 13 at TD Garden. If the Bruins are still playing as well as they have through the season’s first eight games, it’s unlikely head coach Claude Julien would want to alter his lineup. However, if ever there was a reason to give Shawn Thornton or Brad Marchand or another forward a night off, it might be when the Sens come to town so that McGrattan could make Neil pay. At least then we’d get some physical fireworks after Neil threw a wet blanket on the verbal battle.