Chris Neil

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Chris Neil
Chris Neil 2013-05-19.JPG
With the Senators during the 2013 playoffs.
Born(1979-06-18) June 18, 1979 (age 34)
Flesherton,[1][2] ON, CAN
Height6 ft 1 in (185 cm)
Weight215 lb (98 kg; 15 st 5 lb)
PositionRight Wing
ShootsRight
NHL teamOttawa Senators
NHL Draft161st overall, 1998
Ottawa Senators
Playing career2001–present
 
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Chris Neil
Chris Neil 2013-05-19.JPG
With the Senators during the 2013 playoffs.
Born(1979-06-18) June 18, 1979 (age 34)
Flesherton,[1][2] ON, CAN
Height6 ft 1 in (185 cm)
Weight215 lb (98 kg; 15 st 5 lb)
PositionRight Wing
ShootsRight
NHL teamOttawa Senators
NHL Draft161st overall, 1998
Ottawa Senators
Playing career2001–present

Chris Neil (born June 18, 1979) is a Canadian professional ice hockey player. Neil currently plays right wing and is an alternate captain for the Ottawa Senators of the National Hockey League (NHL).

Playing career[edit]

Early years[edit]

Neil started out playing minor hockey in the town of Flesherton, Ontario. He later played for the Grey-Bruce Highlanders of the South-Central Triple A Hockey League before getting his junior hockey start with the Junior "B" Orangeville Crushers. He played three successful junior seasons with the OHL's North Bay Centennials. In his final junior season in North Bay, Neil had a career year and gave an indication that he could be more than merely a physical presence, scoring 72 points in 66 games.

NHL career[edit]

Chris Neil was drafted by the Ottawa Senators in the 6th round (161st overall) of the 1998 NHL Entry Draft. Ottawa management prized his toughness and work ethic and saw Neil as a player who would potentially fill a much needed role on the team for years to come. Neil spent two seasons with Ottawa's AHL affiliate in Grand Rapids, racking up back to back seasons of 300+ penalty minutes and establishing himself as a solid team player at the pro level.

Leading up to the 2001–02 season, Neil had a strong training camp and made the Ottawa lineup. He made his NHL debut on October 3, 2001, against the Toronto Maple Leafs. The next night, he got his first NHL point in a game against the Montreal Canadiens. On October 30, 2001, he scored his first goal against the Atlanta Thrashers. In his rookie season, Neil appeared in 72 games and scored 17 points, while accumulating 231 penalty minutes and establishing himself as a fearless combatant.

During the 2002–03 season, Chris had 10 points in 68 games and led the Senators with 147 penalty minutes. The next year, Chris again led the Senators with 194 penalty minutes.

The 2005–06 season saw Neil's role with the Senators expand. When Brian McGrattan made the Ottawa lineup out of training camp, much of the responsibilities as "team enforcer" were lifted off Neil's shoulders, and he was given the opportunity to contribute in a more offensive role. He responded, and posted the best offensive totals of his NHL career with 16 goals and 33 points. The following season, Neil posted similar numbers with 12 goals and 28 points while leading the NHL in hits. The coaching staff rewarded him with special teams assignments, and he received regular powerplay shifts.

As the 2007–08 season unfolded, Brian McGrattan saw very limited ice time, and Neil was once again called upon to act as the Senators' enforcer and primary physical presence on many nights. As a result, his offensive production declined, though he did finish the season with a respectable 20 points.

Neil had a disappointing 2008-09 season, registering only 10 points, his lowest total since his rookie season, and the Senators missed the playoffs for the first time during his tenure in Ottawa. After the season, Neil became an unrestricted free agent, and there was speculation that he would sign elsewhere. Instead, he signed a four-year, $8 million contract with the Senators. Neil reportedly received offers from three other clubs, but ended up accepting less money to remain in Ottawa.[3]

Neil with the Senators in 2010.

The 2011-12 season was a good one for Neil and the Senators. During the regular season, Neil registered 13 goals and 28 points in 72 games, his best offensive totals since 2006–07. Picked by many analysts to finish at or near the bottom of the standings, the Senators made the playoffs and came within one game of upsetting the first seeded New York Rangers in the first round. Neil knocked forward Brian Boyle (concussion) out of the series with a hit in Game 5. After the season, enforcers Matt Carkner and Zenon Konopka departed Ottawa via free agency. Needing his toughness in the lineup, the Senators subsequently re-signed Neil to a three-year contract worth $5.75 million.[4]

During the 2012 NHL Lockout, Neil elected not to play in Europe as several of his teammates had. Instead, he remained in Ottawa and practiced with the Carleton Ravens, who were coached by his ex-Senators' teammate Shaun Van Allen.[5]

Neil was named an alternate captain of the Senators on September 14, 2013. He scored his 100th career regular-season NHL goal on January 23, 2014 on Ben Bishop of the Tampa Bay Lightning.

Personal[edit]

Before Neil was married, he and teammate Mike Fisher were roommates. The pair remain close to this day, and are both devout Christians.[6] On June 1, 2007, Neil and his wife, Caitlin, celebrated the birth of their first child named Hailey Jean, weighing 6 lbs. and 10 ounces. In the next game, he scored an important goal which he dedicated to her.

Neil counts Denis Savard as his favourite player growing up. He lists four-wheeling, boating, and horseback riding as his favourite hobbies.

On July 14, 2011, Neil and his wife Caitlin were introduced as the new honorary chairs of Rogers House, an Ottawa charity which provides a home away from home for sick children and their families.[7]

Career statistics[edit]

  Regular season Playoffs
SeasonTeamLeagueGPGAPtsPIMGPGAPtsPIM
1995–96Orangeville CrushersMWJBHL4315153050
1996–97North Bay CentennialsOHL65131629150
1997–98North Bay CentennialsOHL59262955231
1998–99North Bay CentennialsOHL66264672215410115
1998–99Muskegon FuryUHL111201813461
1999–00Mobile MysticksECHL402239
1999–00Grand Rapids GriffinsIHL5191019301802224
2000–01Grand Rapids GriffinsIHL781521363541022422
2001–02Ottawa SenatorsNHL72107172311200012
2002–03Ottawa SenatorsNHL6864101471510124
2003–04Ottawa SenatorsNHL828816194701119
2004–05Durham ThundercatsWOAA10110
2004–05Binghamton SenatorsAHL224610132611226
2005–06Ottawa SenatorsNHL7916173320441016
2006–07Ottawa SenatorsNHL821216281772022420
2007–08Ottawa SenatorsNHL6861420199401122
2008–09Ottawa SenatorsNHL603710146
2009–10Ottawa SenatorsNHL68101222175631420
2010–11Ottawa SenatorsNHL8061016210
2011–12Ottawa SenatorsNHL72131528178721322
2012–13Ottawa SenatorsNHL4848121441004439
NHL totals7799411821220059191019192

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ "Chris Neil profile at sportsnet.ca". sportsnet.ca. Retrieved 2008-12-30. 
  2. ^ "Chris Neil profile at hockeydb.com". hockeydb.com. Retrieved 2008-12-30. 
  3. ^ Chris Neil Takes Less Money to Stay in Ottawa, TSN.ca, retrieved on October 1, 2009.
  4. ^ Neil a Senator for three more years http://slam.canoe.ca/Slam/Hockey/NHL/Ottawa/2012/07/10/19972351-qmi.html
  5. ^ Ottawa Senators' Chris Neil takes high road over anti-NHLPA comments by Washington Capitals' Roman Hamrlik http://slam.canoe.ca/Slam/Hockey/NHL/Ottawa/2012/12/12/20427996.html
  6. ^ http://slam.canoe.ca/Slam/Columnists/Garrioch/2009/05/17/9485996-sun.html A place for Chris Neil to find serenity
  7. ^ http://slam.canoe.ca/Slam/Hockey/NHL/Ottawa/2011/07/13/18416931-qmi.html Tears of a tough guy

External links[edit]