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Friday, May 24, 2013

A Game in the Life ........ Chris Neil @ExcitedBobErrey

(The Penguins currently hold a dominating 3-1 lead over the Senators, and you've probably gotten a better look at one of the least respected players in the game.  You might know Chris Neil as the cheap and cowardly agitator for the Ottawa Senators, but he has another side to him too.  He's also evil and sadistic.  That being said, I bring to you an inside look into a game in the life of Chris Neil.)

On a typical game day, Chris Neil will arrive to Scotiabank Place several hours early to get ready for the night's game.  A meticulous student of the game, the first thing Neil does is finish his advance scouting of the opposing team, bringing up hockeyfights.com to see who will or won't kick his ass.  He then checks over his equipment making sure everything is ready to go, including a trip out to the penalty box to stash away that week's copy of Cosmo.  There'll be plenty of time to read that later.  Once back in the dressing room, he chats with Don Brennan for a few minutes about how Don Brennan's package is doing and then gets dressed for the game. He pulls the Ottawa sweater over his head, complete with the "A" on the chest, which designates him as his team's asshole.

The Senators hit the ice for the pregame skate and Neil tries his best to hang out along the blueline for fear of embarrassing himself if he's forced to handle the puck. For the games they play the American anthem, Neil sings along with his own words, mostly about hating freedom and apple pie, how the other team sucks, and what he'd like to do to your mother.  After the anthems are over he skates over to RW for the opening face off and greets the player next to him, usually with a "your wife/girlfriend was fun last night" and an immediate challenge to fight.  The puck drops and Chris Neil starts looking for targets.  6'4' 235 lbs? Absolutely not.  6'1" 205 lbs?  Not unless he has to.  5'9" 185 lbs?  Bingo.

It's about midway through the 1st period when Neil gets the chance he's been looking for.  The puck's dumped into the corner and the defenseman is facing the boards with his back square to Neil.  He strides forward with every intention of slamming the Dman's face straight into the boards when he notices the blonde in the 4th row winking at him.  That momentary distraction is just enough for the defenseman to escape leaving on a stretcher.  The frustration of missing that golden opportunity gets Chris Neil every time; a quick baseball swing of his stick and he's got 2 minutes for slashing.  Number 5 won't be so lucky next time.  Determined to make something happen when he gets back on the ice, Chris steps out of the penalty box and destroys the player skating by with a vicious open ice hit.  Unfortunately the puck is nowhere close by and this time it's 2 minutes, interference.

The team heads to the period for the 1st intermission down 2 goals, and Paul MacLean tries motivating the team with an inspirational pep talk.  It might have worked too if Chris wasn't making fart noises during every pause in his speech.  Somewhere along the way MacLean switches gears and just starts yelling at Neil for being an asshole, punctuating his tirade by throwing a puck at Chris's head.  The locker room bursts into thunderous applause.

The Senators seem energized coming out for the 2nd period, unable to get a goal but looking much better than they did in the 1st.  Even Neil gets into the act and actually manages to record a shot on net.  It's an easy save for the goaltender, but Chris's mom will still probably make sure it goes into his highlight video on Youtube.

It's getting late in the 2nd period and play has started getting chippy, although nowhere near chippy enough for Neil's liking.  That all changes when defenseman #5 lays out Daniel Alfredsson with a clean hit that knocks Alfie right into the old folk's home.  How does Chris Neil respond?  By rushing over, dropping his gloves, and throwing punches at an unsuspecting target.  Unfortunately for Chris, he's bitten off more than he can chew here as #5 responds with a series of jabs and hooks that leave Neil dazed and confused.  That fight might be what gets the Senators back into the game; they love watching Chris Neil get his ass kicked as much as the next guy.  The period ends midway through his fighting major, and MacLean asks the refs if he can keep Neil in the box during the intermission.  No luck there, and Neil follows his teammates back into the locker room.

Still down 2, the Senators find new life early in the 3rd period, dominating play and finally getting a goal to cut the deficeit to one.  That goal breathes new life into the home crowd, and Chris Neil hits the ice and does what he does best: take a stupid penalty.  Still mad at MacLean for yelling at him, Neil tries to clear the puck off his fat walrus face but ends up sending it over the glass instead.  Delay of Game, 2 minutes.  At this point of the game, Chris has already finished his copy of Cosmo, which should come as no surprise.  He can barely read and mostly just looks at the pictures.  So to kill the time Neil daydreams about kicking dogs and squirting kittens with a garden hose instead.

It's getting late in the game, and Neil finds his shifts becoming less and less frequent.  On the rare chance he does see the ice, it's usually to MacLean screaming "Chris, so help me God, if you fuck up again I'm going to kill you!"  Amazingly enough this seems to work, as he manages to not take any penalties the rest of the game.  Credit that to MacLean or credit that to Neil failing to stash away a copy of Seventeen in the box as well, but either way it's a small miracle.  The final minutes start ticking off the clock.  Ottawa is still down a goal and MacLean is getting ready to pull the goalie when Neil asks to to go on as the extra attacker.  Unable to stop laughing, MacLean points to Spezza, who jumps over the boards to replace Anderson.  The Senators can't pull it off and Chris throws his stick into the stands in frustration. The PR department will later refer to it as 'giving his game stick to a young fan".

No one talks in the dressing room after the game, not even Chris, who is still so mad he's incapable of forming a rational thought yet.  It's a common post-lost routine.  Chris skips the shower because, well, he's only going to get dirty again later anyways.  Forever superstitious, he throws on one of the two Nickleback shirts he always changes into following a home game.  He rotates between 3 Justin Bieber shirts when Ottawa is on the road.  He talks to the media following the game, and hangs around to chat with Don Brennan about the rash on Don Brennan's package.  Finally he's ready to go, and Chris hops in his car, tosses in his Carly Rae Jepsen CD, and heads home.  He'll be back to do this all over again the next time.

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