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Q and A with Chris Neil

Friday, 06.04.2007 / 12:00 AM / News
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Q and A with Chris Neil
Forward Chris Neil has emerged as a leader for the Ottawa Senators.


by Todd Anderson

With hard work, determination and a passion to be the best he can be, Ottawa Senators forward Chris Neil has emerged into a leader whom his teammates can look up to in a variety of situations. After a career season in 2005-06, the five-year veteran continues to impress with his consistent effort. sat down with the Flesherton, Ont., native to discuss his transformation into a solid NHL player. This season you've continued right where you left off a year ago, producing key goals for the Senators. What has been the main reason behind your emergence as a scorer the last two seasons?

CN: When you play more, you gain more confidence. It definitely helps when you have a coaching staff that will throw you out there (on the ice), and if you make the odd mistake, you know they'll still put you back on the ice. You've become a leader for the club on and off of the ice. In what areas do you look to lead?

CN: When I come to the rink I try to get the emotion up, get the guys fired up. I've been here a while and I do consider myself a leader. We just have to go out as a team and play as a team. You have been the NHL's leader in hits for most of this season. How important is it to establish physical play in the NHL today?

CN: For me, I have to continue to play physically. It's what got me to the NHL. I have to go to the net hard and I have to finish my checks. If I don't do that, I might as well not be playing. You have to keep hitting because it might not pay off in the first period, but it eventually opens some ice and it might cause opposing defencemen to turn over the puck. You signed a new contract with the Senators in the off-season. What did it mean to you to know you would be returning to Ottawa this season?

CN: I've spent my whole career with this great organization and I want to try to do whatever I can to be here a long time. It's a great city and the fans are great, too. It's a hockey city and fans know their stuff. They want a winning team and each year we have a chance to win the cup. Since I've been here, we continue to get better and better.




1 MTL 64 41 18 5 172 142 87
2 TBL 65 39 20 6 213 171 84
3 DET 62 36 15 11 182 160 83
4 BOS 62 31 22 9 165 161 71
5 FLA 64 28 23 13 156 181 69
6 OTT 62 28 23 11 176 167 67
7 TOR 64 26 33 5 173 195 57
8 BUF 64 19 40 5 123 215 43


E. Karlsson 62 15 34 1 49
B. Ryan 58 17 31 9 48
K. Turris 62 16 29 -3 45
M. Hoffman 59 23 17 24 40
M. Stone 60 15 25 12 40
M. Zibanejad 60 16 19 3 35
C. MacArthur 53 13 13 -10 26
M. Michalek 57 11 15 -1 26
D. Legwand 60 8 14 -4 22
A. Chiasson 56 9 12 -8 21
C. Anderson 13 11 7 .927 2.37
R. Lehner 9 12 3 .905 3.02