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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 TBL 48 30 14 4 156 127 64
2 DET 47 27 11 9 139 119 63
3 MTL 45 29 13 3 123 106 61
4 BOS 48 25 16 7 126 121 57
5 FLA 44 20 14 10 107 122 50
6 OTT 46 19 18 9 126 128 47
7 TOR 48 22 23 3 142 150 47
8 BUF 47 14 30 3 89 167 31


B. Ryan 43 12 21 7 33
E. Karlsson 46 11 22 -5 33
K. Turris 46 9 20 -8 29
M. Stone 44 11 15 9 26
M. Hoffman 43 16 9 19 25
C. MacArthur 45 13 11 -7 24
M. Zibanejad 44 11 12 1 23
D. Legwand 45 7 12 -4 19
A. Chiasson 43 7 10 -8 17
M. Michalek 42 6 9 -7 15
C. Anderson 13 11 7 .927 2.37
R. Lehner 6 7 2 .900 3.16