PITTSBURGH (KDKA 93-7 The Fan)- The Penguins hit the ice Saturday night in Nashville, when they take on the 5-0-2 Predators and former Penguin James Neal.
Neal was dealt to the Predators during the offseason for Patric Hornqvist and Nick Spaling. Neal joined Bob Pompeani on Saturday’s show, and refuted offseason reports that he wanted out of Pittsburgh.
“I knew something was up after the year when those things were said. I loved it in Pittsburgh, I enjoyed my time, I never asked for a trade or anything like that. You know, things happen, it’s part of our business, and you kind of put that stuff behind you and move on. When a team trades you, they obviously don’t want you anymore and you’re going to a team that does, so you get excited for that,” Neal said.
Pompeani asked how difficult it will be for Neal to play against his former team.
“Yeah, it’s going to be obviously weird playing against guys you went to battle with for so many years,” Neal said. “I’ve been through it before. It’s tough, but once the game gets going, you just play it, try to let that stuff wash away.”
Neal told Pompeani that he talked to Evgeni Malkin after the trade, and that it was hard to leave his friend.
“Whenever you get traded, it’s a shock. Geno and myself, we had great chemistry playing together. We had a lot of fun, so that always (stinks) when you have to leave a guy like that. He’s such a good player and great guy, so that’s a hard part of the business, but you’ve just got to move on and move forward. You always have great friends on the team you leave, so you keep those friendships and they’ll always be there,” Neal said.