Veteran James Neal clings on

In the American League, we often find former NHL colors.

Veteran James Neal clings on

In the American League, we often find former NHL colors. They maintain the hope of returning to the highest level. The Springfield Thunderbirds have forward James Neal.

Neal, who played 869 NHL games, played the majority of the 2021-22 season in the minors. He is successful in the playoffs with five points in as many games.

According to Will Bitten, Neal is a role model for the young players on the team.

"We call it 'Real Deal,'" Bitten said with a laugh. It's not every day you get to play with a legend like him. The thing we see from him is that he is positive and motivated to be with our team. He's not here for the money.

"He's here to win and he always has a good attitude. He plays very good hockey for us. He's such a smart guy on the ice. He makes little games that fans don't see. »

Valuable advice

Bitten and the other young players on the team learn a lot in his presence.

"He's a professional through and through," the forward explained. Even though he is 34 years old, he is one of the first in the arena. He takes care of his body on a daily basis.

"He's still stretching. He is always ready. »

Neal forms a line with former Charlottetown Islanders (QMJHL) Nikita Alexandrov and veteran Nathan Todd. They have amassed a total of 16 points in six playoff games.

Laval Rocket defenders will have to keep an eye on them during the series. Otherwise, they could wreak havoc.

After the elimination of the St. Louis Blues against the Colorado Avalanche, the Thunderbirds got reinforcements. In addition to goalkeeper Charlie Lindgren, they can also count on the return of defender Calle Rosen. He has already won the Calder Cup in 2018 with Toronto.