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Bench Talk / Off The Wire

Contract For Chris Neil


By Fred Wallace

Last week, I made a phone call to Chris Neil to congratulate him on his NHL contract, the Flesherton native re-signed with the Ottawa Senators.

It's a four year deal worth $ 8 million dollars and certainly will put him in the top 20 wealthiest people of Flesherton.

Having said, that I was curious if he enjoyed the free agent process, brief as it was, and he said ' yes '.

The Senators placed a value on Neil's worth which was less than Neil and his agent believed and only once the Free Agent door opened was the existing market value for a player of Neil's ilk revealed.

Numbers were crunched, loyalty and family became considerations and, likely to the dismay of the New York Rangers, Toronto and Montreal, Chris Neil will remain in Ottawa.

The hockey climate in Ottawa is hot these days, especially with the Dany Heatley saga, and while I never asked about, Neil who's a forthright off the ice as he is blunt on it, offered an assessment.

He says when Ottawa went to the Stanley Cup Final two years ago, everybody would do anything for anybody else. That climate changed last year and Neil thinks an alteration in personnel, without citing names, might be a change for the better.

Regardless, it appears while some may depart, Chris Neil will be in Ottawa for the remainder of his NHL hockey days.

I'm Fred Wallace

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