James Neal takes some dumb penalties

Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports

Hey kids: Make sure you keep your stick down so you don't accidentally hit people in the face.

Pittsburgh Penguins forward James Neal is a wonderful goal scorer. One of the best in the NHL.

The problem is when he's not scoring goals he has his moments where he appears to have a hockey IQ that is a negative number. Late in the first period of Game 3 against the New York Rangers was one of those moments.

That's when Neal, completing a drop pass to Evgeni Malkin, for some reason decided to leave his stick right in the path of Jesper Fast's face.

Neal_medium

The referees initially missed it but eventually got it right, sending Neal to the penalty box for four minutes.

There is really just no excuse for that other than carelessness.

He's a valuable player, and 40-goal scorers (which Neal is) don't exactly grow on trees in the NHL right now. But at some point he has to stop doing things like this, because he's not doing his team any good sitting in the box and can sometimes be a liability when he's not putting pucks in the net.

That wasn't the only careless stickwork in the first period, though, as Sidney Crosby was on the receiving end of this, which went uncalled.

Playoff hockey, I guess.

[Vine via Pens Initiative]

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