Chris Neil and Jared Boll are no strangers on the ice. The two veteran tough guys have fought in the past and they renewed acquaintances last night in Columbus, dropping the mitts in the first period. But the even-handed tilt did have one troubling feature: An alleged eye-gouge by Neil on Boll.
The incident happens at the end of the fight:
Was Neil trying to blind his Blue Jackets counterpart, or simply remove Boll’s helmet? It would be an odd time to dislodge a player’s lid, since the fight was winding down, but on the other hand, Neil does look like he’s grabbing for (and missing) something.
The refs gave Neil a two-minute unsportsmanlike conduct penalty on top of the standard fighting major, so obviously they believed something untoward had occurred. What do you think?