James Neal talks with media for first time since being traded

Anne-Marie Sorvin-USA TODAY Spor

Nashville's new sniper dialed into a conference call with local and national media earlier this afternoon.

After a couple of days of silence, fans in Nashville were starting to get antsy about what James Neal thought about being acquired from Pittsburgh. Well, it turns out he was indisposed with former teammate Matt Niskanen's wedding in Minnesota. I guess we can forgive him.

Neal spoked with members of the media on Monday afternoon about his emotions being traded and what it means to be coming to play in Nashville. He opened with the usual thanking of the organizations and describing the shock of a trade, then dove headfirst into questions.

When asked if he had talked to any of the players about the team or the city, Neal said he had but didn't name anyone specific. He added, "being traded is a surprise but the people in Nashville couldn't have reached out any more than they did, and they've been so welcoming.

Much has been made about how he's going to do now that he's the go to guy, and won't have Sidney Crosby or Evgeni Malkin to play with. Neal seems to be relishing the opportunity, saying high expectations come when trying to be the best in this league.

"Obviously things are changing here and we're going to be a more offensive team," he said. "To have the opportunity to be a leader, to be the go-to guy, is something you always want to be. I want to be the player that people count on to put the puck in the net." He's hoping his addition will help woo some free agents to the team, and that he'd try to persuade anyone if it would help.

When the subject of his past suspensions came up, Neal said he's changed as a player. "Sometimes your emotion gets the better of you and some things have happened in my game that I regret." He mentioned that he is still going to want to score and play with an edge.

Finally, Frank the Turtle will have a bit of company at the rink. Neal has a dog, Nixon, that he's going to be bringing along with him to Nashville.

All in all it was a pretty straight forward call, but he said everything he needed to say. He seems to know how important his acquisition is to the team and its fans, and he's ready for all the challenges his new roles presents.
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