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Predators’ Neal: ‘I have to change and be better for it’

Pittsburgh Penguins v Toronto Maple Leafs

TORONTO, CANADA- FEBRUARY 1: James Neal #18 of the Pittsburgh Penguins skates in the warm-up prior to a game against the Toronto Maple Leafs on February 1, 2012 at the Air Canada Centre in Toronto, Canada. (Photo by Claus Andersen/Getty Images)

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As talented as James Neal is, the scoring forward has, in the past, made headlines for running afoul of the league’s player safety department, resulting in numerous suspensions.

On Friday, the 26-year-old Neal was traded to the Nashville Predators during the first round of the NHL Draft. For Pittsburgh, moving Neal was simply a matter of trying to “change the mix” with the Penguins, according to new general manager Jim Rutherford.

The topic of his three suspensions, including his latest for kneeing Brad Marchand in the head, was brought up in a conference between Neal and reports on Monday.

“Your emotion gets the better of you. There were things that have happened in my game that you regret. I have to change and be better for it. I’ve changed as a player, I’ve grown as a player,” said Neal, as per The Tennessean.

“I’m still young, I have a very long way to go. Mistakes happen and I’m going to be better for it and move forward and not let that stuff happen again. I have to concentrate on being a leader on this team and taking my game to the next level.”

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