Much was made this offseason when the Buffalo Sabres made a clear roster shift in an effort to make the team tougher to play against. Out was much of the speed and flash that they had become so famous for in years past. In was a new wave of tough, gritty players.
Most hockey fans will do a quick glance at rosters prior to a game. If you can match tough guys on each team, there's a good chance you'll see some fisticuffs before the night is over.
As the primary muscle on the Ottawa Senators for the past decade, Chris Neil is entrenched as the physical presence who brings the fireworks each night. Whether it's a tough goal scored in the blue paint, a big hit in open ice or dropping the gloves, you know that number 25 is going to do his thing.
This means, of course, that Sens fans can expect same old Neil tonight against the tougher, new look Sabres.
"My game doesn't change. I play the same game in and game out," said Neil. "Obviously not every night goes the way you want it to go but it's one of those things where it's why I've been around so long. I just do what I do. It's going to the net hard, playing hard and playing between the whistles."
The key to coming away from Tuesday night's game with a win? Staying out of the penalty box.
"I think that's the key, you have to be disciplined. They have a good power play, Vanek is up there in the league leaders so we'll have to be disciplined."