When Penguins winger James Neal was announced as questionable for the season opener, one message board poster sarcastically noted he "wasn't too injured to play wiffle ball yesterday." Joke's on you, guy.
The Pens celebrated the Pirates' first postseason appearance in 20 years with a game of wiffle ball last week. It was serious stuff, with a spray-painted batter's box, pitcher's mound, and bases. "It's pretty tough to play wiffle ball on the ice," Sidney Crosby said. Dangerous too!
Was told by source #Penguins James Neal's injury is something similar to strained oblique. Suffered it when Pens played whiffle ball on ice.
— David Todd (@DavidMTodd) October 8, 2013
Just heard from someone else that Neal indeed hurt himself playing wiffle ball.
— Sean Gentille (@seangentille) October 8, 2013
Neal did start the Penguins' first game, but left in the first period and hasn't played since. Dan Bylsma was cagey on the nature of the "upper-body" injury, only saying Neal is closer to week-to-week than day-to-day.
Update: Ray Shero denies the ice wiffle ball injury, does not weigh in on the proper spelling of "w(h)iffle."
'Not accurate, 100 percent not true.' Shero on report of Neal being injured in Whiffle ball game #pens
— Rob Rossi (@RobRossi_Trib) October 8, 2013