Sometimes it is the things that we don't say that leave a lasting impression on people and there is little question that this was exactly the case when Calgary Flames defenseman Rasmus Andersson spoke with Ryan Leslie this week. The two men conversed on a number of topics during an interview that was conducted online for health reasons and without a doubt the most interesting answers from Andersson during their conversation came when the topic of James Neal came up.
Leslie, who conducted an excellent interview, asked Andersson about the former Flames forward, who is now currently playing for rival Albertan team the Edmonton Oilers, and the answer from the Flames blue liner spoke volumes in spite of containing very few words. Leslie led in by talking about how players from opposing teams will often meet at center ice following the game and pay their respects to former teammates or friends, but pointed to the fact that there was "none of that, you guys weren't going over and hugging James Neal I can tell you that," said Leslie.
Andersson let out what I can only describe as a disdainful chuckle before simply saying "No. No we were not."
When asked if he wanted to bite on that any further by the aforementioned Leslie Andersson declined to do so simply stating "Nope" clearly indicating his desire to move on to the next topic. Again it was not much out of the Calgary Flames defenseman but his body language and tone here spoke volumes and clearly indicate to me that there may not have been a great deal of love for Neal in the Calgary Flames locker room. It certainly paints an interesting picture and in many ways I think it helps Calgary Flames general manager Brad Treliving save a little face here. Treliving was highly criticized when he traded Neal for Milan Lucic in what was fairly close to a one for one type of deal, with the exception of a conditional third round pick that now has a ton of question marks around it due to the season stoppage, but if it turns out James Neal simply being in Calgary was an issue for the players in his locker room he may have had his hands tied.
That is of course all speculation on my part, and when Andersson was given another chance by Leslie to comment on the situation later in the interview he again made it clear that he had nothing further to say on the matter.