Downie Already Causing Headaches at NHL Level

McAmmondPardon the headline. It is not meant to be funny in any way, shape, or form. Fact of the matter is that Steve Downie is literally causing headaches at the NHL level.

On Tuesday night, the former two-time gold medalist with Team Canada at the 2006 and 2007 IIHF World Junior Hockey Championships, hit Ottawa Senators forward Dean McAmmond in the second period of an exhibition game in Ottawa.

Needless to say, it was a cheap hit. It would have been a great hit had Downie not left his feet and not hit McAmmond head-to-shoulder the way he did. He was given a match penalty on the play and the NHL has suspended the former Peterborough Pete indefinitely for now.

The hit again raises questions as to how the NHL should deal with head shots, like this incident. Plain and simple solution: They should suspend Downie to the full extent possible for a head shot of that calibre. Hockey is not a game for the faint of heart and neither should the suspensions for plays in hockey that hold no place within the game.

Steve DownieIn Downie’s case, no matter how large a suspension the NHL gives to the young forward, retribution will be looked for at the hands of certain Ottawa Senators, such as Brian McGrattan. If he is to play the Senators again this season, you can bet your bottom dollar that someone will seek out the Flyer’s rookie to administer their own brand of punishment, which in the game of hockey, is only fair and a part of the code amongst players. Just as long as we do not see a re-occurrence of the Steve Moore incident.

To Downie’s credit, he needs to play like a spark-plug, who has been given an extra charge. He possesses a great set of hands, and a quality as a player that allows him to use his physical play to a team’s advantage. The only problem with that is, his play and his mindset can be detrimental to a team. The Windsor Spitfires can attest to that.

But what to do about this incident? Well, send a message to everyone in the NHL – including the crop of young players arriving on the big league scene – that these kind of plays will not be tolerated in the today’s game. By suspending Downie, every player around the league will see that the NHL is serious about taking head shots out of the game, for good.

Play hard, play tough, play physical, because that is what hockey is all about. What the Philadelphia forward did tonight falls under the category of playing cheap, and Ottawa, plus other teams around the league, will hold him accountable. Perhaps Jack Johnson would like something to do with that too.

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One Response

  1. […] The National Hockey League announced today that Steve Downie is suspended 20 games for his cheap hit on Dean McAmmond. But is twenty the right […]

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