Is Twenty Too Much or Too Little?

Steve DownieThe National Hockey League announced today that Steve Downie is suspended 20 games for his cheap hit on Dean McAmmond. But is twenty the right number?

Does this send a message to other players around the league in an attempt to prevent future hits to the heads? Or is it too harsh as there have been worse incidents where players have been punished the same amount of games?

The Philadelphia Flyer’s forward isn’t even guaranteed a spot on the team roster but will miss the first twenty games he’s scheduled to play, and if he’s sent down to the AHL, the league will have to re-evaluate on the suspension, and go from there.

Ottawa’s McAmmond on the other hand is lucky to not have gotten a worse injury as he suffered a concussion and some muscle damage. However, he accepted Downie’s apology a few days ago.

Flashback to several head shot incidents:

  1. The oh-so-infamous Todd Bertuzzi sucker punch to Steve Moore. Bertuzzi was suspended the rest of the season and playoffs, which in the end turned out to be a total of 20 games.
  2. Donald Brashear McSorleyAnother situation in Vancouver was when Boston’s Marty McSorley slashed Donald Brashear’s head in the last few seconds of a regular season game. McSorley was kicked out of the remaining 23 games and never played in the NHL after.
  3. Last season, Islander’s Chris Simon two-handed slashed Ranger’s Ryan Hollweg in the face and was suspended a minimum of 25 games, extending over to this season.
  4. In 2000, Phoenix’s Brad May was handed a 20-game suspension after a slash to the head of Columbus’ Steve Heinze.

The similarity of all these incidents was the fact that it was no-doubt intentional. There is no argument against the fact that the players did not do it on purpose.

In Downie’s case – putting his history in juniors aside – it was a body-check thrown at a player with the puck, however, the skates were off the ice. There are many different perspectives to view this but when comparing it to the past suspensions mentioned above, is this amount justified?

Some may argue that it’s exactly what the league needs in order to lower future offenses of the similar nature, while some may say that the suspension was too much, especially for a potential NHL mainstay forward.

You decide.

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  1. […] wrote an interesting post today on Is Twenty Too Much or Too Little?Here’s a quick […]

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