I spent most of the day today reading a lot of ridiculous posts about everyone's reaction to the Flyers, Steve Downie hit on Senators, Dean McAmmond last night. When I first logged on this morning I read that Dean McAmmond was taken off on a stretcher from an illegal/nasty hit from Flyers prospect Steve Downie. My initial reaction was, uh no, this kid was doing so well, I hope he didn't ruin his chances to make the team this year. This was after I read a couple articles on it, but before I saw the actual hit.
When I first saw the hit, I watched it about 10-15 times. I honestly can say, in my opinion is the only thing I saw that was illegal was he left his feet. I read a lot of posts today stating that he led with his elbow, he was charging, and the hit was late. Well, I believe the NHL rule is any hit after about 3 seconds is interference. We all know that McAmmond just got rid of the puck before skating behind the net. I think Dean should not have admired his pass so much and kept his head up and everything would have been avoided or maybe not as severe of a hit. I'm not an expert but I do believe that charging is taking a few strides less than 5 feet away from the opponent. We all saw that Downie was coasting, although coasting very fast, towards McAmmond.
I did not see the play before that where Downie was checked from behind on a boarder line boarding penalty. I read posts saying if he was tough enough he would have gone after Schubert. Yes, but he has already knocked someone out from the Rangers this year, he needs to show all of his skills in a short limited amount of time. He didn't pick out McAmmond and go after him, McAmmond unfortunately had the puck and got crushed.
We see this hit every week in the NHL. People say "it's only pre-season, the game is meaningless" well maybe to you it is, but to Steve Downie, he needs to show his stuff. He needs to stick out so he can make it in the NHL. Last year, Pittsburgh Penguins forward Colby Armstrong hit Flyers Jeff Carter in the exact same position, although didn't leap as high, but still lept and he also led with his elbow. The only thing different is Carter got up and unfortunately McAmmond did not. Armstrong did not get suspended and better yet, he didn't even receive a minor penalty.
Now for the suspension. I believe Steve Downie should be suspended for 5 games without pay. I believe if it was any other player, it would be between 1 and 3 games, but since he has a history and he needs to learn how to control his temper, he'll get 5. I think 5 is fair enough. I read so many posts ranging from 25-40 to the entire season. I also read that Jason Blake wants Downie to be suspended forever. Now come on, that is just ridiculous. How can someone justify suspending Downie for a big hit for more games than Chris Simon when he SWUNG HIS STICK at Rangers Ryan Hollweg's head???? Maybe he's afraid of getting crushed with his head down. Steve Downie is a Barnaby type player. You love to have him on your team but you hate to play against him. I honestly believe this whole thing is because it was Steve Downie, and Steve Downie is a gritty, hard nosed, temperamental player that belongs in the NHL.