Mar 1, 2009, 10:36 PM EDT
The Legend of Steve Downie grows… From knocking that guy's teeth out in juniors, to the Dean McAmmond aerial, the Jason Blake punch, and everything in between, Downie's been a skating suspension highlight for the span of his brief career.
We once had great hopes for him, that his scoring touch and gritty play would eclipse all the really, really dumb shit. Of course, once he was traded to Tampa Bay as part of the package for Matt Carle, we hoped he'd fade into AHL obscurity, reality TV, and never haunt the Flyers. A few crazy penalties and suspensions, sure. Par for the Downie course. So far, he's been up and down from the minors, having a pretty uneventful season aside from the trade and of course that time he was bitten.
Until yesterday that is, when he was said to have slashed a linesman in the shin:
tried to shoot into the empty net, and was credited with his 15th goal
at 19:46 although the puck never entered the net. HERSHEY took a 6-4
lead on the goal and essentially clinched the victory. Norfolk forward
Steve Downie then returned to center ice for the face-off and slashed
linesman Mike Hamilton across the right shin. Referee Jeff Smith
assessed a game misconduct on Downie for physical abuse of officials
under ruler 41.2 category one. The ruling calls for an automatic
20-game suspension. Norfolk has just 21 games remaining.
I'm sure that'll be the end of the misbehavior and tomfoolery. Clearly some time to think about what he did will benefit Downie and he'll be a Lady Byng candidate within a year or two.
UPDATE: Although the 20-game suspension is indeed mandatory for abuse of an official, there will be an investigation to determine exactly what happened, and accounts of what happened are conflicting. Norfolk's GM is making a case for Downie's slash being accidental, but Hershey's broadcaster strongly indicates that Downie wound up and swung the stick, hitting the shin of the linesman, who received medical attention after the game. Quotes after the jump.
From Norfolk GM Mike Butters:
"The linesman was really not even part of this," Butters said. "The
centerman across from (Downie) was yapping at him. "(Downie) went to
swipe at the stick. He swung in a downward motion and hit the puck. The
intent was there to hit the puck. He may or may not have clipped the
And, quite a different story from Hershey broadcaster John Walton:
"The two teams came to center ice for the face-off, and Downie stepped
into the face-off circle. Linesman (Mike) Hamilton prepared to drop the
puck. Instead of trying to win the face-off, Downie took a
baseball-like swing with full wind-up and struck Hamilton across the
right shin. Watching the replay no less than 20 times myself during the
postgame, I was appalled not only at the lack of respect for an
official, but the sheer violence from one man to another."
We'll keep you posted.
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