NHL goes overboard on Downie suspension
234 points, two world Junior Gold Medals, 5í10, 192 pounds and the heart of a warrior, Iím talking about the one the only Steve Downie.
Downie received a 20-game suspension from the NHL on Friday for leaving his feet to deliver a hit to Ottawa Forward Dean McAmmond, who at the time was skating around the net with his head down. Thatís right you read it properly I said his head was down. God forbid someone hit him, that would be totally uncalled for, itís not like since day one any hockey player in any league was taught by their coaches to hit a guy if there head was down.
I never thought I would ever say this but here it goes, Iím now a Leafs fan. No, no that was a joke and I was out of line. But Iíll tell you what is no joke; I have lost any and all respect that I ever had for the NHL and the organization that runs it. The hit on McAmmond may have been a little late, yes Iím not going to argue that fact, but I will argue that the hit was dirty because it was everything but.
The definition of a big hit in hockey is: Catching an opposing player with their head down and driving your shoulder and body into them with the intention of sending them flying. There is not a player in hockey that has hit someone without wanting to hurt them. That being said, the NHL claim that Downie wanted to hurt McAmmond has to be thrown out the window. If no one wanted to hurt anyone in hockey there would be no body contact and it would be all stick checks, and what an exciting league it would be to watch. GIVE YOUR HEAD A SHAKE NHL, YOU NEED TO WAKE UP.
Downie received a match penalty and was automatically suspended until Friday's hearing in Toronto. His suspension matched the fourth longest in league history, falling five games shy of the league record handed down against New York Islanders forward Chris Simon for his two-handed stick attack to the face of Ryan Hollweg of the New York Rangers in March. Downie received five games less then Simon. Five games, youíre telling me that Simonís slash is in the same league as Downieís hit, letís get serious. I donít have a problem with the NHL suspending players for their actions, but they have to be fair. Chris Pronger only got one game for his hit on McAmmond and they are classifying them as the same intent, hmmm something smells fishy.
The truth is Downie was punished because of his past fight with Aikim Alou in Windsor, which had to do with a hazing scenario. His punch to the back of an opposing players head during a game in Belleville... wait a second something sounds familiar about that situation. Do you all remember a certain cheap shot on Pierre Turgeon by a certain Dale Hunter who received 21 games for a blatant blow to the head with his fist, once again nowhere near what Downie did.
Bottom line is 20 games is way too much and if they would have suspended him for three games I still would of thought it was crossing the line. I guess the next step is to ban hitting, YOUR MOVE MR. CAMPBELL.