Downie suspended 20 games
Flyers rookie Steve Downie was suspended 20 games by the NHL on Friday for his hit on Ottawa's Dean McAmmond that gave the centre a concussion.
McAmmond was taken off the ice on a stretcher in the second period of Tuesday's preseason game. Downie received a match penalty and was automatically suspended until Friday's hearing.
My opinion? This is a good move by the league, one that's long overdue, and I hope that all future dirty plays along these lines are met with similarly lengthy bans.
Downie, unfortunately, was just the first victim of the crackdown, something that you could see coming with the way officials have decided to rework these calls in the off-season.
That's not to say there isn't a lot of difficulty in trying to determine what exactly qualifies as a punishable offence. Was Chris Neil's hit on Chris Drury last season illegal? How illegal? It was a little late and it was a blindside.
And, perhaps more importantly, just how many of these bans can the NHL afford to give out, especially when they start to involve players who are integral to their particular team's success in the standings?
Downie was an easy target given he hasn't even made the Flyers yet, but what about when it's a Jarome Iginla or Joe Thornton involved in a borderline legal situation?
UPDATE Dean McAmmond has released a statement:
"I feel the ruling is strong enough to prevent these things from happening in the future. At this point, the NHL needs to a make a statement to try to protect players, and I hope that a suspension of this length will do that successfully."
NHL gets it exactly right [Eric Duhatschek]
McAmmond down, out