Tuesday, September 25, 2007

McAmmond down, out

Completely unacceptable. I know Steve Downie's in preseason trying to win a role, but he deserves a sizable suspension for trying to take off a guy's head like that.

Here's hoping Dean McAmmond is all right, as he has a concussion history and at age 34, could be in a position where he has to hang them up.
UPDATE I'm afraid there's not all that much more to say than that. I'm frankly growing tired of the fact that providing daily NHL coverage consists of an almost weekly guess-the-suspension-length game, something that really should be more like clockwork than a random judgement based on Colin Campbell's whim of the day. Too many players are having their careers ended unnecessarily, and the fact this particular hit occurred during preseason, in my mind, makes it all the more unnecessary, all the more careless and worthy of punishment.

The venerable Al Maki's calling for a 40-game ban over at Globe on Hockey, and while there's no way on earth that's what's coming, I say 'why not?' Why not throw the book at guys for being careless, why not finally try and institute some sort of deterrent that actually, you know, deters?

McAmmond's one of hockey's good guys, a hard-working veteran and father of four, someone who simply doesn't deserve this. And another piddly four- or five-game suspension to Downie just doesn't get that across.

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At 11:30 p.m., September 25, 2007, Blogger Blitzen said...

It was sickening to watch at the arena - Dean lying on the ice, bleeding and still. With the govenors having just discussed head shots at their recent meeting, it will be very interesting to see how the league sets the tone for the rest of the season.

Now Dean just needs to get better and make a career decision that is right for him and his family.

At 11:55 p.m., September 25, 2007, Anonymous David Johnson said...

I watched the game on TV and I am going to defend Downie a bit on the play. He did jump at McAmmond and he should be penalized/suspended for that but from the angle he was coming it I don't think Downie could have seen whether McAmmond still had the puck or not as his view would have been blocked by the net and McAmmond was looking out front almost as if looking for someone to pass to. Thus I am not sure you can classify it as a typical 'late hit'.

But even if it were, is this any worse than the Cam Janssen hit on Kaberle last year? Not really and Janssen only received a 3 game suspension. Based on that precedent I can't see Downie getting more than 3 games and quite possibly only one or two because this would be his first offense at the NHL level.

At 12:03 a.m., September 26, 2007, Blogger trbrown said...

You have to wonder what the offending player is told by his coaches after a hit like that. Especially when the player is a prospect trying to make the team like Steve Downie.

Undoubtedly, Downie's intent was to impress the coaching staff with his brand of physical hockey, but surely they would not condone the recklessness of his hit tonight. I cannot imagine that Downie gained the confidence of his coaches or that his peers by laying out an illegal headshot on a respected (and unfortunately concussion-prone) veteran like Dean McAmmond.

Whatever Downie hoped to gain by playing a phsyical game, was probably lost tenfold by his poor decision making.

At 12:06 a.m., September 26, 2007, Anonymous penaltyshots.ca said...

As a reader commented on my website penaltyshots.ca, McAmmond bought the ticket and took the ride and yes it is a damn shame. If I'm Aaron Downey I make the hit and I guess that is a sad commentary on NHL hockey today.

The story here James, is Brian McGratton's post game comments. He should be suspended for 10 games immediately and for the season should he touch Downie this year. Let's see if Bettman learned his lesson from the Bertuzzi incident.

At 12:13 a.m., September 26, 2007, Blogger Shane Giroux said...

When I saw the McAmmond concussion on the TSN ticker, I thought "Boy, I hope he's not too hurt. And that he retires." That's enough concussions for one man.

Players need to have some more respect. I love big hits as much as the next guy but that's just looking for a big hit for the sake of the big hit.

Anyone who pulls out the "keep your head up" argument is losing a sense of reality.

At 12:28 a.m., September 26, 2007, Blogger Sherry said...

I would even say that the hit isn't as late as Janssen's hit on Kaberle since it came a lot sooner after McAmmond had handed off the puck, but we all know that 3 games for that type of hit wasn't enough and I think the fact that McAmmond was seriously injured as a result will go into the decision (even if you feel a punishment for an action shouldn't be based on the result, it's just the nature of how things are).

Regardless of whether or not Downie could see if McAmmond still had the puck, Downie didn't care what position McAmmond was in at all. He lined him up, leading with the shoulder and left his feet when delivering the blow and that to me shows blatant disregard to another player's safety and that is unacceptable.

At 1:15 a.m., September 26, 2007, Blogger Patty (in Dallas) said...

If you jump a foot in the air to hit someone, you've got to be stupid to think you're not going to get the guy in the head.

It doesn't matter when or why he hit him if he left his feet. That's intent to injure.

At 1:20 a.m., September 26, 2007, Blogger Cameron said...

1. Hit was in retaliation to an earlier one on Downie (before the highlight starts)

2. Downie tracked McAmmond through the defensive zone.

3. Downie could see McAmmond was vulnerable with his head down.

4. Left his feet.

5. Lead with the elbow.

Looks like a textbook; charging, elbowing, match penalty and lengthy suspension to me.

I honestly don't feel sorry for Downie at all - it's not like he doesn't have a history of garage league behaviour - and he's not even a full fledged rookie yet. Throw the book at him.

At 1:53 a.m., September 26, 2007, Anonymous Rod said...

Agreed with every point Cameron. There's no excuse for that hit, whether McCammond had the puck or not. Throw the book at that punk.

At 3:39 a.m., September 26, 2007, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Throwing the book should be based on Bertuzzi, McSorley, Armstrong and such cases.

At 5:55 a.m., September 26, 2007, Anonymous Baroque said...

And McAmmond wasn't even the one who hit him in the first place. He just wanted to take out someone, anyone, and didn't care who.

Great, now maybe preseason hockey will make some of the highlight shows. :(

At 7:16 a.m., September 26, 2007, Anonymous Chris said...

I agree with Cameron also, and wasn't Eaves plastered in last years playoffs in the same manner?

It seems all the great players who work behind the net know how to avoid this situation. It was dirty but Dean could of been a bit sharper and just stopped, then maybe Downie would have been in the hospital.

At 8:09 a.m., September 26, 2007, Anonymous Baroque said...

It seems all the great players who work behind the net know how to avoid this situation. It was dirty but Dean could of been a bit sharper and just stopped, then maybe Downie would have been in the hospital.

Maybe nine times out of ten, or nineteen out of twenty, he does notice, and this is the exception. Only the player himself knows how many times he avoids an incident like this. We only see the times he doesn't.

At 8:57 a.m., September 26, 2007, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Nothing will happen to Downie as the Flyers are one of Bettman's pet franchises. Rather than go after Downie who won't make the team, I'd send out McGrattan to take out Briere and Gagne.
That would get the message across the the Flyers and their neanderthal fan base.
Put Briere into the hospital with a similar hit.

At 9:36 a.m., September 26, 2007, Anonymous BDH said...

Holy S@!t! That looks more like an X games highlight than a hockey hit. Get rid of this clown for 50 games.

At 10:17 a.m., September 26, 2007, Blogger Shane Giroux said...

"then maybe Downie would have been in the hospital."

Nobody should have ended up in the hospital.

What kind of game is the NHL promoting where a split second lapse causes you to get the concussion which could end your career?

At 10:23 a.m., September 26, 2007, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Noted lawyer and self-proclaimed genius Mike Milbury was on Vancouver sports radio on Tuesday (well before the incident). He was asked about the preponderance of concussions at the NHL level. His response was (paraphrasing): "It's hockey, not tiddly winks. Concussions (like his own apparent brain damage) are part of the game." Then he went on to defend trading Roberto Luongo.
Giant Douche.

At 10:32 a.m., September 26, 2007, Anonymous Keith said...

Garbage like Downie exemplify everything that is wrong with this sport. Cowards who's one and only purpose in life is to try and injure opponents. Doubly frustrating in this case, since Downie actually has skill.

The NHL needs to get losers like this out of the game post haste. And we all know that the Colin Campbell Wheel of Justice will deliver a strong message.

The sad thing is, Colin Campbell's message will be "Go ahead, try to end an opponent's career. We don't mind."

Betcha he gets no more than three games for that. Disgusting.

At 10:38 a.m., September 26, 2007, Blogger Doogie said...

What's sad is that if Downey had stayed on his feet and followed through properly, MacAmmond would've still hit the deck...but probably would've gotten back up a minute later and continued the game.

That being said, I'm calling at five games, eight if Collie decides to make an example. I've said it a billion times, but the NHL needs to either get tough on cheap shots or get rid of the instigator and let the goons (who are bigger and stronger than ever) sort out the chickenshits.

At 11:00 a.m., September 26, 2007, Anonymous Dennis Prouse said...

Downie is 20 years old, hasn't played a regular season game yet, and already he is a marked man from a number of different perspectives. Not only will the League be watching his every move, but he has also de facto announced to every enforcer in the League that he is fair game. I regret that this kid, even though he has talent, is not going to have a long run in the show.

At 2:07 p.m., September 26, 2007, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I don't. He seems to have been a dick since junior. Maybe someone should have told him Bobby Clarke doesn't manage the Flyers anymore.

At 2:26 p.m., September 26, 2007, Anonymous Anonymous said...

40 game suspension? Ridiculous. Time to tone down the emotions.

Downie left his feet AFTER the hit. Go look at it frame-by-frame. If Downie hadn't, this would be looked at as a incredible bodycheck replayed on TSN for weeks. "Watch Downie destroy McAmmond with this devastating check!"

I understand being angry your player is wounded, but the fact is, any Senator fan calling for Downie's head here is a hypocrite. Chris Neil went headhunting after Buffalo's star player last season, Drury, with a dirty and late hit, and all I read about was it was a tough, hard hit, by a tough, hard player.

40 games...ha ha! Suck it up, Senator fans. Neil is Downie's equal in dirty play, possibly more so, because his history of gutless play is far more extensive in the league, since of course Downie HAS no experience. If Neil gets a slap on the wrist, a rookie with no discipline history in the league will get the same. It isn't his fault McAmmond is on the small side and vulnerable to head hits.

At 2:37 p.m., September 26, 2007, Blogger Darrell said...

The Neil hit was completely different. Neil didn't jump at the player. Neil didn't even aim for the head, as his shoulder hit Drury's shoulder and head area. Neil's hit on Drury is much more like Armstrong's hit on Eaves from the playoffs last year (which Ottawa DID NOT complain about). Downie's hit was a guy who did everything in his power to hit a guy in the head, and he connected.

BTW, Chris Neil has NEVER been suspended by the NHL (I don't think he has even been fined). The Drury hit has been his only "headshot" hit, and as I mentioned above, that was much more of the "accidental" headshot than the deliberate hit to the head.

At 2:45 p.m., September 26, 2007, Anonymous Anonymous said...

"The Neil hit was completely different. Neil didn't jump at the player."

Since Downie didn't either, logic dictates the hits are the same. Watch the indisputable video evidence.

"Neil didn't even aim for the head, as his shoulder hit Drury's shoulder and head area."

You could be right - I didn't account for the effects of blood possibly supernaturally appearing on Drury's crushed, mutilated face.

"Neil's hit on Drury is much more like Armstrong's hit on Eaves from the playoffs last year (which Ottawa DID NOT complain about)."

They didn't complain because it was a clean bodycheck, unlike Neil. Again, I advise you to look at the videotape.

"Downie's hit was a guy who did everything in his power to hit a guy in the head, and he connected."

Are you a mind-reader? Would you tell a judge what Downie's intentions were? I'll go out on a limb and say "no". So I guess that means, wrong again, darrell.

"BTW, Chris Neil has NEVER been suspended by the NHL (I don't think he has even been fined). The Drury hit has been his only "headshot" hit, and as I mentioned above, that was much more of the "accidental" headshot than the deliberate hit to the head."

Too many points here. 1.) So, it's only a dirty hit if the NHL says so? Glad you cleared that up. 2.) Since you admit to Neil's headshot, and imply Downie was doing the same, and since you imply Downie was deliberately headhunting, you therefore Neil is a deliberate headhunter. Logic is fantastic. 3.) You are in no position to rate Neil's actions as "accidental" any more than you are in a position to suggest Downie did anything in his power to do anything. You are not a mind reader, even though it's possible you believe you are.

Thanks for coming out, Darrell!

At 2:46 p.m., September 26, 2007, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Who are you people and what have done with actual hockey fans?

At 3:15 p.m., September 26, 2007, Blogger trbrown said...

Interesting comments by Paul Holmgren posted in Tim Panaccio's blog on Hockeybuzz:

"Steve's a good kid who happens to have a real zest for getting into the game...But we've got to get him to play within the rules."

Among his other comments: "He's got to play within the rules and not over the edge and that is our responsibility."

At 3:19 p.m., September 26, 2007, Blogger Shane Giroux said...

"Who are you people and what have done with actual hockey fans?"

They've been replaced by people tired of seeing players face down on the ice. The game doesn't have to be played like this.

The "No Hit League" crap is tired and cliche already. You can hit, but don't be an ass about it. Have some bloody respect for your opponents well-being.

At 3:27 p.m., September 26, 2007, Anonymous penaltyshots.ca said...

As far as McGratton and Neil's threats of redemption are concerned, they should rewatch the highlight. Downie did more damage in one hit than all the fists they have thrown in their careers combined. If I were them I would keep my head up. After the legality and suspension debate are over, what you have left is one of the most bone crushing collisions in NHL history.

Concussions from hits like this are almost 100 percent occuring after the player has passed off the puck. This is where the problem is and this is what they need to address.

At 4:12 p.m., September 26, 2007, Anonymous Anonymous said...

What's sickening about the hit is that McAmmond got hurt. I think much of Downie's reputation preceeds him. However, he kept his elbow in, feet weren't moving as he approached McAmmond and it looked to me like he left his feet on the follow through.

Unfortunatley, he hit a player that was in a vulnerable position because he no longer had the puck and had no expectation of being broadsided. It could be argued that Downie didn't know that McAmmond didn't have the puck, but that doesn't mean it isn't illegal. The NHL has to make it clear what "possession" of the puck is and when a player is "fair game." Most of these injuries occur when a player has just released the puck and the hitter doesn't let up on a prone player. Make it clear what constitutes a late hit, make it a severe penalty and you'll stop this from happening so oftern.

At 4:42 p.m., September 26, 2007, Anonymous Rod said...

Nice try Anon Y. Mouse. Your "brave" attempts at anonymously defending Downie for taking out McAmmond are completely wrong. Claims that he left his feet after the hit are 100% wrong. Downie clearly, indisputably jumped to make that hit. *Before* contacting McAmmond. No question about it. Nor was it a follow-through (as someone else claimed). You don't go flying in the air that high on follow through. Elbows come up on follow through, not your entire body, a couple feet in the air. Downie jumped, into McAmmond.

Deliberate attempt to injure. I'd go so far as to say it was deliberate attempt to end McAmmond's career.

Downie was obviously on tilt and was determined to get payback for a clean hit he absorbed earlier on the shift. Downie totally over-reacted, and now a 13 year vet may have his career ended by a stupid punk in the pre-season. Downie shouldn't be on lacing up skates for a long, long time. You do the crime, you do the time. Half a season at least.

(Not that I have to justify my position--the video evidence is beyond damning--I'm not a Sens fan in the least).

At 5:04 p.m., September 26, 2007, Anonymous Anonymous said...

The reality is that there is no precedence for this hit, since the NHL instituted a new rule that made interference a major at the discretion of the ref. The new rule was intended to stop these late hits and this is where the discussion needs to start.

At 7:37 p.m., September 26, 2007, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Despicable. Lack of respect for another human being. Laughing after? To me that's borderline psychotic.
I really want to hear what all the players think, to me this is a very serious and important area of the game going forward.
I'm listening to Team 1260 right now and while I like Ryan Rishaug (sp?) I just can't agree with his arguments right now, using the past. Unprecedented discipline? To me the precedence has been unacceptable frankly. There needs to be a shift in thoughts regarding behavior like this, respect and consequences.
I love the physicality of the game, heck, I enjoyed the goalie fight the other night. But this is different. Way different.
Just one fan's opinion.

At 9:53 p.m., September 26, 2007, Anonymous Anonymous said...

How can anyone defend this guy? His body is practically parallel to the ground like he's Superman. His skates are nearly level to his helmet.
We already know he's nuts. He beat up a brown guy on his junior team for not submitting to the usual homo-hazing bathroom ritual.
If OTT v PHI's first regular season game isn't on TV anywhere, I might fly to the game just to see somebody mutilate this guy.


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