Saturday, September 29, 2007

Downie gets 20 games

The NHL levied a 20-game suspension on Flyers prospect Steve Downie for his flagrant hit on Dean McAmmond. It is the fifth longest suspension in NHL history.

To satisfy the ban, Downie must be on the Flyers' 23-man roster for the requisite number of regular season/playoff games. He is also prohibited from playing in the Flyers' last preseason tune-up against the Rangers, however Downie can play in the AHL during his suspension.

GM Paul Holmgren will have to get creative to allow Downie to serve the suspension without stunting the player's development or eating up Philly's cap space.
According to Holmgren, the plan is to deal with the suspension in small chunks, while keeping Downie playing in the AHL...

Holmgren said that Downie would play for the Phantoms and be recalled to the Flyers on days when the Phantoms are not playing. On those days, Downie's salary would be counted against the Flyers' cap.

- Philadelphia Daily News

In response to the increase in head shots last season, the NHL established criteria by which league disciplinarian Colin Campbell will assess suspensions:

- hit unsuspecting player in the head
- hit that is late
- repeat offender
- target the head
- launching
- results in injury (and its severity)

The teams and players were aware of this, thanks to a DVD circulated by the league.

Downie's hit fit the bill in all but the "repeat offender" category. Expect his next dirty hit - and there will be one, the kid's a head case - to satisfy all six criteria.

Update: The AHL has ruled Downie ineligible to play the first month of the season. He can return November 3. Will/can the Flyers call him back up (at least on paper) in the meantime to start serving some of his 20-game NHL suspension?

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