Friday, September 28, 2007

Downie, go sit in your room and think of what you did

Steve Downie, no NHL for you!!....for 20 games, anyway.

Colin Campbell handed down his ruling today, suspending Steve Downie for 20 games. In addition, the Flyers forward will not be able to play in Philly's remaining pre-season games. But he just may be able to see AHL action. How absolutely stupid would that be...

In case you've been living under a rock, Downie was suspended for his sickening, nasty hit on Dean McAmmond during Philly's pre-season match with the Ottawa Senators on Tuesday. You read more about it here.

So, 20 games....that's a lot. It's the fifth longest suspension in NHL history. Bertuzzi was handed a 20-game suspension for his beating on Moore. Many say that this is not right, that what Bertuzzi did was more wrong and that Downie should not have gotten that long a suspension. Bull.

Both hits were disgusting.

Both hits were pre-meditated - though Bertuzzi's hit was, arguably, 'more pre-meditated' since his response was 3 weeks after the fact and Downie's response was about 15 seconds after the fact..

But the results were different: Moore suffered a concussion and a broken neck, which ended his career. McAmmond suffered a concussion (his second in 3 months) and muscle damage, and so far it looks like he'll return to the ice - though you never know with these things.

The NHL has a history of being indecisive and grossly inconsistent when it comes to punishment. One guy will get 10 games, while another will get 1 game for the same incident. I hope that things will change, though I've been known to be a little too optimistic.

Ok, maybe way too optimistic.

I hope that this suspension will get the message across to all players that these nasty head shots are unacceptable and that the hammer will fall if they should go head hunting. Don't get me wrong - I don't want the NHL to become the No Hitting League. I just don't like to see guys get hurt and risk their future well-being. How can you enjoy the game if you know that these guys will develop neurological symptoms after their playing careers are over as a result of concussions?

One thing that the NHL should do is to make headshots illegal, and to be consistent with their punishment. Pronger should get the same punishment as Downie. A hit is a hit is a hit, no matter who delivers it.

Step two is to redesign the gear. Why the heck are these guys wearing body armour out on the ice? "Shoulder pads" my ass. It's more like having a brick strapped to your shoulder. If you're going to have something hard on the shoulders, they should be covered with thick foam at the very least.

For now, we wait. Until the next guy delivers a sickening hit. And then we look to Campbell and see if he has the guts to take a stand.

And we wait to see if Downie will serve his suspension immediately, meaning that he has a spot on Philly's roster. If that's the case, he'll face the Ottawa Senators in his second NHL game.

You can bet that the NHL big-wigs will be at that game.

No comments: