While Alexander Ovechkin found himself in a bit of hot water over a hit on Sunday, the league’s other poster boy was involved in his own questionable play. Unlike Ovechkin, however, Sidney Crosby was on the receiving end of the hit.

The hitter was none other than Tampa Bay Lightning pest Steve Downie. Downie has a well-earned reputation as a dirty player; between the Akim Aliu hazing/cross-check incident, sucker-punching Jason Blake, slashing an AHL linesman and a brutal hit on Dean McAmmond, he’s crammed a lot of both stupidity and nastiness into a very young career.

Downie had gotten a bit of a fresh start in Tampa Bay, and he has made the most of it; through 66 games the forward has set career highs in goals (17) and points (40) and for most of the year has looked like he’s serious about altering that reputation. In a story that ran in the National Post just four days ago (entitled “Downie making noise for the right reasons”) the promising winger suggested that he had changed for the better:

“I made some mistakes along the way, but things are coming around right now and looking up. I was young and I learned a lot in the last couple of years and I am continuing to learn. So I’ve put all that behind me and I’m moving forward.”

Here’s what Downie did to Crosby on Sunday:

Downie argued that he was just battling for ice, while Crosby said the hit was “questionable.” The replay is ugly, and given Downie’s track record I can’t think of a good reason to assume good faith on his part.

I imagine he’ll get a light suspension; this wasn’t a headshot so while it was probably as dangerous it doesn’t generate the same kind of outcry. Just watching the video though it sure looks like a situation where Downie was trying to damage his opponent, and he really ought to face some discipline because of it.

Comments (10)

  1. I think that the hit was from the side, all so that it was more of a push and that his skate
    got caught in a rut. I think that Ovechkin should recieved 4 min. penatly.

  2. In no way is that play by Downie defensible, he knew exactly what he was doing when he put his knee behind Crosby’s leg and then sat on it. Disgusting.

  3. Ugh, well atleast Ovechkin’s was a hockey play this was… I dunno what that was.

    What Downie was thinking is beyond me

  4. Ovis was neither a hockey play nor was is just a push, everyone who has played hockey knows what could happen when you pull that bullshit. Both he and Downie knew what they were doing and both were attemps to injure, however i expect Downie to get a much harsher penalty because of his history and well he isn’t a superstar.

  5. ovie,s was not a hockey play, it was dirty period,i have watched the growth of downie and am upset at what he did to sid,but downie will stand up for himself,unlike ovie who is a hit and run artist..But ovie does not have downies courage,but i cant defend downie in this play on sid though i like the kid.

  6. again the NHL has clearly set the rule ” go ahead and take out the other teams best player for the season and you will miss 2 to 4 games MAX”. The NHL has become as much of a joke as nascar is at this point

  7. This is the type of BS cheap-shot the league should throw the book at. I’m not inclined to think bang-bang plays need lengthy suspensions (although some do). But this type of crap boils my blood. Ovie’s hit was questionable, but at least it had something to do with the play. Perhaps a small consequence for being reckless is a reasonable expectation. Downie, on the other hand, is a dirt-bag like Cooke. The fact that he will answer the bell has nothing to do with his actions being excusable.

  8. …that’s, without a doubt, the dirtiest move I’ve seen in… actually, as long as I can remember.

  9. Garbage play, however I’m not sure if Downie gets a suspension since Crosby wasn’t injured.

    If Crosby had gone down with a ACL tear or something, I could see 10-20 games on a suspension

  10. The players union should remove players like Downie. They create an unsafe working environment.

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