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NHL won’t fine or suspend Steve Downie for hit on Johnny Boychuk

May 24, 2011, 12:19 PM EDT

Steve Downie AP

Much like Todd Bertuzzi, it seems like Steve Downie‘s reputation haunts him when it comes to penalties. The Tampa Bay Lightning power forward delivered some ugly hits – especially earlier in his career with the Philadelphia Flyers – and sometimes it seems like those moments are held against him. Sure, he’s still a bit of a troublemaker anyway, but it’s almost as if officials hold a flashlight to the skeletons in his closet on a game-by-game basis.

Some of the calls from Game 4 and 5 bring that concept to mind. Many people were rightly upset that Downie received a diving/embellishment penalty when he was the victim of a boarding hit in Game 4. Downie was on the wrong end of the whistle twice in Game 5: once by receiving a boarding penalty after hitting Johnny Boychuk and another time when Andrew Ference didn’t receive a minor for tripping Downie.

It was enough to make even a thick-skinned pest upset, which was revealed tellingly when he was seen stewing by himself on the Lightning bench following the game.

It’s been a rough couple games for Downie, but there is at least some reason for relief: he won’t receive a fine or suspension for that hit on Boychuk according to TSN’s Bob McKenzie. The check seemed a little late, but not especially egregious compared to some of the hits that went without supplemental discipline in the 2011 playoffs. That being said, feel free to make a case for a fine and/or suspension in the comments.

This is a great break for the Lightning and Downie. He’s been a real asset for the team in the 2011 playoffs when he hasn’t been taking penalties (40 PIM in 15 games), with a near-point per game rate of 12 points in the postseason. We’ll see if this is a sign that luck is swinging Tampa Bay’s way after they were snake-bitten in Game 5.

  1. jpelle82 - May 24, 2011 at 12:46 PM

    i agree with no fine or suspension…it was shoulder to shoulder. might have been unnecessary but was not that bad

    • govtminion - May 24, 2011 at 12:52 PM

      Agreed- I didn’t see anything wrong with it other than being a half-second or so late- and he’s hardly the only guy to be doing that.

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