The dirty hits keep coming: Downie's slew-foot on Crosby


Who would have thought that Alex Ovechkin wouldn’t be the only star involved in a dangerous hit today? This time, the star was a victim, as Sidney Crosby was on the receiving end of an indefensible slew-foot from noted degenerate Steve Downie.

(Video of the dirty “figure four leglock” like maneuver can be found at Kukla’s Korner. Thanks to mlse of Pension Plan Puppets and DCCheapSeats of Japers’ Rink for passing the video along simultaneously on Twitter.)

The good news is that although Crosby left the game briefly, he did return. Then again, that might just allow the incident to be brushed under the rug, so maybe it’s only marginally good news.

This has been an awful – but not particularly abnormal – few weeks for the league when it comes to bad hits. Simply put, the NHL doesn’t do enough to deter the kind of reckless disregard players sometimes display for each other. Funny enough, there were quite a few stories about Steve Downie receiving something of an “image makeover” filtering through the media lately. In fact, the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette published this regarding Downie today.

Steve Downie began to make a name for himself in hockey years ago.

For launching himself into Dean McAmmond of Ottawa in a preseason game in 2007, giving McAmmond a concussion and earning a 20-game suspension.

For cross-checking and fighting junior hockey teammate Akim Aliu in practice after Aliu declined to participate in a demeaning hazing incident and knocking out three of Aliu’s teeth in the process.

For slashing minor-league linesman Mike Hamilton in a game, picking up another 20-game suspension.

Downie, playing for Tampa Bay, can’t change history, but he is altering his image a bit.

Well, so much for that. This kind of despicable behavior is becoming an epidemic in the NHL. The worst part is that – if he’s even suspended – Downie will just come back next week, wait a few months and then do something horrible again.

Sorry folks, but I’m getting tired of seeing this garbage. Hockey can be played without this nonsense. If this is what results from “consistent” suspensions, then sign me up for widespread chaos.

PHT Morning Skate: Beat writers survey predicts Ducks will win Cup

Corey Perry, Frederik Andersen
AP Photo
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PHT’s Morning Skate takes a look around the world of hockey to see what’s happening and what we’ll be talking about around the NHL world and beyond.

In a survey of 29 beat writers, the Anaheim Ducks emerged as the clear favorite to win the Stanley Cup. If you’ll recall, they have that in common with the EA Sports simulation. (Boston Globe)

Alex Ovechkin would pick an Olympic hit against Jaromir Jagr as the biggest check of his life. (Russian Machine Never Breaks)

Here are the highlights from Minnesota’s 5-4 victory over Colorado:

The Montreal Canadiens seem committed to using Alex Galchenyuk as a center throughout the 2015-16 campaign. (The Canadian Press)

The NHL recently enlisted its players to read off some not so mean tweets. (USA Today)

Bills coach Rex Ryan talked about the Sabres in Thursday’s press conference. (

Frederik Andersen may have the Anaheim Ducks’ starting job for now, but with John Gibson still a big part of their plans, Andersen has to keep proving himself. (Orange County Register)

Niemi blanks Pens, notches two assists in Stars debut

Antti Niemi, Sidney Crosby, Patric Hornqvist

DALLAS (AP) — Antti Niemi recorded his 33rd career shutout and assisted on two goals in his Dallas debut, as the Stars beat the Pittsburgh Penguins 3-0 on Thursday night in the season opener for both.

Ales Hemsky had a power-play goal and an assist.

Rookie Matthias Janmark scored on his first shot on his first shift in an NHL game to make it 1-0. The Stars acquired Niemi and Janmark in trades earlier this year.

Dallas scored on two of five power plays. Jamie Benn, the NHL’s leading scorer last season, had a power-play goal in the third period.

Niemi made 37 saves to improve his career record against the Penguins to 5-1-1. He withstood a flurry in the final minute after Pittsburgh pulled goalie Marc-Andre Fleury for an extra skater.

Fleury had 21 saves.

The Stars are 4-0-1 in their last five home games against Pittsburgh, and have won three in a row overall.

Janmark skated down the slot, took a pass from Hemsky and shot between Fleury’s legs at 1:39 of the first.

The Penguins dominated the latter half of the period, but couldn’t score. Niemi’s best stop was a reaching glove save of Rod Scuderi’s drive from the blue line with less than 3 minutes remaining. Pittsburgh outshot the Stars 10-4 in the first.

Hemsky scored at 5:42 of the second on Dallas’ first power play. His shot from the top of the right faceoff circle went in over Fleury’s right shoulder.

The Penguins again had an advantage in shots, 13-11. Pittsburgh had chances in close, but Niemi turned those away. Midway through the second, John Klingberg cleared away a loose puck from in front of the net.

Seven seconds into the Stars’ fourth power play of the third period, Jamie Benn tipped in Jason Spezza‘s shot from the right point.

NOTES: Dallas acquired Janmark as part of a March trade that sent Erik Cole to Detroit. The rookie had been playing in the Swedish Hockey League. . San Jose traded Niemi’s rights to the Stars in June for a seventh-round draft pick. Also making their Dallas debuts were LW Patrick Sharp and D Johnny Oduya, teammates with Chicago’s Stanley Cup champions last season. . In his first game for the Penguins, Phil Kessel played in his 447th straight game. . Pittsburgh was 0 for 3 on the power play.