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.