Downie vows to protect Crosby, Malkin

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Back in 2010, Steve Downie delivered a questionable blow on Sidney Crosby. Now that they’re teammates with the Pittsburgh Penguins, he vows to make sure others don’t take liberties with the star forward.

The 27-year-old forward is a gritty player – especially for a solid scorer – yet he’s not often labeled as an “enforcer.” Then again, Downie poses a much better chance of being on the ice alongside top players like Crosby and Evgeni Malkin than a tough guy like departed defenseman Deryk Engelland.

The bigger problem might be Downie avoiding injury enough to protect Crosby and Malkin, though.

Downie was limited to 62 games in 2013-14, two in 2012-13, 75 in 2011-12 and so on. You can’t protect your teammates if you’re too injured to play, after all.

All that aside, it’s a nice low-risk pickup for the Penguins. Downie¬†has a 22-goal season on his resume (along with multiple other double-digit scoring seasons) and can agitate/bring the snarl. Scoring some early points with potentially skeptical teammates with comments like these can only help him make a nice impression, whether he can back up those words or not.