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Downie Avoids Suspension

by Kevin Kurz / Philadelphia Flyers
Flyers rookie has conference call with Holmgren, Campbell

(Voorhees, NJ) – Philadelphia Flyers forward Steve Downie left the practice ice early on Monday for a conference call with himself, Paul Holmgren and NHL Senior Executive V.P. of Hockey Operations Colin Campbell regarding his punch to the face of Toronto’s Jason Blake during Saturday’s game at the Air Canada Centre. It was revealed later by Holmgren that the rookie foward, who served a 20-game ban earlier this season, would not be suspended on the play.

John Stevens agreed that the hit did not warrant a suspension, but was concerned nonetheless because the penalty led to Toronto’s first goal and got the Maple Leafs back into the game.

“They gave him a double minor on the penalty and [Toronto] scored on the power play. That’s hockey. He got penalized and we got hurt by that play,” said Stevens.

“The kid plays with a lot of fire and I thought he was tremendous in that game, not just scoring the goal. He plays with fire and that’s why he’s here. He needs to find that line of discipline and stay on that line and stay on the ice and be a good hockey player for us.”
Toronto's Jason Blake and the Flyers' Steve Downie battle on Saturday at the Air Canada Centre. (Getty Images)

Holmgren also would like to see Downie, who got his first NHL goal in the game, more disciplined on the ice.

“He needs to think in those terms and not selfishly. He’ll get better,” said the general manager.

While the Downie incident was the focus of the Toronto media following the game, there was an equally if not more dangerous play earlier in the game when Braydon Coburn was checked from behind into the boards by the Maple Leafs’ Pavel Kubina. Coburn’s face was bloodied on the play but he stayed in the game. Kubina was not penalized.

That incident did not receive nearly as much attention, to the surprise of the big defenseman.

“I was a little curious about that. Sometimes that’s the way things go,” said Coburn. “This year we’ve had a few incidents, but in terms of my hit, it didn’t feel too good. I thought it at least warranted a penalty.”

He went on to explain the play from his perspective.

“I had the puck and was going to make a play on the puck. I didn’t even know who hit me until [Derian] Hatcher told me this morning. I didn’t see [Kubina] coming or anything like that. It was pretty much a hit from behind from my point of view.”

Hatcher explains Lupul hit

Flyers defenseman Derian Hatcher explained after practice what happened on the play in which forward Joffrey Lupul got hurt. Lupul is out indefinitely with a bruised spinal cord and concussion after being run into by Hatcher after the defenseman hit Toronto’s Alexander Steen.

“He came in here (practice facility) and I talked to him this morning,” said Hatcher. “At first when the play happened, I said to [Flyers trainer] Jimmy [McCrossin], he hit his head. When I was rolling over I felt his head hit the ice.”

Hatcher was glad to hear that the concussion was only of the mild variety.

“It’s good that his head is ok. Hopefully after 14 days [his spinal cord] will be cleared right up,” he said, referring to Lupul’s doctor’s orders of no physical activity for two weeks.

Hatcher also scoffed at any suggestion that his open ice check on Steen was anything but a normal hockey hit.

“When something happens to one of their teams, they tend to cry foul a little bit more than normal,” said Hatcher of the Canadian media.


Antero Niittymaki, coming off of his 54-save performance on Saturday night, will start against Atlanta on Tuesday night. ... Ryan Potulny was recalled from the Phantoms Monday morning.
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