Flyers General Manager Paul Holmgren released the following statement regarding the NHL’s decision to suspend right wing Steve Downie.
“Steve Downie was suspended for 20 games. My reaction is that it seems like a lot of games, but Colin Campbell is in a very difficult position and we respect his position and his judgment in this case. We will live with it. I was with Steve during the hearing and was with him after the verdict. He is very upset and understandably so. He understands the ramifications and he is prepared to live with this decision.”
Below is the official press release from the NHL.
FLYERS DOWNIE SUSPENDED FOR 20 GAMES
TORONTO (Sept. 28, 2007) – Philadelphia Flyers forward Steve Downie has been suspended for 20 NHL games, without pay, as a result of delivering a hit to the head of Ottawa Senators forward Dean McAmmond during an NHL pre-season game on September 25.
The incident occurred at 2:39 of the second period and Downie was assessed a match penalty under Rule 21 for deliberate injury of an opponent.
"Over the last several months, the League has met with players, coaches, general managers and owners on the subject of hits to the head," said NHL Executive Vice President and Director of Hockey Operations Colin Campbell. "While all of the stakeholders in our League agree that hitting is an important part of the essence of the NHL game, all were also unanimous in the belief that where a player deliberately targets an opponent's head, the conduct should be subject to review and the possible assessment of supplemental discipline.
Specifically, the following factors were identified as being relevant to whether a player should be subject to supplemental discipline when a hit to an opponent’s head is involved: (1) when a player targets an opponent's head; (2) when a player launches himself by leaving his feet to hit a player in the head area; (3) when the hit to the head is delivered to an unsuspecting opponent; and (4) the timing (lateness) of the hit. An additional factor in considering whether discipline is appropriate is whether the player is a repeat offender.
"When any or all of these factors combine to cause an injury to an opponent, it was agreed that a player would be subject to supplemental discipline in the form of a game-suspension. When all or substantially all of the factors are involved, it is clear that the suspension should be severe.
"It is clear that, while Mr. Downie is not a repeat offender, all of the other factors identified as being particularly relevant in determining the appropriateness of discipline were involved in Downie's hit on Mr. McAmmond. The hit was deliberate, dangerous and has no place in our League," Mr. Campbell added.
Under the terms of the Collective Bargaining Agreement, and based on his average annual salary, Downie will forfeit $63,101.60. The money goes to the Players’ Emergency Assistance Fund.
Downie will miss the first 20 regular season and/or playoff games (in addition to the last Flyers' pre-season game - Saturday vs. NY Rangers) that he is a member of the Flyers' 23-man roster.