Campbell: Downie 'Stalked' McAmmond
Had another chat with Colin Campbell on Steve Downie's 20-game suspension ...
He told me, “This boy left his feet, targeted the head and stalked the player. [McAmmond] had no expectation of this hit and [Downie] drilled him. We felt we saw retribution in the cards once [Downie] was hit himself.
“We’re not saying shoulder hits to the head are illegal. Only if all the other criteria come into play. We don’t want to take shoulder hits to the head out of the game.”
I argued a point with Colin. As long as shots to the head are not outlawed, there is always going to be a "gray" area in hockey as to what is a legal hit and illegal hit. And there is going to be concussions.
"Tim, if we take out hits to the head, do we ban fighting then?” Campbell asked me. "I don’t want to eliminate hitting from hockey. Shoulder hits to the head are still a legal body check. What we don’t want to do is having players skating around with their heads down and looking for the league or referees to protect them.”
Before Campbell made his ruling, he canvassed opinion from the NHL's competition committee. He said the consensus from the committee was that the Downie hit represented the "exact" hit the NHL wants to eliminate from the game.
Flyers took the high road here. Here's general manager Paul Holmgren's reaction:
"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.”
NHL Lord of Discipline, Colin Campbell has suspended Flyers' forward Steve Downie for 20 games for head hunting on Ottawa's Dean McAmmond during Tuesday's 4-2 loss in Ottawa.
"This issue was our angst over the summer," Campbell told the Philadelphia Inquirer. "People don't think we have been tough enough on head shots. We worked all summer with players and coaches and [general] managers. We showed them a video of 52 hits on what we're talking about. We showed the video again to every player in training camp.
"If you leave your feet, if you target an opponent's head, if you hit an unsuspecting, or target a player ... There is no doubt there was also intent here, as well. This hit contained all five criteria."
Link to the Inquirer: