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Two Hits Tonight Draw the Attention of the NHL

Both in the same game, Tampa Bay and Pittsburgh. Both hits—per Bob McKenzie—will be receiving hearings with the NHL on Tuesday.

First, Chris Kunitz:

Second, Steve Downie:

Filed in: NHL Teams, Pittsburgh Penguins, Tampa Bay Lightning, | KK Hockey | Permalink
  Tags: chris+kunitz, steve+downie


cs6687's avatar

Both should be suspended. Kunitz’s play is dangerous and selfish. Kunitz, however, doesn’t have a history of being a dirty player, so if he’s not suspended, it wouldn’t surprise me. He should get a game, maybe two at worst. But after letting Torres and Bertuzzi escape punishment, who knows with Campbell.

Downie should get a game. He left his feet. It was charging. He’s lucky Lovejoy was okay. Unlike Kunitz, Downie has a history, though not much of anything since he was traded to Tampa Bay (his chop block on Crosby last year notwithstanding.)

Posted by cs6687 on 04/19/11 at 03:12 AM ET

Chet's avatar

Kunitz play pretty bad. Downie should’ve been 2mins and done.

Posted by Chet from twitter: thegansen on 04/19/11 at 03:17 AM ET


I dont know how you can defend Kunitz here.  Clearly and deliberatly targeted the head, without even pretending to make any sort of hockey play.  He should not play again in this series, minimum.

Downie should be suspended as well.  But i dont think his hit was as deliberate an attempt to injure as Kunitz.  History shouldnt matter when you so blatently target another players head.

Posted by jwad on 04/19/11 at 03:30 AM ET

shazam88's avatar

Wow. Kunitz’s elbow was so flagrant I can’t imagine any scenario in which he doesn’t sit at least a game, if not two. Downie’s play was similar in some ways to that of Torres, except, as pointed out above, he left the ice, so he’s got to be suspended, right Colin?!?

Posted by shazam88 from SoCal on 04/19/11 at 03:31 AM ET

awould's avatar

Kunitz should be gone for the series. Downie a game. Previus history shouldnt count for much. Kunitz elbow has zero defense or excuse, just vicious intent to injure.

Posted by awould on 04/19/11 at 03:38 AM ET

cs6687's avatar

Kunitz should be gone for the series. Downie a game.

I agree with Downie. Ideally, I wouldn’t have a problem with a two to four game suspension for Kunitz. But when Torres gets nothing and Bertuzzi gets nothing, I wouldn’t have any problem with Kunitz getting just a game.

Posted by cs6687 on 04/19/11 at 03:40 AM ET

UMFan's avatar

The Downie hit won’t be suspendable as it happened in the “anything goes” zone behind the net. The Kunitz hit is an intentional elbow to the head. Kinda blatent and out in the open there. Should be a game.

Posted by UMFan from Denver, Colorado on 04/19/11 at 03:49 AM ET

J.J. from Kansas's avatar

I could see Downie getting nothing, but I think he should get one based on his history.

Not much new to add about Kunitz.  Indefensible play.

Posted by J.J. from Kansas on 04/19/11 at 04:00 AM ET

Alan's avatar

Downie could get a game… but based on what we saw last night with regards to Torres, I wouldn’t be surprised if he escaped punishment.

Kunitz? Blatant elbow. It’s as if he was channeling Matt Cooke. If he doesn’t have at least a game, I will be shocked beyond all belief.

Posted by Alan from Atlanta on 04/19/11 at 04:16 AM ET


With all the elbows lately, who knows how the league will rule on this.  Kunitz hit was just dumb.  No reason for it.  He deserves more than a game, but seeing as it is the NHL we are talking about, he probably won’t get any more than that. 

I think Downie should get a game, but he won’t get any.  Especially after Lovejoy came out and said it was a good hit.

Posted by pens fan in baltimore on 04/19/11 at 08:32 AM ET

Luongo-is-my-hero's avatar

there is one major difference in the downie hit from the torres, he clearly leaves his feet.  The kunitz hit is indefensible.  Flagrant elbow, he extends it up high and clearly aims for the head.  I don’t know how he will talk his way out of that one.

Posted by Luongo-is-my-hero on 04/19/11 at 10:36 AM ET

Hank1974's avatar

I’ve seen elbows in the WWE that looked less flagrant than Kuntiz’s.
He should get 5 for this. But since it’s playoffs, and Gagne wasn’t seriously hurt, expect 1 game tops.

Posted by Hank1974 on 04/19/11 at 10:41 AM ET

Leo_Racicot's avatar

Kunitz elbow was deliberately executed on the open ice on a player who has a history of concussion problems.

He certainly needs to sit out a few games to contemplate his idiocy.

Downie gets 2 minutes for charging and it should be left at that.

Posted by Leo_Racicot on 04/19/11 at 10:54 AM ET

MarkK's avatar

MASSIVE hit by Downie, probably worth a penalty, but I don’t even know what penalty you’d call other than friggin violence.

The elbow by Kunitz was completely gutless. The NHL needs to get away from the ‘he wasn’t hurt so no biggy!’ method of discipline.  This just encourages dangerous play that’s just on the edge of getting caught.  Bad for the game.

Further, completely cowardly move by Torres and the league regarding that hit.  His FIRST game back from another suspension?  How about the league saying something like “hey jerk we have our eye on you, borderline calls will go against you until you prove that youre in the clear”? They do it with Holmstrom weekly, why not apply the same thought process to discipline?  Oh Right… there is no thought process.

Posted by MarkK from Maryland on 04/19/11 at 10:59 AM ET

MarkK's avatar

Actually, Downie did leave his feet.  I’d be OK with giving him a game.

Discipline should be done by the following: each time you’re suspended, you double your previous suspension. Every full year of being in the clean, it gets reduced by one.  You know, kind of like the point system for car insurance.

Heavy handed to the point that we accuse them of enriching the Player’s Emergency Assistance Fund.

Posted by MarkK from Maryland on 04/19/11 at 11:03 AM ET

Jeff  OKWingnut's avatar

I’ve seen elbows in the WWE that looked less flagrant than Kuntiz’s.


The Downie hit is more intriguing.  The Pen was playing the puck - and it didn’t look blindside, except that the Pen had his head down.  If Downie had no reputation, it could easily pass the Wheel ‘O Justice.

I actually thought the Torres hit was much worse - and he got nothing.

Posted by Jeff OKWingnut from Quest for 12 on 04/19/11 at 11:27 AM ET


Kunitz has always been a punk…it’s just that this time he got caught.  Remember his cross check on Varlamov 2 years ago?  Just as dirty, but the NHL let him get away with it.  This is even worse. He should get 5 games.

Posted by Kunitz is a punk from Pittsburgh on 04/19/11 at 12:40 PM ET


Can’t wait to hear Lemieux’s deafening silence on this as yet another of HIS players takes aim at a player’s head.  According to his words, his club should be fined and his coaches should be watching from the boozer across the street.  Sad to see a guy chump out like that.

Posted by ProjectMayhem on 04/19/11 at 01:21 PM ET

awould's avatar

Downie launched himself into the air to make that hit. But it was in the process of making a hockey play, he just took it too far. One game.

Kunitz delivered the most obviously intentional elbow I’ve ever seen in a game, from behind, with no possibility of confusing it with any “hockey play”. It was intent to injure. He may as well have just skated up to their bench and sucker punched a guy looking the other way. He deserves several games.

Posted by awould on 04/19/11 at 01:59 PM ET

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