Sunday, January 06, 2008


It all makes sense now. Philadelphia Flyers meathead Steve Downie is doing shtick in order to prove a higher point about society's hypocrisies. He's a latter-day Lenny Bruce, only with cheap shots instead of cuss words and high hits instead of talking about Eleanor Roosevelt's tits. There's no other explanation for Downie's latest dick move, this time perpetrated on the Leafs' Jason Blake. (Remember, when a Leaf gets bruised, we all get bruised.)

OK, so there is one logical explanation: Downie has got away with unchecked aggression from the beginning. On some level, he is also bright enough to appreciate that the people who package hockey believe they need his ilk to fill some void in the vicarious existence of puckheads.

Thing is, Jason Blake has a right to play the game too without being victim of this garbage. Incidentally, Blake did come right out and say after the Dean McAmmond incident that Downie should be banned from the league, although it's far-fetched to believe that led to last night.

Meantime, the Vancouver Province has a good look at how the league seems to create its own problems by insisting on being the prosecutor, judge and jury.

League must let go of suspension power; appoint independent committee (Tony Gallagher, Vancouver Province)


Big V said...

One of these days, downie will get what he deserves. He will get the worst s***kicking of his life then pout about it afterwards.

I think the league should suspend him again, then put a bounty on his head for giving hockey a bad name.

Andrew Bucholtz said...

I think part of the problem is the coach and the organization. Look at how many Flyers have been suspended this season. The team's tolerance of this sort of play likely gives Downie the message that his actions are acceptable, regardless of how the league sees them. Under the right coach who can keep him in check and on the right side of the line between playing tough and playing dirty, Downie could be quite a good player (see his performance at the World Juniors, where he was quite valuable for the Canadians). You're quite right that he's generally got away with unchecked aggression, but his play at the Juniors seemed to indicate that when he's coached by someone willing to lay down the law and call him on it, he can keep it under control. The Flyers' organization is the worst possible fit for him though, as they'll reinforce his bad behaviour, and I don't see an end to his stupid plays any time soon.

sager said...

Are the Flyers really that much worse than other organizations?

Bobby Clarke is gone, although Paul Holmgren is a Clarke disciple and he's still there.

Andrew Bucholtz said...

The whole organization gets its style from Clarke (and the Broad Street Bullies' days) IMO. Clarke's actually still around as a senior vice-president, though I don't know how much influence he still has. As you pointed out, though, Holmgren learned from Clarke, so he's likely to at least listen to what Clarke has to say. Also, John Stevens racked up 1399 penalty minutes in 834 AHL games (where he spent most of his playing career), so he's no shrinking violet either. Holmgren himself was a key Bully and held the Flyers' franchise penalty minute record (1600) until Rick Tocchet broke it in 1992. I think the number of suspensions the Flyers have racked up this season (Downie, Boulerice, Randy Jones, Scott Hartnell, and Riley Cote) also speaks to a bit of organizational culture...

Andrew Bucholtz said...

I like Gallagher's idea here actually (even though I don't usually agree with him). Paul Kelly also seems to have his head screwed on the right way.
P.S. Notice how Gallagher also refers to "one of the goofs the Flyers employ"? It shows organizational culture a bit IMO if everyone knows a bunch of your players (Boulerice is the best example) are only out there to go after other guys.

Andrew Bucholtz said...

Also, you know Downie's in trouble when Don Cherry rips into him.