Downie was having a very unsportsmanlike Sunday and ref Wes McCauley wasn’t having any of it.  The tough winger finished his game with 22 minutes in penalties, coming mostly on the strength of two 10-minute misconduct penalties.  The reason for the first of those, though, should have resulted in Downie missing quite a bit more time.

With his team trailing 1-0, a scrum broke out in the corner. Steve Downie was in the middle of it. Unfortunately, so was linesman Pierre Racicot.

Downie’s no stranger to the penalty box. He leads the league in PIM with 221, nearly 50 more than the Avs’ Cody McLeod who sits in second. Downie also leads in minors (43) and misconducts (9).

“Where he goes overboard is when his emotions get out of control,” said Pens coach Mike Johnston. “He starts to get on referees, and takes penalties he shouldn’t take. That’s what catches him.”


Abuse of Officials

Downie’s avoided suspensions recently in the NHL, but has been fined. He was fined $2,500 for leaving the bench to start an altercation back in 2011. Prior to that, he was fined for a ‘dangerous’ hit on now-teammate Sidney Crosby. He was suspended for 20-games back in 2007 for a hit to the head of Dean McAmmond during a preseason game.

Downie did, though, receive a significant suspension while playing in the AHL for abuse of officials. In 2009, he slashed linesman Mike Hamilton during a faceoff. Downie was given a game misconduct and a mandatory 20-game ban for deliberately striking an official with his stick, a violation of AHL Rule 41.2.

What’s Next for Downie?

After the game, referees Wes McCauley and Graham Skilliter, along with linesmen Brian Mach and Pierre Racicot, would determine which, if any, offense was committed under Rule 40. They’d let NHL Hockey Operations know verbally, following up with a written report of the incident. No public comment can be made until after the league and the NHLPA have discussed the issue.

Below is an excerpt from the NHL rulebook around Rule 40 which covers physical abuse of officials:

40.3 Automatic Suspension – Category II – Any player who deliberately applies physical force to an official in any manner, which physical force is applied without intent, shall be automatically suspended  for not less than ten (10) games.

40.4 Automatic Suspension – Category III – Any player who … deliberately applies physical force to an official solely for the purpose of getting free of such an official during or immediately following an altercation shall be suspended for not less than three (3) games.

With no word on any discipline, it appears that Downie may escape further punishment.  He wasn’t given a game misconduct during the game – which is mandatory for any physical abuse of officials, just a 10-minute misconduct for this play.

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