Among those condemning the Steve Downie hit on Ottawa Senators Dean McAmmond was Senators owner Eugene Melynk who called Downie a “goon” and the incident “a bag of dirt.” He also told the Fan 590 in Toronto that Downie, a Philadelphia Flyer prospect, shouldn’t be in the NHL.
Tough talk. But how different would Melnyk’s commentary have been if one of his own players was in trouble over a head shot? Two days earlier, Senators Chris Neil left his feet to hit the Toronto Maple Leafs’ Bryan McCabe from behind. It was a cheap shot and should have been called, prompting Leafs TV game analyst Harry Neale to note that “a one-handed hook” draws a penalty, but Neil’s hit did not.
Neil is a dirty player. Last season, he blind-sided Buffalo’s Chris Drury with a vicious hit, opening up a 20-inch gash on his forehead. Another of Melynk’s players is Brian McGrattan, who fits his owner’s description of goon – a fighter with few if any hockey skills. McGrattan promised retribution against Downie, but Melynk condoned McGrattan’s remark, describing him as an “emotional” person. Yes, well, so is Downie, who was hit from behind a few seconds before he smashed into McAmmond.
We’re not saying Melnyk is a hypocrite, but his one-sided view of the hockey world might explain why nothing ever gets done to stop the craziness.