Supplemental discipline hearings for Tampa Bay Lightning's Steve Downie, Pittsburgh's Kunitz
Tampa Bay Lightning coach Guy Boucher said Monday night he believed the league would look at Steve Downie's hit on Pittsburgh's Ben Lovejoy during the Penguins 3-2 victory in Game 3 of the East quarterfinal. And this morning we learned Downie and Pittsburgh's Chris Kunitz have supplemental discipline hearings scheduled with league disciplinarian Colin Campbell. There was no immediate confirmation from the Lightning about Downie.
Downie's first-period hit, replays showed, caught Lovejoy in the shoulder. The problem was Downie left his feet and launched himself at Lovejoy. Downie would have been called for at least charging had not the Penguins scored on the delayed penalty. Lovejoy, though, downplayed the hit, calling it clean and that he has to be more aware of what's going on around him. He said Downie did not hit him in the head.
Kunitz's hit was much more blatant and black-and-white as he clearly extended his elbow to catch Simon Gagne in the back of the head. That would seem to be a violation of Rule 48 which prohibits blind-side or side shots to the head. Gagne was particularly frustrated after the game, calling for the league to look at the hit.
The hit also was more worrisome for Gagne who has a concussion history and this season, it was discovered, has a scar-tissue mass in his neck that at least contributed to the nerve injury that sidelined him early in the season.
"The important thing is I'm okay," Gagne said. "But it's stuff you don't like to see. You don't like to be involved in. But the important thing is I was able to finish the game and I'm okay."