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Tampa Bay Lightning minor-leaguer Steve Downie suspended for hit

TAMPA — The Lightning knew what it was getting when it traded for Steve Downie.

The right wing, part of the Matt Carle trade with the Flyers, has been suspended numerous times in juniors, and last season with Philadelphia was suspended 20 games for a hit on Ottawa's Dean McAmmond.

Old habits apparently die hard. Downie, 21, with AHL Norfolk, was suspended three games for Wednesday's from-behind hit on Worcester's Kyle McLaren, who called the play "dirty."

Tampa Bay wants Downie to eventually add grit to its NHL roster, and general manager Brian Lawton said he had a "minor setback."

"He'll be fine," Lawton said. "I was down there to see him last week, and I thought he played very in control. … He has to stay in that gray zone in order to be effective."

INJURY REPORT: D Lukas Krajicek left the game after the second period with a lower-body injury. He will be evaluated today. … LW Ryan Malone, in his first game after missing four with an apparent leg injury, sat out the third period on orders from coach Rick Tocchet.

"He could have played," Tocchet said. "It was a little sore."

ASSISTANT SEARCH: Lawton said he expects to add an assistant or associate coach within two weeks. The team is down one after the firing of coach Barry Melrose and the promotion of Tocchet. Lawton said the hire will be a "senior guy."

One possibility: Mike Sullivan, a fired John Tortorella assistant whom the Lightning is still paying.

POWER PLAY: Tocchet took some of the blame for Tampa Bay's 1-for-6 power play, which failed on two five-on-threes and had two shots.

"I introduced a couple of new things on the boards, and we haven't really practiced it," Tocchet said.

Still, it was disappointing for a unit that entered Friday as the league's worst at home at 10.8 percent.

TAMPA BAY FIGHTS CANCER: More than 4,000 fans with ties to the Tampa Bay area's cancer community attended the game courtesy of attorney Steve Yerrid and his Yerrid Foundation.

ODDS AND ENDS: Marty St. Louis was hit by a puck with 9:15 left in the first, but returned in the second with 23 stitches above his left eye. … Mark Recchi tied Luc Robitaille for 19th all time with 1,394 points. … LW Gary Roberts (upper body) and C Chris Gratton (lower body) did not play. … LW David Koci, claimed off waivers Thursday, was scratched.

Tampa Bay Lightning minor-leaguer Steve Downie suspended for hit 11/21/08 [Last modified: Monday, November 24, 2008 8:39pm]
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