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Tampa Bay Lightning's Steve Downie crosses coach Guy Boucher's on-ice conduct line

It will be interesting to see if Steve Downie, when he is over his injuries, faces any consequences from Lightning coach Guy Boucher for his actions Thursday against the Bruins.

The right wing, who has done so well this season controlling his volatile on-ice temper, stepped over a pretty well-defined line by Boucher, who did not want his players providing emotional fuel to the Bruins or the crowd at TD Garden.

Downie seemed to poke his stick blade into Boston defenseman Gregory Campbell after Campbell slid into Lightning goaltender Mike Smith and into the net. Later, Downie skated from near his bench to confront Shawn Thornton, who had challenged Pavel Kubina to fight.

Kubina, to his credit, skated away from the confrontation. Downie skated right into it.

Downie and Thornton did not fight because the linesmen stepped in, though both received 10-minute misconducts. But there is a larger point. As well-intentioned as Downie was coming to the aid of his teammates, he did not respect his coach's rules of engagement.

As teammate Sean Bergenheim said at the time, the team's primary focus is "to win hockey games, not doing the fights or anything."

Sometimes you have no choice.

Defenseman Eric Brewer was correct in that game to go after Milan Lucic for cross-checking Dominic Moore across the side of the head. But that is different from re-igniting a situation that was winding down, as was the Thornton-Kubina dustup, or poking at Campbell when it wasn't clear that what he did was on purpose.

Downie after the game said that in Campbell's case he was just trying to "move the net" and didn't touch anyone. As for the Thornton-Kubina situation, Downie said he was in protection mode.

Boucher has kept mum on the subject, perhaps because Downie is out anyway with what is at least an ankle problem.

That he hasn't come to Downie's defense seems to speak as loudly.

Tampa Bay Lightning's Steve Downie crosses coach Guy Boucher's on-ice conduct line 03/05/11 [Last modified: Sunday, March 6, 2011 1:25pm]
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