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Wing Steve Downie shows some good fight for the Tampa Bay Lightning vs. Minnesota Wild

ST. PAUL, Minn.— Steve Downie arrived Thursday night in Minneapolis not only with luggage, but baggage.

The 21-year-old RW, called up from AHL Norfolk with D Matt Smaby when W Matt Pettinger and D David Koci were put on injured reserve Thursday, has the potential to add grit and gumption to a team that has needed it.

But Downie, a 2005 first-round Flyers pick acquired from Philadelphia on Nov. 7 in the Matt Carle deal, also has a history of on-ice behavioral issues and suspensions.

GM Brian Lawton said Friday that "it's what he does from here forward as to how he'll be judged," but his transgressions aren't ancient history. This month at Norfolk, Downie was suspended for three games for hitting Worcester's Kyle McLaren from behind. McLaren called the hit dirty.

Downie showed his two-way potential in the second period Friday, blocking an Erik Reitz pass with his skate and hustling in for a breakaway that G Niklas Backstrom snuffed. Downie, frustrated, cross-checked the dislodged net.

"He needs to bring energy and enthusiasm to our lineup," Lawton said. "That's what I thought he did (Friday). He did a good job."

FIGHT CLUB: Rookie C Steven Stamkos didn't pick the biggest and-or baddest bully in the schoolyard for his first NHL fight to prove he wouldn't be pushed around. But he seemed pleasantly content two days after a hard check incited fisticuffs with the Rangers' Nikolai Zherdev on Wednesday.

Stamkos, who is 6 feet 1, 196 pounds and had two notable tussles in juniors, said he inherited his edge from his father, Chris.

"My dad, he was a pretty aggressive hockey player when he played," said Stamkos, grinning. "He wasn't the biggest guy, but he was known for being feisty.

"I guess with me being his son, I kind of carry on that trait a little bit."

THANKS: The Wild held a video tribute before the game for first-year Lightning assistant coach Wes Walz, who was an original member of the Minnesota franchise and played with it from 2000 to 2007.

ODDS AND ENDS: D Andrew Hutchinson cleared recall waivers from Norfolk. … The Lightning scratched Smaby and D Marek Malik (lower-body injury). The Wild had healthy scratches Craig Weller and Colton Gillies.


Lightning at Avalanche

When/where: 9; Pepsi Center, Denver

TV/radio: Ch. 44; 620-AM

Injuries: Tampa Bay — C Chris Gratton (knee), LW Gary Roberts (upper body), W Matt Pettinger (right knee) and David Koci (broken hand) are out. D Marek Malik (lower body) is questionable. Colorado — LW Darcy Tucker (knee) and C Ben Guite (ribs) are out.

Key stats: C Paul Stastny leads the Avs with 17 points. … RW Milan Hejduk leads Colorado with nine goals. … Colorado C Joe Sakic returned this week after missing five games with a strained back and one because of a root canal. He has 12 points in 15 games. … This is the first of two meetings between the teams this season. … Tampa Bay trails the all-time series 11-12-3-1. … The radio broadcast for the Dec. 6 game against Buffalo will move from 620-AM to 970-AM to accommodate the SEC football championship game. The Dec. 8 game at Boston will be broadcast on 970-AM because the Bucs-Panthers Monday Night Football game will be on 620.

Brant James, Times staff writer

Wing Steve Downie shows some good fight for the Tampa Bay Lightning vs. Minnesota Wild 11/28/08 [Last modified: Friday, November 28, 2008 11:53pm]
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