Philadelphia Flyers recall forward Steve Downie from AHL affiliate

PHILADELPHIA – Steve Downie, who received one of the longest suspensions in NHL history for a vicious pre-season hit on Ottawa’s Dean McAmmond, was recalled by the Flyers from the team’s AHL affiliate on Tuesday.

Downie was suspended 20 games for leaving his feet to hit McAmmond in the head in a September pre-season game. McAmmond was taken from the ice on a stretcher and missed a month of action with a concussion.

Downie was the first of five Flyers to be suspended for brutal hits so far this season.

The 20-game suspension given to Downie matched the fourth-longest in league history and was five games less than given to teammate Jesse Boulerice for hitting Vancouver’s Ryan Kesler across the face with his stick. Boulerice’s suspension matched the longest in league history for an on-ice incident.

Most recently, forward Riley Cote was suspended for three games for using his elbow to strike Dallas forward Mat Niskanen into the boards in the third period of Saturday’s loss to the Stars.

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The league has warned Flyers general manager Paul Holmgren that the franchise could be subject to further disciplinary action for any other hit.

Downie, 20, had a goal and 11 assists in 13 games for the Philadelphia Phantoms. He led the AHL team in penalty minutes with 63.

Downie was ruled ineligible to play in the AHL for the first month of the season. A Flyers spokesman said Downie would be eligible to play when the team returns to action Wednesday night against the Minnesota Wild. A league spokesman confirmed Downie’s suspension was over.

Downie, 20, was selected by the Flyers in the first round (29th overall) of the 2005 NHL entry draft.

With files from The Canadian Press.