Before the end of the Minnesota Wild’s game against the Pittsburgh Penguins on Tuesday night, there were already reports that Ryan Suter was going to have his elbow on Steve Downie reviewed. Following the game, the Department of Player Safety announced via Twitter that the play would be reviewed.
The elbow, which came less than five minutes into the second period, was not penalized, and you can check out the video for yourself below.
As expected, the elbow stunned Downie and he was down on the ice for a few seconds before he was able to skate off under his own power. Suter was not whistled for a penalty on the play, and Downie did not return to the game.
The case against suspending Suter: Suter has a perfect record. He has never been suspended. He rarely, if ever, takes penalties, with the “dirtiest” season of his career being 2011-12 when, over 79 games, he racked up 46 PIM. The elbow could have been nothing more than reaching out for a body, and it doesn’t look at all like it was intentional.
The case for suspending Suter: Downie was injured on the play, did not return, and it’s very possible he sustained a concussion on the play. Even though Suter doesn’t have the reputation, if the league wants to be strong on removing head hits from the game, they may have to make some noise with this one. It wasn’t a good hit by any means, and dirty or not, it happened.
Losing Suter for the already struggling Wild would be a serious blow, but don’t sleep on the impact losing Downie will have on the Penguins lineup. In 37 games for the Penguins, Downie has seven goals and 20 points to go along with 131 PIM.