Downie on hit list

BRUCE GARRIOCH -- Sun Media

, Last Updated: 8:50 AM ET

Steve Bartlett says it's time for the NHL "to take heavy and swift action" on illegal hits before somebody isn't able to "get up out of a stretcher."

The agent for Senators centre Dean McAmmond told the Sun yesterday he's not sure "when and if" his client will return to action after absorbing a punishing blow to the head from Philadelphia Flyers centre Steve Downie Tuesday at Scotiabank Place.

McAmmond was at home yesterday recovering from his second concussion in four months. Bartlett said "he's not feeling good and he's nowhere close to being able to be where he needs to be to return to playing.

"There's just no place in the game for this kind of headhunting activity," an emotional Bartlett said. "If they don't put a stop to this, you're going to see guys leaving on stretchers and they're not going to be able to get up.

"Yes, this is part of contact sports, but we're well beyond normal activity when a player does something like that. This has to be totally eliminated."

NHL VP Colin Campbell is expected to schedule a hearing with Downie today.

Maple Leafs forward Jason Blake said the Flyers forward should be punished.

"I've got one thought: This (Downie) should not be (allowed) to play in the league again," Blake told a Toronto radio station. "One day a player is not going to get up, so something needs to be done about hits of that nature."

Bartlett, who said the hit reminded him of Todd Bertuzzi's ambush of Steve Moore in 2004, plans to speak to the NHLPA about sending a message regarding illegal hits.

"I know they have to defend Steve Downie because he's a member of the union, but come on, you can't have this kind of thing happen," said Bartlett. "It's not much different than what Bertuzzi was punished for. The intent to injure to me was so clear and so indisputable when you see a hit like that. It can't be the guy was overzealous. That's b.s. Jumping off your feet and making contact with someone's head is not finishing your check. That's seriously trying to hurt somebody."

"I thought that was one of the worst hits I've ever seen. He jumps and he goes for his head," said Senators defenceman Schubert, who nailed Downie along the boards moments before the McAmmond hit. "If he says anything different, I'm sorry, but he must be a big liar."

Ottawa winger Brian McGrattan can expect a call from Campbell. Sources say NHL officials weren't happy with McGrattan's comment that Downie will "get what's coming to him next time we play him." McGrattan likely won't be suspended, but he'll get a stern warning. Downie will likely be sent to the Flyers' AHL affiliate. The AHL would honour any suspension.


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