Downie a marked man

MIKE ZEISBERGER -- Sun Media

, Last Updated: 1:34 PM ET

Nelson Millman says it is "all in fun."

Steve Downie and the Philadelphia Flyers might not see it that way.

A day after Downie concussed Dean McAmmond of the Ottawa Senators with a flying elbow, The Fan 590 has made the controversial Flyers forward its "mark" as part of the station's "Sudden Death Watch."

The Fan is encouraging listeners to spend 59 Fan Listener Loyalty Club Points and join the Sudden Death Watch. According to a release issued by the station, if the famous or infamous celebrity of the week checks out -- in other words, dies -- a lucky listener will cash in and win 100,000 Fan points which they can redeem for prizes.

Millman, the station's long-time vice-president and general manager, refutes suggestions the campaign might be in bad taste.

"Not at all," Millman said. "We've been doing this for weeks. I think people recognize that it's just a joke and that we're just having a bit of fun."

Flyers spokesperson Zach Hill declined comment.

Millman points out that other "marks" in past weeks included Pacman Jones "for too many hits in strip clubs and not enough on the football field;" Ben Affleck "for picking hot girlfriends and bad movie roles;" and Amy Winehouse for leaving rehab early "because they wouldn't serve beer."

NHL vice-president Colin Campbell won't be ordering Downie's execution, but he is expected to schedule a hearing with Downie today.

On a more serious note, McAmmond's agent, 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."

Bartlett told Sun Media yesterday he's not sure "when and if" his client will return to action.

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.

Maple Leafs forward Jason Blake suggested a punishment for Downie.

"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."

"No respect," Leafs forward Wade Belak said of Downie's actions. "I'd never have done something like that in my first year."

Leafs coach Paul Maurice said the hit bent just about every rule the NHL warned players about in a special DVD distributed at the start of training camp.

"I've sat in a room with NHL officials and talked about that exact hit," he said. "There's not much grey area there."


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