On opening night vs. the Anaheim Ducks, Steve Downie jumped in to let Ryan Kesler know he was on the ice after Kesler hit Letang hard, and Kesler seemed to disappear for the rest of the game.
Last night against the Islanders, Downie may have endeared himself to many more fans. Late in the 2nd period, Sidney Crosby got tangled up behind the net with Jaroslav Halak. After the buzzer to end the period, Halak and Crosby were both talking with the officials and chirping each other a bit. Travis Hamonic decided to step in and have some words for Crosby, and thats when Steve Downie decided to let Hamonic know he was there.
Steve Downie Pointing at Travis Hamonic dot GIF forward slash loop forever and ever.
Downie didn't do anything stupid here, or take any extra penalties. He took enough of those during play, but as Mike Johnston noted after the game to the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette's Seth Rorabaugh, the Penguins can kill penalties that are a result of Downie playing physical.
This is absolutely not the first time in a game between the Penguins and Islanders that Travis Hamonic needed settled down, and Downie did a fine job at it.
In the 3rd period, Frans Nielsen went into the corner with his head down, and was hit hard by Downie.
You have to keep your head up.
Hamonic took exception to it, and dropped the gloves with Downie. I don't want to see anyone get hurt, but going into the corner with your head down is irresponsible, and I'm happy to see that Nielsen wasn't injured on the play.
I loved how Downie came out of the hit knowing there would be a response and was ready to protect himself in what seemed like fractions of a second.
Downie was given a penalty for charging, which is fair, as well as the matching fighting penalties for both he and Hamonic. Hamonic also received a 10-minute misconduct, and a penalty for instigating. When Downie can get a Top-4 defenseman to take a misconduct penalty, that's a trade-off that Penguins fans should be willing to take all the time.
What we've seen through 4 games is that Downie plays along the edge. Keeping him reined in and not tiptoeing too far over that line will be key, and what many said that Rick Tocchet would be able to do when Downie was brought in this summer.