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Roberts to Retire, Downie Suspended
Posted By Greg Smith On Mar 6 2009 @ 9:51 pm In Tampa Bay Lightning | No Comments
According to TSN's Bob McKenzie.
Gary Roberts' NHL career is over.
Unclaimed on waivers on trade deadline day, the 42-year-old veteran will not play another game with the Tampa Bay Lightning this season. He had already announced that he would retire at the end of this season.
A formal announcement of Roberts' retirement is expected from the Lightning.
Roberts' contract worked against him being picked up on waivers. His cap hit was more than $2 million and he has a bonus package that pays him $10,000 for each game he plays.
Roberts was Selected by the Calgary Flames 12th overall (1st round) in the 1984 NHL Entry Draft.
He went on to win a Stanley Cup with the Flames in 1988-89.
In 1996, at the age of 30, Roberts announced his retirement from hockey due to injuries, but he underwent an intense re-conditioning program and returned to the NHL after the following season.
In 1224 career NHL games with Calgary, Carolina, Toronto, Florida, Pittsburgh and Tampa Bay, Roberts had 438 goals and 471 assists for 909 points, adding 2560 PIM.
Roberts was placed on waivers by the Tampa Bay Lightning on Tuesday and was not claimed by another NHL team the following day. The Lightning recognized that they were not playoff bound, which is why they attempted to give the 42-year-old another chance with a contending team. Once the clock struck 12:00pm on Wednesday (NHL Trade Deadline), no other team had put a claim in for the veteran, which was rather disappointing for Scary Gary and his hopes to raise the Stanley Cup. Lightning management tried to trade Roberts after going unclaimed, but no team was willing to take on his $1.25 million salary. Just 2 days after the Deadline, breaking news leaked that Gary Roberts was expected to announce retirement. It's hard to see such a dedicated warrior walk away from the game, whileÂ unable toÂ finishÂ finishing his careerÂ in a hockey town. He didn't envision his 20 year career to conclude in Tampa Bay, after stints with the Calgary Flames, Carolina Hurricanes, Toronto Maple Leafs, Florida Panthers and recently the Pittsburgh Penguins. His memorable career, including one Stanley Cup ring, made a big impact on the game. What a power forward he was!
Â In other news…
SteveÂ Downie is in trouble again.
The AHL has suspended the Norfolk Admirals' forward 20 games for deliberately striking an official with his stick.
Late in the third period of the Admirals' game against the Hershey Bears on February 28, Downie slashed linesman MikeÂ Hamilton  before a face-off. Downie was given a game misconduct at the time, and the AHL announced Thursday he was being suspended.
21-year-old Downie has developed a reputation for aggressive behaviour in his young career.
In 2007, before he even played his first regular season NHL game, Downie was suspended 20 games for elbowing Ottawa Senator DeanÂ McAmmond  in the head in a pre-season tilt.
This is not the first time the pesky forward has been suspended by the AHL either, having sat out three games for hitting an opponent from behind earlier this season.
He has already served three games of the current suspension, and should be eligible to return on April 11.
Downie was drafted 29th overall by the Flyers in 2005.
In 29 NHL games with the Flyers and the Lightning this season, Downie has three goals and three assists.
If you haven't got the chance to watch the incident, I suggest you watch it  to determine Downie's intention on the play. There are many variables to consider during this situation. The most prominent is Downie's past history and track record. If this slash insued from another player who wasn't a repeat offender, the player wouldn't be handed out a 20-game suspension, something Downie has to serve. There is no question the slash was vigorous and unacceptable, but was Downie trying to slash the opposing centre, or did he go out of his way to make contact with the referee? I've only watched the replay of the slash once, but I personally believe he was trying to slash his opponent, but over exaggerated the 'stick swing' causing the ref to get hit. Steve Downie has already served 3 of his 20 game suspension, which will be appealed by the Norfolk Admirals (AHL) and the parent-club, Tampa Bay Lightning. What is your stance on Downie's reoccuring acts and do you think he deserves a 20 gamer?
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URLs in this post:
 MikeÂ Hamilton: http://www.prosportsblogging.com../nhl/teams/players/?name=mike+hamilton
 DeanÂ McAmmond: http://www.prosportsblogging.com../nhl/teams/players/?name=dean+mcammond
 watch it: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pbgR7gJBGfk
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