We’ve always been fascinated by the dynamic in sports, but in hockey in particular, of a hated rival switching sides to join the team that despised him.
Especially when that player is someone who was paid to inflict as much battle damage as possible.
Steve Downie had that gig with the Philadelphia Flyers and the Tampa Bay Lightning when he used to face the Penguins. It was with that latter team that he once wrapped his leg around Sidney Crosby’s leg and tripped him to the ice, where the Pittsburgh Penguins captain writhed in pain for a bit.
The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette wondered: What does Sid think of Downie now that they’re teammates?
“He’s trying to play hard on me [in that game in 2010], and that’s what he’s going to try to do to other teams now,” Crosby said. “It’s nice to have a guy on your team like that.”
“I don’t think [acceptance takes] any longer than anybody else, to be honest with you,” Crosby said. “The guy becomes your teammate, and you welcome him into the room like anybody else, whether he’s a guy who played with a bit of an edge or didn’t.
“He’s on your team now, and he has a job to do. He had a job to do when he played for other teams. I think everybody understands that.”
Of course, Downie arrives with the Penguins after Crosby was abused against the Columbus Blue Jackets and New York Rangers in last year’s playoffs.
Bygones can quickly become bygones when you finally have someone on the roster who can do what was done to Crosby to other team’s stars.