ShareThis Page

Downie: Joining Penguins 'made sense'

| Thursday, July 3, 2014, 6:21 p.m.

Joining the Penguins was a no-brainer for Steve Downie.

The 27-year-old right wing wanted to play for his old coach, Rick Tocchet, in a city he liked and with a team that is eager to win a Stanley Cup.

“It just made sense,” Downie said Thursday. “You only hear good things about the organization and the city of Pittsburgh. And playing for Rick was one of the main factors. It's a great relationship we have. He's really a great communicator with me. I enjoy playing for him.”

Downie enjoyed his finest season while Tocchet was his head coach in Tampa Bay. The Toronto native produced 22 goals during the 2009-10 season while playing on a line with stars Steven Stamkos and Martin St. Louis.

Downie not only proved capable of keeping up with Tampa Bay's stars, but he also was more than capable of protecting them. He expects to provide the same protection for Penguins stars Sidney Crosby and Evgeni Malkin.

“I play a hard game,” Downie said. “And I'm always going to stick up for my teammates, no matter what. There will not be liberties taken against our star players in Pittsburgh. And there won't be liberties taken against any of my teammates. That's what successful teams do, and I'll be a part of that.”

Downie said he will accept any role. General manager Jim Rutherford and Tocchet, a Penguins assistant, suggested Wednesday that Downie is capable of a top-six role.

Crosby always has enjoyed playing with right-handed wingers.

“Sidney Crosby is the best player in the world,” Downie said. “To even think about having a chance to play with him excites me. But honestly, whatever happens, happens. Wherever I play, I'll do what I can. I'm just coming to Pittsburgh to win.”

Downie is satisfied with his health. He has dealt with hearing problems most of his life and sustained a concussion last season while playing for the Philadelphia Flyers.

The hearing problems stem from a condition called otosclerosis, a disease of the bones of the middle and inner ear. His hearing worsened last season.

“I ended up losing 55 percent of my hearing last year,” Downie said. “It was tough. I had a lot of balance issues.”

Downie recently had ear surgery.

“It's hereditary,” he said of his condition. “It's something that progresses. They ended up fixing it, though. So hopefully it stays where it is.”

Downie has been working in Toronto with former Penguins forward Gary Roberts to improve his conditioning.

“I really can't wait to get to Pittsburgh,” he said. “I think it's going to be a good thing for me.”

Josh Yohe is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. Reach him at or via Twitter @JoshYohe_Trib.

TribLIVE commenting policy

You are solely responsible for your comments and by using you agree to our Terms of Service.

We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.

While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.

We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers

We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.

We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.

We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.

We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.