Well you can’t say you didn’t see this coming. Last night the NHL officially outlawed physical play.
With just under 5 minutes remaining in the second period, Flyers captain Mike Richards laid a clean but vicious shoulder check into Florida Panther forward David Booth. The collision appeared to knock Booth unconscious on impact and sent him crashing face first onto the ice. He was carted off and spent the night at University of Pennsylvania Hospital for observation and was reported to have had movement in all his extremities.
After the impact, the NHL and it’s officials took over…
They could not call an elbowing penalty because clearly Richards had his arm tucked tightly to his side.
They could not call a charging penalty because Richards did not leave his feet nor did he even stride into the hit.
No, they called a 5 minute major penalty and a game misconduct for Interference…that’s right hockey fans there is such a thing as a 5 minute major for interference now in this castrated league. That call would imply that Richards interfered with a player who never had possession of the puck. Being that David Booth had the puck and dished it about a foot to his left, about a second before he got crushed would tell me an interference penalty is just not possible in that situation, but what do I know.
Take another look…
Booth is admiring his pass bent down looking to his left. Richards backchecking on the play, keeps his elbow down and leans up on impact. His feet stay on the ice and he falls down after the collision.
Remember Mike Richards is just under 6ft tall and Booth is 6ft even, so for Richards shoulder to connect with Booth’s chin clearly tells you that Booth had his head down. Which is the first thing you are taught in high school when you start playing in full contact leagues NOT to do. Just ask Eric Lindros if that is a good idea. Hall of fame defenseman, Scott Stevens made a career out of similar hits.
Florida General Manager Randy Sexton expressed a strong opinion last night about the hit…
“I thought it was a late hit and I thought it was a dirty hit, He tracked him from behind and you could see it clear he put his shoulder right to his face, to his head,and then he followed through… there is no place in the game for that.”
Flyers GM Paul Holmgren had a wonderful rebuttal.
“It was a good hit,” Holmgren said. “I don’t see how they can (suspend him). Mike was doing his job. He was back tracking, he caught up to the play. His feet never left the ice. David Booth turned his head or it would have been a shoulder on shoulder hit. It’s a physical game and sometimes these things happen. Randy Sexton should watch more hockey games.“
Thumbs up for Homer, shockingly it was announced just a few moments ago that Richards would not be suspended. Im not gonna lie, I’m very surprised that for once the league made the right decision.