Hockey World Blog

Richards won’t be suspended for Booth hit

Word coming down from league officials says that Mike Richards will not be suspended for this bone-crushing hit on Florida’s David Booth that occurred in last night’s contest between the Panthers and the Flyers. Immediately after the hit, Richards was assessed a major penalty for interference and a game misconduct for intent to injure. Booth left the game on a stretcher and stayed overnight in a Philadelphia hospital.

If you ask me, it looks like Richards leads into the hit with his elbow up and shoulder aimed at the head. Booth takes a second to look over his shoulder at a drop pass when Richards come from the blind side to make the check. I think it looked like a dirty hit. These types of hits happen every so often and can be devastating. The league has opened up discussions on keeping these types of hits off the ice, but ultimately the responsibility falls onto the players to eliminate these types of hits.

In this case, Richards easily could have given Booth something to think about by leading into the hit with his hips. I completely agree with the game misconduct and I think that Richards should have been assessed a one-game suspension as well. Whether or not you intend to do it, and whether or not you have a history of making similar hits, the league needs to crack down and show players that they will not be tolerated. Giving a star player a one-game suspension for a first violation would certainly send a message. And players need to head the warnings and know when it’s time to throw a big check and when it’s time to ease up. I’m always impressed with the Detroit Red Wings in this circumstance. Sure, Nik Kronwall delivers his share of crowd-pleasing hits and some of them are boderline dirty, but for the most part you will see many of the Red Wings pull up or stop short of throwing a hit if they see trouble brewing. I’ve seen Draper and Maltby pull back when they see that doors are open on the bench and I’ve seen Datsyuk pull away when a player turns his back, which would result in a hit from behind or boarding. Checking is a huge part of the game and if you don’t keep your head up in the nuetral zone you’re going to get popped. But players need to be more aware of the situation and make better judgement calls regarding some of these hits and keeps the blows to the head at bay. It’s just not worth it when you could potentially end a player’s career.

7 Comments

  1. b. Lee

    October 26, 2009 at 2:57 pm

    I think the central issue is that the NHL needs to detail what “Interference” actually is. Technically, “the last player to touch the puck, other than the goalkeeper, shall be considered the player in possession. The player deemed in possession of the puck may be checked legally, provided the check is rendered immediately following his loss of possession.” can be hit. But what is “immediate”? Is it one second? two seconds? Up until the next player touches the puck? I feel like the hits in the NHL are getting later and later to the point where interference is occurring more and more across the league. Or in this case, players are getting laid out, well after the puck has left their “possession”.

    And this reminds me of Scott Stevens on Paul Kariya back in ’03

  2. b. Lee

    October 26, 2009 at 2:58 pm

    Also, I am by no means for the “Sissyphication” of hockey as Mikey Milbury would say, for I think fighting is an integral and important part of the game of hockey.

    However, hits like this can end careers, and I think that needs to be addressed.

  3. EB

    October 26, 2009 at 6:04 pm

    Sure I enjoyed Richards 15 minutes of penalties for my fantasy team, but after reviewing the tape a few times, it was just plane dirty.

    As Chris mentioned, Richards leaned into the hit aiming high from the get go. That is not checking by any means. A check is to take the player off the puck, not to take him out completely.

    I think a good comparison, and a recent one, would be the hit on Jonathan Toews by Vancouver’s Willie Mitchell. If you watch the video, and either play it slow or test your luck wiht pausing it at the right moment, you will notice that the hit was midsection to midsection.

    Sure the Mitchell hit knocked Toews into next week, as did the Richards hit on Booth, but the two are distinctly different, that being body to body opposed to head hunting.

    On a side note, look at the nasty Steve Ott knee on knee to on Blues Crombeen. Glad Crombeen was not hurt, and much credit to him getting up and dropping the gloves with Ott and letting it be known things such as that will not be tolerated.

    As b. Lee touched on, fighting is an essential part of the game as it actually self regulates the players actions. Do you really want to do something cheap if you know you might have to drop your gloves for your actions?

    b. Lee is still a sissy though.

  4. Tony A.

    October 26, 2009 at 7:43 pm

    C’mon EB, is that really necessary…..calling b.Lee a sissy? His comments are valid even if you don’t completely agree with them?

    b. Lee IS a funny guy.

  5. Chris

    October 26, 2009 at 9:32 pm

    I actually watched the Mitchell hit on Toews immediately following the Richards hit and I completely agree, the Mitchell hit was clean. Mitchell didn’t lean into Toews’ head with his shoulder or bring up his elbow. It was just a solid, open-ice body check. Like you said EB, it knocked Toews into next week, but it was a clean hit. I agree with you b. Lee. I see no problem with fighting, but hits like this that could end a player’s career definitely need to be assessed in some capacity in hopes of eliminating them from the game.

    What Richards did could certainly end Booth’s career. I agree b. Lee, I see no prob;em with fighting

  6. b. Lee

    October 26, 2009 at 10:46 pm

    Tony is my personal Marty McSorley.

  7. Matt

    October 27, 2009 at 10:48 pm

    Does that mean he is going to two hand EB in the head?

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