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.


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