Richards Hit Knocks Panthers' David Booth Cold as Flyers Get Nasty

Robert YoungContributor IOctober 24, 2009

PHILADELPHIA - MARCH 26:  David Booth #10 of the Florida Panthers skates against the Philadelphia Flyers on March 26, 2009 at the Wachovia Center in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.  (Photo by Bruce Bennett/Getty Images)

The Florida Panthers suffered two injuries in Philadelphia as a grimy Flyers team knocked out both Radek Dvorak and David Booth from the game.

Radek left the game with a lower body injury early in the second period. That injury didn’t look like a dirty hit, but the one that came later that same period definitely did have that appearance.

Mike Richards of the Flyers, known as a hard-hitting but not necessarily a dirty player, left his shoulder in and appeared to lift his skates from the ice when he slammed in to Booth’s head; flinging David around in mid-air and knocking him cold to the ice.

Booth didn’t see the hit coming until it was too late. The play was upheld for several minutes as trainers and doctors flooded the ice to help the wounded player. Blood was seen underneath his head as he lay motionless, face down, on the ice.

David looked unconscious for several minutes but had regained consciousness by the time he was lifted upon a stretcher and wheeled off and out of the arena to the sound of a standing ovation from the home crowd at the Wachovia Center in Philadelphia.

Latest news is that Booth has been taken to the Methodist Hospital in Philadelphia. We can only hope the injury won’t be as nasty as the hit looked like.

Latest news is that David is “alert and moving.” Florida’s General Manager Randy Sexton said that ''they are doing a whole host of tests just to make sure everything is okay.''

Randy Sexton also commented about the injury, saying amongst other things that “those types of hits have no place in the game” and that he’s “sure the league will do a full review.”

The verdict on Richards’ hit and subsequent suspension could come as soon as tomorrow. He was ejected from the game because the referee’s adjudged the hit to be done with “intent to injure.”

Mike Richards has stated after the game: “I was not trying to hurt him but separate him from the puck. He turned, everything happened so quickly.”

Hits and checks have an important role in the game and we should not look to limit this in hockey. However, dirty hits to the head cannot be tolerated. The NHL must make a statement here and take a long hard look at this instance.

The loss of David Booth will constitute a major loss for the Florida Panthers.

But for now we can only hope it is not too severe and that he won’t suffer any permanent damage.

Other Panthers that felt the malicious side of the Flyers team was Dominic Moore that was hit in the face in the first period and 18-year-old defenseman rookie Dmitry Kulikov who got banged up in the corner.

Apart from these hits however, most Philly checks were legal and the Panthers simply didn’t have it in them to answer back.

What this game highlights for the Cats is the need to have a real fighter on the team.

Someone who will make opponents pay for such reckless play as was seen tonight. Maybe if someone had stepped up in the first period and made an example, Mike would have thought twice about injuring Florida’s starlet winger, who scored the visitors only goal in the first period.

The Panthers were too tame and, after the hit to Booth, they looked uninterested with the game as the Flyers flew away with a 5-1 win.

And who can blame them. The dirty knock to David reminds us all that there are more important things in life than winning or losing a hockey game.

In fact, there are 82 of them in the regular season alone and Florida sure could have needed Booth for the remaining 73.