Mike Richards Should Not Be Punished for Clean Hit

Bleacher ReportAnalyst IOctober 24, 2009

Philadelphia Flyers center Mike Richards received a five-minute major and game misconduct late in the second period after laying a huge hit on Florida Panthers left wing David Booth, which knocked the up-and-coming 24-year-old out cold and forced him to leave on a stretcher.

Booth was seen moving his arms and legs, and was taken to Pennsylvania Hospital. He'll remain at the hospital while the rest of the Panthers board the plane for their next game when they host Ottawa on Wednesday.

According to Anthony SanFilippo , it sounds like Booth will be okay with a concussion and bad cut over the eye.

Back to the devastating hit, the Flyers' captain led with his shoulder and not his elbow, and didn't leave his feet prior to contact. Because of the game misconduct, the league will review the hit and hand any punishments by tomorrow night's game against San Jose.

The hit was a violent, but it was legal and shouldn't warrant a suspension.

Booth was caught with his head down after admiring a pass inside Florida's blue line, which can never lead to good things. Coaches preach to their players at every level to keep your head up and never admire a pass; Booth did both of those and paid for it.

Richards' shoulder hit Booth up high, but it appears that the ice did more harm than Richie's shoulder did. There was blood, and Booth was unconscious, however the hit could have been avoided if his head was up.

Obviously both sides have different opinions as the Panthers' general manager and announcers believe that Richards should be suspended while Paul Holmgren see nothing that is suspendable.

Randy Sexton, Florida's GM, said that there's "no place" for hits like the hit Richards laid on Booth in the game when in fact, Sexton admitted that he didn't see the hit live.

Does Sexton know anything about hockey? Does he even watch the game? Maybe that's why he's the GM of the Florida Panthers.

Colin Campbell, who is the NHL's disciplinarian, hasn't always been fair when reviewing hits like these by players wearing the Oranges 'n Black sweaters so we'll see whether or not Richards will be seated for a few games.

The hit is comparable to the one where Calgary's defenseman Dion Phaneuf annihilated New York Islanders' forward Kyle Okposo in the preseason. Phaneuf received a five-minute major and a game misconduct, but he was not suspended for any games; neither should Richards.

I believe that Booth had his head turned the other way and put himself into a situation where he was sustainable of getting crushed, and that's exactly what happened when Richards leveled him with a perfectly legal hit.

For more Flyers' coverage, please go to my blog: Operation Orange Crush