PHILADELPHIA—To use a baseball reference, I’ll throw out the most obvious. The Philadelphia Flyers hit a home run last night defeating the Florida Panthers 5-1 from the Wachovia Center, their second straight win.
The Flyers showed the hockey world what they can do when they perform at a high level for a full 60 minutes. Philadelphia outshot the Panthers 38-18.
Danny Briere continued his tear on the score sheet netting two goals and adding an assist. Arron Asham scored his third goal in as many games. Rookie James van Riemsdyk notched his first NHL goal on a pretty breakaway effort.
Simon Gagne finally got the monkey off his back ringing the red light for his first of the season. Before the goal, his seven-game goal-less drought was the longest of his 10-year career.
The alarming part of this game is the fact that nobody will remember the five goals and 38 shot performance the Flyers put on the cats. They will remember "the hit."
Florida's left wing David Booth was taken off the ice on stretcher after a hard hit from Philadelphia's captain Mike Richards. With 2:55 left in the second, Booth had just made a pass in front of the Flyers’ blue line, when Richards skated across and drilled into him. Richards’ shoulder went straight to the head on Booth, who had his head down.
Booth seemed to be unconscious before he hit the ice. The impact when he hit the ice might have done more damage than the actual hit itself.
Richards received a five-minute major for interference along with a 10-minute game misconduct.
Booth, who scored the only Florida goal, was taken immediately to Pennsylvania Hospital. It become known that Booth had a concussion, a cut above his eye, and more importantly motion in all of his extremities. He will be held overnight.
What was the reaction from Richards about his hit on Booth?
"I’m never out there to hurt anyone," Richards said. "I have respect for the game and respect for the players. My concern is with him. Hopefully, he’s fine and gets better."
"I just wanted to separate him from the puck. He dished it off and everything happened so quickly. I don’t have a history of head shots and I don’t even know if it was a head shot."
GM Paul Holmgren believed it was a legal hockey hit. He does not think the hit was suspension worthy.
"I don’t see how they (NHL) can view it like that," Holmgren said. "Mike was doing his job. His feet never left the ice. It was a shoulder hit. David Booth turned his head. It looks like he saw him at the last second, but turned his head and his head took the blow."
"It would have been shoulder on shoulder if not. It’s a physical game and sometimes these things happen. I feel bad for David Booth. He’s a good young player. Hopefully everything is going to be all right."
Obviously, the Flyers were pretty certain about the situation; however, the other side had some different thoughts.
"Richards knows (Booth) is in vulnerable position and goes after him," said Panthers defensemen Keith Ballard. "He’s done it before. That’s the same stuff they’ve been trying to cut out. The thing with Mike Richards is he’s a good, honest player. I love a lot about him game. He does a lot of things well, but then he does that stuff."
It shows how Ballard is mainly upset with the situation a fellow team-mate is in. Although, he should know Richards isn’t the kind of player that goes head hunting.
The Flyers and Richards should find out sometime this morning if their captain will miss any game action due to a suspension. The issue has to be handled quick because the Flyers play San Jose tonight at the Wachovia Center.
Jeff Carter had 11 scoring chances and won the faceoff battle for the second straight game.
Briere’s two goals gave him his 28th multi-goal game of his career.
Goaltender Brian Boucher will see regular season action for the first time this season. Yes, against his former team.
Mike Richards has been cleared of any wrong doing according to club GM Paul Holmgren. Richards is expected in the lineup when the Flyers face the San Jose Sharks.