Mike Richards' Hit Up For Debate

Kevin LagowskiCorrespondent IOctober 25, 2009

PHILADELPHIA - OCTOBER 10:  Mike Richards #18 of the Philadelphia Flyers skates with the puck during the game against the Anaheim Ducks at the Wachovia Center on October 10, 2009 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.  (Photo by Bruce Bennett/Getty Images)

With Flyers captain Mike Richards likely facing a suspension for Saturday night's devastating hit to David Booth, everyone wants to throw their two cents in.

Richards' skates were on the ice when he delivered the hit and it was clearly with his shoulder, so those aspects of the check were clean.

But the NHL now has the lame 5-minute interference penalty as an excuse to punish a player when something just doesn't feel kosher about a hit.

Do I feel personally that it warranted a major penalty, game misconduct, and probable suspension?

My answer might surprise you.


The NHL needs a "blow to the head" rule like the NFL has. For far too long they have let players knock each other's skulls around, and numerous careers have been shortened as a result.

Richards' hit was ill-timed and unnecessary. It is in the league's best interest to eliminate this type of thing from the game.

The shame of it is that Richards will, of course, be labeled as "just another dirty Flyer" for one bad decision.

Never mind that we saw Scott Stevens do the same thing dozens of times over a two-decade career and he is lauded for it. Every single time he went for an opponent's head should have been a game misconduct and suspension as well.

Maybe the NHL can incorporate the head-shot rule with a rule against hitting a defenseless player, another idea borrowed from the NFL. Together, they are a nasty combination, as David Booth found out.

If someone leveled that kind of hit against a Flyer, I know I would want to see a suspension. I can't go by some double standard when a Flyer is guilty.

I will be shocked if Richards isn't suspended. It's the right call.