For the second time in as many nights, an NHL player was taken off the ice on a stretcher Saturday. This time around it's Florida Panthers forward David Booth, who was on the receiving end of what appears to be a rather borderline hit from Philadelphia's Mike Richards.
Richards appears to lead with his shoulder, but it's a hit to the head, and that's never a good thing. He received a five-minute major and a game misconduct for interference, and the play will obviously get some attention from the league. How can a player get five minutes and a game misconduct for interference you ask? Well, let's recall our conservation with former NHL director of officiating Stephen Walkom from a year ago. From Walkom:
"In terms of that call, a year ago the general managers decided that in our rule book we always had a minor penalty for interference," said Walkom. "Someone asked the question one day, 'What happens if a player doesn't play the puck, gets hit, and gets injured ... Shouldn't that be a major penalty? And a game misconduct?' So, the major penalty and a game misconduct were added to the rule book last year. It was approved by the competition committee, the board of governors and the general managers first."Once the major penalty is issued, the game misconduct becomes automatic. It's all under rules 56.4 and 56.5 in the NHL rule book.
Booth scored his second goal of the season earlier in the game.
So, what do you think, hockey fans? Is this a legal hit with an unfortunate result, or a player that requires further discipline from the league?
UPDATE: Booth has been released from a Philadelphia hospital after suffering a concussion.
(H/T HFBoards for posting the video)