Flyers Knockout Panthers


I love the game of hockey for a number of reasons.  It’s fast, it’s tough, it’s full of excitement.  It requires quick thinking, quick reaction, and a sense of knowing where to be and who’s around you.

Last night the Philadelphia Flyers brought a bit of old time hockey to their matchup against the Florida Panthers.  Someway, somehow, they knew that if they played a physical game that the Panthers would not be able to answer the call.  And based on how the game went, so now does the rest of the NHL.

 In the first period Flyer defenceman O.K. Tollefson  checked  Panther center Dominic Moore hard into the boards, causing Moore to get some medical attention for his nose.  Then Flyer Darrell Powe checked Panther forward Radek Dvorak with what looked like a knee on knee hit sending Dvorak to the dressing room.  Late in the game Dmitry Kulikov was checked hard into the boards by the Flyers as the game continued to be reminiscent of they way the Flyers played in the 70’s.  In between all that there was the actual game itself and some goal scoring, including a train wreck of a hit by Flyers captain Mike Richards on Panther forward David Booth.  The Flyers ended up winning the game 5-1 led by Daniel Biere’s two goals and Simon Gagne’s first goal of the season.  Flyer goaltender Ray Emery was rarely tested and only had to make 17 saves, as the Panthers showed little life, looked tired and were completely spent.  Especially after the Richards and Booth collision which was the story of the night.

I watched the game, saw the replay, and watched the video over and over.  Frame by frame as well as regular speed.  I have never played hockey on skates, so I can’t possibly relate to the speed of the game in something like this, however I can appreciate how fast the game actually is.  I do know this much.  Richards had his eye on Booth for at least a few seconds, however quick they were.  Booth also appeared to know that Richards, or someone was over that way (his right).  The problem is that is happened so fast, that I am not sure either player had time to change the outcome.

Is it a suspendible hit?  Yes.  How many games?  Not for me to say.  Booth was hit high to the head.  If you watch the video closely, you will see Richards’ body slightly move up and into  Booth.  Booth was spun around, hit his head on the ice knocking him out at that point.  Now here’s where things get more interesting, and I think that this speakes volumes of the Panthers.  After the hit, and while Booth lay motionless on the ice, nobody, and I mean nobody did anything to stand up for their fallen teammate.  To me this is unconscionable.  Pardon the pun.

I am not a promoter of fighting.  I don’t want it ablolished either. It has it’s place in the game and I’m ok with it.  It’s sometimes is needed and warranted.  It’s a tough game and sometimes you need to vent.  However, the Flyers were banging the Panthers all night long, and while I have no problem with physical play, as a matter of fact, I prefer it. Not one Panther player retaliated.  That made me almost as sick as seeing Booth lie motionless on the ice.  This team (Panthers) has absolutely no grit, no toughness and sad to say, no heart.  Even after that play the Panthers looked listless the rest of the way, even with a 5 minute power play.  Especially after Dmitry Kulikov was smashed into the boards in the third.  No retaliation still.  Even the female high school sophmore in the house questioned the lack of toughness.  “How come nobody did anything”?  Unfortunately the only answer I could come up with is that they are cowards.  Tough to say about a team you follow, but that’s the truth.

As Booth was taken off the ice he remained motinless.  He was taken to hospital for tests, observation etc., spending Saturday night in Philadelphia.  He has since been released and is on his way back to Florida.  I am sure he has alot on his mind, and one question that I would have is, “Did anybody do anything”?  I’d hate to have to tell him no.

Here’s the video of the hit.  You decide if it was illegal, if is deserves suspension, and if there’s any reason you can think of as to why no Panther stood up for Booth.  I’d be curious to your responses.

Richards is not getting suspended as that decision by the league has come down today.  Can’t say I agree with that, but I’m not going to debate it for now.

What concerns me significanlty more is the state of the Panthers.  Their mindset, and what the response of the players is going to be going forward.  Peter DeBoer has some thinking to do.  Randy Sexton needs to find some players to fill the roster as it seems that the Panthers will be without Booth and Dvorak for ahwile.  With little salary cap room, beleive it or not, I’m not sure what can be done.  But if I were Sexton and DeBoer, I’d look for some toughness.  I’d suggest Shanahan or Chelios, but why would they come here to defend a team that’s going no place?

Thanks for reading.

David, hope you get better fast and we see you on the ice soon.  As for your teammates, well, they owe you one!