On October 24th, 2009 the Philadelphia Flyers’ Mike Richards delivered a vicious blindside hit to Florida Panthers’ forward David Booth. The result for Booth was a concussion that held him out of 45 games, as well as the 2010 Winter Olympics, where he would undoubtedly had represent Team USA. The result for Richards… well, he just continued to play games. NHL disciplinarian Colin Campbell, having a son playing for the Panthers, wanted to avoid any suggestion of nepotism, and logically so, so he passed on the responsibility of reviewing the hit for a possible suspension on Richards to NHL Senior Vice President of Hockey Operations Mike Murphy. Murphy foolishly felt this was an unfortunate hockey hit that did not merit a suspension, leaving the majority of journalists and bloggers stunned.
Video of the Richards hit can be found here:
Sunday, Penguins forward Matt Cooke laid a similar hit to the Bruins’ Marc Savard, leaving Savard with a grade 2 concussion. Savard is almost certainly done for this season, and the hockey world watched as we waited to find out how Cooke would be disciplined. Today, we got that answer. Citing the fact that Richards got away with the same hit, so should Cooke.
Video of the Cooke hit can be found here:
The NHL lost an opportunity to rectify a mistake made in October, and instead made it that much harder for us fans of the game to tell the casual sports fan about our game. How can we help the game grow, telling about the skill and athleticism involved when these hits, and the subsequent negligence towards discipline, continually are brought to the forefront? In baby steps forward, the GMs of the league today unanimously approved a proposal to reduce blows to the head and to add a means to levy penalties and suspensions. Someone try to wake up Marc Savard and tell him… but talk quiet… I’m told concussions make you sensitive to sound…