On October 24, 2009 Philadelphia Flyers’ Mike Richards made a hit on David Booth of the Florida Panthers that would be deemed later as a clean hit. He caught Booth blind-sided in near center ice area heading into Philly’s defensive zone. Mike Richards received a 5 minute Interference Major for the hit, which was served by Aaron Asham along with a 10 minute Game Misconduct. Richards received no conduct from the NHL.
The argument has gone either way regarding this particular hit, being clean or dirty. On February 10, 2010 Philadelphia Flyers’ Jeff Carter made a blind side hit on New Jersey Devils’ Anssi Salmela seconds after scoring a goal, which left him lying on the ice and carried out on a stretcher. Jeff Carter received no penalty and no conduct from the NHL. On March 7, 2010 Matt Cooke of the Pittsburgh Penguins made a hit to the head on Boston Bruins Marc Savard with 5:37 left in the third. This hit left Savard unconscious momentarily. Marc Savard would be taken off on a stretcher, and Matt Cooke was not penalized for the hit. Marc Savard would also be diagnosed with a possible season ending concussion.
Trying to take hitting and fighting out of this great sport is like trying to take the “big crash“ out of Nascar. It will never happen. Can the NHL change the shoulder pads? Possibly so. There have been talks of making a soft cup shoulder pad, compared to the harder one that is used now. Could that solve the issue? I’m not too sure. Ask Rugby players if pads or no pads help when getting crushed. One thing is for sure with all these, there will be more rules added possibly with ramifications, and people will still end up on stretchers being taken off the ice. If you ask all NHL players if they know that person on the stretcher could end up being them, I’m positive the answer will be the same with all persons asked. So the question lies. Where these hits dirty? Did a suspension seem like the cure?
Mike Richards hit on Booth.
Jeff Carter hit on Anssi Salmela
Matt Cooke hit on Savard.
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