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Randy Sexton: David Booth Alert, Moving ... Will Remain in Philadelphia Tonight

BY GEORGE RICHARDS grichards@MiamiHerald.com

PHILADELPHIA – Florida Panthers winger David Booth is alert and moving after being taken off the ice on a stretcher after a hard hit to the head from Philadelphia Flyers captain Mike Richards on Saturday night.

Booth, 25, remained motionless on the ice after the dangerous hit administered by the Flyers star. Booth was taken to Pennsylvania Hospital in south Philadelphia where he was expected to remain at least until Sunday.

Team athletic trainer Steve Dischiavi rode to the hospital with Booth and will remain with him until he can return to South Florida. The Panthers boarded a jet soon after Saturday's game.

''They are doing a whole host of tests just to make sure everything is OK,'' said general manager Randy Sexton. ''I don't know [if Booth had a concussion]. It's too early to tell. The injury just happened. We'll have a much clearer picture in the morning. He was moving his extremities and was awake when he left the ice.''

Richards aggressive hit could bring a fine and suspension before the Flyers play host to San Jose on Sunday. Richards hit Booth on open ice as Booth was vulnerable after playing he played the puck in the Philadelphia zone. Booth did not appear to see Richards coming at him. Richards led into Booth with his shoulder and sent the Florida winger flat to the ice.

Booth immediately hit the ice where he remained motionless for a few moments. Dr. Gary Dorshimer, who works with the Flyers, was escorted onto the ice by a Philadelphia player as Dischiavi and Dave Zenobi attended to Booth. Paramedics later rolled out a stretcher onto the ice. After a few minutes, Booth was rolled over and there seemed to be a little movement.

When Booth was moved, a puddle of blood could be seen collecting under where his face had been resting. It appeared that he was knocked cold when he hit in the chin.

''Obviously, I was not trying to hurt him but separate him from the puck,” Richards said. “He turned, everything happened so quickly, it’s hard for me, I really didn’t see it. .-.-. I didn’t mean to hurt him. I don’t have a history of head shots. I don’t even know if it’s a head shot.''

Booth, coincidentally, scored his second goal of the season in the first period.

''It was a loss out of our lineup,'' said coach Pete DeBoer. ''You worried about his welfare; it's a scary sight. He was totally unconscious on the ice. You're not thinking about hockey. You just hope he's alright.''

Sexton had said that the Richards hit was dirty and a number of his players – including Bryan Allen and Keith Ballard – agreed. Sexton's quotes were relayed to Philadelphia general manager Paul Holmgren and he defended his player.

''Randy Sexton needs to watch more hockey games,'' Holmgren said. ''It's a good hit. Mike Richards was just doing his job.''

Responded Sexton: ''I'm not going to get into a war of words with Paul. He has his own opinions.''

A quick skirmish broke out after the Richards hit, but attentions quickly turned to the fallen Booth. The Panthers then went on a long power play and didn't physically respond to the Richards hit during the game. The Flyers, who led 3-1 at the time of the Booth hit, rolled from then on.

Florida didn't score on its two minute chance with two extra skaters on the ice and did little the rest of the way as the Flyers celebrated the win.

''The guy had his head down, in vulnerable position and Richards knows it,'' said Ballard. ''He went after him. He's done it before. It's the same thing [the NHL] is trying to put an end to. He tried to hurt him. [Booth] was looking the other way. .-.-. We had a five minute power play. We didn't score, didn't hit anyone. We didn't do anything. We needed to pick something.''

The Panthers also lost veteran winger Radek Dvorak to an apparent left knee injury after he got crushed by Darroll Powe just 36 seconds into the second period.

Dvorak was in obvious pain as he was helped off the ice, with DeBoer saying after the game ''it didn't look good.'' Sexton said Dvorak would return with the team and be evaluated by team medical personnel in South Florida.



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Excellent news! Thanks for the report George!

Philly showed up as the broadstreet bullies today. What a senseless hit on Booth. I don't think anyone could retalitate for Kulikov becasue they were already down two guys.
I'm sure there will be some retalitiation play the next trip to Philly.

Panthers have a huge problem with forwards now. I guess call up Mattias, Repik or Taffe in the AHL to replace some wounded bodies. I wouldn't be surprised to see both Mattias and Repik here for the Ottawa game. What's a trade going to get us? More mediocre players? Might as well try out the AHL guys.

Any update on Ballard, last time I saw him in the third, he looked like he had a knee problem?

He got hit in the back of the knee with a puck

The hit was fine. Its hockey. It sucks when someone gets hurt, but the way he was hit was Booths fault. If you are going to cross the middle of the ice with your head down, thats what happens. The guy didn't lead with his elbow or jump in the air to get him in the head, it was a solid hit that stunned booth and caused him to get hurt, not a dirty hit..... So quit whining. It sucks seeing people get hurt and if the panthers guy checked a guy on the same play and he got hurt I would say the same thing.

Also, hockey is a physical sport, if you dont like hits, why dont you tell the NHL to make players wear flags like in flag football....

Enough with all the crying. It sucks he got hurt, but that can happen when big buys wearing sharp skates collide.

Yikes, it doesn't matter if they were down 2 men, the game was over. You've got to stand up for teammates. They are gutless

It's an embarrasment to be a panther fan tonight. To not come to this great player's defense is inexplicable and inexcusable.

You know, by the definition of the rules, it can be called a clean hit. But just as a human being, you don't have to hit a guy that hard to get him off the puck. It's just a simple matter of respect for a human being rather than whether it was within the rules to do it. Richards doesn't have that respect. He's done it before and he'll do it again.

His line about "I was not trying to hurt him but separate him from the puck" is complete hogwash. The puck was gone and he went headhunting. Richards attempted to injure him. His 5 and a game will probably be it as far as punishment. I don't think the league will want to punish an otherwise clean player on a contending team.

Someone that should be punished is the guy who took out Dvorak. I only saw one replay but it looked like a deliberate knee-on-knee.

That said, I'm done with this. I'm not even going to watch a Panthers game again until they're at .500. This nonsense is too much to bear. I'm supposed to be entertained by this crap, not enraged.

This team is unwilling to stick up for their own teammates. Management thinks they don't need a tough guy or two to help protect their young skilled players. They will never be able to show any skills under the current scheme. Think Paul Laus or Peter Worrell would have put up with this crap. No offense, poor defense and god awful management.

In the interest of full disclosure, I am a Flyers fan.

I keep hearing this "he's done it before" line. Just because a Ballard said it doesn't make it a fact. I see almost every Flyers game either in person or on TV. I don't see Richards as a cheap shot artist. I have seen him make some big hits but never seemed intent on trying to hurt someone.

There wasn't a single person at the Wachovia Center last night that wasn't thinking, "God, I just hope he is ok." The Broad Street Bullies moniker is long past it's useful life. This is a good team that plays a physical game. They play clean, hard hockey.

Richards did exactly what he (and every other hockey player) has been taught to do since juniors: You see a guy with his head down crossing the ice with the puck, you hit him. Its part of the game. Nobody wants to see a player get hurt like that. But it, unfortunately, happens sometimes.

It was a bad hit. He'll get a suspension. I hope Booth is ok.

Bigger problem is that the wheels are coming off this Panthers team. It is going to be a very very long season.

GR-I have a late addition to the Panthers Hall of Shame. The 2009/10 team's testicles because they were certainly missing last night and it would be nice to know where they are.

This team, especially the soft forwards was constructed to play in a european league. There is no team toughness, it's an embarrassment. After the dirty hit on Booth, Horton played his usual perimeter game and was obviously going through the motions.

This is what happens when a team has no enforcers. Allen is the closest thing to one, but he had the night off. There isn't another player who will drop the gloves quickly. Richards should not have been able to get up off the ice after that hit. Someone like Brashear would have been all over him like white on ice. This team is done, unless something drastic happens(a 50 goal scorer signing), we will never see the playoffs. No scorers, no enforcers, no goaltending, power play sucks, defense sucks, Horton sucks....Really, why am I even paying for season tickets at this point?

David Booth is in our thoughts and prayers. He's the heart and soul of this team. In fact, he's the only guy on this team who has heart and soul. For his sake, I hope he stays out until they can get him some protection. Goerge- where can we send a card and show him our support?

This team is horrible. Blow it up! I know it's early in the season, but for them, the season is over...and this by October! Unbelievable! Everyone can go, except Frolik. Bring up Duco and Matthias, and let them play.

I regret having invested my time and money into Alan Cohen's minor league franchise all these years.

First, as to Richard's hit, it ended up being direct shot to Booth's head, but Booth's head was also down at the time. Hockey is a very fast game and I, for one, cannot determine from the replay whether Richard's intended to injure Booth, but he did know that Booth had already passed the puck.

Second, the Panthers are a very poor team right now, not just in terms of talent, but also character.

I am a Panthers fan so don't get me wrong but something is up with Booth. My mite hockey team knows to keep your head on a swivel and not watch your passes...especially those behind you! This follows his poor judgment of picking up the puck and throwing it out of the zone. Booth's mind is elsewhere and until it is on hockey, these types of things can happen!

Dave,

Grow up. Would you be saming the same thing if he was out for the whole season? It was a late hit, Richard's shoulder touched his head, a high hit on an unsuspecting player. this type of behavior has no reason to be in the NHL. Richards should be fined, and the Panthers players should be humiliated for not standing up for Booth and DV at the end of regulation. Where's the heart on this team?

That was a late hit, the puck was no where near Booth when Richards hit him high and to the head. Richards should get at least a five game suspension. Holmgren was a dirty player so what the he know about clean hits? Holmgren is a punk and he built a team of dirty punks like him. Powe did a knee on knee and should also get a suspension.

Is there any update on Booth's condition today? How about Dvorak? Best wishes to both for speedy recoveries.
Mgmt needs to trade Horton - but who's going to want him? Watch him actually get traded and be a top scorer on someone else's team. This is frustrating. GR- how long will it take Bettman & Co. to make a ruling on the Richards hit?

The Panthers built the team this way. There is no physical presence an the forwards. Horton was groomed by Olli Jokinen to play soft score some goals, don't get hurt and collect big $$$. Teams realize that they can run over the Panthers with no repercussions. After the late hit on Booth, Horton did nothing! Didn't even follow through with the opportunity to plaster a Flyer into the boards!

Live by the sword, Die by the sword. I'll not be sheading a tear when Richards gets his head knocked off!

Not responding to that hit is disgraceful as a teammate and the reason we will miss the playoffs again.

...I miss Belak. And I wish Allen was in the lineup!

Hope to see Booth and D-vo back in action soon. In the meanwhile, let's hope the AHLers coming in can breathe some life in to the team.

Did half you guys not watch the game or what? This was a clean hit. Literally 1 second after Booth passes the puck he is hit. Richards wasn't head hunting he was going shoulder to shoulder until Booth turned his head. It sucks that Booth got hurt but hockey is a physical game. It's also a very fast game, which is why when you slow it down it looks intentional.

It's not like Flyers fans haven't been through this: Eric Lindros anyone?

Richards did what ANY hockey player would do to someone caught admiring their pass.

It sucks that it happened to Lindros and it sucks that it happened to Booth, but this is the nature of the sport.

Booth is a hockey player, he's tough. I wish him a speedy and full recovery.

The Panthers are a soft team, and that's when hockey becomes a dangerous game.

SEXTON!
Koistinen played how much last night?? 3-5 minutes? Are you telling me that we couldn't have some sort of Enforcer/Headhunter running around for 3-5 minutes a game making sure teams respect us, to make sure 18 yr old Kulikov doesn't get blasted in the boards or if they do someone like Peter Worrell will be looking for them?
What were you and J Martin thinking when you constructed this team? You can have a few shy, timid "skill" players, YOU JUST CAN"T HAVE A ROSTER FULL OF THEM!!!!!

Right on Erik..

Yikes...Grow up? No doubt in my mind that it was a dirty hit. However, there are fundamentals that every hockey player should know. Head on a swivel is one of them! Richards caught him off guard and not looking and he paid the price! I agree with quite a few posts on here. If we had an intimidating presence, liberties like this would not be taken. Richards should have been eating ice right after that. A weak team which clearly models a weak organization!

"According to NHL Senior Vice President of Hockey Operations Mike Murphy, who was in charge of making the final ruling, there were a number of reasons that led to the decision not to suspend Richards: he did not target Booth's head; he did not leave his feet to deliver the blow; he did not hit an unsuspecting player; he is not a repeat offender; and he did not hit Booth late, as it was determined the blow was delivered less than a half-second after Booth passed the puck."

All you need to know

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