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David Booth in Montreal Hospital, Doing OK ... Oh Yeah: Canadiens 4, Panthers 1

Booth1 BY GEORGE RICHARDS

MONTREAL – The Panthers had another scary moment involving winger David Booth on Thursday as he was taken to a local hospital after being knocked out during the second period of Florida's 4-1 loss to the Canadiens.

Booth was hurt after being hit in the face by the elbow of Montreal defenseman Jaroslav Spacek less than two minutes into the second period.

After the game, Florida general manager Randy Sexton said Booth was alert and talking but couldn't give more details as he said Booth had more tests to take.

The Panthers were staying over in Montreal after the game and will travel to Ottawa on Friday morning via a chartered bus. Booth is expected to be on board.

“He's coherent, he's clear, he's alert,'' said Sexton, whose team's two game winning streak was snapped after the Canadiens jumped to a 2-0 lead and held on.

Booth missed 45 games this season after suffering a concussion in a hit delivered by Philadelphia's Mike Richards on Oct. 24.

That hit, and the ensuing coverage that followed it, helped pave the way for rule changes on the way the league doles out punishment for hits to the head. The league's union, coincidentally, agreed to the stiffer penalties hours before Thursday's game.

“What's he's been through, we're all concerned, thinking about him and crossing our fingers,'' said coach Pete DeBoer. “When he got hit, I just hoped it was the wind knocked out of him. When he stayed on his stomach, you get pretty concerned.''

Richards was assessed a game misconduct for his hit on Booth; Spacek was not penalized and watched Booth receive treatment as he stood on the ice a few feet away.

On Thursday, Booth was moving the puck along the boards near the Montreal blue line when the veteran Spacek rushed in and hit Booth square in the jaw with his elbow. Booth hit the ice, although he didn't fall face-first as he did following the Richards hit. DeBoer and a number of players said they felt the hit was clean.

Booth lay motionless on the ice for a few moments but started moving once athletic trainer Dave Zenobi reached him. After a minute or two, Booth rolled over, and sat up. He woozily stood up as Zenobi and a few teammates helped him into the tunnel leading into the Panthers locker room.

“We just hope he's OK and wish him nothing but the best,'' said backup goalie Scott Clemmensen, who was sitting in the tunnel a few yards away from Booth and helped him into the tunnel. “It's tough to see, I don't care who it is, but you don't like seeing a friend of yours laying on the ice. And for him, especially after what he's already been through.''

Florida trailed 2-0 at the point of the Booth hit as the host Canadiens continued working toward a playoff berth as they scored twice in the opening period. Tomas Vokoun, starting in net for the first time since last Saturday, gave up a backhander to Benoit Pouliot off a Florida turnover with 7:20 left in the first.

Montreal got its second goal less than four minutes later when Brian Gionata scored from the right circle. Florida battled back as Radek Dvorak scored with 3:36 left. But the Canadiens took advantage of the empty net, potting a pair of goals in the final 1:24 to end it. The Canadiens took three of four from the Panthers for the second consecutive season.

The Panthers remained seven points out of the final playoff spot with nine games remaining.

LIVING ON THE EDGE

Ever since the Panthers traded a pair of their veteran defensemen earlier this month, DeBoer has been using a short line of defensemen.

Captain Bryan McCabe and Keith Ballard get the bulk of the work as does Bryan Allen – despite his surgically repaired knee that cost him all but two games last season. Rookies Dmitry Kulikov and Jason Garrison are getting good experience, although 21-year-old Keaton Ellerby is barely playing at all.

And DeBoer knows this situation is less than ideal.

“As a coach, it's an accident waiting to happen,'' he said Thursday morning. “We are asking too much of them. They're handling it, but it's not a great situation.''

DeBoer admits he didn't know what to expect from Allen coming into the season, but the 29-year blueliner has been “real gutsy.'' Allen played in his 15th consecutive game Thursday and 67th overall.

-- Former Panthers forward Dominic Moore fit right in with the Canadiens, scoring two goals in his first five games after being traded to Montreal for a 2011 second round pick in February.

Moore, who scored 17 points in 48 games with the Panthers, came into Thursday's game with no goals and five assists in his past eight. Moore had no goals and two assists in his final 13 games with the Panthers.



Comments

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Geez George. You are dead wrong. Even DeBoer, Clemmenson and Sexton said it wasn't an elbow, wasn't dirty and was a good clean hit. Why do you write that it was an elbow? Booth never had his head up at all - a cardinal sin when crossing the blue line. It's a player's job to know where opponents are on the ice, especially when crossing the blue line in an offensive posture. And you may not have liked Richards' hit on Booth, but tonight's injury clearly points out that Booth has a serious flaw - he doesn't keep his head up and on a swivel at key moments. That is a recipe for disaster in today's fast moving NHL game that is played by increasingly bigger & stronger players.

I never said it was a dirty hit; never quoted anyone who said it was...from the replays I saw (on French TV) it looked like this to me:

-- Spacek lifted his shoulder and it looked like Booth got popped by an elbow;

-- Booth had his head down and got hit head on (unlike the Richards hit where he was tracked down)

You have to remember, we are sitting above the action. I never even blogged, tweeted or facebooked that this was a dirty hit. But all the replays showed Spacek lifting a shoulder and the replays I see have Booth getting hit in the mouth/chin/nose by an elbow. It was a hockey play. It's just a shame it happened to Booth. Again.

But he needs to keep his head up. It was an instinctive play by Spacek. Booth was a second off...

Hope Booth is well!!!!

If DeBoer plays him again this season he should be fired. I realize the coaches job is to get wins and this season, however the panthers have no shot at the playoffs.

Next, DeBoer needs to play Ellerby, if he is not going to play him send him back to Rochester and bring someone else up.

Other than Booth this organization has not developed a player in a real long time. Other than Booth you can't name one player that the panthers drafted and kept that has exceeded expectations.

Yesterday Espo said can you imagine how bad the panthers would be if they hadn't had great goaltending.

His believe and he has said this before is that if it was for goaltending the panthers would finish dead last in the league every year.

This is a one line team where other teams have 4 lines. At the time of the lock out Washington was in the same boat as the panthers, just a few years later Washington has more depth in Hershey then the Panthers have in the NHL.

Until the front office changes, we will continue to be the laughing stock of the NHL.

DeBoer, start seeing who should get a look for next year and see if we can develop someone, anyone!!!!

This organization has the worse combination of factors: poor scouting, poor drafts, poor trades, poor free agent signings; then on top of that when they draft a good player they don't develop them.

We need to stop Yormark's video scouting and start looking for winners, I would rather have a player that wins than have an athlete that just plays the game.

We need a complete overhall of the front office and have someone that can develop players and recoginze the intangibles that make for winning hockey!!!!!!

Gr I have it on TiVo and u are right it was an elbow by spacek. I broke it down frame by frame and although it does not appear intentional the elbow made the contact...good job on you!

I was at the game in Toronto and I think, in his limited shifts, Ellerby played fine. The Panthers have nothing to lose to give him a regular shift.

I watched it live too and saw the same thing GR saw. Clean hit, then Spacek lifts his elbow/shoulder up into the face of Booth. Jaro is not a dirty player and you could see he was truly concerned for Booth afterwards. I don't believe it was intentional, but like GR said, more instinctual to get his arm up and off Booth's body.

Speaking of Ellerby, let him take his lumps. We're not making the playoffs so we're only playing to get ourselves out of the best pick possible. It's time to let him, Repik and Matthias get some quality minutes down the stretch to show us what they will or won't bring to the 2010-2011 season.

Kulikov made and still makes plenty mistakes. Let this kid play. As for the hit on Booth, clean as day, it's a violent sport

dirty hit for sure he had his elbow up you retards! clean hit to me is body on body !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! booth just has a number on him that teams look for and defense get sick of booth burining them all the time !

i agree, look at kullikov plus/minus.. not saying that shows how a player played through the year. Ellerby was just -1 matched up as a number 5/6 defenceman through 20 games . give the kid a chance and i think he will thrive! defenceman take time to mature and his hockey sence will only get better playing at a elite level. He showed he can compete in the ahl will a great stats and play at both ends of the rink.. let us not forget the kid had the hardest show in the chl prospect game!!

That game in Montreal was amazing. I was there and loved it. Sure, it was a shame that such an accident happened, but overall, the game was glorious.

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