Colin Campbell said on NHL Live this afternoon that there was nothing illegal about Mike Richards' hit on David Booth Saturday night.
"He did not jump. He did not elbow him. He did not hit him in a place where he wasn't expecting it. It was an area where you expect to get hit, both the player passing the puck and the player doing the hitting," Campbell said.
Campbell, who smartly recuses himself in all matters related to the Panthers (his son has played for Florida since 2003), went on to say that Hockey Operations met with the NHL General Managers and laid out the criteria for determining if a hit was legal or not. They showed this video http://www.nhl.tv/team/co...sp?catid=618&id=49703
to the GMs as examples of illegal hits.
Right off the bat there is an example almost identical to the Mike Richards hit. If Matt Cooke was subject to supplementary discipline for that hit, why wasn't Richards?
At the end of the video are five criteria that the NHL uses to determine the legality of a hit:
1. If the hit is delivered late
2. If there is an injury on the play
3. If there is a blow to the head area
4. If it is a repeat offender
5. If the hit is on an unsuspecting player
Clearly the Mike Richards hit meets two of these criteria, and depending on your interpretation it meets up to four.
The bottom line is Mike Richards came off the bench and lined up Booth for the hit. To me it looks like he does leave his feet at the last second, but I admit it is inconclusive. He clearly takes one foot of the ice, the second is questionable. Some angles it looks like it is off the ice, others it looks like he just fell akwardly.
This is yet another example of the NHL's lack of continuity when it comes to discipline. In the playoffs last year there were countless examples where the NHL just plain got it wrong. The Flyers lost Daniel Carcillo for one game for his "message sending hit" on Max Talbot, but neither Bill Guerin nor Braydon Coburn were suspended for their fight at the end of the game.
No suspensions were dealt out to Anaheim or Detroit when the Ducks and Wings found themselves in an old fashioned slugfest with three different fights starting after the final horn.
No suspensions or fines were levied after Henrik Zetterberg and Evgeni Malkin threw punches in Game two of the Stanley Cup finals.
I'm not going so far as to say there is a double standard, this time, but I will go so far as to say there is NO standard. Hockey Operations need to get their poop straightened out now before someone important gets seriously hurt. As long as they continue to ignore some incidents that meet the criteria and severly punish others that don't, players like Ovechkin and Crosby will skate around with near immunity simply because they hit anything that moves anyway they want without fear of retribution.
I guarantee if Mike Richards hits Crosby or Ovechkin like he hit David Booth he will suffer a worse fate than the six games dealt out to Donald Brashear for his hit on Blair Betts in the Playoffs.
Mike Richards hit: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RKv2UlneVbk
Kevin Campbell of The Hockey News
reports that the NHL may rescind the game misconduct assessed on Richards for the hit.
Normally I'd be okay with something like this, but in this case I'm not. For me to be satisfied the league would have to rescind the five minute penalty for interference too. Otherwise they are saying that Richards did intentionally alter his skating path to make illegal contact with a player who was not in possession of the puck, but it's somehow okay because it was a clean hit? Once again I fail to understand the logic of the NHL.
Rob Scuderi was fined $2500 for his hit on Jason Chimera. My question then is how can the league argue it has no double standards? Chimera skated along the boards into the offensive zone, and Colin Campbell is now going to say he had no expectation of getting hit? Sorry but that doesn't add up. Especially because the more I watch the hit and the more angles I see, the more I believe that Chimera saw the hit coming and made it look worse because he stood straight up after he passed off the puck.
Scuderi hit: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yIav-Su5-bs