SAN JOSE – Mike Richards' hit on David Booth back on Oct. 24 is still reverberating through the hockey world. Last week at the NHL's general manager meetings in Toronto, many GMs pointed to that hit as the reason why head shots and dangerous hits need to be taken out of the game.
This week, the hit is still reverberating in a different place. David Booth told The Sporting News in today's issue that he is still feeling the effects of the hit daily. Booth made a pass near the Flyers' blue line and turned his head at the very second Richards came across the ice and drilled him with a shoulder.
The hit – which knocked Booth unconscious, cut him and kept him in Pennsylvania Hospital for a night – was reviewed by the NHL but not deemed worthy of a suspension. Booth's head scraped along the Wachovia Center ice on the way down.
Booth has not been back on the ice since. I reported news from the South Florida Sun-Sentinel in Thursday's paper about Booth's setbacks. He has not been able to do light exercises for more than three consecutive days without headaches.
Video of the hit is at the bottom of this post.
The Sporting News caught up with him for a revealing Q&A in their Nov. 20, 2009 issue. Here is an excerpt:
Question: How would you describe the symptoms right now?
Booth: It's kind of fatigue mostly, and headaches … I never had a headache for the longest time [before the hit]. Now, it seems like everything I do, my head starts pounding.
Question: Was it a dirty hit?
Booth: Since I was the one receiving it, I looked back on it and my viewpoint is going to be different than other people's. Yeah, I guess everyone has their opinions, I'm sure you know where I stand on it.
Question: At the GM meetings in Toronto, that hit seemed to be the one that rallied for a rule protecting players from hits to the head. Is that something positive you can pull out of this?
Booth: Yeah, but it kind of sucks it had to come at my expense. That's the way it goes.
Question: So you'd like to see rule changes?
Booth: Yeah, I think you could answer that for me.
Question: I read somewhere that your career might be in jeopardy because of this hit. Do you worry about not playing again?
Booth: No. That's not in my mind. That's never crossed my mind. I've never even had that thought.
Question: I imagine the best advice is to not rush back?
Booth: That's the biggest thing. You feel good during the day, you want to get back out there … I hate doing nothing. I feel like a slob. I want to do anything I can. It's been difficult.
Question: So what do you do to pass the time?
Booth: Nothing … The first couple of weeks, I'd go for a walk or something and I found that to be detrimental … I think I just have to do nothing.
That is powerful stuff. The "I feel like a slob" line really got me. It is amazing to see how a few milliseconds can change a life.
Anyways, the Flyers are back on the ice tonight (10:00 p.m. EST, Comcast SportsNet) against the San Jose Sharks. I looked at how the Flyers' defense has made a big impact in the scoring column in today's paper.
The Flyers' lines are expected to stay the same:
Hartnell - Richards - Pyorala
Van Riemsdyk - Carter - Briere
Powe - Giroux - Laliberte
Carcillo - Betts – Laperriere
Flyers coach John Stevens said that Oskars Bartulis will remain in the lineup as the sixth defenseman, leaving Ole-Kristian Tollefsen, Danny Syvret and Riley Cote as healthy scratches.
The Sharks are walking wounded right now, missing Rob Blake, Devin Setoguchi, Jody Shelley and Brad Staubitz. All four will be out tonight.
Here were the Sharks' depleted lines from practice on Thursday:
Marleau – Thornton - Heatley
Clowe - Pavelski - Malhotra
Ortmeyer – Nichol – McLaren
The San Jose Mercury News is saying that Logan Couture, Jamie McGinn and Benn Ferriero are likely to play tonight as call-ups from Worcester (AHL).