Mon Apr 25 11:56am EDT
Buffalo Sabres Coach Lindy Ruff wanted the NHL to take a look at this Mike Richards(notes) boarding minor that knocked Tim Connolly(notes) out of their series with the Philadelphia Flyers (at least according to Ruff). Sportsnet's Nick Kypreos reports the NHL did, and has decided against suspending the Flyers captain for Game 7.
Craig Custance confirmed there will be no hearing for Richards either.
This is the second incident for Richards against the Sabres that left fans screaming for a suspension. In Game 4, he leveled Patrick Kaleta(notes) with an elbow in "self-defense," earning his 5-minute major. In Game 6, he rode Connolly into the boards for what should have been, at most, another major.
But a suspension? The people demanding one either (a) want it for a tactical advantage in Game 7 or (b) have a knee-jerk reaction that any illegal play plus an injury equals a suspension or (c) are playing the "get it out of the game!" card or (d) hate the Flyers or (e) hate Mike Richards with every fiber of their puckhead being.
Because it doesn't warrant a suspension.
I'm okay with the Mike Richards hit. I don't think there should be any action by the league and I was really let down that Lindy said anything about it. He deserved 2 minutes, he got it, and the captain of the Flyers put his team down 2 men. It would've been awesome if the 5-on-3 could've capitalized but instead we all had to wait until it was over for Gerbe to punch home his goal. It sucks to lose Connolly (by the way, we now have 3 injured starting centers) but the hit wasn't worth any more than 2 minutes.
"If Mike Richards thinks we're getting away with murder, I don't know what he got away with. Mass murder? Are we stepping it up a notch? Unbelievable," said Miller. "We lose a player for the rest of the game off of a hit that the league has been talking about that is dangerous. They (the league) better seriously consider looking at that one."
Had this been something worse than a shove in the back, would Richards have been suspended for a Game 7?
Of course not. You know it and we know it. NHL VP of hockey operations Colin Campbell gets pissy when you accuse the disciplinary process of being a political one, but it is; how on earth do Kunitz and Downie both receive one game "matching minors" if not to ensure neither Pittsburgh nor Tampa gain an advantage?
As the playoffs continue, and as the series reach their finales, the suspensions begin to slow to a trickle. It happens every postseason. See: Scott Walker, Aaron Ward, sucker punch, farce. That happens in the first round, it's three games.
So Mike Richards will play in Game 7, as will Derek Roy(notes) and possibly Jochen Hecht(notes) for the Buffalo Sabres. Which should make for a suitably chaotic Game 7, and that's even without mentioned the Flyers' goaltending.