David Booth is angry. He told the Florida Sun-Sentinel himself yesterday.
"Yeah I'm angry," Booth said. "How could you not be angry? Everyone would be angry."
He is still angry about what happened here on Oct. 24, when Mike Richards blindsided him with a chilling open-ice check.
You remember the hit. The teeth rattling, blink-of-an-eye play is still reverberating with Booth - who just resumed light skating last week for the first time since being crushed on Oct. 24.
Richards caught him (video is below) just after making a pass near the same spot on the Wachovia Center ice where Scott Stevens ended Eric Lindros' career as a Flyer. The hit, which came at full speed, snapped Booth's neck back, knocked him out cold and cut his face open.
So what are the Panthers planning tonight?
Enter: Steve MacIntyre from the bush leagues.
MacIntyre, a 6-foot-5 250 pound goon, was called up from Rochester yesterday. His rap sheet is long:
- He has accumulated more than 200 penalty minutes in a season seven times in his brief career, coming close in two others.
- He has played in leagues like the: "Continental Elite Hockey League," the "Quebec Semi-Pro League," the "United Hockey League" and the "WHA 2."
His goal tonight, presumably, is simple. In his limited time on the ice (read: no more than 5 minutes), he is supposed to pound Mike Richards and the Flyers.
Florida also called up scrappy Mike Duco, who has fought 15 times in his professional career according to HockeyFights.com.
Panthers captain Bryan McCabe says nothing is "premeditated."
"Boother's a big part of our team, and that's definitely a huge part of team chemistry to stick up for your teammates. I'm definitely a big fan of that," said forward Gregory Campbell, son of NHL dean of discipline Colin Campbell. "But I'm not going to sit here and say we're going to go after Richie."
Everyone on the Panthers called the hit "unnecessary."
They might not, but Florida GM Randy Sexton has no problem with the overt call-ups. Sexton blew a gasket in Philly after that Oct. 24 game. He almost had a war of words with Flyers GM Paul Holmgren in the media.
“These types of hits have no place in the game,” Sexton said just minutes after the hit. “I didn't see the hit live. I was making a note on my game report, but I knew when they didn't show the replay it wasn't pretty.”
Holmgren fired back at Sexton pretty quickly.
“Randy Sexton should watch more hockey games,” Holmgren said. “It was a good hit. Mike Richards is just doing his job there. If you slow it down frame by frame, I don’t see how you can [suspend] him."
Richards wasn't suspended.
From the looks of it, Florida is looking for a different kind of punishment tonight.