There's been no shortage of chatter between the Flyers and Sabres during and after the first six games of their opening round series, and after the Sabres gave up a pair of leads and ultimately lost on Sunday, they had plenty more to say. Lindy Ruff and Ryan Miller led the way, quickly pointing out that Mike Richards should be suspended for his hit on Tim Connolly. Connolly has had previous concussion issues, and Richards gave him a shove into the boards that ended his night.
Richie was assessed a two-minute penalty for the hit, but the Sabres wanted more. Some outside observers thought the proper amount of justice was administered by the refs, while others thought the hit was excessive. Judge for yourself after the jump.
Here's the post-game Miller dialogue, courtesy of Tim Panaccio:
In Game 4 here, Richards elbowed Patrick Kaleta and got a five-minute major on what should be have a minor. Afterward, Richards accused the Sabres of “getting away with murder” on the ice.
Miller, reacting to Richards hit on Connolly, thinks Richards should be suspended for Game 7.
“I’d like to add one thing,” Miller said. “If Mike Richards thinks we’re getting away with murder, I don’t know what he just got away with. Mass murder? Are we stepping up a notch? Unbelievable.
“We lost a player for the rest of the game. That’s the kind of hit the league has been talking about is dangerous. They better seriously consider looking at that one. It’s unbelievable.”
Mike Harrington of the Buffalo News quotes Ruff as saying the Sabres lost a good player [on Sunday], and that if the league sees the Richards hit the same he Ruff himself does, the Flyers could lose Richards for a game too. Harrington also relays that Flyers Chairman Ed Snider responded to the Ruff comments with a "Oh, is he whining again?"
The hockey world has heard Lindy Ruff cry wolf a few times, and his pleas don't seem to have swayed the league office in this case.
These calls can be pretty tough though, and not just for the guys blowing the whistles in real time, but also the NHL disciplinarians. Not that I aim to defend the latter party, as the gray area is largely of their creation, but there are a lot of elements at play in most of these hits. Did the downed player do enough to protect himself? Did the guy putting the check on pull up at all despite clearly giving a push?
It's in the eye of the beholder, and there's bound to be bias based on which team you root for. But the league won't be suspending Richards for this one, per multiple reports, including Nick Kypreos of Sportsnet and Tim Panaccio of CSNPhilly, who told WIP radio that there won't be a hearing.