According to NHL Senior Vice President of Hockey Operations Mike Murphy, who was in charge of making the final ruling, there were a number of reasons that led to the decision not to suspend Richards: he did not target Booth's head; he did not leave his feet to deliver the blow; he did not hit an unsuspecting player; he is not a repeat offender; and he did not hit Booth late, as it was determined the blow was delivered less than a half-second after Booth passed the puck.
Philadelphia General Manager Paul Holmgren was not surprised by the ruling.
"Like I said (Saturday), it's unfortunate a young player gets hurt like that. But it happens sometimes," Holmgren said.
With 2:55 left in the second period of Saturday's 5-1 Flyers victory, a back-checking Richards drilled Booth with a shoulder to the head as Booth was coming across the Philadelphia blue line. The hit flipped Booth over backward and he landed awkwardly on his head and neck. He was taken off the ice on a stretcher and spent Saturday night at a Philadelphia hospital. He was diagnosed with a concussion and was released from the hospital Sunday morning.
"We had a good conversation," Panthers GM Randy Sexton told the team's Web site. "He was very coherent, very alert. He was chipper. David understands he has a concussion and we spent some time making sure he understands he needs to follow the concussion recovery protocol, which I'm sure he will, and we're hoping he comes back real soon."
Sexton on Saturday called the hit dirty and said Sunday that while he wasn't pleased with the ruling, he and the team were moving on.
"We understand the League went through the process," Sexton said. "The decision is rendered. I don't agree with it but it's time to move on."
Richards was assessed a five-minute major for interference -- Booth had passed the puck seconds before Richards hit him -- and a game misconduct. Richards said there was no intent to injure on his part.
"I was just trying to backcheck through the middle like we're supposed to do and put pressure from behind," Richards said Saturday. "I saw him cutting with the puck through the middle. He dished it off; I just tried to separate him from the puck, tried to go shoulder on shoulder. It happened too quickly."
Contact Adam Kimelman at firstname.lastname@example.org.