Panthers forward David Booth, taken off the ice Saturday night at the Wachovia Center on a stretcher after a vicious, shoulder-to-jaw hit from Flyers captain Mike Richards, was released Sunday morning from a Philadelphia hospital and was in “good spirits,” according to Panthers GM Randy Sexton.
“We had a good conversation,” Sexton said. “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.”
Because of the nature of the injury, however, its unclear how quickly Booth will recover.
“With any other injury we have time lines, whether it’s a bone or muscle or tendon,” Sexton said. “But the brain you just don’t know. It’s such a sensitive organ and everyone is different. Everyone is different, everyone is unique, and you have to follow the protocol. Only David will know when he’s ready to go.”
Despite the severity of the hit, Richards will not be suspended. Richards ran into Booth just inside the blue line, his shoulder hitting Booth on the jaw. Booth spun to the ice and laid there for several minutes before being taken off on a stretcher.
"The hit was reviewed by the Hockey Ops staff and was determined to not warrant any supplemental discipline,” Daly was quoted Sunday in the Philadelphia Daily News. The hit was not reviewed by executive vice president of hockey operations Colin Campbell because of a conflict of interest since his son is Panthers forward Gregory Campbell.
Sexton was not happy with the decision.
“We understand the league went through the process,” he said. “The decision is rendered. I don’t agree with it but it’s time to move on.”
Booth was not the only casualty Saturday in Philadelphia. Radek Dvorak was helped off the ice early in the second period after what appeared a knee-on-knee hit with Darroll Powe.
Sexton said Dvorak was to have an MRI later Sunday. He added the Panthers would move forward with their plans for Wednesday’s game at BankAtlantic Center against the Senators with the understanding they would not have Booth or Dvorak in the lineup.
Early Sunday afternoon Sexton called Benoit Groulx, head coach for the Panthers American Hockey League (AHL) affiliate in Rochester, N.Y., to discuss which players might be called up Monday morning. The Amerks were scheduled to play Syracuse Sunday night.
“I’ll call (Groulx) again after tonight’s game and we’ll have guys here (in South Florida) for (Monday’s) practice,” Sexton said.
Come Monday, Sexton said he’ll meet with coach Peter DeBoer and his coaching staff to talk about ways to improve the Panthers, who are struggling with a 2-6-1 record. Sexton said all issues, including team toughness, would be addressed.
“We need to take better care of our players,” he said. “We have to upgrade the competitive level of our players. Right now, we need some solutions to change the way we’re playing and every solution will be considered. We want to be a hard team to play against, and that includes players of all different types. It might be time to change the mix. We need a mix of skill, speed, toughness and tenacity.”
Defenseman Jason Garrison
was returned to Rochester (AHL).