Mike Richards is shrewd.
Take a look at the hit on Tim Connolly:
Richards, who was also responsible for throwing an obvious elbow to face of the Sabres Patrick Kaleta in Game 3, did a great job of hiding the fact that he was going to take out a Sabres player.
The reason that it was, as Ryan Miller said post-game, "mass murder" (obviously not the proper term, but we get the point) is because Richards altered Connolly upper-body just enough as to not allow Connolly to protect himself. And Richards is shrewd enough to hide it.
If you look at it game-speed, you can see it. If you slow it down, it's even more pronounced.
Richards has the reputation of walking that fine line between nasty and dirty. And the reason that he is not looked upon as dirty in the general hockey-public eye is because he hides it very well. Very much like his mentor, the person who drafted him--Bobby Clarke--once did.
Philadelphia Flyers Chairman Ed Snider, who is also on the NHL Competition Committee, was part of the group that revised NHL rules to combat cheap shots and recklessness on the ice. This was Snider after the game, "I have to see a replay," he said and added this explanation, defense and half-truth, "It looked to me that he was down low. Richie didn't raise his arms or anything. These things happen. What we're trying to target is purposeful hits to the head."
Richards, btw, was not available for comment after the game yesterday.
There's no way you can prove intent, which is something that allowed Richards to get away with only a two-minute boarding penalty instead of a five-minute major, a game misconduct and the possibility of further disciplinary action.
It's highly doubtful that after a "thorough review" there will be any suspension. It's the playoffs, the games are called differently and the league, in their "reviews," temper "further disciplinary action."
Flyers chairman Ed Snider once owned the parent company of the Philadelphia Flyers--Spectacor. In 1996 he sold 66% of his company--which included the Philadelphia Flyers--to Philadelphia-based Comcast Cable forming Comcast Spectacor.
Parent-company Comcast completed a deal earlier this year to purchase a major stake in NBC Universal from GE which included NBC Sports Group and Versus.
The NHL just signed a 10 year television contract with NBC for $2billion.
Yesterday's game just happened to be on NBC and was a do or die situation for the Philadelphia Flyers.
Not saying anything here, but....
12:00pm--The league reviewed the hit. No suspension, no hearing. No biggie. It's over with