With an Olympic gold medal and enormous four-point game against Tampa Bay in his rear-view mirror, Flyers’ captain Mike Richards is likely not concerned with facing Florida Panthers forward David Booth for the first time since knocking him out with a snot-bubble hit on Oct. 24.
However, the same can’t be said for Booth, who has played just eight games since returning from a serious concussion caused by the impact.
“We’ve got to get two points, that’s the bottom line,” Booth told the Sun Sentinal’s Steve Gorten, about facing the Flyers at home on Wednesday. “But it’ll be an interesting game, sure.”
Booth has never been hush on his opinion of the hit that was deemed clean by the NHL disciplinary committee. And according to Gorten, was smiling ear-to-ear on Dec. 21, when Florida captain Brian McCabe fought Richards over the incident. Booth admittedly watched replays of the hit but tried to keep his frustration in check.
“You try not to hold on to those things,” Booth told NHL.com on Feb. 4. “It doesn’t really do me any good if I harbor any bad feelings because all it’ll do is frustrate me even more.”
Expected and extremely eager to make the USA Olympic team in Vancouver, Booth was instead forced to sit out and watch, as Richards helped Team Canada win the gold. A development that would surely linger on the psyche of a lesser man.
But when Gorten asked if he would seek personal retribution for the hit during Wednesday’s contest, Booth took the passive route.
“I’m just going to play my game,” he said. “I have to get back to playing physical. You see that in the Olympics. Everyone’s finishing their hits, everyone’s winning battles and that’s something I’ve got to get back to. I can’t get sidetracked with the other things.”
Booth may not want to get sidetracked with sub plots and personal satisfaction, but is there any doubt what will be boiling in the back of his mind once the puck drops?