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Canucks defenseman Aaron Rome to have disciplinary meeting Tuesday morning; Suspension likely

Jun 7, 2011, 12:53 AM EDT

Aaron Rome Getty Images

While tonight’s game was ugly for more than a few reasons, as will happen in an 8-1 game that saw the Bruins beat the Canucks in Game 3 of the Stanley Cup finals, there was some true awfulness to come out of it thanks to Canucks defenseman Aaron Rome.

Rome took out Bruins forward Nathan Horton early in the first period of tonight’s game with a wicked blindside hit to the head, a virtual automatic violation of the NHL’s Rule 48 outlawing hits to the head of defenseless players. Rome’s hit put Horton down on the ice and dazed before he was removed from the ice on a stretcher and taken to Mass General Hospital for observation. Rome was given a five minute major for interference and a game misconduct booting him from the game.

With the debate over blows to the head lingering on all season long, Rome’s hit won’t go without being talked to as he’s got an in-person meeting at 11 a.m. ET scheduled with NHL VP of Hockey Operations Mike Murphy. Murphy is filling in for Colin Campbell as Campbell has to recuse himself as his son Greg plays for the Bruins. Given the severity of the hit and how late and blindsided it was, the expectation is that Rome will be suspended for the play.

As always, trying to predict potential suspensions is a fool’s gambit in the NHL and with things going on in the Stanley Cup finals the importance of the games skews how punishment can be doled out. This time around with the hit being as bad as it was and it happening on the league’s biggest stage, expect the league to take action on Rome. While the league failed to take any action against Alex Burrows for his bite on Patrice Bergeron, this blow to the head of Horton is serious business as far as keeping up appearances for the NHL.

If the league doesn’t take action against Rome the credibility the game has for how seriously they’re trying to protect their players will come under serious fire. They cannot afford to miss on this one.

  1. sharksfan754 - Jun 7, 2011 at 1:11 AM

    Rome will get suspended for sure…. Oh wait did it say “Vancouver” on his sweater? He’ll be suited up for game 4 then

    • arizonarattler60 - Jun 7, 2011 at 10:19 PM

      thats terrable that someone who is dangerous will be back on the ice! when i played you were out till there was a ruling made!!

    • arizonarattler60 - Jun 7, 2011 at 11:35 PM

      no he will not return to this series. game over!!!

  2. pilot206 - Jun 7, 2011 at 3:08 AM

    The official and the NHL are to blame for this. The new rules are vague at best. The officials are so inconsistant with calls that it is no wonder the players are unnclear about what they can and cannot do.

    Sorry but this was a clean hit, If you watch the hit in slow motion it was shoulder to chest.

    Horton should have had his head up instead of watching his pass.This is the Stanley Cup Final, if you are near the puck let alone touching it you can expect to be hit. I will say that it was a late hit but all the more reason that Horton should have seen it coming.

    Number ONE rule in hockey “Keep your Head Up”.

    Just wait, the way the NHL is going in a few years it will be No Contact hockey.

    • botlecap - Jun 7, 2011 at 3:31 AM

      It is not a clean hit in any way. These are facts from the video:

      1. His skates are off the ice at contact
      2. The hit is late on a man without the puck
      3. He lines him up from the blind side
      4. I don’t know what video you are watching, but at contact it is clearly shoulder on head

      The hit was clearly a PENALTY and rightly called so on the ice. Any hit that you take a penalty for is by definition NOT clean. That is why the penalty was given. This hit was an unnecessary and violent obstruction on a player from a vulnerable angle whose head WAS up (and turned). If Horton had the puck this would be a completely different situation. He did not.

      • warpstonebc - Jun 7, 2011 at 11:28 AM

        @Bottlecap, you’re right on 1,2, and 4 but not #3. It was a defenceman stepping up into the play. In no way can that be considered a blind side hit. It’s why rule 48 doesn’t apply.

        If the hit came from Rome backchecking or targeting Horton on the boards, fair enough. But it was an open-ice play that (if it wasn’t late) would not have even merited a penalty.

      • warpstonebc - Jun 7, 2011 at 11:39 AM

        Actually, I just rewatched the vid. You’re wrong about #2 too as well. His skates are on the ice until the point of impact at which point any skaters feet would leave the ice in order to follow through and restore balance.

        Keep in mind that feet leaving the ice are significant when it’s a player literally leaping into a charge (usually on the boards). Again, that’s not the case here. It’s a defenceman stepping up. It happens every game in hockey. But apparently homers like Milbury,, Yerdon and you can’t acknowledge this.

      • mgp1219 - Jun 7, 2011 at 12:33 PM

        Exactly right. In addition to all that, Rome was skating backwards until Horton passed the puck and then Rome suddenly stopped and lunged at a defenseless Horton. Why wouldn’t he go after Horton when Horton had the puck and would be expecting a hit? Players without the puck expect not to be hit, especially that viciously. Cheap, but typical of that team.

      • arizonarattler60 - Jun 7, 2011 at 11:36 PM

        you saw that too, good made you watched the video!

    • mattlion - Jun 7, 2011 at 7:42 AM

      I’m not sure how a textbook definition of interference is a “clean hit”, unless you are a fan of the biters and floppers.

      • warpstonebc - Jun 7, 2011 at 11:43 AM

        It’s not a good hit because it was late. However, in every other way, Rome’s hit is textbook. If he was 1/2 to 3/4 of a second faster, that’s not even interference.

      • arizonarattler60 - Jun 7, 2011 at 11:38 PM

        thats true

    • govtminion - Jun 7, 2011 at 9:12 AM

      It looks very similar to the hit that saw Daniel Paille- a Bruin- suspended earlier this season. If we’re suspending Paille for it, what should be different here?

      • arizonarattler60 - Jun 7, 2011 at 10:23 PM

        wow finnally some body that knows the rules of hockey. 1 2 3 4 are all corresct maybe you need to watch video and try to understand what your watching please.

    • guyincognito67 - Jun 7, 2011 at 10:53 AM

      I 100% agree with pilot206. The 80+ people that disagree, as well and the columnist, are American and never played hockey in their lives.
      “Wicked blindside hit to the head” – are you kidding me?!? He came from right in front of him. His feet never left the ice and Horton was standing straight upright – how could he reach his head?

      Yes it was a little late but it was clean. Horton got caught watching his pass and got clobbered.

      He only got knocked out because he hit his head on the ice – not because of the hit.

      • hystoracle - Jun 7, 2011 at 11:24 AM

        I agree it wasn’t blindside. HE definitely caught Horton by surprised while Horton admired his pass. It was straight on..
        Late and definitely interference. But If Horton hadn’t gotten hurt they wouldn’t have called anything. there have been a lot of hits at the blue line just like that during t he playoffs that are clear interference and not called. In fact they are cheered by the fans. If Horton popped right back up then play would have continued and there is no discussion about suspensions.

        Horton has been punkin’ it up during the entire playoffs. I guess what goes around comes around.

        However, Canadians aren’t the wise friends to the north who’s OPINIONS must be bowed down to by the rest of the world. Americans have the right to voice their opinion. And you don’t have to have played a sport to be able to comment on what you see. If that was the case Sports, Sports radio, and websites like this one wouldn’t be very successful. Luckily sports are limited to that elitist point of view.

    • rfoster75 - Jun 7, 2011 at 10:55 AM

      Please give insight on how you think this is a legal hit. Being that a penalty was called on the ice immediately after the hit, I fail to see it as legal in any way–but that’s just me, perhaps you have an explanation that will help clarify?

      At the end of the day, it was a late hit on a player without the puck–and not only that, Rome, the dolt that he is, stepped up to make the hit and left his skates after the puck had already been passed away—please tell me that your video at least can confirm that much??? It one thing if it a bang bang play, but to actually skate forward knowing that the puck is gone and leave your feet to make the hit???…come on. What a d.i.c.k.

      • hystoracle - Jun 7, 2011 at 11:31 AM

        NHL on the Fly timed the hit it was 29 frames after the pass. that is a little less than a second (30 frames per second).
        When he hit him his feet were on the ice. They came off the ice after contact had already been made. and then only maybe a foot at best. HIt was shoulder to center of mass. Horton was crouched and shoulder made some contact witht he head on the follow thorugh. I don;t think Rome was intending to injure or malicious.

        It WAS interference but I don’t think a suspension would be fair. Chara got a five minute game penalty for breaking a guys neck and didn’t get suspended — why start now?

      • mgp1219 - Jun 7, 2011 at 12:40 PM

        Chara broke a guy’s neck? Really?? If that’s the case, why was Pacioretty in a movie theater 4 days after he “broke his neck” texting about the hit?? Must have been a miraculous recovery, eh?

      • arizonarattler60 - Jun 7, 2011 at 11:54 PM

        that because you have to know what is a legal hit and what is not! that’s knowledge of hockey

    • kworth77 - Jun 7, 2011 at 12:34 PM

      You must be a Canucks fan anyone can see that his shoulder hit him in the head. Not to mention Horton should not have gotten hit in the first place he DIDN’T have the puck!!! It’s called interference.

    • arizonarattler60 - Jun 7, 2011 at 10:07 PM

      whats there to be consistant about? it was a dirty hit and he should be suspended till the out come of the hearing>>

    • arizonarattler60 - Jun 7, 2011 at 10:10 PM

      Late hit dirty hit. i played hockey and at any level thats a dirty hit watch the video again

  3. botlecap - Jun 7, 2011 at 3:40 AM

    Who thinks this hit still happens if the NHL suspends Borrows for a game? I don’t. The Canucks are clearly a team playing without any fear of the Bruins’ power play (and rightly so, it remains pathetic) or any fear of being removed from the ice by the officials or later by the league. The Bruins too seem to have taken from that ruling that dirty play is part of this series (the slash on Bieksa for example). If the NHL doesn’t suspend Rome for this hit, this series will get uglier and Horton won’t be the last talented player injured. I don’t think any hockey fan really wants to see that happen.

    • manhorse69 - Jun 7, 2011 at 9:40 AM

      Funny that you mentioned the slash on Bieksa because the announcers pointed out the same play happening with Kreijci as the victim just a second prior to the Vancouver goal. The goal scorer was the perpetrator. This is why guys like Bieksa should shut up about stuff like that, because both sides are guilty of it. Boston just doesn’t realy bother to say much about it while Vancouver pretends they’re being beaten up and can’t handle it on ly to turn right around and do the same stuff they’re complaining about. Also, if I see another Sedin or Burrows fall down like they’ve been tasered I’m going to throw something at the TV. Shoulder to shoulder hit after the whistle that Sedin initiates and he goes down in a heap holding his face. He should get a letter from the leage reminding him that hockey players don’t do that kind of crap

      • bamabob - Jun 7, 2011 at 9:58 AM

        Ageree 100%. Vancouver is turning this into European soccer. The Sedins are both tremendously skilled and don’t need to do that kind of crap. Eddie O. on the broadcast pretty much called him out on that last night. Same with Burrows who and Lapierre are just sissies. Burrows is going to have to live with that Burgeron bite for the rest of his career.

        Had this been a regular season game I guarantee you somebody for Vancouver would’ve left on a stretcher also but the ultimate revenge for the B’s is hoisting the cup while Vancouver watches.

      • hystoracle - Jun 7, 2011 at 11:55 AM

        “The Sedins are both tremendously skilled and don’t need to do that kind of crap.”

        – this is very true. But until the refs stop falling for this crap and call the diving it isn’t going to stop. WHen they do call a dive they still get the other guy for a penalty too. Is it a dive or a valid penalty? Can’t be both. If they start calling just the dive then they can stop the league wide flopping. But they need better officials who aren’t so gullible first. the players figured out all I have to do is fall down and I will get a call.
        I’m surprised we haven’t seen faked injuries to get 5 minute majors yet. Or guys cutting them selves with their gloves when highsticked to draw blood. It’s becoming a joke.

      • bamabob - Jun 7, 2011 at 3:54 PM

        hystoracle… it’s almost impossible for a referee to “fall” for this kind of stuff. I would agree that they should not make a call unless they are 100% certain they saw something. What they’re doing is reacting to a player’s reaction. Stick comes up high, brushes a guy on the shoulder, player grabs his face shield so the referee thinks it’s a high stick. They probably are going under the assumption that this isn’t EPL soccer and that hockey players don’t emblish.

        So, in that instance, the player fooled the referee into calling a penalty. With this day and age of video, I’m guessing the next time they won’t be so likely to call anything, even if it is legit. I would like to see the league review this type of stuff and start dishing out fines when it’s obvious.

        Still bush league though IMO. Hockey is the best sport in terms of a combination of speed and physical play and players shouldn’t fake a penalty. Not only is it disrespecting the game but it could bite them in the future.

  4. tommytd - Jun 7, 2011 at 6:11 AM

    This is the NHL so don’t count on any suspensions. The probably won’t have the balls to suspend anybody during the finals but they really have nobody to blame but themselves. Their arbitrary enforcement of the rules is putting players in jeopardy.

  5. rotorman - Jun 7, 2011 at 10:38 AM

    C’mon guys, check the review–this hit came almost literally HEAD ON. With that said, it was also significantly vicious as Rome left the ice and drove a shoulder to Horton’s head. I’m no fan of the Bruins, but I believe the game misconduct penalty was spot on and Rome should at least sit out the next game. Yes, Horton should have had his head on a swivel, but Rome was clearly attempting to injure on this one. Suspend Rome, at the very least to keep the series from spiraling out of control.

    • guyincognito67 - Jun 7, 2011 at 11:06 AM

      Rome’s feet left the ice AFTER the hit when Horton was reeling. The hit was head on. How do you drive a shoulder to someone’s head without jumping? He isn’t taller than Horton.

      Horton got a concussion because he hit the ice after being driven backwards by a solid, but late, body check to the chest. Rome deserves an interference penalty. I think the major and the misconduct were plenty for what amounted to a clean but late hit and there is no way he should get a suspension on top.

      NBC coverage (whining Mike Milbury and this writer Joe Yerdon) is weak and clearly playing the hometown side up for the B’s. Yerdon writes about a “wicked blindside hit to the head”. Really, wicked? Who’s that for? Right, Boston.

      Horton got caught doing a Lindros with his head down and got knocked flat on his ass for it. The problem was he fell on his head and got a concussion. The player that threw the late hit got a major and a game. CASE CLOSED.

      • manhorse69 - Jun 7, 2011 at 11:10 AM

        Except that the league is trying to clean up late, blind hits to the head. Rome is taller than Horton too. What’ll happen is the leage will over do it on Rome’s suspension (which should probably 1-2 games) and throw him out for the series as make up for what they should have done with Burrows. The league will save face without really hurting Vancouver

      • hystoracle - Jun 7, 2011 at 11:39 AM

        Hit was shoulder pad driving from the upper chest through the head. I’m sure hitting his head on ice didn’t help. But that was a freight train collision. Wow what a hit!!

        If Horton had gotten right back up there wouldn’t have been any call though. People want to the Refs to swallow the whistle in the playoffs but I think some of the infractions that aren’t called have just as big an impact on the game as the ones that are. They also put players in much more danger. The highsticks and two handed hatchet slashes need to be called. But the ticky tack stick touching a guys hip is what is getting called while the dangerous stuff is let go. It’s to the point that Boston actually grabs guys sticks and falls down to draw phantom calls. It works but makes the game look more and more like soccer everyday with all the dives. Both teams are guilty of it.

  6. gallyhatch - Jun 7, 2011 at 11:02 AM

    I had commented on another thread yesterday about how this finger biting incident was becoming a tremendous embarrassment for the whole league. The NHL’s lack of even acknowledging the offense led to the Sedin’s vegetarian comment, and also LaPierre’s taunting in game two. WTF did they think the Bruins were going to do, take it all in stride?

    This is such a black eye on the league right now, @ a time when they should be capitalizing on a great SCF matchup of two teams who haven’t been here in years.

    I love this sport, but the NHL seems determined to undermine & shoot themselves in the foot as much as possible.

    What a joke.

    • manhorse69 - Jun 7, 2011 at 11:07 AM

      Thats the worst part. If you removed all the silliness following the actual bite and Burrows was suspended for game 2, we’ve got a great series going on. It’s been front and center on ESPN and people are talking about it. The NHL really dropped the ball by not even acknowledging what everyone saw with their own eyes and it was compounded by Vancouver then taunting based on an infraction of their own doing.

      • gallyhatch - Jun 7, 2011 at 12:45 PM

        This series is now out of control & one of the B’s key players is lost. It never would have got to this point had the NHL done something about this sh- from the get-go.

  7. rotorman - Jun 7, 2011 at 11:20 AM

    Now that Horton’s out for the series, thing’s are likely to get interesting. I don’t disagree at all that this is, in large part, the league’s fault for lack of clarity on rules. But Rome needs to take responsibility as well. Just because Horton was admiring his pass doesn’t give Rome license to take his head off. These are supposed to be professionals, and for those of you who have played and both given and taken hits, you KNOW that Rome could have easily stopped, turned, or at the very least slowed. Instead he not only kept his pace, he LEFT HIS FEET—a clear violation of the rules AND hit Horton late–another violation. Rome stays on his feet and his shoulder goes into Horton’s chest instead of his head, and THEN you have a clean hit! NHL officials need to be more consistent if they truly want to stop the extra effort exerted to intentionally injure another player.

  8. orig6 - Jun 7, 2011 at 11:44 AM

    pilot206 and guyincognito67, It’s pretty obvious that you guys are morons. Probably best to stop talking, the rest of the world will be a better place for it. It’s not just Boston fans that literally hate this Vancouver team, players from across the league have expressed their disdain for those dirt-bags and their antics. If they win the cup that block of names will be the most tainted ever to be printed on the cup.

  9. orig6 - Jun 7, 2011 at 11:48 AM

    Oh yeah, and since Horton is out for the remainder, and he’s 100 times better than Rome, Rome should be gone for the remainder as well.

    • hystoracle - Jun 7, 2011 at 11:51 AM

      With that logic, Chara shouldn’t have played the entire playoffs.

      • orig6 - Jun 7, 2011 at 1:33 PM

        I guess the NHL shares my logic…..AYYYEEE?

  10. orig6 - Jun 7, 2011 at 12:45 PM

    Chara’s was not intent to injure or a shoulder to the head. Different circumstances.

  11. warpstonebc - Jun 7, 2011 at 12:45 PM

    Well it looks like Rome’s getting 4 games. Meanwhile the Bruins will dress a guy who’s already broken one player’s neck in the playoffs with no punishment.

    Oi. Just make it make sense.

    • mgp1219 - Jun 7, 2011 at 12:56 PM

      Enough about Chara breaking someone’s neck. It was not nearly as serious as the Montreal media reported it to be. Like I said earlier, Pacioretty was texting from a movie theater 4 days after that hit. Show me someone outside of Montreal that thought it was an intent to injure hit. If Chara really wanted to hurt someone, don’t you think he could do some serious damage whenever he wanted to?

      • warpstonebc - Jun 7, 2011 at 1:14 PM

        But that’s just the point. Mike Murphy quotes the lateness and the injury as factors. He somehow adds all that up to 4 games. Heck, Torres hit on Keith was worse–he really leaped into that one.

        Bad hits and freak injuries happen. Treating Rome like he’s Matt Cooke doesn’t make any sense. Heck, even Matt Cooke doesn’t even get treated like he should.

        Only a joke head office like the NHL’s flip-flops on safety policy before suddenly pretending they’re firm in their final series. Just goofy.

      • arizonarattler60 - Jun 7, 2011 at 10:17 PM

        the canadians are always making it look worse then it really is!

  12. mgp1219 - Jun 7, 2011 at 12:50 PM

    Just think how different all theVancouver fans or anti-Boston fans comments would be if it were one of the Sedins that got hit the same way. Or, if it were Burrows, they would say it was clearly a dirty retaliatory hit. Again, typical…

  13. ncbruinsfan - Jun 7, 2011 at 1:23 PM

    The after-the-whistle stick work, face washes and sucker punches are an unfortunate part of the game…neither team is better or worse for it. But the flopping after contact reminds me of what the NBA is turning into. I may be a tranplanted Bruins homer, but I’ve always been a hockey fan and this is not what hockey fans want to see in the Stanley Cup Finals

  14. arizonarattler60 - Jun 7, 2011 at 10:24 PM

    they are but horton passed then was attacked !!!

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