Anyone that watched Game Three of the Stanley Cup Finals saw a horrific incident that is precisely the type of play the league must eliminate. If the NHL is serious about protecting the safety of its players, then what Aaron Rome did to Nathan Horton must be met with a strong statement.
Here’s video of the hit:
What’s unfortunate is the naivete with which the most classless organization in the game is handling the entire Stanley Cup Finals. And this incident is the latest glaring example of why the Canucks are bad for the game – from the top down.
Here’s video of Alain Vigneault’s postgame press conference. Skip to 2:45 to hear a question from a member of the Boston media regarding the Rome hit being illegal, and then listen to Vancouver’s head coach respond.
Yes, that’s right. Despite everyone in the free world knowing this hit defined the phrase “cheap shot,” and Horton being taken to an area hospital for the night, Vigneault doesn’t see it as being “out of line,” much less what Rule 48 was created to eliminate.
While the league has ignored Raffi Torres’ hit on Brent Seabrook, and subsequently thought Alexandre Burrows didn’t bite the hand of Patrice Bergeron earlier in the Finals, this is a different animal all together.
On the largest stage the National Hockey League has this year, its championship series, with the entire focus of the game’s fans turned on one, single game, a man was motionless on the ice because of a hit that took place two full strides after the puck left his stick.
And the team’s coach sees nothing wrong with the hit.
As long as there are coaches like Vigneault spinning senseless violence as being “okay” or “just a little late,” and careless idiots continue getting away with potentially putting more than a game – career? life? – at risk, the NHL will continue to be scarred by this type of trash.
My recommendation is simple: Rome shouldn’t play another game during this postseason, and his suspension should include the beginning of next season. On top of that, if the Canucks eventually win the Stanley Cup, his name should be kept off the sacred trophy.
It’s time of the league to send a message. They have (another) opportunity to do the right thing. Will they?
Rome has a disciplinary hearing Tuesday at 11 AM ET.