The NHL Has A Problem: The Vancouver Canucks

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.

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10 Responses to The NHL Has A Problem: The Vancouver Canucks

  1. Chris says:

    You’re an idiot. Stop whining about how the Canucks beat the Hawks. Yes, the hit was awful and deserves a lengthy suspension (into next season), but the bite is being overlooked. And the Torres hit was a complete miss by the league. But just because two instances in the entire season happened with the Canucks, doesn’t mean they’re bad for the NHL. There’s such thing as being biased, and then there’s being a homer. You’re a homer.

  2. Chris says:

    Not overlooked, but overplayed and made into much more of a deal than it should be. That’s what happens when you stick your fingers in an opposing player’s mouth.

  3. gatekeeper says:

    Unfortunately, as the playoffs have gone on, players have been punished less and less for their idiotic actions. What would have gotten a player a minimum 5 game seat in the press box now gets a Guy an ” it was a hockey play”, And each series has grown closer to the Thunderdome. At this point I predict he gets one game, at most. I feel the league has become terrified of being blamed for the outcome of a series, and has really chickened out.

    That being said, I couldn’t agree more that the Canucks have become the epitome of what the league has been trying to avoid. Full of borderline plays and arrogant players that feel they are owed something by the league. Nothing good comes from this team winning the cup.

  4. JB says:

    So far, the Finals have almost made me embarrassed to say I’m an NHL fan. I’ve been trying to get my friends and co-workers interested in the game and I’ve been trying to promote the sport and get them to watch. So far, all I’ve been left with is a bunch of questions that I cant answer.

    “Did that guy actually bite that dude’s finger?” “Does that happen all the time?” “So let me get this right… they can bite each other and NOT get punished?” “So basically this is like pro wrestling where one team are the bad guys and they taunt everyone?” “Does everyone hate these Vancouver guys?” “Are all the teams dirty cheap shot artists?”

    These are the questions I get almost every day now. I can barely watch this travesty on ice. Every other play is 4 or 5 cross-checks here and a flying elbow there. How long before someone actually runs their skate blade across anothers throat? I’ve never seen a more classless, cowardly bunch of dirty, cheap-shot players. And it’s not just Vancouver… the Boston guys are doing it too. Just not as much and not to as great a degree. It is very clear to anyone that knows the game… once things appear to be in hand the Vancouver boys turn classless and cowardly.

    The greatest fear I have is that nothing will be done and my sport will turn into a sham. Worst of all, I’m already starting to debate whether or not to watch any more of the finals. It’s turned into a circus and I dont know how anyone could be proud of this product that is on display. This is supposed to be the crowning achievement of the season. The Stanley Cup is supposed to be THE most coveted trophy in ALL of sports and what we’ve all seen over the last few weeks is supposed to represent the NHL and what it has to offer. Here we are once again, in a position to bring new fans into this family of ours… this family of NHL fans… with other sports leagues locking out their players and operating in courtrooms… we are bringing our showcase event to the world. And what to we bring them? This drivel… this tripe… this utter garbage. I’m sad and disgusted at the same time.

  5. Brad Stevenson says:

    The Canucks have been like this ever since their present coach and front office hit town. All season long, if something didn’t go their way they screamed and screamed murder until it hit national airwaves, and all throughout the season their players committed cheap, dirty hits and quickly deflected comments on their style of play by accusing the opposition of worse…remember the Chicago series anyone???

    This team is a collection of talented, egotistical, small minded, narcissistic, dirty and CHEAP players that attempt to win at ALL costs…wanting to win and laying it all on the line is one thing, and to be admired, but at all costs???

    On every down from scrimmage I never saw an athlete try harder and want to “win” more than Walter Payton…he defied his size by playing with a huge heart…but did Peyton spear someone when he didn’t win? Did he bite someone in a pile when he was stopped short? Did he cheap shot an opponent away from the play when no one was looking? Did he stand in front of the media for an hour after a loss and blame everyone else except himself?

    As you know, the answer to all these questions is no…Payton was class, Vancouver has NONE…and this is going to catch up to the Canucks, and fast…

    The Hawks were out of the series until cheap shot Torres blindsided Seabrook, the Canucks won the series on a fluke giveaway in overtime of game 7…it almost bit them once again…

    This time they have not only aroused the anger and grit of the Boston players, but an entire continent of fans who are sick and tired of their no class play…

    It won’t be easy, but I say the Bruins will steamroll past these blueshirted cry babies and keep the Cup in the hands of the original 6…

    Thank you for posting this.

  6. Johny Canuck says:

    Yo, J.B. -

    Crap happens in every sport. So what. People who don’t watch the sport should not criticize it. I can’t believe you would have to defend and entire sport to your friends because of the actions of one man. Was the entire NFL under attack when sick vick killed all them dogs? No? Why the f*ck not???

    God, I wish Canada was a big enough Country so we did’nt have to have any bloody whinny American teams with their stupid, ignorant fan base or lack thereof continualy having to defend and apologize for a sport that no one down there pays attention to except when a pinky gets chomped on.

    I can’t believe the American sensibilities are so fragile that this type of incident would be shocking to them. After all, America is the land of no health care, no gun control, George Bush and starting wars on any foreign soil that has oil under it.

    Good God, I’ve bloody well had enough. The thrashers have left Atlanta and the March back home has begun. Hopefully we’ll have a baby boom so in another 20 years the rest of the teams can come back home. The other 3 sports should be grateful they do not need to sell their product into a foreign land that is so f*ing threatened by anything not American they have to kick the living sh*t out of it.

    Relax boys, you have ceased to be #1 for a very long time. It’s only stupidity and ignorance that keeps that myth going.

    Signed,
    Yours truely,
    Johny Canuck.

  7. Jimmy says:

    I don’t think I’ve ever encountered a more reprehensible group of players as this year’s Vancouver Canucks. Nor have I had the displeasure of meeting a more disagreeable fan base as Canuck fans.

  8. Jorde de Baker says:

    Walter Payton could never spear someone because HE PLAYED FOOTBALL! Dummy.

  9. Corey says:

    JB, you make it sound as if the NHL is on the verge of collapsing & the sport of hockey is dying or something? Get a grip! I DO agree that the Rome hit on Horton was incredbily late, & that the Burrows biting incident was disgusting; Burrows should’ve been suspended 1 game for that, & all would’ve been settled. But then, Maxim Lapierre taunts Bergeron in Game 2 by waving his fingers at his mouth. The Canucks brought this on themselves; the Bruins retaliated, & now they’re even. No more taunting & crap like that. Now they can get back to playing hockey. Well, at least the Bruins are doing their part.

    The playoffs have been great this year, but all people can do is point to one or two incidents & say that the sport is turning into “garbage”. Do people only pay attention to hockey when headshots & head-hunting incidents happen. Just forget that this year’s playoffs have been exciting to watch, let’s just focus all on the Chara-Pacioretty & Rome-Horton incidents & conclude that hockey is “dying” as a sport & that no one watches it anymore. Sheech! The sport is doing fine! They DO need to crack down on headshots, & the league reacted swiftly to the hit on Horton. Next year, they plan on handing on stiffer punishments. They will get all these “headshot” incidents out of the game. But PLEASE, would people stop trying to make it sound like the NHL & the sport of hockey are on the verge of death! I know that today’s society hates contact sports like hockey, while at the same time, filling out arenas for Mixed Martial arts because they like watching two guys pound each other inside the octagon. So, one form of contact sport, UFC, is applauded while the other, hockey, is denounced as “garbage”?? Gimme a break! LOL

  10. To support the premise of Tab’s story and the commentary from the two responses before my input, check out Vancouver’s website and view GM Gillis’ press conference post finals and his recap of their injuries. Talk about a whiner whose clearly playing the victims card. I totally agree with the spirit of Tab’s thoughts here…Vancouver has some bad apples top to bottom with the ‘whoa is me’ mindset.

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