Aaron Rome, Nathan Horton

Top 10 2011 Playoff Moments: Rome-Horton hit goes down in infamy


From Apr. 1-10, ProHockeyTalk will be counting down the Top 10 moments from the 2011 postseason.

Here’s No. 2 — Vancouver’s Aaron Rome getting the longest suspension in Stanley Cup finals history for hitting Boston’s Nathan Horton.

Coming into the 2011 Stanley Cup finals, it’s fair to say the hockey world was unfamiliar with Aaron Rome. The 27-year-old journeyman had spent the first four years of his NHL career bouncing from Anaheim to Columbus to Vancouver, where he finally settled in as a depth defenseman.

Coming into the Cup Final, Rome had been a semi-regular lineup fixture for the Canucks. He played in two of seven first-round games against Chicago, all six of the second-round victory against Nashville, three of five in the Western Conference finals and the first two of the Stanley Cup finals.

Game 3 was when everybody became familiar with Aaron Rome.

Five minutes into the first period, Rome unloaded on an unsuspecting Nathan Horton, knocking the Bruins forward out of the series:

Rome’s punishment for the hit was severe — the most severe in NHL history. Interim discipline czar Mike Murphy laid the hammer down, suspending Rome for the remainder of the Cup finals (four games.)

Prior to this, only three players had ever been suspended in the finals — Chris Pronger, Ville Niemenen and Jiri Fischer — with none of them receiving more than a single game as punishment. In essence, Rome quadrupled the longest suspension in Stanley Cup finals history.

“Two factors were considered in reaching this decision,” Murphy said in a statement. “The hit by Rome was clearly beyond what is acceptable in terms of how late it was delivered after Horton had released the puck, and it caused a significant injury.”

It wasn’t pretty, it wasn’t fun to watch and it was one of the most unsettling moments of the playoffs. But it’s also one of the most contentious moments in Cup finals history…which is why it’s on our list.

Video: Evgeni Malkin leaves Oilers spinning

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Yes, there’s a lot of drama surrounding the Pittsburgh Penguins, whether it’s founded on serious problems or merely speculation.

It’s easy to get swept up in all of that and ignore the fact that, hey, they still have Evgeni Malkin and Sidney Crosby. Those two can really heal wounds with their on-ice play, and in Saturday’s case, Malkin is taking over against the Edmonton Oilers.

His spin-o-rama goal above was a real jaw-dropper. He also scored Pittsburgh’s second tally:

These highlights feel like Malkin’s way of saying “It’s going to be just fine.”

Lightning’s first fight this season: Ryan Callahan vs. Kyle Okposo

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Fighting is down more or less across the board in the NHL, but the Tampa Bay Lightning might be the franchise least interested in dropping the gloves.

Ryan Callahan vs. Kyle Okposo already has some name recognition to it, yet it gets some bonus points for being the Bolts’ first fighting major of 2015-16.

It … probably loses those bonus points in being run-of-the-mill.

Hey, be fair; the Lightning are clearly out of practice.

Oilers GM doesn’t want to force a trade for the sake of a trade

Peter Chiarelli

It must be a helpless feeling to sit idly by while your team continues to flail, but such emotions are what opposing GMs love to prey on.

Edmonton Oilers GM Peter Chiarelli hasn’t been around through much of the suffering for this hapless franchise, yet that doesn’t mean he’s immune to the calls for improvement. To his credit, he’s not buckling under that pressure.

You can see and hear his full comments below:

If you don’t feel like playing the video, the message is simple enough.

Chiarelli isn’t happy with Edmonton’s record – he hasn’t “seen progression” in ways that he was expecting, but again … he doesn’t want to force moves.

Long story short, he can “sleep at night,” even if he’s disappointed.

Is he right to take a relaxed approach, though? Maybe it’s time to blow up a part of what isn’t working? Have some fun armchair GM’ing on this one.

Slump busters: Simmonds, Couturier end long scoring droughts in win over Rangers


It’s been a good few days to be a fan of the Philadelphia Flyers, as their team delivered not once, but twice during Thanksgiving weekend.

The Flyers picked up a 3-2 OT win over the Predators on Friday before shutting out the New York Rangers, 3-0, on Saturday.

It was a good afternoon for three players in particular.

Both Wayne Simmonds and Sean Couturier ended long scoring slumps.

Simmonds’ two goals were his first in seven games, while Couturier scored for the first time in his last 13 contests.

Goaltender Steve Mason also had a solid outing against the Rangers.

The 27-year-old turned aside all 24 shots he faced including this great save on Dominic Moore:

The Flyers lost defenseman Nick Schultz to an upper-body injury in the first period after he took a big hit from Dylan McIlrath.

Luke Schenn defended his fallen teammate by dropping the gloves with McIlrath, which didn’t go unnoticed by his teammates.

The Rangers are now on a season-high three-game losing streak. Their lack of effort has to be concerning for their head coach Alain Vigneault.

The Flyers outshot the Rangers 30-14 over the final 40 minutes.