This afternoon’s Bruins-Rangers tilt was the best game to have kick off a day full of hockey. Physical, tough hockey between the top two teams in the Eastern Conference makes for a hell of a matinee. Boston’s Andrew Ference helped turn a great game into one with an ugly finish thanks to his hit from behind on Rangers defenseman Ryan McDonagh in overtime.
Ference received a five-minute major for charging and a game misconduct while McDonagh left the game injured. The Rangers capitalized with just under four seconds left in overtime on the power play to earn the 3-2 win over Boston. What was mostly a classic regular season game was marred by Ference’s hit.
After the game, Rangers coach John Tortorella was a bit blunt saying, “It’s one of the most dangerous hits I’ve seen in a while. Nothing has to be said as far as what should be done.”
Ference told CSNNE.com’s Joe Haggerty that he was coming in too fast and the play ended with a bad result. Bruins coach Claude Julien said, “Andrew Ference is not a dirty player. He supports what league is trying to do with removing dangerous plays from the game.”
If that’s the case, he won’t mind seeing Ference have a seat for a game or two should Brendan Shanahan decide to suspend him.
Canucks defenseman Aaron Rome to have disciplinary meeting Tuesday morning; Suspension likely
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.
Video: Aaron Rome’s dirty hit on Nathan Horton overshadows a scoreless first period in Game 3
After a scoreless first period of Game 3, the game itself got off to the exact kind of start both the Boston Bruins and the NHL did not want to see.
Just 5:07 into the first period Boston’ s Nathan Horton dished the puck off to Milan Lucic coming across the blue line when he was hit late by Canucks defenseman Aaron Rome. The hit put Horton down on the ice immediately where he laid there dazed and not moving. Horton was tended to by doctors for minutes before being removed from the ice on a stretcher and taken to Mass General Hospital in Boston. Horton was reported to be moving all extremities and we’ll find out more about his condition after the game and the days to come.
Rome was given a five minute major for interference and a game misconduct tossing him rightfully from the game.
On the ensuing five minute power play, the Bruins were able to do nothing on it as the Canucks smothered opportunities and killed the major off. Aside from that power play, the Canucks carried the majority of the play and again created turnovers by the Bruins defense and peppered Tim Thomas with shots. Thomas was equal to the task including a pair of incredible stops on Chris Higgins and Mason Raymond up close.
Thomas finished the period with 12 saves while Roberto Luongo finished with seven stops. The Bruins will need to find a way to rally to start the second period and get angry (but controlled) play from everyone to swing the play in the game. Vancouver, meanwhile, will continue trying to speed the Bruins out of the game as their attack and speed is again causing issues for Boston.