It’s official, Nathan Horton is done for the playoffs. The Bruins announced this morning that Horton will miss the rest of the playoffs with a severe concussion after receiving a dirty hit from Vancouver’s Aaron Rome in the first period of Game 3. The timing of the announcement should make Rome’s meeting with NHL VP of Hockey Operations Mike Murphy at 11 a.m. ET a bit more interesting.
The league doesn’t generally punish players based on injury and they’ll look at the play based on how things broke down. The hit seems to violate Rule 48 about shots to the head of an unsuspecting player, but that’s not stopping some from calling Horton out for admiring his pass. Canucks coach Alain Vigneault when asked about the hit after Game 3 last night had this to say during the post game press conference.
Q. The hit on Horton is one of the types of hits they’ve been trying to outlaw a bit. If there is a suspension of Rome, will you have a major issue with that?
COACH VIGNEAULT: Well, we’ll let the League deal with that.
I mean, that hit was head-on hit, player looking at his pass. It was a little bit late. I don’t think that’s the hit that the League is trying to take out of the game. This is a physical game, you have big guys. Fraction of a second to decide what’s happening out there.
It’s very unfortunate. Again, like I said, you never want to see that. But this is a physical game.
To us the excuse about a guy admiring his pass for being a reason to take his head off is tired and old. If the league wants to move forward and start taking stuff like this out of the game, especially when it’s completely avoidable, these are the sorts of hits they have to punish players for making. It doesn’t matter how sorry Aaron Rome might be for doing it, sometimes things happen but Rome had to pull up on that play.
If the league fails to act on Rome’s hit and let’s it go based on some shadowy room old school hockey reasoning, everyone in the NHL will have some long, hard thinking to do about how serious they intend to take shots to the head. With the NHL GMs meeting here in Boston on Wednesday, they have some very serious issues to continue addressing.