Tuesday, June 07, 2011


Aaron Rome was suspended for 4 games for his hit on Nathan Horton in Game 3. The suspension effectively ends the Stanley Cup Finals for him. Horton, it was announced, will also be out for the remainder of the series with a severe concussion.

The NHL wants to get serious about hits like this one, which is why they devised Rule 48. They wanted to eliminate the grey areas that in the past muddled the debate between what was dirty and what was clean. But as grey matter injuries mount, grey areas needed to be clarified. Hence Rule 48:

"A lateral or blind side hit to an opponent where the head is targeted and/or the principal point of contact is not permitted."

Rome targeted Horton's head. Not only that, he used his elbow, not his shoulder. Not only that, the hit was very late, even by playoff standards of interference.

Some might argue that Horton should have made himself aware of Rome's presence. But the fact that Rome was so far from him, and that the puck was gone for so long, Horton probably assumed Rome wouldn't interfere with him. Perhaps not the wisest of assumptions, because you never know what'll happen on the ice, but this is hardly a blame-the-victim scenario.

And while the suspension satisfies me, there's no justice, no revenge possible. Horton is out. No disciplinary action can change that. He'd scored 8 goals with 9 assists in the postseason. He got the game-winning goal in two Game 7s. And he's gone. And who knows what the long term affects on his career will be.

Photo Credit:
AP Photo

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