First, the hit.
Nathan Horton. 26 goals, 27 assists, 53 points. +29. In the playoffs, 8 goals, 9 assists, 17 points. +11. Two of those playoff goals were overtime game winning goals. Horton was 2nd on the team during the playoffs in points. He was fourth in points during the regular season. He is likely gone the remainder of the Finals. As I type this, he is expected to stay overnight at Mass General Hospital.
Aaron Rome. 1 goal, 4 points during the entire season. 1 goal in the playoffs. An expendable, mostly irrelevant player.
The latter takes out the former. Why?
Because the NHL failed.
Because the NHL let Alex Burrows’ bite go without consequence.
Because the NHL has changed for the far worse its officiating and discipline policies in these playoffs.
It has allowed diving and dirty play go. It has allowed cross checking, tripping, hooking, holding and late hits become part of the playoff experience. When one couples that with the emotion and desperation inherent in the NHL playoffs and, most importantly, the Stanley Cup Finals, what you get is one team knowing through league inaction that anything goes.
In game 3 of the Stanley Cup Finals, that “any” was also the NHL’s credibility in matters of officiating and discipline. Does the league want to gain a small amount of it back? Aaron Rome must be suspended for the remainder of the Stanley Cup Finals. Nothing less is acceptable.