The NHL has handed out its largest ever suspension in the Stanley Cup final as Aaron Rome was given 4 games for his hit on Nathan Horton. It was not ruled a blindside hit because the impact was head on (or north/south), the suspension came because the hit was late. How late? Impact occurred one second after Nathan Horton passed the puck, while Horton was still admiring his pass. It is unfortunate that Horton was injured on the play and I wish him a speedy recovery, but had the impact occurred a fraction of a second sooner, this would have been a clean hit. Half of a second is the difference between no suspension and a record setting suspension? Zdeno Chara got zero games for breaking Max Paccorietty's neck, and I don't recall the Bruins players being sanctimonious at that time about taking dirty hits out of hockey.
My fear is that we are heading in a direction where too much physical contact is going to be deemed illegal, leading players to stop hitting and taking contact out of the sport entirely. Maybe men's hockey would be better if it were more like women's hockey, but I am someone who enjoys watching hitting in sports. Now every hit has to be micro-analyzed for its legality, leading to hundreds of hours of punditry debate on whether or not each hit is clean instead of talking about how great the game was. Maybe this is a natural evolution, but all people who play hockey accept the risk of harm when they play at that level. The fact that Nathan Horton was looking in the other direction increased the severity of the injury. Had he been looking forward instead of to the side he would have been more prepared for impact and would not have sustained as serious an injury as he did. I have always been a fan of Nathan Horton since I watched him play in the OHL, but forgive me if I disagree with the length of the suspension.
I stopped listening to the Hockey News Podcast because every show was just a debate about who should have been suspended that week instead of actually talking about the game and analyzing player performance. I refuse to purchase or even visit the Hockey News while they employ Adam Proteau.
For the record, I do maintain that Steckel should have got 50 games for his hit on Crosby in the Winter Classic. I may even have defended Matt Cooke's knee on Ovechkin as adequate retribution for the Crosby hit...but that's just me...I generally support vigilante justice in hockey, though I suspect my demographic is shrinking.