Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Aaron Rome Suspension Too Much

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.


  1. Watch the play. As Horton travels through the neutral zone Rome spends the entire time skating backwards. Like many D-Men skating backwards, he does so in a side to side motion (allowing crossovers) rather than a straight line. That allows the defenseman to move faster using crossovers to pick up backward momentum. His alleged approach from "the blindside" was part of the backwards skating with crossover process.

    When Rome was back in front of him, he planted his feet and put his shoulder into the approaching player, from the front. Rome was skating primarily backwards until he planted his feet and turned into an attacking forward who had his head turned watching his pass.

    The Boston Bruins frequently dump the puck in, chase it, and bang their opponent. For the rest of the series let's get out our stop watches and anything longer than a second deserves a 4 game suspension. Those are supposedly the hits we are trying to get out of hockey.

  2. The NHL is getting ridiculous and is changing the game of hockey. 2 things occur to me. First Nathan Horton was caught admiring his pass. i played 35 years ago and we were taught in the 60's and 70's "if you admire your pass you will get your bell rung". Nathan Horton made a stupid play choosing not to keep his head up and choosing to watch his very pretty pass. Second Rome did what hockey players have been taught at least in the 60 years I have been alive and that is finish your check. Do not let the guy who made the pass get into the play and take a return pass. Finish your check and take the guy who made the pass out of the play. One thing is apparent. It is time for a Canadian commissioner, and someone who has played the game. Send Bettman back to the NBA, His regime is ruining the game. He just does not get it!!!!!!!!