With the Vancouver Canucks 1 win away from winning a Stanley Cup, the more I think about it, the more I feel bad for Aaron Rome.
Don’t get me wrong, his hit on Nathan Horton should be worthy of a suspension. It was late, it was to the head and Horton was severely injured. For me, all 3 reasons make it suspension worthy. HOWEVER, under the CURRENT rules and given recent precedent, Aaron Rome should not have been suspended., and that’s why I feel bad for him.
When Matt Cooke knocked out Marc Savard a few years back, Colin Campbell ruled that the play was not worthy of a suspension. His justification was:
“Right now our rules say that shoulders to head are legal. Matt Cooke did not jump, and did not do anything that we found illegal in his actions even though again you don’t like what happened.” – Colin Campbell
This was a reference to Mike Richards’ virtually identical hit on David Booth that also went unpunished. They went on to change the league rules, banning future hits like that.
The same principle should have applied to Aaron Rome.
I’m sure people will call me a homer, but the facts are the facts; when Zdeno Chara knocked out Max Pacioretty earlier this year in a regular season game, there are 2 factors that are absolutely undisputable: 1 – the hit was late and 2 – the play resulted in serious injury. Fast forward to the Aaron Rome incident, where Mike Murphy ruled that Rome would be suspended for 4 games, most of which, if not all, will be served in the Stanley Cup Final. The ruling was as follows:
“Two factors were considered in reaching this decision; the hit by Rome was clearly beyond what is acceptable in terms of how late it was delivered after Horton had released the puck and it caused a significant injury.” – Mike Murphy
Using the Matt Cooke-no suspension logic, Aaron Rome’s hit should not have been suspension-worthy, given league precedent. The league should have at least been consistent and said something along the lines of “while we recognize that a play like this is unacceptable given the lateness of the hit and the resulting injury, we can’t suspend Aaron Rome given recent league rulings. In the offseason, the GMs will meet and decide if plays like this should be worthy of a suspension in the future.”
At the end of the day, I also feel for Aarom Rome because he is not a repeat offender, he has no history of being a dirty player, and he is really only being punished because he is a marginal player that is being used as an example. If you want to debate that, you will have to start by convincing me that had this been a Red Wings vs. Bruins final, and it was Nicklas Lidtsrom that took out Nathan Horton, he too would have gotten 4 games…and every hockey fan knows that there is NO WAY that would have happened.
About the Author
Written by Corey Krakower
I am the Director of NHL Content & Habs writer for ProSportsBlogging.com; I have spent 8 seasons behind the bench as a minor hockey coach; and I am the future GM of the Montreal Canadiens (according to my mom). I spend my days managing the Harrow Sports brand in my hometown of Montreal and I moonlight as a Hockey Advisor for Pi Athlete Management. Most importantly, I'll throw anyone under the bus for a laugh.