NHL Playoffs: Justice Not Served as Canucks Lose Defenseman for Rest of Finals

Orly Rios Jr.Analyst IIJune 7, 2011

Canuck's defenseman Aaron Rome skates off the ice for the last time this season following a 4-game suspension handed out by the NHL for his shot on Bruins forward Nathan Horton.
Canuck's defenseman Aaron Rome skates off the ice for the last time this season following a 4-game suspension handed out by the NHL for his shot on Bruins forward Nathan Horton.Elsa/Getty Images

Ah, Karma.

When she's on your side there is justice in the world, and when she's against, you can do nothing but ride it out.

Monday night the Boston Bruins and Vancouver Canucks both felt the full wrath of karma, and in the end there was no winner, and certainly no justice was served.

After a vicious hit by Canuck's defenseman Aaron Rome on Bruins forward Nathan Horton that resulted in Horton suffering from a severe concussion, the National Hockey League decided to do to Rome what he had just done to Horton—end his Stanley Cup Finals. (To view the video, click here.)

The NHL handed down a 4-game suspension, all but putting an end to Aaron Rome for this years' Stanley Cup run. The thought of the NHL was that the hit and injury were so raw and uncalled for that Rome deserved the same end result as Horton.

I for one, do not agree with the NHL's ruling.

Go back to March of this year and recall the bitter rivalry matchup between the Montreal Canadiens and Boston Bruins. In the 2nd period, 6'9'' Bruin defenseman Zedno Chara rode Habs forward Max Pacioretty into the boards, crashing the 6'2'' forward into the middle divider between the two benches.

Pacioretty was knocked unconscious and as it later turned out, suffered a severe concussion and a fractured vertebrae to his neck. (To view the video, click here.)

The Montreal Gazette reported later that the fracture was just millimeters from leaving Pacioretty paralyzed.

The end result? Zedno Chara wasn't suspended for a single game. That's right, zero, nothing, nada. Not one. Single. Game.

Go back to Monday night's game now and Rome's hit on Horton, a devastating hit in which Horton's head bounced off the ice, leaving him with a severe concussion and ending his Stanley Cup Finals run.

Rome's hit on Horton was late, viscous, some argue even cheap, but was it suspension worthy, let alone the rest of the season? While Chara was just inches from paralyzing a player he drove into the boards, Rome's shot was in the middle of play in open ice.

Rome himself was a victim of a viscous shot in the Western Conference Finals when he took a blindside hit from Sharks forward Jamie McGinn in the third period of Game 3, a shot that forced Rome to miss the rest of the game and all of Game 4 and 5. (To view the  video, click here.)

McGinn was not suspended.

So as a hockey fan, let me try and understand this. McGinn injures Rome with a cheap shot that resulted in a game misconduct—no suspension. Chara, who is seven inches taller and 40 pounds heavier, nearly paralyzes Max Pacioretty after driving him head first into the dividers and he gets no suspension.

Yet, Aaron Rome hits Nathan Horton late, and he gets suspended for the rest of the Stanley Cup Finals?

As a hockey purist, I appreciate 1-0 games, the rivalries, the scraps, the odd-man rush, the power play and the big check, but when a suspension is called for one player but not for others whose shots were just as viscous or worse, then you cannot help but call into question the integrity of the NHL.

Zedno Chara nearly paralyzes one player and got nothing but a game misconduct and he's on the ice for the rest of the Stanley Cup Finals, yet Aaron Rome is out until next season?

Was it a late hit? Yes. Was it a dirty hit? Probably. Was the suspension justified, no. At least not in my opinion.