NHL: Aaron Rome's Hit and Aftermath Highlight League's Problems

Mike Shannon@@DLman91Featured ColumnistJune 8, 2011

BOSTON, MA - JUNE 06:  Nathan Horton #18 of the Boston Bruins gets lifted off the ice by members of the staff after being check by Aaron Rome (not pictured) #29 of the Vancouver Canucks during Game Three of the 2011 NHL Stanley Cup Final at TD Garden on June 6, 2011 in Boston, Massachusetts.  (Photo by Jim Rogash/Getty Images)
Jim Rogash/Getty Images

So, there is whole lot of talk about Aaron Rome and his hit on Nathan Horton in Game 3 of the Stanley Cup Finals the other day.

Canada seems to be up in arms about the suspension, and Boston wants his head on a platter.

Unfortunately, this is the state of hockey in 2011.

Rome is a marginal player, no one can argue that. Because of the hit, the Canucks essentially traded Rome for Horton and, if I'm Vancouver, I'd take that trade any day of the week and twice on Sunday.

Was the hit dirty? Absolutely. Sure, Horton seemed to admire his pass just a little too much, but that's no excuse for Rome taking his head off well after the puck had left his stick.

Rome deserved to be suspended and the NHL responded by banning him for four games.

Four games? What a joke.

The Stanley Cup Finals are supposed to be the NHL's crown jewel. A major stage where hockey can showcase skill, speed and toughness. Instead, we're getting cheapshots, biting, headhunting and players sticking fingers in each other's faces.

This is not the hockey that I love.

Honestly, this can all be traced back to Game 1 and the NHL's refusal to suspend Alex Burrows for biting Patrice Bergeron. The league claimed there was "no conclusive evidence" that Burrows intentionally bit Bergeron.

Are you kidding me? Do I look stupid or something?

Everyone and their brother saw Burrows bite Bergeron, but since the NHL likes this kind of stuff, they didn't act and Burrows won Game 2 single-handedly.

Since the NHL failed them, Boston felt they had to make a statement and that set the stage for Game 3. Not only did you have the Horton hit but also Tim Thomas throwing a body check on Henrik Sedin and Chara punching Burrows in the mouth after the period buzzer.

This could all have been avoided had the NHL made Burrows sit down after Game 1. To make matters worse, when the NHL did decide to suspend Rome, he only got four games.

Where's the deterrent to something like this happening again?

Rome did his job, Horton is out and can't hurt the Canucks at all. Vancouver can win the next two games and skate home with the Stanley Cup, not giving a flying fig if Rome plays in the opening two games next year.

Also, shouldn't things like the Rome hit only happen when a team is desperate? The Canucks are the better team and yet they are stooping to things like this.

What if Milan Lucic had taken Ryan Kesler's head off on a late check? There would be rioting in the streets.

Trust me, I am not a Boston fan and, to be honest, I really don't care who wins the Cup at this point. I just want to watch good hockey, which highlights the sport in a positive way.

I don't want to give critics yet more fodder by having the NHL give Rome a slap on the wrist.

I'm not saying we should protect players like Horton to about sell tickets or for higher TV ratings or anything like that.

We should be protecting these players because it's the right thing to do.