In the wake of the Aaron Rome hit on Nathan Horton Monday night, there were mixed reviews on the severity of the incident and debate over the number of games Rome would be suspended for. Bruins fans, quite unsurprisingly, felt Rome should be booted for the remainder of the post season, while Canucks fans – of course – thought he deserved only one or two games, deeming that it was an unfortunate result to an otherwise clean hit.
After taking all of the evidence into consideration and reviewing different angles of the replay, interim NHL disciplinarian Mike Murphy announced a four-game suspension for Rome, sidelining him for the remainder of the post-season. Whether or not you agree with the ruling, the league needed to take a stand against illegal hits (and late hits, in this case) to send a message to the other 29 teams that they will not be tolerated.
Although he dished the puck to line mate Milan Lucic only fractions of a second earlier, Horton should of been more aware when entering the attacking zone. However, he should also have a level of comfort knowing that he will not have his head taken off when he no longer has the puck on his stick. One can make a case for both the offender and the victim, but it ultimately comes down to respect for player safety. The league made a fair decision to bench Rome for an equal length of time that Horton will be out. Whether or not the fair decision was made easier by Rome’s status as a bottom-pairing defenceman is up for debate.
Shortly after the suspension was issued, Mike Murphy stated that he consulted with former disciplinarian czar Brian Burke regarding an appropriate length for Rome. Negative reaction from Vancouver has caused many to question if their is a conflict of interest in the NHL disciplinarian office. First it was Gregory Campbell, now this.
â€œBurkeâ€™s contract with the Canucks was not renewed after the 2003-04 season, and he is friends with Aquilini business rivals who unsuccessfully sued the Canucks chairman in 2005.
In 2009, the Canucks filed tampering charges with the NHL after Burke and Leafs coach Ron Wilson made public comments about Canucks players. The league fined the Leafs in October 2009, based on Wilsonâ€™s remarks that his team was interested in the Sedin twins, who were approaching free agency that summer. Burke later admitted that he regretted mentioning the players by name.â€
- Matthew Sekeres, The Globe and Mail
Murphy can’t be faulted for utilizing the resources available to him, but the connection that Burke holds with the Canucks, along with the recent tampering charges pressed against the Leafs, makes you wonder whether their is a conflict of interest up top. Do you think Murphy crossed the line by consulting with Burke? Would the suspension have been the same length without Burke’s input?
An in-depth look at the Leafs’ improvement with a man short, from Slava Duris at The Leafs Nation.
DGB writes about the touchy topic of playoff injuries.
Michael at VLM thinks Game 4 is the one that matters.
Other Hockey Links:
Winnipeg will unveil it’s new general manager at a 2 p.m. press conference today.
Philadelphia jumps the gun to get their man in net.
Will the Canucks rebound in Game 4 tonight?