Teammates defend Rome
They say he suffered worse hit vs. San Jose
Canucks defenseman Aaron Rome was nowhere to be found yesterday at Boston University’s Case Gymnasium, but during the media availability period for the Bruins and Canucks, Rome was all anyone wanted to talk about.
Canucks captain Henrik Sedin acknowledged after his team’s 8-1 loss in Game 3 Monday night that the devastating hit by Rome on Nathan Horton was late, but he defended his teammate, as did the rest of the Vancouver players and coach Alain Vigneault, after the NHL suspended Rome for four games.
“He passes the puck, Rome steps up, it’s not like it’s a blindside,’’ said Sedin. “I think the guy didn’t even know he was there. I thought it was a good hit.’’
Daniel Sedin echoed his brother’s sentiments.
“We support Rome,’’ he said. “He’s a hard-working guy. He has no intention to hurt anyone out there. At the same time, you never want to see a guy leave the ice like that.’’
Vigneault argued that some of his players have been victims of similar hits without such consequences. For example, in Game 3 against San Jose in the Western Conference final, Rome was taken out by fourth-line winger Jamie McGinn of the Sharks. McGinn received a five-minute boarding major and a game misconduct but no supplemental discipline.
“Well, in my opinion, it’s not the right call,’’ said Vigneault. “We’ve had instances just in the San Jose series and Aaron was the player, where he’s facing the board and gets hit. There’s no suspension there. [Ben] Eager’s hit on Danny [Sedin in Game 2] in my mind, where again he’s facing the board, doesn’t get hurt, could have serious consequences. In my opinion, those were two suspendable offenses.’’
Vigneault said Rome is very upset about the missed opportunity to continue playing in the Final, as well as what happened to Horton.
“I don’t think he could talk to you right now,’’ said the coach. “He’s very emotional. He’s very disappointed. He’s been taken out of the Stanley Cup playoffs. A couple of weeks ago, he was almost taken out of the Stanley Cup playoffs by another player in a situation that, in my mind, was far worse.
“I don’t think right now he could tell you anything because he’s way too emotional about what happened.’’
Rome, who received the most severe suspension in the history of the Stanley Cup Final, issued a statement, saying he felt very badly about the incident.
“I want to express my concern for Nathan’s well being and wish him a quick and full recovery,’’ the statement said. “I try to play this game honestly and with integrity.
“As someone who has experienced this type of injury, I am well aware of its serious nature and have no desire for another player to experience it. I will not take away from my teammates’ focus on the task at hand and intend to speak at an appropriate time in the future.’’
One thing the league addressed yesterday was the tenor of the series. Game 1 featured the Alex Burrows biting incident, for which Burrows was not punished because the NHL said the video wasn’t conclusive. That was followed by taunting on both sides, with the Bruins getting into the act Monday.
The NHL wants both teams to clean up their acts with regard to the taunting and other nonsense that led to a parade to the penalty box in the third period of Game 3.
“We will deal with the issues of the series, the chippiness that is going on,’’ said Mike Murphy, who is serving as the league’s dean of discipline as Colin Campbell transitions out of the job and Brendan Shanahan transitions in. “Kris King is in charge of the series.
“We’ve addressed it. We’ve addressed it with the teams as early as this morning. I will be speaking with both general managers and coaches before the day’s over about what we are seeing, the garbage that is going on, some of the issues.’’
Nancy Marrapese-Burrell can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.