BOSTON (CBS) – After word of Aaron Rome’s four-game suspension for his hit on Bruins forward Nathan Horton came down Tuesday, the Canucks vocally rushed to their teammates defense.
“We disagree with the decision, and it was a clean hit,” Vancouver captain Henrik Sedin said. “Talking to Aaron was extremely emotional. When you get to this point in the playoffs, you want to be a part of it on the ice, and Romer didn’t deserve what he got.”
“It seems like four games is pretty excessive in the Stanley Cup finals,” Canucks Keith Ballard said. “We’re losing a guy who has played in a lot of situations for us, so it’s tough.”
“I feel for Aaron right now,” said Sedin. “As much as you don’t want to see a guy go down like Horton, this is the way it is. I know the guys we have in the room. We’re honest guys. We’re hard-working guys. We’re a tight group. If people on the outside say what they want to say, that’s fine. Aaron has been a big part of this team. He’s an honest player.”
In the first period of Monday night’s Game 3, Horton was hit by Rome after making a pass. Rome came from the blindside, lowered his shoulder and flattened Horton — the kind of hit the NHL has tried to eliminate.
Still, the Canucks do not feel the punishment fits the crime.
“I do know at the end of the day, we hope that the young man regains his health,” Vancouver coach Alain Vigneault said of Horton, but promptly disagreed with the ruling. “I do think at the end of the day also it was a north/south play, Chara to Horton, he made a pass to Lucic. He was looking at his pass. Aaron was a tad late. Aaron isn’t a dirty player, never has been, never will be. It was a hit that unfortunately turned bad.”
“In my opinion, it’s not the right call,” said Vigneault. “We’re real disappointed the player got hurt. But it was a north/south play. It was a little bit late. But anybody that’s played this game knows that you have to make a decision in a fraction of a second. He’s engaged in the hit. I don’t know how the league could come up with that decision really.”
“I think as a group we don’t agree with the suspension,” Manny Malahotra said. “I’ll leave it at that.”