Horton a painful way to reach a consensus
And so we plunge back into that old familiar thicket, with the same thorns lurking at every turn. Another frame-by-frame divination of intent, of physics, of where the crash began; another bonfire afterwards, fuelled by debate. And at the heart of it, another player lying on his back, eyes fluttering and staring into some distant and unknowable place, lost. This time it was Boston’s Nathan Horton, wallpapered in Game 3 of the Stanley Cup final by Vancouver’s Aaron Rome. And into the brambles everybody stepped.
This was not even the worst hit of this post-season, but it was bad. Rome didn’t start moving toward Horton until the puck was released, and hit him nearly a full second after it was gone — in NHL terms, this is like driving with a blood-alcohol level approaching twice the legal limit — and he rose up as he collided simultaneously with Horton’s chest and head. It was a reckless hit, a dangerous hit. Rome may not be a dirty player, but it was a dirty play. And the act is all.
Or at least, it should be. The result of the play was simple enough. Horton, one of Boston’s very best players, will not return in the series after suffering what is described as a serious concussion, which was likely amplified by his head hitting the ice. Rome, who is Vancouver’s fifth or sixth defenceman, has been suspended for the rest of what might be the only Stanley Cup final he ever plays. (Photo: Elsa/Getty Images)
This was a horrific hit. Horton is not easily replaced. Big game tonight.