Vancouver Canucks defenseman Aaron Rome was suspended four games for his collision with Boston Bruins forward Nathan Horton in Game 3 of the Stanley Cup Final on Monday. CBSSports.com’s A.J. Perez runs down exactly why the league decided to impose the record punishment announced on Tuesday.
Q: How close was Rome’s hit to being legal?
A: A few fractions of a second. The suspension was for interference, not the rule that was adopted last season to punish blindside hits to the head. “If it was immediate after he released the puck, it would be a legal hit,” Mike Murphy, the NHL’s senior VP of hockey operations, told reporters.
Q: Did the fact that Horton had a severe concussion and is lost for the rest of the playoffs enter into the decision?
A: Murphy said that the fact that Horotn was injured did play a role. “We review the medical report,” Murphy said. “I spoke with the medical people in Boston this morning. It doesn't look good for Nathan right now to come back and play in this series. The play speaks for itself.”
Q: How many games would Rome get if this occurred in the regular season?
A: Murphy said there’s not set formula, but it would certainly be more. Even though Rome is considered a first-time offender under league rules, he may have seen double the ban in the regular season.
Q: Who did Murphy consult with before making the decision?
A: Murphy said he spoke with numerous people, including Toronto Maple Leafs GM Brian Burke. Burke was in charge of supplemental discipline from 1993 to 1998 before Colin Campbell took over. Brendan Shanahan, who will be in charge of league discipline next season, was also consulted. The one person that Murphy said he couldn’t talk to was Campbell, who has recused himself since his son, Gregory, plays for the Bruins.
Q: What was Rome’s defense in Tuesday’s hearing?
A: Murphy refused to go into much details, but he said Rome felt it was “a hockey play that went bad.” He added that Rome was “apologetic and contrite.”
Q: What happens if the series is wrapped up in less than seven games?
A: The remaining games will be tacked onto the beginning of the 2011-12 season.
Q: Will Rome be allowed on the ice to celebrate with his teammates if the Canucks win the Cup?
A: Yes. He will be allowed to dress and join the on-ice festivities if Vancouver claims its first title.