The NHL ruled on the Aaron Rome hit today, giving him a four game suspension. It’s the longest suspension in NHL Stanley Cup Final history and one of the longest in NHL playoff history. I was extremely surprised with the decision, because it lacks precedent. In my mind, it warranted a two game suspension.
In case you haven’t seen the hit, or need a reminder:
My take on the hit is that it was an interference penalty. The hit was late, and it did some damage. But it wasn’t TERRIBLY late. It was late. I have heard in some places that it was two seconds late, which is totally ridiculous. The time that Nathan Horton gives up the puck to the time Aaron Rome hits him, is about one second. Which means that it’s less than a second late.
It’s also not a blind side head shot. It’s straight on, pretty much as straight on as you can get. A reminder to everyone who often forget this, but head shots that aren’t from the blind side are legal in the NHL, as long as it is with your shoulder.
If the NHL wants to rule like this, I’m ok with it, so long as they were consistent from the start of the season. To me, there’s a huge lack of consistency.
What’s interesting is how things feelings have changed with these types of hits in a very short period of time. Remember this hit by Scott Stevens on Paul Kariya in the 2003 Stanley Cup final?
That hit was every bit as late as the Aaron Rome hit, and was much more vicious. It was also on a star player with a history of concussions. At that time there was no discussion that the hit was somehow illegal (which seems mind boggling now). My how times have changed…