Consistency, or lack thereof – this is the problem for most Canucks fans today. To a man, they know that Rome was guilty of an illegal play and deserved some sort of reprimand, but an unprecedented 4-game suspension during the Stanley Cup Finals? It’s a tough pill to swallow.
In 2007, when Anaheim’s Chris Pronger was suspended 1 game for a vicious forearm to the head of Ottawa’s Dean McAmmond, Brian Burke stated that 1 game in the Stanley Cup Finals is equal to 10 regular season games.
By Burke’s reasoning, would Rome’s hit be worth 40 regular season games? It’s probably too literal an interpretation, but you must agree that playoff games are worth more to the offender, individual and team, than regular season games, so you have to wonder how many games Mike Murphy would give Rome for this hit in the regular season. Could it really be 10 or more? For a first time offender?
Let’s quickly look at Rome’s intent. Horton is approaching, puck on stick, and Rome makes a decision to stop him on his path to the net. Unfortunately for Rome, Horton makes a pass, probably before Rome guessed he would. Now Rome is presented with the option of backing off the hit (which he’s already set up for) or continuing. If he backs off, Horton has a clear path for a scoring opportunity, and almost certainly gets the puck back on a give-and-go play.
Basically, Rome did have to stop him somehow. Intent to injure? No chance. Intent to hit? Yes. Punishable? Absolutely.
Back to consistency and Canucks fans – let’s go back only a few weeks to Raffi Torres hit on Brent Seabrook of the Blackhawks. Now THAT hit was suspendable. It was blindside, it was a hit to the head, and it was a perfect example of rule 48.
Yet, according to some nuance in the rule, where the area behind the net is a “danger zone,” Torres was not given even one game. This is consistency?
There are so many plays throughout the season for which the punishments have been unsolvable riddles. One blatant example – Dany Heatley’s elbow to the head of Steve Ott. No suspension!
Look, all hockey fans are aware that something had to be done about the headshots in the game. Everyone wants it to happen, and it is wonderful that Brendan Shanahan will be replacing Colin Campbell as the NHL’s head disciplinarian, but having him make his debut during the Stanley Cup Finals – is this any time to begin a new regime? Between seasons, or even halfway through, that would make sense. Allow the players an adjustment period; educate them on the new rules.
Don’t provide a target that has shifted positions drastically during the most important series of the year. This is nothing but an atrocity.