"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," Canucks coach Alain Vigneault said. "He's engaged in the hit. I don't know how the League could come up with that decision really."
NHL Senior V.P. of Hockey Operations Mike Murphy made the call to suspend Rome for four games after talking to the Canucks defenseman Tuesday morning. Rome, who was issued a five-minute major for interference and a game misconduct 5:07 into the first period of Game 3, is done for the Stanley Cup Final, and if the series ends early his suspension will carry over into the 2011-12 season.
Murphy's reasoning for the suspension was twofold -- he felt the hit was "beyond what is acceptable in terms of how late it was delivered after Horton had released the puck and it caused a significant injury."
The Canucks expressed concern and hope Horton is able to fully recover, but they do not believe that Rome's intent was to injure Horton and they do not think it was a hit that should be deemed illegal.
"He passes the puck and Romer steps up on him," Henrik Sedin
said. "It's not like it's the blind side. I think the guy didn't even know he was there. I thought it was a good hit."
Part of what baffled the Canucks was that just last series against San Jose, they felt the Sharks delivered two dangerous -- and potentially suspension-worthy -- hits that were never disciplined. Daniel Sedin
was the recipient of one of them, and Rome the other.
Late in Game 3 at San Jose, Sharks forward Jamie McGinn hit Rome from behind and into the boards. McGinn was issued a five-minute boarding major and a game misconduct while Rome suffered what many believed to be a concussion that kept him out of the rest of the series.
Murphy made mention of Rome's injury during his remarks to the press Tuesday, adding that the defenseman was both "apologetic and contrite" when the two met. Murphy also said it didn't change his mind.
The Canucks believe something should have.
"Romer gets killed down in San Jose and nothing happens, and obviously now he laid the hit and he gets four games," Daniel Sedin
said. "It's a tough call. I've seen the same kind of hit before and nothing happens."
Rome released a statement through the Canucks' PR department stating that he wanted to express his concern for Horton and is hoping Horton has a quick and full recovery. Rome went on in the release to say that he tries to "play this game honestly and with integrity. As someone who has experienced this type of injury, I am well aware of its serious nature and have no desire for another player to experience it." Daniel Sedin
said Rome was "devastated" when he found out he would not be allowed to return to the Stanley Cup Final.
"We saw him (Tuesday) morning and he's very emotional," Henrik added. "It's tough to see a friend and a teammate go through what he's going through now. You try to be supportive. That's the only thing. We disagree with the decision. We thought it was a clean hit, but we can't do anything about it."