Rome banned from finals after Horton knockout

Tue Jun 7, 2011 4:54pm EDT
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By Steve Keating

BOSTON (Reuters) - Vancouver Canucks defenseman Aaron Rome has been banned from playing in the rest of the Stanley Cup finals after his late hit on Boston Bruins forward Nathan Horton left his opponent severely concussed and also out of the series.

Rome apologized to Horton after he flattened him during the opening period of Monday's third game, won 8-1 by the Bruins, but the National Hockey League (NHL), under increasing pressure to clamp down on violence in the sport, took a dim view of his actions.

He was handed a maximum four game suspension, a record ban for a player in the Stanley Cup finals. If the series ends before game seven, the suspension will carry over into next season.

"I thought it was a late hit," NHL Senior Vice President of Hockey Operations Mike Murphy told reporters.

"I thought that the body was contacted. But I also thought that the head was hit. It caused a serious injury to Nathan Horton."

Horton, who had been one of Boston's best players during the playoffs, was sent crashing to the ice when Rome struck him after he had passed the puck.

The game was stopped as medical staff raced to his help, carefully strapping the motionless Horton onto a stretcher then transporting him to a local hospital where he was examined and kept overnight.

Horton was released on Tuesday but the Bruins said he would not be able to play in the rest of the finals and would likely be replaced by rookie Tyler Seguin. The Canucks lead the best-of-seven series 2-1 with game four in Boston on Wednesday.   Continued...

<p>A trainer kneels over the Boston Bruins' Nathan Horton after Horton was hit by the Vancouver Canucks' Aaron Rome (not pictured) during the first period in Game 3 of the Stanley Cup hockey playoff in Boston, Massachusetts, June 6, 2011. The Boston Bruins announced June 7 that Horton will miss the remainder of the playoffs due to a "severe concussion." REUTERS/Brian Snyder REUTERS/Brian Snyder</p>