Canucks disagree with Rome's suspension


Canucks disagree with Rome's suspension

By DannyPicard

BOSTON -- @font-face font-family: "Times New Roman";p.MsoNormal, li.MsoNormal, div.MsoNormal margin: 0in 0in 0.0001pt; font-size: 12pt; font-family: "Times New Roman"; a:link, span.MsoHyperlink color: blue; text-decoration: underline; a:visited, span.MsoHyperlinkFollowed color: purple; text-decoration: underline; table.MsoNormalTable font-size: 10pt; font-family: "Times New Roman"; div.Section1 page: Section1; The Vancouver Canucks admitted after Game 3 that AaronRomes open-ice hit on Nathan Horton was late.

A day later, after receiving word that Rome would besuspended for the rest of the Stanley Cup Final, Canucks players and coachAlain Vigneault had a slight change of tone, and openly disagreed with theleagues decision.

I think, as a group we dont agree with the suspension, andwell leave it at that, said Canucks forward Manny Malhotra on Tuesday.

The Sedin twins agreed.

Horton passes the puck, Rome steps up, its not like itsa blindside, said Henrik Sedin. I think Horton didnt even know that Rome wasthere. I thought it was a good hit.

We totally disagree with the suspension, said Daniel Sedin. We support Rome. Hes ahard-working guy. He has no intention to hurt anyone out there.

Rome was killed in San Jose, and nothing happened. Now hegets four games. I dont know.

Rome missed the last two games of the Western ConferenceFinals with a concussion after being dealt a vicious hit from behind in his owncorner by San Joses Jamie McGinn.

McGinn received a five-minute boarding major, but after aphone hearing with the NHL, no suspension was given out.

Vigneault used the McGinn hit as one of the reasons he disagreed withthe leagues decision to suspend Rome after Rome's hit on Horton knocked the Bruins forward out of the game, andnow, out of the series. But a day later, he also doesnt think Romes hit wasall that bad.

I do think at the end of the day, also, it was a north-southplay, said Vigneault on Tuesday. The puck went from Zdeno Chara to Horton, and Horton made a pass to Milan Lucic.He was looking at his pass, and I think Aaron was a tad late. Aaron is not adirty player, never has been, never will be. It was a hit that unfortunatelyturned bad.

In my opinion, its not the right call. Weve hadinstances, just in the San Jose series, where Aaron was the player. Hes facingthe board and he gets hit, and theres no suspension there. Ben Eagers hit on DanSedin, in my mind, where, again, Sedin's facing the board, was worse than Rome's. Dan Sedin doesnt get hurt,but the play could have had serious consequences.

In my opinion, those were two suspendable offenses thatwerent penalized, added Vigneault. And last night, it was very unfortunate that thathit turned bad there. Were real disappointed that the player got hurt, but itwas a north-south play. It was a little bit late. But anybody thats playedthis game, knows that you have to make a decision in a fraction of a second.Hes engaged in the hit. I dont know how the league could come up with thatdecision.

Rome wasnt available to the media on Tuesday, but he didrelease a statement:

I want to express my concern for Nathans well being, andwish him a quick and full recovery. I try to play this gamehonestly and with integrity. As someone who has experienced this type ofinjury, I am well aware of its serious nature, and have no desire for anotherplayer to experience it. I will not take away my teammates focus on the taskat hand, and intend to speak at an appropriate time in the future.

The Canucks, however, did speak on behalf of their suspendeddefenseman.

Its devastating, said Malhotra. To be so close, and tobe playing in your dream, and now to have it taken away, it obviously hurts alot.

I dont know if he could talk to you right now, saidVigneault. Hes very emotional. Hes very disappointed. Hes been taken out ofthe Stanley Cup playoffs, and a couple of weeks ago, he was almost taken out ofthe Stanley Cup playoffs by another player in a situation that, in my opinion,was far worse.

I dont think right now he could tell you anything, becausehes way too emotional about what happened.

Danny Picard is on twitter at http:twitter.comDannyPicard

Bruins will add assistant coach, tap Bradley to run draft board

Bruins will add assistant coach, tap Bradley to run draft board

While the Bruins technically operated, and operated well, short one coach once assistant coach Bruce Cassidy replaced Claude Julien behind the Boston bench, that’s not expected to continue for the upcoming season.

Bruins GM Don Sweeney confirmed this week that the B’s will be retaining the current assistant coach group of Joe Sacco, Jay Pandolfo and Bob Essensa to work under Cassidy as full-time head coach, and that they’ll be looking to add one more person to his staff.

“I think our staff did a very good job jumping in and picking up, because we didn’t add to it at the time [of Cassidy’s promotion] when we subtracted from the group. It will stay as is,” said Sweeney. “We will also be looking to add to it to complement that group. Bruce and I have already spoken briefly about it, but we haven’t identified yet and we’ve already received some people that would have some interest. We’ll pursue that accordingly.”

Sacco handled the defensemen and the penalty kill in the final few months of the season, and Pandolfo worked with the forwards in his very first season as an NHL assistant coach following a stint in player development. Essensa, of course, worked with the goaltenders and as the “eye in the sky” from the press box once Pandolfo moved to the bench following the coaching change. So the natural assumption would be that the Bruins would hire another former defenseman to work with the D-men given the backgrounds of Sacco and Pandolfo as forwards.

“We haven’t gotten too far out in front of it. But, Joe Sacco moved from the front of the bench to the D, and did a terrific job [while playing a] big part of the penalty kill all year. Jay [Pandolfo] came down from the press box, worked with the forwards, which he had worked with all year. But now he’s in the heat of the battle. They were terrific. We were a true staff,” said Cassidy. “Goalie Bob [Essensa] became a little bit more of an eye in the sky for us up there. We had Kim [Brandvold], who was our skating coach, helped a lot with the practices, with the pace we were trying to establish. I can’t thank them enough.

“Going forward, we’re going to meet and decide what’s the best fit for us [as an assistant hire]. Obviously those two have a forward background, I have a defense background, so maybe that’s an area we have to look at, what’s the best complement. But we’d be getting ahead of ourselves if I said today that we’re pinpointing an exact thing. We’ve got to look at it and say, ‘OK, who’s the best fit. What makes us the most successful?’ We’ll go from there with the candidates we get.”

The situation automatically leads one to wonder if P-Bruins head coach Kevin Dean would be a possible candidate as a longtime Cassidy assistant at the AHL level, or if Dean wants to continue on his track as a head coach. If not Dean then perhaps Providence Bruins assistant coach and former Bruins D-man Jay Leach might also be a strong candidate after his first season working with the young P-Bruins at the AHL level.

While it’s clear the Bruins still have some discussions before potentially making a move on hiring an NHL assistant for Cassidy’s staff, they have made a determination about their scouting staff. The B’s never replaced the head of amateur scouting position when Keith Gretzky was hired as an assistant general manager with the Edmonton Oilers, and it will instead be Bruins assistant GM Scott Bradley that will run Boston’s draft board in June.

“Scotty Bradley has stepped back into that role, which he’s very comfortable doing. He holds the title of Assistant General Manager and he’ll oversee the draft. We’re very comfortable with the people he’s worked with in recent years that have been a big, big part of our recent drafts. Our meetings went well,” said Sweeney. “They were just at the U-18s and had other subsequent meetings, so there will be some banter in the upcoming [scouting] meetings, in terms of where we end up finalizing our list. Scotty will oversee that.”

It’s not exactly foreign territory for Bradley, who previously held the head scouting position with the Black and Gold and played an instrumental role in drafting players like Milan Lucic, Phil Kessel, Brad Marchand, Patrice Bergeron and David Krejci. But there’s also some question as to how big a role Gretzky played in drafting the massive wave of talented prospects now pushing their way through Boston’s system, and how much his presence will be missed at NHL Draft weekend moving forward.  

Saturday, April 29: The race for the top pick in NHL Draft

Saturday, April 29: The race for the top pick in NHL Draft

Here are all the links from around the hockey world, and what I’m reading while tipping my hat to the Celtics after an emotional, impressive showing against the Chicago Bulls in the first round of the playoffs.

*It’s a tight race for the No. 1 overall ranking headed into this summer’s NHL Draft and it also doesn’t necessarily seem like a surefire superstar player right off the bat either.

*The New York Rangers seem to have a little more respect for the “underdog” Ottawa Senators headed into Game 2 of their series.

*Speaking of the Senators, it looks like they may once again have the best player in the series with the dominant Erik Karlsson at the top of his game while presiding over the best-of-seven playoff match.

*The Carolina Hurricanes are rolling the dice that they can sign Scott Darling to be their No. 1 goalie before he gets to unrestricted free agency.

*PHT writer James O’Brien helps break down the method that the Vegas Golden Knights are going to use to build their team, but the bottom line is they don’t want to be boring.

*Milan Lucic is enjoying the ride with the Edmonton Oilers as they’ve taken a 2-0 lead in their series against the Ducks.

*For something completely different: Interesting news about M. Night Shyamalan, who is making a sequel that will tie together two of his hit movies.