Horton hospitalized after hit to the head

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Horton hospitalized after hit to the head

By Joe Haggerty
CSNNE.com

BOSTON Vancouver defenseman Aaron Rome sent the Bruins' Nathan Horton to the hospital with a hit to the head in the first period of Game 3, once again opening up the NHLs version of a Pandoras Box.

Bostons smiling right winger had just completed a pass while coming through the neutral zone whenRome stepped into him and hit him high with his shoulder. Horton snapped back and fell, banging his head hard against the ice.

Horton was motionless for several minutes, appearing to be dazed as he lie in a strangely still position. He was strapped to a board, taken off the ice on a stretcher, and transported to Massachusetts General Hopsital. The only medical update offered by the Bruins was that he was "alert and responsive" and "moving all his extremities," but one of the medical people working on Horton later told CSNNE's Mike Giardi that Horton thought he was still in Vancouver."

There was clearly an agreement that the hit on Horton a lateral blow to the head was tardy by virtually anyones interpretation of the events. Horton had already released a pass from his stick in the neutral zone and had taken several strides before Rome lowered the boom on him.

Opinions differ as to whether it was a blindside hit. Many feel it was; for the most part, the Canucks feel it was simply a late hit. Some NHL observers say the fact that Horton didn't see Rome before the blow doesn't, in and of itself, make it a blindside hit.

In any case, Rome was given a five-minute major and a game misconduct, and CSNNE.com confirmed through a league source that he has a meeting scheduled with NHL Vice President of Hockey Operations Mike Murphy for Tuesday morning. He is likely looking at a one- to two-game suspension.

The Bruins' Shawn Thornton was teammates with Rome in Anaheim in the NHL and Portland in the AHL, and said he knows him to be an "honest player". But the personal connection didnt stop the Bs enforcer from saying that type of hit is exactly what the NHL is trying to stamp out of the game before more players careers end prematurely due to frightful cases of brain damage and post-concussion syndrome.

I think thats the stuff were trying to get out of the game and get rid of, said Thornton. I hope Horton's okay. Im sure well get some more news. As players, and with the culture of the game, thats the kind of stuff that we need to get out of the game with the head shots. Its in the leagues hands now and Im sure theyll do the right thing.

Hortons one of the best guys Ive ever played with. Hes always happy and hes always in a good mood, and he always has a smile on his face. Hes so positive. To see anybody go down you really want to rally around them, but especially for him because hes been such a positive influence on this squad all year.

An agitated Thornton was staring at the Vancouver bench as Horton was getting wheeled off the ice on the stretcher right before both benches tapped their sticks against the boards.

I played with Rome and from what I know of him he is an honest player," said Thornton. "But that doesnt take from the fact that it was a lateral hit to the head. Thats what the rule was set into place for, as far as Im concerned.

"But Aaron Rome is a good person. Im not saying hes a bad person, but thats something that we as players have to get out of the game."

Early Tuesday morning, Rome's agent, Jarrett Bousquet, told TSN's Bob McKenzie: "Aaron told me he was sad to see Horton lying on the ice because Rome's been hit in the head twice within the year and would never intend to injure another player. He hopes Horton is okay and is sorry."

In the Canucks' dressing room, the Sedin twins both said it was a late hit. But Manny Malhotra said he "thought it a very clean hit. The timing was maybe a fraction off, but all in all you see those hits on daily basis."

The Bruins -- and especially Thornton -- disagree.

"I wasnt happy with the hit," Thornton said. "My next emotion was worry to know Nathan was okay. It was good to see him moving on the big screen as they took him off. You could tell by my facial expression if the camera was on me that I wasnt very happy with it. You never want to see a teammate in that situation.

Joe Haggerty can be reached at jhaggerty@comcastsportsnet.com. Follow Joe on Twitter at http:twitter.comHackswithHaggs

Spooner, coming to life with Bruins, feels Julien 'just didn't really trust me'

Spooner, coming to life with Bruins, feels Julien 'just didn't really trust me'

BRIGHTON -- The Bruins' third line has been reborn under interim coach Bruce Cassidy, and the players are now openly admitting they desperately needed a change.

Claude Julien never trusted Frank Vatrano, Ryan Spooner and Jimmy Hayes enough defensively to play them together, but this line has blossomed under Cassidy: Six goals, 15 points and a plus-11 in seven games. They’ve survived in the defensive zone by rarely playing there. Instead, they push the pace, make plays to keep the puck out of the D-zone and, most importantly, keep producing the secondary offense that wasn’t there in the first 55 games of the season. 

No one has been freed from the shackles more than Spooner, who is back playing his natural center position after being forced to play left wing under Julien. The 25-year-old said Tuesday that getting a clean slate with a new coach has been extremely beneficial to him, and that perhaps he didn't always love playing for the guy now minding the bench in Montreal. 

“I felt like the last coach ... he just didn’t really trust me,” said Spooner, who has two goals and six points along with a plus-1 rating in seven games post-Julien. “It might've been kind of on me not really playing to the potential that I have, but at the same time . . . I just don’t think that he really liked me as a player. It’s kind of in the past now. It’s just a part of the game. It’s up to me to just go out there and just play, and not have that stuff in the back of my mind. 

“I just kind of have to go out there and believe in myself and I think at times I wasn’t really going out there and doing that. Maybe that’s something to learn. This sport has ups and downs, and I’ve had my downs. You learn that you can just sort of push through it. If you do that then things can be good.”

Spooner has 10 goals and 33 points along with a minus-3 this season, and could potentially surpass last year's numbers (13-36-49) in his second full season. 

Most felt that the speedy, skilled Spooner would be one of the big beneficiaries of the move from Julien to Cassidy, and now he’s showing that with a new lease on life in Boston. 

Tuesday, Feb. 28: Nothing coming easy for Habs

Tuesday, Feb. 28: Nothing coming easy for Habs

Here are all the links from around the hockey world and what I’m reading while it’s all happening around the NHL world ahead of tomorrow’s NHL trade deadline.

*FOH (Friend of Haggs) Eric Engels says that a torturous February shows that nothing will come easy for the Montreal Canadiens.

*Some raw locker room video from the Florida Panthers with local D-man Keith Yandle holding court with reporters.

*PHT writer James O’Brien has some early thoughts, and some praise, for the Washington Capitals landing puck-moving D-man and big ticket rental player Kevin Shattenkirk.

*The Toronto Maple Leafs up their playoff cred by landing gritty, big third-line center Brian Boyle ahead of the trade deadline.

*Duncan Keith and Brent Seabrook are the city of Chicago’s longest-tenured teammates having spent the last 12 years together with the Blackhawks.

*Patrice Bergeron and Toucher and Rich are getting together for their 10th annual Cuts for a Cause, which will be on March 27.

https://www.nhl.com/bruins/community/cuts-for-a-cause

*For something completely different: Jimmy Kimmel gives his perspective of the debacle that went down at the end of the Academy Awards on Sunday night.

http://www.rollingstone.com/tv/news/watch-jimmy-kimmel-on-oscars-best-picture-award-mistake-w469552