By Rich Levine
We were anxious to hear the results, but there was very little to gain from the NHLs ruling on Aaron Rome (unless it involved a DeLorean).
It didnt really matter how the league punished Rome. They could have suspended him for life. Fined him 10 million. Fed him to a pride of lions during tonights first intermission. Who cares? It doesnt change the fact that some scrub ended Nathan Hortons season.
Now that the suspensions been handed down, you can appreciate it. No one wanted to see Rome again, skipping along freely while Horton sits at home with a blinding headache. Thats just wrong. Especially since, with the Bruins' luck, Rome definitely would have scored the game-winner in Game 7.
But do you actually care that he was suspended? Do you feel in the least bit redeemed for what happened to Horton? Does it make one bit of difference in terms of who spends their summer with Stanley?
The only thing that matters is that the Bruins are down their second-leading scorer, and for absolutely no good reason. Its like the Rondo injury against Miami. A cheap shot leads to disaster. And if by some chance the Bruins dont pull this series out, theyll be haunted with the questions of what could have been.
Listen, I know they scored eight goals Monday night without him. Its obviously not as bad as what happened with Rondo. But if the Bruins offense reverts back to Games 1 and 2, or just fails to find a rhythm with the new lines, Horton will be a factor.
And at no point will anyone think: Well, to be fair, the Canucks dont have Rome.
I dont disagree with the NHLs ruling. With Horton done, its only fair for Rome to sit. Not to mention, Rome gave the league an opportunity to make a statement. He was the perfect fall guy; someone they could make an example of without upsetting too many people.
They didnt have to suspend him for the whole series. They could have gotten away with two games; that would have been enough. But they saw the opportunity to set a new, safer precedent . . . and it worked. Players will remember what happened to Rome. He lost his mind for one second, and had a lifelong dream taken away. Im not saying that well never see another cheap hit at this level, but theres no question that this will serve as a deterrent. The NHL will end up a safer place because of it.
But for now, it does absolutely nothing for the Bruins.
It doesnt bring them justice. In this case only one thing will.
The Stanley Cup.
The next step comes tonight.