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

Bruins rebound from 3-0 deficit but wind up losing to Caps in overtime

Bruins rebound from 3-0 deficit but wind up losing to Caps in overtime

WASHINGTON -- The Capitals didn't exactly end their overtime victory with a raucous celebration.

No, instead Washington held a players-only meeting, still salty over blowing a three-goal lead.

Nicklas Backstrom scored 1:36 into overtime, helping the Capitals beat the Boston Bruins 4-3 to avert a disastrous defeat Wednesday night.

Justin Williams scored twice and Daniel Winnik also had a goal to put Washington ahead 3-0 about six minutes into the second period.

After Winnik's tally, Washington went over 26 minutes without a shot on goal. Boston dominated the final five minutes of the second period, when Dominic Moore and David Pastrnak beat goaltender Braden Holtby. Colin Miller's power-play score 8:19 into third tied it at 3-3.

Backstrom saved the day, but not the Capitals from feeling uneasy.

"In the second and third period they outplayed," Backstrom said. "We were lucky that we came up with two points. We're not satisfied at all. We're happy with the two points, but not the way we played."

The locker room remained closed for approximately 15 minutes after the win, Washington's second in a row after losing three straight.

"We had a little talking here," said T.J. Oshie, who returned to the lineup for the first time since injuring his shoulder on Nov. 18. "There are some things we've got to clean up. I think it's more of a mentality more than it is the systems or anything like that. ... Once we get a step up on someone, we have to get that mentality that we're going to finish them off."

Evgeny Kuznetsov had two assists for the Capitals and Alex Ovechkin got his first point since Nov. 26.

Boston arrived in Washington 4-0-1 over its last five games with three wins in a row, including a 4-3 overtime triumph against Florida on Monday night. The Bruins outshot Washington 34-20.

"Hell of an effort. We got a big point for us. To comeback from 3-0 against Washington, it's not that easy," Pastrnak said. "Too bad we couldn't get the two points, but in this case the one point is huge for us."

Backstrom patiently waited on the right side before firing the winner past goaltender Tuukka Rask, who entered second in the league with a 1.68 goals-against average. Rask allowed three goals in his previous outing, too.

Williams had two goals over the first 24 games this season, but he matched that total less than eight minutes in against the Bruins. He redirected Kuznetsov's lofted centering pass past Rask for a 1-0 lead just 23 seconds into the first period.

"To be honest it's nice to see the puck go in the net," Williams said. "I've been pressing and working hard. Hopefully this can springboard me to some more production."

Matt Niskanen left with an upper-body injury and did not return. With the Caps down a defenseman, Boston outshot Washington 11-2 in the second period.

"In the second period, we just sort of sat back," Capitals coach Barry Trotz said. "It's hard to protect leads in the league."

The Capitals' second goal also occurred in front of the net. Williams emerged from a scramble with a shot that slithered under Rask.

NOTES: With his 673rd career win, Trotz passed Mike Keenan (672) for eighth place on the NHL's career wins list. ... Williams' first goal was the fastest for Washington since 2012. ... Boston assigned F Noel Acciari to the Providence Bruins two days after the 24-year forward returned to practice. Acciari injured his right leg on Nov. 7. ... Holtby improved to 10-2 career against the Bruins. His first career win came in relief against Boston in November 2010. ... The three-game season series resumes Feb. 1 in Washington.

UP NEXT

Bruins: Host Colorado on Thursday night.

Capitals: Play at Buffalo on Friday night.