Let’s make one thing absolutely clear here: there is no excuse for the kind of cheap shot or even blindside hit that Vancouver’s Aaron Rome delivered on Boston’s Nathan Horton in game three of the Stanley Cup Finals. Hockey may be a sport of gladiators on skates played on a ice rink, but there should be no place in any sport for the kind of stunt that Aaron Rome pulled on the sport’s biggest stage. Hockey may be the one main professional sport out of the big four that has not gotten enough attention with head injuries and concussions over the last few years, but this play along with several others this season have opened the eyes of many. Horton was left vunerable after delivering a pass and you’re meaning to tell me that some people will have the audacity to say that that’s what Horton gets for not looking up? Are you serious?
Should we encourage this kind of foul play to amateur players who are looking to break into the NHL?
NHL executive Mike Murphy was spot on Tuesday in his assessment of suspending Vancouver’s Aaron Rome for the final four games of the Stanley Cup Finals for his headhunting hit. This was yet another ugly, dangerous, moment in hockey, where a player was carried off the ice and the NHL needed to make a statement. Keith Primeau is a former NHL center who played for Detroit, Carolina and Philadelphia, who knows a thing or two about suffering concussions. Primeau is the co-founder of Stopconcussions.com and he weighed in on his take of Rome’s appalling hit on Horton. Keith Primeau joined The Fan 590 in Toronto with Andrew Krystal to discuss his thought process when he saw the vicious hit delivered by Vancouver’s Aaron Rome on Boston’s Nathan Horton, what did he think of the ruling against Aaron Rome, more headhunting occurring in the NHL today than ever before, the answer to stop headhunting hits from players like Aaron Rome and what Nathan Horton is experiencing based on prior experience.
What goes through your mind when you see the hit by Aaron Rome in game three of the Stanley Cup?
“Disturbed and disappointed because I know this day is coming as well with questions abound and interests surrounds what the decision would be handed down from the league and where we are at as far as this conversation and frankly it becomes tiring. It’s the same thing over-and-over. For me it brings back a lot of bad memories and I really feel for him [Nathan Horton] as an individual, which is often overlooked because of the consequence and the sport he is playing.”
What did you think of the ruling on the Aaron Rome hit?
“It probably was sufficient and certainly harsh enough as it relates to the time of year and the importance of the games that [Aaron] Rome is going to miss and certainly wouldn’t have expected anything less.” It seems to me in the NHL today there are more headhunters then there ever was before? Am I wrong? “No I don’t think you are. I don’t want to characterize anybody or any group of players, but in general there is a lack of respect for one another. That is alarming.”
What is the answer to stopping the headhunting in the NHL?
“It is a consequence free action. It is a stricter repercussion. It has to sink in with the players. They have to understand the severity of the injury and the harm and damage they are doing, not only to the individual, which is devastating enough, but to the game and the sport. They need to understand it now.”
What is Nathan Horton and his family are experiencing? Can you walk us through that? Every concussion is different, but can you tell us what Horton is experiencing?
“The most trying time from a family standpoint is immediately after obviously. I remember back in 2000 when I was taken off the ice in a stretcher in Pittsburgh and Eric [neighbor], who lived next door and his wife came racing over. My wife wasn’t even watching the game yet and to get a knock on the front door telling her to turn the TV and to not worry. I have small children and that’s always a very difficult time. Following that I just hope it’s not severe and as severe as it looked and that he’s quickly able to return to the…even to a normal existence every day. Never mind where he is as far as when he’ll play again. It would certainly help that he’ll have that opportunity again, but it’s a process.”