Rome suspension justified; Irish good fit for Hockey East

Posted June 07, 2011, at 8:22 p.m.
Last modified June 07, 2011, at 8:54 p.m.

Vancouver defenseman Aaron Rome ended the season of Boston Bruins first-line right wing Nathan Horton (concussion) with a vicious blind-side hit long after Horton had released the puck in Game 3 of the Stanley Cup final series Monday night.

Rome left his feet to deliver the hit to the head of the vulnerable Horton.

It was totally unnecessary.

But Canucks coach Alain Vigneault and several Canucks players thought Rome’s four-game suspension was harsh especially since San Jose’s Jamie McGinn wasn’t suspended for a hit from behind on Rome that left Rome with a concussion a few weeks ago.

A four-game suspension is just.

The Canucks would be squawking for a lengthy suspension if the roles were reversed.

The Canucks still get the better of the Horton-Rome exchange. Boston loses one of its leading scorers and the producer of three playoff game-winners while the Canucks lose a No. 5 or 6 defenseman.

This is long overdue.

How many of the league’s elite players have to be sidelined before something is done on a  consistent basis to eliminate illegal hits to the head? Canadian Olympic team hero and Pittsburgh Penquins star Sidney Crosby missed virtually the entire season with a concussion.

Dynamic players like Boston’s Marc Savard and free agent Paul Kariya have had their careers damaged significantly and shortened due to concussions courtesy of cheap shots.

The league needs to protect its players, especially its marquee players.

The Canucks had already dodged a bullet when Alex Burrows, who clearly bit through the glove of Boston’s Patrice Bergeron, wasn’t suspended in game one.

Burrows had two goals, including the overtime game-winner, and an assist in the Canucks’  3-2 Game 2 win.

The fact he wasn’t suspended led to frustration on behalf of the Bruins and his Game 2 heroics stoked the anger.

It carried over into Game 3.

Notre Dame good fit for HE

The Big Ten hockey conference will become a reality in 2013-14. The Central Collegiate Hockey Association will lose Michigan, Michigan State and Ohio State and the Western Collegiate Hockey Association will lose Minnesota and Wisconsin.

CCHA member Notre Dame would be an attractive addition to any conference with its athletic tradition, financial status and academic integrity.

Notre Dame is the only FBS team that has all of its home games televised on one network (NBC through 2015).

They have a strong hockey tradition, including two Frozen Four appearances in the last four years, a classy coaching staff led by Jeff Jackson and a new arena this year.

The league’s teams would visit South Bend, Ind., once a year but, remember, the WCHA and CCHA each contain a team from Alaska and a trip to Notre Dame would be memorable.

Hockey East commissioner Joe Bertagna prefers to have two teams join so everybody would be playing league games down the stretch.

If Notre Dame is joined by another team (Miami?, Niagara?, Mercyhurst?), Hockey East could have two six-team divisions. The teams in one division would play divisional opponents three times and the other six teams twice. That would give them the same number of league games (27) they have now.

Or there could still be one league and teams could play each other twice (22 league games). Teams are allowed to play 34 overall games.

Even if Notre Dame comes in by itself, Hockey East teams could play each other twice and have 20 league games.

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