NHL blows it again. Perception is everything and once again, they look bad.

So Aaron Rome was suspended for four games by the NHL and its new interim disciplinarian Mike Murphy. I like most were pretty shocked at the number of games. I figured the league would give Rome at least a game and probably two for the late hit.

It wasn’t a blindside hit; it was a late hit with a very unfortunate result. But Nathan Horton is done for the series with a severe concussion and in some respects it may be fair that Aaron Rome misses the remainder of the final as well.

I accept the suspension as a fan, but I what I cannot accept is the part of the process that was used to arrive at the decision. This from the NHL transcript of the decision:

Q.  Is there a formula equating playoff games to regular-season games?

MIKE MURPHY:  Yes.  It’s more severe.

Q.  Is there a number?

MIKE MURPHY: No.  I wish there was a number.  There’s not.  You have to feel that.  I know in the past when we had a playoff suspension, I remember the Pronger elbow going back, the Lemieux hit going on, that was two, Pronger was one.  I spoke to the gentleman who issued the two.  Wanted his formula, talked to him about it.  I’m talking about Brian Burke.  I don’t like to mention people who I deal with.  He was one gentleman who I did speak with. There’s a lot of other people I spoke with, too, not just Brian.

Excuse me?

The NHL is truly stupid sometimes. How does it look when you go to another team’s GM, a GM that was fired by the Vancouver Canucks and ask him his opinion on a suspension? Employees of other teams should never be consulted on discipline issues, period. The optics of that move are absurd but until last night with Nathan Horton lying concussed on the ice, the NHL has never cared about optics. So should fans now be wondering if Colin Campbell was “consulted”? The man that excused himself of his role prior to the start of the series, saying it had nothing to do with his son playing for the Bruins? Sure, I’m getting the conspiracy thing going, but the way the NHL runs things they really don’t give you much of a choice.

I do believe that Burke was probably neutral in his recommendations to Murphy but the NHL has to be smarter in the roles that conflicting parties have in these decisions.

Before I start getting blasted by profanity laced comments and being labeled a homer, read above again. I accept and to some degree agree with the suspension based on the fact that Horton is “out for the series.” In the future the NHL better give a little more thought to who it “consults” on discipline issues. If they can’t do it within their own league office circles and not consult GM’s of other teams then that is a major flaw in the process and one that makes the NHL look bush league…again.



Be social and share!
Tweet about this on Twitter6Share on Facebook22Google+0share on TumblrShare on LinkedIn2Share on StumbleUpon0Share on Reddit0Email to someonePrint this page


  1. Dennis Prouse says

    Let me toss in another factor – the nature of the player they are suspending. It’s easy to make Aaron Rome, a relatively unknown 5th/6th defenceman, into an example when you are promoting your new “get tough on head shots” policy. Where was that policy, though, when Zdeno Chara rode Max Pacioretty into the partition? Same kind of play – Chara got five and a game for interference, but that was it, as it was judged to be a “hockey play”. If you are going to zero tolerance on late hits, “head shots”, etc., fair enough, but it is typical of the NHL to see them starting with a no-name player as opposed to a star.

    • says

      As long as this is the bar going forward regardless of the “name” I’m ok with it. But pardon me if I don’t believe that for a second.

      My main issue is the involvement of another team’s GM and a former GM of the Canucks being involved in the process. That should never be allowed, period. The NHL “braintrust” just doesn’t get it.

  2. Brian Gottmers says

    Good post! I agree with the suspension too but the major glaring issue is why does a person have to be severely injured for the league to make a stand the lack of consistency. They are never going to get this out of the game if the criteria is that the player has to be hurt for it to matter. It’s like saying well that fire didn’t cause much damage, so no changes required until a fire burns a building to the ground and kills people. It’s kind of too late at that point, no? And the consistency of their rulings is ridiculous. Eager’s dangerous, hunting hit on Daniel didn’t even get a game and what about Michael Ryder ‘s questionable hit on Blair Jones – ECF Game #5 2011. If that isn’t beyond “late” and he didn’t even have the puck, then I must be blind.

    And, is Rome a repeat offender goon? The governing body of the NHL is an absolute joke.

  3. Dustin says

    No, clearly many people are not watching the games. This suspension has nothing to do with the play. In the exact same game you can clearly see Milan Lucic punching Alex Burrows in the BACK of the head. This is not a hockey play, not even two individuals engaging in fisticuffs. This is a goon who is fortunate to be protected by the jersey he wears and likely some “favors” via the Campbell family.

    If the powers that be really wanted to clean up the sport and protect players they would start with non-hockey plays which clearly target the head. Then maybe fans would not look at suspensions like this as a farce.

    As an aside Chara got nothing for his attempted homicide on Max Pacority early in the year so his numerous elbows to the heads of opposing players this spring wouldn’t even make him a repeat offender….providing he actually got called on even one of them.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *