Once again, one of our favourite sports has been marred by an ugly incident. Once again, the National Hockey League has only has itself to blame.
The Game 3 hit on Boston's Nathan Horton by Vancouver's Aaron Rome started innocently enough, but therein lies the problem. They ALL do.
Rome was just "finishing his check" because it's "part of the game". Horton had his head down "admiring his pass, so it's his own fault".
The Bruins lose one of their top scorers; the Canucks lose a depth defenceman. The N.H.L. loses viewers.
Until the owners pull their heads out of their collective arses and clean house in the league's head office, this ugly scene will continue to play itself out over and over again. More violent hits. More concussions. More serious injuries. Possibly even a case of paralysis. Maybe a death.
Gary Bettman must go, along with ALL of his cohorts. A commissioner with vision and common sense must be hired. Someone who understands they have a responsibility to ALL hockey players young and old, not just the ones in Phoenix and Atlanta.
The people in charge of overseeing the officials should be handed their walking papers. In their place, people who can actually judge reffing and lining talent should be brought on board. If Stephen Walkom and Dan O'Rourke are in your top four referees, there are MAJOR problems.
The league absolutely MUST stop messing with the game by instituting ridiculous rulings and rule changes whenever it feels like it. Confusion reigns supreme amongst the officials, teams and fans.
The fact that Colin Campbell had to step down as the league's "director of discipline" or whatever his trumped-up title was......is a pretty good indication he really shouldn't have been there in the first place.
His replacement, Mike Murphy, then hands down a shocking four-game suspension to the Canucks' Rome for his late hit on the Bruins' Horton. It's not shocking Rome was suspended. What is shocking is the LENGTH. To tell you the truth, I really have no problem with a four-game suspension for the hit. The Vancouver blueliner ran the Boston forward when he was in a vulnerable position. The hit was late AND Rome jumped into the hit. But for Murphy to assume the job just before the series started and hand down an unprecedented suspension smacks of an East Coast bias and reeks of favoritism. Apparently, not many see the situation that way.
I expected one, maybe two games for Rome when you compare the hit to others that have happened in the playoffs so far. I thought Mike Murphy might have handed down his ruling with a caveat saying "next season the punishment will be much tougher". That's just not the way Bettman's NHL works! Not in Knee-Jerk Reaction Central!!
The inept commissioner will point to the massive television numbers the Stanley Cup Finals are garnering and trumpet out to anyone who will listen that what he is doing is working.
The fact of the matter is the league is enjoying the record numbers because of the PLAYERS, not Bettman's agenda.
And I can guarantee you this.....if the rest of the series looks like Game 3 (not talking about the score), the ratings will go down.