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McKenzie: NHL breaks new ground with Rome suspension

Bob McKenzie
6/8/2011 1:02:19 AM
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Some thoughts from the NHL on TSN Panel on Tuesday night:

I was very surprised - in fact I would go so far as to say I was shocked - about the length of Aaron Rome's suspension. 

It's unprecedented to be suspended four games in the Stanley Cup Finals, though Horton did suffer a significant injury. 

I'm probably not as shocked or upset as the fans in Vancouver or the fans in Montreal who have reopened the old wounds of Zdeno Chara not being suspended for hitting Max Pacioretty

If this is the new standard for a "north-south" late hit, where a head injury is caused, then bring it on, I'm fine with that but it's never happened to this extent before. 

I almost get the feeling that the National Hockey League wanted to take the temperature of this series and ratchet it down a notch because things were getting too hot on the ice. 

Things could have been elevated, especially if Rome were to come back and play more games. So they ratcheted it down.

Momentum Shifts

I'm not sure that I buy into the theory that you can get momentum from one playoff game to another. I think you start with a clean slate and you're master of your own destiny when each game starts.

Having said that, I'm interested to see how the Vancouver Canucks do respond.

We've had a mixed-bag from them in these playoffs.

Go back to the Chicago series, when they could clinch that series, sweep it on Chicago's home ice and they laid an egg.

They got absolutely obliterated by the Blackhawks in Chicago. Everybody assumed that that was the wake-up call they would need and they would come back on home ice in Game 5.

Guess what? They laid an egg on home ice, and they didn't seem to learn their lesson in that one.

They almost flirted with disaster, and the prospect of losing in Game 7.

Then in Round 2 they lost a game in San Jose where they were down 4-0. They made it close on some power plays in the third period, but they really laid an egg in that game, too.

But they did come back and win the next two games. So I think they learned their lesson there.

It will be interesting to see how they fare here in Boston. If they laid an egg on home ice in Game 5 against Chicago on home ice in Vancouver, they're eminently capable of not bouncing back here and forcing this series to go at least six games.

Hole in the Lineup

Losing Nathan Horton will have a big impact on the Bruins because he can be a game breaker. 

We saw him score the overtime winner in game 7 against the Montreal Canadiens and we saw him score the winner in game 7 against the Tampa Bay Lightning. 

Rich Peverley is likely to move up to the first line, but there is some consideration for Michael Ryder to move up and take Horton's place. 

Tyler Seguin will draw into the third line with Chris Kelly and either Peverley or Ryder.

Patrice Bergeron's line will remain intact as well as the fourth line with Shawn Thornton, Daniel Paille, and Greg Campbell.

Bob McKenzie


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