The Bruins saw it as a blindside hit. The Canucks disagreed Tuesday, claiming it was a legal blow to Horton’s chest.
Mike Murphy, the NHL’s senior vice president of hockey operations, agreed the hit would have been legal if it hadn’t been late. But given its timing and Horton’s subsequent injury, the NHL determined Rome would miss the rest of the series.
The Canucks vocally rushed to Rome’s defense after practice Tuesday at Boston University, criticizing the severity of the suspension during the final postseason round.
“We disagree with the decision, and it was a clean hit,” Vancouver captain Henrik Sedin said. “Talking to Aaron was extremely emotional.
“When you get to this point in the playoffs, you want to be a part of it on the ice, and Romer didn’t deserve what he got.”
Rome didn’t attend the Canucks’ practice, but issued a brief statement.
“I try to play this game honestly and with integrity,” said Rome, himself the victim of a serious hit from behind by San Jose’s Jamie McGinn during the Western Conference finals. “As someone who has experienced this type of injury, I am well aware of its serious nature and have no desire for another player to experience it.”
While Horton is a key offensive player for the Bruins, the 27-year-old Rome is a depth defenseman, usually playing on the third line.