Horton Upset with Rome over Text-Message Apology

Thomas Drance
August 25 2011 08:58AM

 According to Horton, Aaron Rome duffed the apology for this hit, which,  concussed the Bruins winger in game three of the Stanley Cup Finals. Rome sent Horton a text to apologize, and that didn't sit well with Horton - who has called-out Rome for his flimsy apology. Says NESN in their report about the incident today

But Horton's mood darkened a bit when asked if Vancouver defenseman Aaron Rome had ever reached out to him after delivering the late hit that knocked Horton out of the final four games of the Cup Final and also earned Rome a four-game suspension to end his postseason, as well. "Just through a text message," Horton said.

"If it was me, I wouldn't have thrown a text message someone's way," Horton added. "I'd have a little bit more respect to actually make a phone call."

So now the question is, did Aaron Rome handle his apology poorly? From a PR perspective - yes, he did.

Aaron Rome isn't particularly well known around the league, so for many fans their only impression of him was this devestating, dirty hit. Never mind that anyone who has watched Rome play for any length of time knows that he isn't a head-hunter - Rome's late hit, and his presence in a Canucks uniform means he's a dirty player, who probably dives,  possibly eats children and definitely can't back anything up. So to be called out further for the hit - hell, for casual fans to even be reminded that it happened - means that Rome didn't handle the situation well. 

Greg Wyshynski asked if "Rome owes Horton an apology" on Puck Daddy today, and seems somewhat undecided on the matter:

Does Rome owe Horton something beyond the apologies he's given? I suppose that's up to Horton. Although turning the tide of the Stanley Cup Final with his reckless hit could be seen by some as thanks enough.

Though it is up to Horton, there are a lot of other factors at play. Wysh compares Rome's apology-fail to past apologies for dirty play, including Steckel-Crosby and Chara-Pacioretty. Chara for example went to great lengths to apologize to Pacioretty - but the two players history, and the singular ghastliness of that particular play, makes that situation unique. Also this particular incident happened during the Stanley Cup Final - and sending a text message while the series is still going on, then apologizing for it over the phone later would seem appropriate to most rational folks.

Aaron Rome didn't follow up, clearly - and that's a straight up weak play on Rome's part. Still, I have some sympathy for Rome in this. It makes sense to me that Rome's unprecedented suspension, and the disingenuous way the Bruins "doctored" Rome's disciplinary hearing (before flying out the "severely concussed" winger for game seven) would colour his perception of the incident, and how apologetic he felt about it. But still, that was a bad hit,  and the sight of Horton lying prone on the ice was as difficult to watch as just about anything we saw in hockey last season. If you hurt a guy that badly playing the game, pick up the damn phone.

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Thomas Drance lives in Toronto, eats spicy food and writes about hockey. He is an NHL News Editor at theScore, the ex-managing editor of CanucksArmy.com and an opinionated blowhard to boot. You can follow him on twitter @thomasdrance.
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#1 Fred Smith
August 25 2011, 10:57AM
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Aaron Rome should be feel sympathetic towards Horton . That hit had unfortunate results ! That hit was standard practice for the last 100 years that hockey has been played . Scott Stevens made a carreer out of hitting the opposing players that same way . You are taught in minor hockey how to protect yourself from being hit like that . From my point of view the ice caused the brain injury . Mr. horton got caught in a vunerable body position and payed the price . Maybe all player contracts should have a waiver clause , cannot be held responsible for damaging opposing players well being during competition . That was not a dirty hit !! Horton in a VULNERABLE POSITION WATCHING HIS PASS WAS THE ACTUAL CAUSE OF THIS UNFORTUNATE INJURY

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#2 Jinx50
August 25 2011, 11:02AM
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This I find rather ironic considering neither Boychuck or the Bruins organization even mentioned any concern or whatever over Mason Raymond who ended up hurt a hell of a lot worse than Horton. I may not have been a "dirty" play but Raymond didn't do it all by himself, he had some help! So on the classless scale not so sure who the winner is.

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#3 Mantastic
August 25 2011, 11:13AM
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@Fred Smith

hope you understand that the hit was LATE, that's why it was considered dirty, stevens hit players WITH the puck...

apparently for most canucks fans if the player is in a vulnerable position, it's fair game to hit them in the head.

@Jinx50

i don't know how you jusitify a concussion as being better than a fractured vertebrae... where concussions have long term and unknown side effects

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#5 Mantastic
August 25 2011, 11:53AM
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@Thomas Drance

it was illegal to hit horton late... which is why he got the penalty to begin with

ask probert about concussions... no doubt that horton recovered quicker than raymond but the longterm ill-effects of a concussion far extend past december, would you not agree?

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#7 John Andress
August 26 2011, 09:55AM
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Sorry, I entered this to the wrong post, so here we try again. With feelings running as high as they were at the time, I think that a text apology was appropriate, especially since the Bruins were milking every incident that occurred to paint the Canucks in as negative a light as possible. At worst, the Rome hit on Horton was mis-timed rather than malicious. For me there is an element of "I'm telling mummy!" in Horton's whine. Get over it.

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#8 peanutflower
August 27 2011, 01:50PM
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Come on now, "devastating hit"? Really? Horton did not spend more than a couple of hours in hospital -- kudos to the Boston med staff for the drama of the stretcher as opposed to the truly cringeworthy skate by Mason Raymond off the ice -- Horton was interviewed the next day in the park with his family, and travelled with the team the day after. So to say this was a "devastating hit" is really stretching the bounds of credulity. Horton was basically useless after the TB series and probably shouldn't have been playing anyway. Is there some kind of NHL rulebook that states the amount, size or description of an apology? I bet there isn't. Unless you have insight into how players interact and whether there are always apologies or not, this is just a really silly supposition to make that Rome owed Horton anything at all outside of the text message he sent. There are all kinds of mitigating factors at play that you and the rest of the general public know nothing about. Horton just comes off as a pansy whiner in this article. Rome and the Canucks paid the price for that late hit -- not a dirty hit, just a late hit that would never ever have resulted in a suspension like that in the regular season, and the Bruins came out the winners. My mom would be writing exactly the same thing as I just did.

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