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.