|Bruins, Canucks disagree over legality of Aaron Rome’s hit on Nathan Horton||06.07.11 at 2:20 am ET|
Almost as big a story as the game itself is Aaron Rome‘s first-period hit on Nathan Horton. After Horton dished a pass off to Milan Lucic, Rome stepped up and landed a late hit to the head that left Horton lying motionless on the ice for several minutes before being carried off on a stretcher.
After the game, players and coaches on both sides agreed that the primary concern was for Horton’s well-being. What they didn’t agree on, however, was how dirty or clean the hit actually was.
“I think what I would call it is it was a blindside hit that we’ve talked about taking out of the game,” Claude Julien said. “[Horton] made the pass. It was late. [Rome] came from the blindside. Whether it’s through the motion of the hit, it appeared he left his feet a little bit.”
Canucks coach Alain Vigneault disagreed with the assessment that it was the kind of hit the NHL is trying to get rid of.
“That hit was a head-on hit,” Vigneault said. “[Horton] was looking at his pass. It was a little bit late, but I don’t think that’s the type of hit that the league’s trying to take out.”
On replay, it appears that Horton was following the play more than anything — something any player would do while entering the zone on an offensive rush. Vigneault also conveniently ignored the fact that it was a hit to the head, regardless of what Horton was looking at. He wasn’t the only one in the Vancouver dressing room to defend the hit, though.
“I thought it was a very clean hit,” center Manny Malhotra said. “The timing was maybe a fraction off, but all in all, you see those hits on a daily basis.”
Malhotra’s assessment seems even more misguided than his coach’s. If it was “very clean,” Rome wouldn’t have been ejected from the game and he wouldn’t have a disciplinary hearing with the NHL Tuesday morning. And Malhotra must be playing in a different league than everyone else if he sees hits like that every day.
No one on the Bruins called Rome a dirty player, but they did say it was a bad hit.
“I played with him and from what I know of him, he is an honest player,” Shawn Thornton said. “But that doesn’t take away from the fact that it was a lateral hit to the head, and that’s what that rule was set into place for as far as I’m concerned.
“Aaron Rome is a good person. I played with him. We played together in Portland [Maine] and Anaheim. I’m not saying he’s a bad person. I’m just saying those are the hits – as players – we have to take out of the game.”
Whether or not NHL disciplinarian Mike Murphy decides to take Rome out of Game 4 and perhaps beyond remains to be seen. The Bruins didn’t directly say they think Rome should be suspended, but they certainly hinted at it by saying it’s the type of hit the league is trying to eliminate.
“I’ll say what I always say: let the league take care of it,” Julien said. “We’re trying to clean that out. Let’s see where they go with that.”
|Manny Malhotra, Andrew Alberts in, Dan Hamhuis out for Canucks||06.04.11 at 8:15 pm ET|
VANCOUVER — Canucks third-line center Manny Malhotra will return to the team’s lineup for Game 2 of the Stanley Cup finals, as he is officially listed as active for the team. Malhotra has been out since March after getting hit in the eye with a puck vs. the Avalanche. The move makes Alexandre Bolduc a healthy scratch for the game.
Defenseman Dan Hamhuis will not play for Vancouver, as he left Game 1 after hip-checking Milan Lucic and getting cross-checked by David Krejci in the second period. Former Boston College and Bruins defenseman Andrew Alberts will take Hamhuis’ spot in the lineup.
VANCOUVER — The will-he-or-won’t-he guessing game surrounding the status of Canucks center Manny Malhotra could come to an end Saturday night at Rogers Arena. Malhotra, who has been out since March after taking a puck to the eye in a game against the Avalanche, skated Saturday morning with teammates and said afterwards that his status as it relates to his chances of playing in Game 2 of the Stanley Cup finals has improved.
“It’s gone from day to day to game-time decision right now,” Malhotra said. “I’m honestly not trying to send you guys on a wild goose chase. That’s just the nature of the situation right now.”
Malhotra, who had 11 goals and 19 assists for 30 points in the regular season, was cleared for contact a week ago but has been in and out of practices. He missed Tuesday’s skate, reportedly due to an eye appointment, but has taken the ice in recent days and said Saturday that he feels comfortable.
“I feel really good,” the center said. “I felt good yesterday skating and felt good this morning. So, again, hopefully I’ll continue throughout the day.”
Vancouver coach Alain Vigneault has given the standard, three-word response of “day-to-day” over the course of the week when asked about Malhotra, and Saturday he had three new words.
Said the coach: “Game-time decision.”
Vigneault said the same of defenseman Dan Hamhuis, who left Game 1 in the second period after hip-checking Milan Lucic and getting cross-checked by David Krejci in succession. If Hamhuis can’t go, former Boston College and Bruins defenseman Andrew Alberts could be in the lineup, with Keith Ballard also an option.
|Manny Malhotra on the ice again, still day-to-day||06.03.11 at 4:08 pm ET|
VANCOUVER — Canucks center Manny Malhotra skated Friday at the University of British Columbia after missing recent skates in his attempt to return from an eye injury suffered in March. Both he and coach Alain Vigneault were tight-lipped about where Malhotra stands on a possible return to Vancouver’s lineup during the Stanley Cup finals.
“As I said on Saturday, it’s a day-to-day situation,” Malhotra said Friday. “From one day to the next, things have changed. I didn’t feel proper to go on the ice, so I took a couple days off.”
Vigneault would only offer that “Manny is day-to-day.” Malhotra had 11 goals and 19 assists for 30 points in the regular season.
|Mike Emrick on The Big Show: ‘I thought there was adequate evidence’ to suspend Alex Burrows||at 3:23 pm ET|
Announcer Mike “Doc” Emrick, who is calling the Stanley Cup finals for NBC and Versus, joined The Big Show Friday afternoon to offer his insight into the Bruins-Canucks series while watching injured Canucks forward Manny Malhotra practice with his team in Vancouver. To hear the interview, go the The Big Show audio on demand page.
Discussing the Bruins’ struggling power play, Emrick said: “I’m not sure that there’s a solution to this problem, or the Bruins would have had it by now. So, maybe they’re just going to have to win the way they know how to win, which I thought was the way they played in Game 1.”
Added Emrick: “This is kind of like a team in the NFL winning key games with a negative rushing yardage. You just don’t see it. But then again, this has been an exceptional team that has played really well, done a lot of things just like this. There’s nothing that says if you can win a seventh game in overtime against Montreal and not score a power-play goal in any of the seven games — including overtime, when you had a power play — then maybe you’re a team of destiny. We’ll know a little more after the second game.”
Touching on the controversy involving Alex Burrows‘ alleged bite of Patrice Bergeron‘s finger, Emrick questioned the league’s decision not to suspend Burrows.
“I was surprised, because I thought there was — at least to the layman — I thought there was adequate evidence,” he said. “And I think the thing that meant more to me than actually watching the video … was to talk to players who were not affiliated with either Boston or Vancouver and who were retired, who know the players’ mentality. And this may seem naive, but I approached it in this way: Does he know what he’s about to do, and does he know what he’s doing when he does it? And the clear answer was yes, he does. So then, if you add that together with the video evidence, you have to say that’s suspendable.”
|Manny Malhotra out for Game 1||06.01.11 at 8:01 pm ET|
VANCOUVER — Canucks forward Manny Malhotra did not take the ice for warmups and is officially out for Game 1 of the Stanley Cup finals. Malhotra, who has not played since getting hit in the eye with a puck against the Avalanche on March 16, did not practice on Tuesday with the team due to an eye appointment. He had skated in previous days after being cleared for contact on Saturday.
The third-line center had 11 goals and 19 assists for 30 points in the regular season.
|Manny Malhotra absent from Canucks practice||05.31.11 at 2:52 pm ET|
VANCOUVER — The Canucks held their practice on Tuesday at Rogers Arena, part of the Stanley Cup finals media day. Center Manny Malhotra (eye), who was recently cleared for contact participated in Monday’s scrimmage, was not on the ice. According to a tweet from Vancouver Province Canucks writer Ben Kuzma, Malhotra missed the skate due to an eye appointment.
Defenseman Christian Ehrhoff, meanwhile, was once again on the ice for practice. He missed Games 4 and 5 of the Western Conference finals due to an upper body injury and is considered day-to-day. He was also on the ice Monday and said he feels good to go.