BOSTON --- Just over five minutes into Game 3 of the Stanley Cup finals, a feisty TD Garden fell silent.
Boston Bruins winger Nathan Horton passed the puck to his left to Milan Lucic and took a couple strides when Vancouver Canucks defenseman Aaron Rome stepped into him for a late shoulder-to-head hit just past center ice.
Horton lay motionless on the ice for several moments. He left on the ice on a stretcher and was taken to an area hospital. He was moving all his extremities.
Rome was assessed a major interference penalty and ejected. He has a disciplinary hearing with the NHL on Tuesday.
Here's the video of the hit:
Here are some comments on the hit ---
Boston coach Claude Julien: Well, there always is when a guy goes down the way he did. I'm sure the guys were in there. I know we talked about it, the fact that Horty is at the hospital right now probably obviously hoping that we win the game. But more than anything else, we were concerned about his welfare. Hopefully it's not too bad. I know I've got the same things that you guys got, that he was obviously moving around. That's all that I've been told. I don't have any more to share with you guys.
Looking back at the hit, you say was it a dirty hit. I think what I would call it is it was a blindside hit that we've talked about taking out of the game. He made the pass. It was late. He came from the blindside. Whether it's through the motion of the hit, it appeared he left his feet a little bit. You know, again, that's my view on it. I'm not going to comment more than that. Say what I always say: let the league take care of it. We're trying to clean that out. Let's see where they go with that.
We lost a pretty good player. We'll have to move some players around. Right now I haven't really made my roster up for next game. I can't give you that answer right now. But we'll find solutions. We always do. We'll try and get the best fit for that line by next game.
Vancouver coach Alain Vigneault: You know, obviously you never want to see any player leave in that situation. I think our whole team and myself and the whole organization hopes that he's all right. The hit obviously seemed to be a little bit late, so... he got five minutes for interference and was kicked out of the game.
Canucks goalie Roberto Luongo: I didn't see the hit, so I really can't comment on it.
Canucks captain Henrik Sedin: I thought our first period was actually not bad. We killed that one off and then I thought we took over teh game in the first. It's one of those hits. I think it's a clean hit that is a little late but that's the way it goes sometimes. We're real happy he seems to be OK.
Bruins winger Shawn Thornton: That's the stuff that were supposed to get out of the game -- that we are trying to rid of. I hope he's OK. I haven't heard yet how he is doing, except for what was on the big screen. I'm sure we'll get some more news as it goes here, but I think here as players that the culture of our game, that's the stuff we need to get out of the game, the head shots. It's in the league's hands now and I'm sure they'll take a look it and do the right thing.
Obviously, I wasn't happy with the hit. But my next emotion was worry. I just wanted to know Nathan was OK. It was good to see on the big screen that he was moving and everything was fine.
Bruins center Brad Marchand: It's always very tough when a guy goes down obviously. We were very worried about Horty, but it just gave us a little extra motivation to win tonight and kind of do it for him. Hopefully, he's going to recover fine.
Bruins defenseman Zdeno Chara: Well, obviously that's something we try to get rid of in the game. And it's very unfortunate when you see one of your teammates laying on the ice like that so it's up to the league to look at it and make a decision.