Nathan Horton will not return to the Boston Bruins lineup in the Stanley Cup Finals, says a report from 98.5 The Sports Hub in Boston on Tuesday morning. According to Joe Haggerty of CSN New England, it's a "well-placed source" at Massachusetts General Hospital saying that Horton has a severe concussion and that he won't be back in the series.
The Bruins have confirmed the news. Horton is officially out.
Horton was crushed by a late hit from Vancouver Canucks defenseman Aaron Rome in the first period of Game 3 on Monday night. He had to be taken off the ice on a stretcher, and from the look on his face immediately after the play, you could tell he wasn't right. It was quite scary.
Rome was given a five minute major for interference and a game misconduct, and it's quite possible he'll see supplementary discipline on Tuesday when he meets with the NHL brass. There's just no room for that kind of hit in the game. Some say it wasn't a blindside hit since Horton had his head turned voluntarily and should've been aware of Rome, but there's not a doubt in the world that it was a late hit. Against the rules, no matter how it's sliced.
The kicker is that, even if the NHL suspends Rome for the remainder of the series (it's doubtful they do, unless the series only goes five games and they suspend him for two), the loss is still much more painful to the Bruins. They may have rallied around Horton's injury in Game 3 as they went on to a huge 8-1 win, but the facts are clear: without Horton, the Bruins are not as good a hockey team.
He's one of their most pivotal scorers, playing on the top line with Milan Lucic and David Krejci. Without him there, the overall effectiveness of the Bruins attack becomes weaker. For the Canucks, you always want a full complement of defensemen, and with Dan Hamhuis already out, Rome's potential absence could hurt as well.
But simply put, you can replace Rome. You can't replace Horton.
The Stanley Cup Finals are ongoing, as the Vancouver Canucks battle the Boston Bruins. Stick with this StoryStream for full coverage of Game 3. For coverage on the Finals, stick with our Stanley Cup Finals hub, our Canucks blog, Nucks Misconduct, and our Bruins blog, Stanley Cup of Chowder.