Aaron Rome had to be thinking he was going to give his team a game-changing lift with a spectacular, mid-ice bodycheck on a top opposing player.
Well, the 27-year-old journeyman defenceman changed the game all right, but not for his team, the Vancouver Canucks.
Instead, Rome’s vicious head shot that knocked first-line Boston forward Nathan Horton unconscious and sent him to the hospital may have been a historic moment that alters the course of a 2011 Stanley Cup final that has suddenly turned rather nasty.
It was as brutal a hit as there’s been in a Cup final since Scott Stevens laid out Paul Kariya back in ’03, the difference being Kariya got up and later played on. And it produced the most lopsided score, 8-1 in favour of Boston, seen in the final in 15 years.
What the longer impact of the hit — beyond Horton’s health and an 11 a.m. hearing on Tuesday for Rome — and the score is, well, we’ll have to measure that starting with Game 4 on Wednesday.
“I’d rather lose 8-1 than in overtime like they did,” said a surprisingly flippant Henrik Sedin, referring to his team’s Game 2 triumph at the 11-second mark of OT.