BOSTON, MA - JUNE 06: David Krejci #46 of the Boston Bruins and a member of the staff check on Nathan Horton #18 after being check by Aaron Rome (not pictured) #29 of the Vancouver Canucks during Game Three of the 2011 NHL Stanley Cup Final at TD Garden on June 6, 2011 in Boston, Massachusetts. (Photo by Elsa/Getty Images)
Shortly after seeing their teammate Nathan Horton leave the ice on a stretcher moments afters being clobbered with a concussion-inducing open-ice head shot by Aaron Rome, you could clearly see that a spark was lit under the Bruins to rally around Horton. The Bruins used that emotion to rout the Vancouver Canucks 8-1 in Game 3 and get their first win in the Stanley Cup Finals. The hit was an obvious turning point in the game (and perhaps the series).
"It definitely was something that he would have wanted us to step up and get that win for him.""We wanted to make sure we could get this win for him."
"He’s one of the best guys I’ve ever played with. He’s always happy, he’s always in a good mood, he brings a smile to everyone’s face. He’s so positive. So to see any teammate go down, you want to band together for him, but especially for a guy like him who has been such a positive influence on this squad all year."
"When you see a guy get hit like that, and, you know, I think not capitalize on the power play and make it count on the scoreboard, I think to overcome that frustration was a good sign of our focus tonight."
"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.""We just wanted to make sure that we didn’t let him down and we came together and won tonight for him."
"Really big. Horty is such a big part of our team and he’s playing so well right now in the playoffs. It’s always tough when you see a guy go down and we really wanted to make sure we rallied around him and won it for him tonight."
Brad Marchand on how much the hit on Horton impacted them emotionally
"We obviously all saw what happened on the ice. First intermission, we just told ourselves that we were going to do it for Horty and that just gave us more motivation to do well and play harder."
While rallying around Nathan Horton may have provided motivation in the short-term, you have to believe that losing one their best forwards for the remainder of the series is a major obstacle to overcome for the Bruins. Horton has been one of the Bruins most clutch performers, scoring 3 game-winners in the playoffs and ranking second on the team in both goals (8) and points (17). Horton's finishing ability and physical edge will be sorely missed by the Black & Gold.
Unfortunately, concussion issues have been a plague for the Bruins and the NHL in recent years. You have heard it a thousand times before, but the NHL needs to do more to prevent concussions and limit head shots. I think the NHL sent a strong message today when they leveled a 4-game suspension against Aaron Rome that will keep him in the press box for the remainder of the playoffs. While Rome cannot be happy about his vantage point from high above the ice, the Bruins probably do not think that Rome for Horton is an even swap. The best revenge for the B's would hoisting The Cup for Nathan Horton while Aaron Rome looks on from 9 stories up.