Horton hit a déjà vu moment for Primeau

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by Randy Starkman – The Toronto Star

June 7, 2011

Vancouver defenceman Aaron Rome’s crushing late hit on Boston’s Nathan Horton in Game 3 of the Stanley Cup final brought back some very bad memories for former NHL star Keith Primeau.

Primeau has been there before as a member of the Philadelphia Flyers. Head down in the early moments of a game in the 2000 NHL playoffs. Devastated by a big hit by Pittsburgh’s Bob Boughner. Carried out on a stretcher after temporarily being knocked cold.

“It always looks very frightening when players are in that position,” said Primeau in a telephone interview Tuesday. “For me, it’s very emotional because that was very similar to my hit in Pittsburgh in 2000.

“We tend to lose sight of the human element. That’s somebody’s son and somebody’s husband and somebody’s father and they’re mostly likely watching whether live or on television and that’s a very difficult thing to see for anyone, let alone family members.”

Primeau said the hit, which has knocked Horton out of the Stanley Cup final with a severe concussion, reflected the lack of respect among players.

“It was well after the puck had been moved from the blind side on a player that was in a very vulnerable and susceptible position and in no way had the ability to protect himself,” said Primeau, who has set up a website dev.stopconcussions.com.

Primeau said it’s time the NHL “drew a line in the sand” against all head shots and blindside hits.

“It’s disturbing. It’s really tough. It needs to be corrected. You can’t sit out there, waiting for that shoe to drop or waiting to be reactive. It’s got to be taken care of and it’s got to be taken control of.”