Huskies' Cormier awaits word on suspension
Patrice Cormier and the rest of the hockey world will have to wait until Thursday or Friday to learn the length of his suspension.
Playing in his third game after being traded to the Rouyn-Noranda Huskies, the 19-year-old Cormier has had his feet held to the fire after slamming his elbow to the head of an opponent in a Quebec Major Junior Hockey League game on Sunday.
The blow delivered by Cormier, a New Jersey Devils prospect, knocked unconscious 18-year-old Quebec Remparts defenceman Mikael Tam. The youngster went into convulsions and was hospitalized overnight in Rouyn-Noranda.
Cormier has been suspended indefinitely. The QMJHL's investigation into the ugly incident will not be completed until at least Thursday because the league doesn't want to take away attention from the 2010 CHL/NHL Top Prospects Game in Windsor, Ont. It's the same reasoning that the OHL hasn't announced its decision on the length of suspension for Windsor Spitfires forward Zack Kassian.
OHL commissioner David Branch interviewed Kassian on Tuesday for his brutal hit to the head of Barrie Colts forward Matt Kennedy last Thursday. Kennedy, 20, suffered his fifth concussion and now the Carolina Hurricanes draft pick faces a difficult decision as to whether or not he wants to continue his career.
Remparts goalie Louis Domingue is in Windsor for Wednesday's Top Prospects Game and didn't shy away from his opinion on a suitable punishment for Cormier. The young goalie agreed Cormier should be banished for the remainder of the season.
"From my point of view, I think so," Domingue said. "If we want this to stop, they have to do something.
"I hope the league is going to do it. It was a dump in [at centre ice].
"There was nothing dangerous about it. I think [Tam] was going to the bench for a change and then [Cormier] elbowed him.
"It was clearly something you don't want to see in hockey. I hope the league does what it has to do."
'Some guys were crying'
Tam was released from hospital on Monday evening and returned home on a flight to Quebec City on Tuesday afternoon.
He reportedly lost some teeth and suffered a concussion, but he was feeling well enough Tuesday to text some of his teammates to say he was feeling better.
"I heard he's getting better," said Domingue, who was asked to set the dressing room scene after the game at Arena Dave Keon.
"Some guys were crying. We're so close to him we all got together and prayed for him. The room was very silent.
"He's a good friend to everyone. That's why he's going to be the captain next year. He likes everyone and everyone likes him."
'The worst he could do'
Domingue also knows Cormier from playing with him in "a few events" and against him.
"Patrice is a good guy," Domingue said. "But there is no place for what he did in hockey.
"I didn't think he could go that far. That was the worst he could do.
"Nobody should do that. It's tough to lose your best friend [Tam] like that."
Tam had scored a second-period goal and was named the game's second star.
'I will not comment on it'
Cormier's new Rouyn-Noranda teammate Jerome Gauthier-Leduc was told by Huskies coach André Tourigny not to comment on the situation while in Windsor.
"I saw the check," Gauthier-Leduc said. "But I will not comment on it.
"These are the [team] rules. My coach told me not to say anything while I'm here."
Remparts coach-general manager Patrick Roy filed a complaint with Quebec provincial police and the investigation is ongoing.
If Cormier is banished for the rest of the regular season and playoffs, there would be a slim possibility that he could report to the Devils' farm club after the Huskies are eliminated from the QMJHL playoffs. But AHL commissioner Dave Andrews and his staff would have to review the situation. The AHL has usually upheld player suspensions from other leagues.