Remparts' Tam out of hospital after Cormier hit

Mikael Tam has left hospital but it is uncertain how long the Quebec Remparts defenceman will be out of action after a nasty hit to the head from Rouyn-Noranda Huskies centre Patrice Cormier.

Mikael Tam has left hospital but it remains uncertain how long the Quebec Remparts defenceman will be out of action after a nasty hit to the head from Rouyn-Noranda Huskies centre Patrice Cormier.

Remparts spokesman Nicole Bouchard said Tuesday that Tam was released from hospital in Rouyn-Noranda on Monday night. He was to arrive in Quebec City on Tuesday afternoon, but will make no comment to the media.

Bouchard added Tam is walking normally and appears to be clear-headed, even though he has no memory of the elbow to the face from Cormier that floored him during Quebec's overtime win in Rouyn-Noranda on Sunday afternoon.

The team plans to hold a news conference with Tam on Friday in Quebec City, Bouchard said.

She said it is certain that Tam will not play this week, and doctors are not sure when he will be able to return.

Bouchard said the team is holding off showing him video of the incident for the moment, although it was being shown frequently on several television channels. Tam is to be examined by the team's doctor and a specialist to determine the extent of his injuries, which included brain trauma and damage to several teeth.

Cormier, the captain of Canada's team at the world junior championship, has been suspended indefinitely by the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League and is awaiting word on further discipline.

The hit has been widely criticized as a cheap shot around the hockey world, including among NHL players, and even drew a reaction from Quebec Premier Jean Charest in the National Assembly.

"There are messages that perhaps have not got through that need to be sent again," said Charest. "Hockey can be played without resorting to that kind of behaviour. It's shocking."

Said Hockey Night in Canada's Don Cherry: "It was a cheap shot. I don’t understand it. The kid came off the bench. It was a cheap shot. The president of the QMJHL — I’d be surprised if he doesn’t whack [Cormier] really hard. I’m thinking he’s going to get the book. I think he gets what he deserves. He hit him with his elbow. He led with his elbow. It was like he hated the guy or something. You watch, he’ll get the book."

The league denied a report that its decision may be delayed because commissioner Gilles Courteau is attending the Top Prospects game in Windsor, Ont.

In overtime of Quebec's 3-2 shootout win in Rouyn-Noranda on Sunday afternoon, Cormier crossed the ice to drop Tam with an elbow to the face while the Quebec rearguard was skating through the neutral zone.

The 18-year-old went into convulsions before he was removed from the ice on a stretcher and taken to hospital. He was treated for brain trauma and several damaged teeth.

"You’re always disappointed when you see that," said Ron MacLean, Cherry's co-host on Coach's Corner. "[Cormier] deserves to be gone for year."

Quebec provincial police are investigating whether there are grounds for criminal charges against the 19-year-old Cormier.

At the Montreal Canadiens training facility in Brossard, Que., enforcer Georges Laraque called it one of the worst hits he's seen in hockey.

"But one thing I can say about Gilles Courteau is that he's always been good about giving suspensions and it doesn't matter the name on the back [of the player's jersey]," said Laraque. "I'm pretty sure he'll be fair with that suspension.

"I'd be surprised if that kid played another game this year. When you look at kids that young, they're not even in the NHL yet and they have their whole future ahead of them and they're shaking on the ice like that.

"That's pretty scary. It's important to send a message to the youth coming up."

In Vancouver, Canucks forward Tanner Glass called it "one of the ugliest hits I've ever seen.

"It was premeditated. He had the elbow up good and early. It's disappointing to see a kid that's trying to play a gritty game, to be a tough player to play against, take liberties like that because it always comes back to haunt you."

With files from