Tuesday, January 19, 2010

HOCKEY'S SHAME

If the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League decides to make Patrice Cormier's indefinite suspension permanent, the next logical step in Cormier's career would be to turn pro and starting drawing a paycheque. Welcome to justice, hockey-style.

I've never seen anything in hockey as sickening as the aftermath of the elbow to the head that Cormier laid on Mikael Tam, who was left convulsing on the ice before being removed by stretcher and rushed to the hospital during Sunday's Quebec Remparts-Rouyn Noranda Huskies game. No, wait. I HAVE seen things as sickening, or awfully close to it, and on a regular basis. There was the Michael Liambis hit on Ben Fanelli in the Erie-Kitchener OHL game in October, within a week of Philadelphia's Mike Richards almost decapitating Florida's David Booth earlier this NHL season. Take your pick of any number of checks-from-behind that pitchfork players head-first into the boards.

Every time it happens, the media dutifully puts on a grave face and influential members of the hockey fraternity engage in a few days of obligatory hand-wringing, and then it's back to business as usual until the next time an unsuspecting player is blindsided into near-oblivion, and the exercise in angst is repeated all over again.

There are two fundamental schools of thought on head shots. One is that they should be policed rigorously but that rule-makers have to be careful not to impose penalties that might detract from the physical nature of the sport. The other is that punishment for head shots should be severe and uncompromising to the point of lifetime suspensions for players who deliberately and maliciously disregard the physical well-being of an opponent. But despite the intensity of the debate, nothing ever changes, and the wheel of rhetoric spins 'round and 'round 'till someone inevitably asks whether it's going to take a player being killed before something meaningful is done.

Evidently, that's exactly what it's going to take.

15 comments:

  1. Headshots should be an automatic penalty, I believe the IIHF has that rule in place.

    Cormier went out of he way to stick that elbow out as far as he could, that makes this hit the most sickening hit I've ever seen.

    I never believed that the police should get involved with on-ice activity, but this hit is coming awefully close to making me reconsider my position.

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  2. I always thought the penalty should be , as long as the injured player is out of the line up , so should be the agressor.

    Denis

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  3. Regardless of who takes a cheap shot such as this appears to be, they should be severely punished. Cormier seemed to go straight for Tam making what he dis seem like some sort of retribution to me but, still inexcusable!

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  4. It may not have been the most vicious hit I've seen but it sure has to be the sickest outcome. I could barely watch as that poor kid convulsed on the ice.
    I have to agree with Diraddo, I wasn't one that wanted the law involved in policing sporting events, but the first thing I thought of when I saw the replay was that guy should be thrown in jail for assault. One might even argue that with today's hard shelled elbow pads it could be considered assault with a weapon. That was what they found Marty McSorely guilty of when he swung a stick at Donald Brashear in an NHL game.
    The problem has to be controlled by the players and GM's themselves. When Lamoriello says that it is not a suspendable offense obviously he has the Devil's best interest at heart, but he''s not doing the league any favours. Imagine way back in 1995 Chris Pronger skating through the crease and taking Brodeur's head off with an elbow. How many Cups does Lamoriello's Devils win after that? How much longer is he employed in the NHL? My guess to both those questions is none and not long. Now forget about cups and Lou's longevity, we the fans would be deprived of watching the best goalie to ever play the game and probably an Olympic gold medal.
    Wake up Lou, there is no room in the game for this and if you want to ensure that the league succeeds for years to come you and all the NHL brass have to put an end to these cowardly acts. Suspend this guy forever from all hockey that you control. Maybe even petition the IIHF to ban him for life. Then he could take his cowardly act to the KHL and see how they deal with him there when he does it again.
    I'm ashamed that I cheered for him these last two years with the junior national team.

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  5. hmmm. have you not yourself taken joy in the hockey fight? Many of which might have had a more long-term end? I would not for a second declare myself aware nor cognizant of the game, but i'd venture to say that many an ER doctor was totally pissed at the regretable loss of a young player. Head shots are like all other "shots" dependant on many factors (including angle, etc) as to injuries incurred. Are you going to say that hockey is ugly and needs be regulated, or that "it's part of the game" ? Or that perhaps you'd simply denigrate that one player?

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  6. Kids who damage others in a street fight are prosecuted..the same behaviour in a 'game' becomes a subject of debate

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  7. I just saw a video replay of the hit and until I had, was thinking to myself, "how bad could it have been?". I must admit it is one of the worst hits and cowardly at that. Cormier had him lined up from at least 40 feet out and to top it off, away from the play.

    That type of play should not be rewarded with NHL money.

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  8. Sanctions are no way severe enough, I think it is sickening that so many players get away with such dangerous shameful violent acts on the ice. It makes me even more sick, appalled and concerned that so many vicious acts happen in the minor leagues, amongst kids, young teens, young adults.

    My 13 year old plays hockey and I think it is great that he plays a sport that he is so passionate about. But as his mother, I admit, I worry and secretly hope at times that he would choose to stop playing!

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  9. I do not condone the hit or the action, I do ask myself though what makes an abvious outstanding young man good enough to captain our national team go after someone like he did.

    What transpired before that elbow was throw is that even being looked into. I played hockey throughout my teen years and we had body checking in the game today the young ones below a certian level can not even use the body to me that is not hockey. When 7 year olds can play football and tackle head first all game long where do you think more injuries can happen. I watched first hand years ago when my nephews played football player after player carried off because they had absolutely no clue how to hit.

    As for fighting in hockey it has its place and in recent years has almost been eliminated from most games. A good fight can set the tone or atone for some previous players indiscretions.

    All in all so many are appalled by the activity and all still tune in to the game. It is a fast paced game where shit sometimes happens deal with it.

    Cheers all have a great day

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  10. He should be suspended for life! He almost took a life and whatever brain damage he will have as he gets older!

    Now that would be a message that players will understand!!!

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  11. Hey Ted, Just because someone puts on a uniform does not give him the right to abuse their power, whether it's in a sports venue or on our own streets. Brutality should be dealt with harshly and expeditiously. To make matters worse Cormier is a repeat offender and he should be classified as 'dangerous'!

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  12. Did anybody see Cormier's elbow on Anton Rodin at the Canada vs Sweden game. Not as deadly but Cormier elbowed Rodin on hs way to the Canadian bench. Rodin was nowhere near the action. Cormier is a cheap shot artist pure and simple. He should get a permanent suspension.

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  13. I agree Ted, maybe if the kid had convulsed and then died there would be more reaction.

    As of today, are we even hearing about it in the news anymore?

    I wonder how the parents of every other player in the juniors can allow their kids to play in an environment that is as uncontrolled as this.

    If next weekend no players showed up for the games perhaps rules would change.

    Then again, he didn't die, so why change anything, this is normal...right?

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  14. well the habs finally
    dumped laRaque,,its about time they get rid of that dead wood, now they should go and get a good young player..

    more cuts to come i suppose till
    martin and gainey hit the chopping block,

    Brian.,

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  15. in quebec, we wait for overpasses to collapse and kill us before doing something about it... why should hockey be any different?

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