Severe suspension expected

SCOTT FISHER, QMI Agency

, Last Updated: 9:52 AM ET

Team Canada world junior captain Patrice Cormier is in hockey limbo.

The Rouyn-Noranda Huskies centre knows he's going to be suspended for his vicious hit in a QMJHL game on the weekend.

The only question is -- for how long?

Cormier is in hot water after delivering an elbow to the head of Quebec Remparts defenceman Mikael Tam, who was left convulsing on the ice Sunday.

Tam is out of the hospital but it is uncertain when the blueliner will be able to return to the ice.

A decision on Cormier's future in the QMJHL will come this week, the league said Tuesday.

Calgary Hitmen winger Brandon Kozun played with Cormier at the world junior tournament.

Kozun said Cormier will likely face a lengthy ban.

"Knowing him, I know he's a really good guy," Kozun said.

"It's tough to say he was intentionally trying to do that.

"But on the other hand, obviously it was an elbow to the face. Whenever that happens, it's going to be pretty severe."

Decades ago, it was the WHL that was viewed as the rough-and-tumble league where almost anything went.

This year, it's the OHL and QMJHL dealing with violence issues.

WHL disciplinarian Richard Doerksen said the league has made it a priority to make sure its players know the difference between a clean hit and a cheapshot.

"I think we've done a real good job on educating our players on what is and what isn't legal in terms of checking an opponent," Doerksen said.

"We want to keep hitting in the game, but we want to eliminate dangerous hits, especially dangerous hits to the head area."

Windsor Spitfires forward Zack Kassian is also waiting to hear if he'll play in the OHL again this season after he drilled Barrie Colts player Matt Kennedy.

Doerksen didn't want to guess what kind of punishment to two Eastern leagues would dole out, but said both players would be dealt with harshly had the infractions taken place in the WHL.

"Both of those situations would warrant severe suspensions," Doerksen said.

"We're very fortunate we haven't had any situations like either of those in our league this year."


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