January 26, 2010
Wake-up call for the NHL?
By TERRY KOSHAN, QMI Agency
Garnet Exelby would love to see the National Hockey League take a cue from the Patrice Cormier suspension.
"I would argue that over the years, especially in our league, that when a situation like that happens, if it is a star player who did it, maybe they are more lenient, and if the star player is the victim, maybe the suspension is a little harsher," the Maple Leafs defenceman said.
"I am pretty sure the league would never agree with that. But as far as keeping it fair for everybody, it is something to look toward."
Cormier, the captain of Canada at the 2010 world junior championship a few weeks ago in Saskatchewan, was suspended for the remainder of the season by the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League for his elbow to the head of the Quebec Remparts' Mikael Tam on Jan. 17.
Tam, who has recovered well, had convulsions on the ice and was taken to hospital with brain trauma and broken teeth.
Cormier, of the Rouyn-Noranda Huskies, will miss the team's final 18 games of the regular season and the playoffs.
"Whether it is 20 or 100 games, it still does not make (Tam) feel any better," Leafs defenceman Mike Komisarek said.
"It does not erase the question mark that hangs over his career.
"I will be the first to stand up and fight for the physicality of the game, the meanness and the toughness, but things like that are tough to see."
NHL general managers are expected to make a rule proposal regarding hits to head when they meet in March, but Leafs coach Ron Wilson sees a discrepancy between junior and in the NHL.
"We don't have hits like that," Wilson said.
"I have not seen anybody get his head crushed into the glass or get knocked out with an elbow to the teeth.
"You're talking about 18-, 19-year-old kids who are not mature yet and don't understand what they should be doing out there.
"You are not out there to hurt people, you are out there to separate people from the puck."