He’s a Good Kid
I must state before I begin that I don’t know Patrice Cormier personally nor do I claim any inside information about him. I know only what I’ve seen on the ice. And it is based on that I draw my opinion. I am sure he has many friends and people that will tell you about the “real” Cormier. But that is really irrelevant. What matters most is the man who laces up the skates. By now most everyone reading this has seen the terrible elbow to the head that left Mikael Tam on the ice in convulsions and later hospitalized. And many people have already stated their opinions on what should happen to him. I’m not here to do that. Instead I am here to call out 3 people (though I am sure there are more).
In a recent blog posting Lebrun writes, “I know Cormier is a good kid; he doesn’t have a track record of this stuff and will hopefully have a long NHL career. But his elbow on Mikael Tam was sickening and dangerous.”
I have the utmost respect for Lou Lamoriello and I am a huge fan of him as well as of the Devils. However when asked about Cormier, who is a Devils draft pick, he stated, “In no way do we feel that this incident was indicative of the character of Patrice Cormier. We’ve had him in summer camp, we’ve had him in training camp. His character is not something that he tries to go out and do these things.”
I’ll hold off on my comment on McGuire for the moment. But I have to ask LeBrun and Lamoriello, really? Either the two of them are ignorant or have chosen to be blind to Cormier’s past.
Watch the montage of elbows to the head. Had anyone of those hits been appropriately punished, then Tam might not have been hospitalized. Cormier has clearly shown a pattern of behavior that both Lou and LeBrun claim he hasn’t. But the only thing he hadn’t done prior to this was severely injure someone. But this is the problem of the punishment process all the way up to the NHL. In my previous post I talked about Gonchar’s hit to Clutterbuck’s head. This hit went unpunished largely because Clutterbuck was not injured. But the next time Gonchar hits someone in the head and does injure them, Colin Campbell will be to blame for basically saying that it was ok. I want you to take a look at this hit from the montage more closely and more specifically Pierre McGuire’s commentary.
I suppose Anton Rodin should count his lucky stars that he only got a broken nose, he could have ended up like Tam. And Pierre McGuire is yukking it up in the background saying “That was a lot of elbow.” Would McGuire have yukked up the Tam hit saying that “was a lot of elbow?” Of course not. Why? Because someone was seriously hurt. But injury needs to stop being the measuring stick for how hits are treated by bloggers and announcers. Good clean hits can cause injuries (see Patrik Elias) and dirty hits can cause no injury (see Clutterbuck.) I’ve said before I like hard hitting hockey, I like fighting, but both can happen within the rules of the game (see Clutterbuck) without tolerating any hits to the head. With all that is known about concussions it is time for the NHL and the Major Juniors to do what they claim they are trying to do and start suspending all illegal hits to the head, regardless of who does them and whether or not the player is injured. If a Gonchar suspension costs the Penguins, good. Maybe he’ll think more about his team before his next dirty hit.
I do have to give props to Lou for something else he said. When asked, “And you’re saying he won’t play (in Lowell)?” Lou responds, “We’re saying he has been suspended for the rest of the season and the playoffs. At this given time we are going to honor that 100 percent.” Then further responds to a follow up, “We have not considered that.” If Lou sticks to his word, and I suspect he will, he is absolutely doing the right thing. Cormier shouldn’t be rewarded for his bad behavior by getting to play in the AHL.
To draw it all back to the title of this entry, Lou and LeBrun both want to refer to Cormier as a “good kid” but his repetitive disregard for other people, the elbows to Tam and Rodin were completely outside of the play of the game, has shown that he is not. Oh and as for McGuire…