It will doubtless shock no one to learn Quebec's sporting demi-monde is atwitter today over the elbow heard round the Abitibi.
You can check the incident out for yourself on Globesports.com's main page, but suffice it to say that Patrice Cormier has been a very naughty young man.
It also seems to us that the evident distress caused to his unwitting victim, Quebec Remparts defenceman Mikael Tam, who was left unconscious and convulsing, has been seared into La Belle Province's collective unconscious.
Now, we're not the kind to routinely blame the victim here at French Immersion, unlike some others in the puck industry (hi Mr. Cherry!), but some of the hue and cry seems a little bit over the top, perhaps because of the disturbing footage of Tam, who is in stable condition in hospital with a serious concussion and broken teeth.
He is expected to make a full recovery and will likely be sent home tomorrow.
There are calls for Cormier, captain of Little Team Canada, first-round pick of the Devils, to be heaved into the clink forthwith and banned from ever playing junior hockey again.
Okay. Fine. Off with his head.
But (and there's always a but) it seems a little rich to us when Patrick Roy, the coach of the Remparts, is calling in the cops and demanding that "the league put its pants on and suspend Cormier for life."
Oh reaaaally? The sound you hear is FI's hypocrisy alert klaxon.
Was it, for example, that much more a cowardly and craven act than that perpetrated by Roy's youngest son Frederick, who cross-checked an opponent in the mouth last season as a skirmish broke out in a game against Montreal? (He got a 15-game suspension, you can see the video here).
Sniffed St. Patrick to Le Soleil: "If my son got 15 games for a cross-check that only caused one stitch, I wonder what (Cormier) will get. What he did was unbelievable, and I hope Cormier's junior career is over."
Nice. One stitch, eh? Well that makes it all better. For the record:
Was what Cormier did many leagues worse than the time Roy's other son beat up an unwilling opponent during a playoff game in 2008, possibly after some prodding from the coach? (He got a seven-game suspension and later went to court, where his lawyer argued the justice system should stay out of the arena, and that Roy the Younger was unfairly targeted. He pleaded guilty to assault and got an absolute discharge).
Perhaps, or perhaps not.
Our point is not to wade into the morass of moral equivalency, what Cormier did was low-down, mean, malicious and just not cricket, especially given his previous. And given the punishment levied against former Ontario Hockey League player Michael Liambas for elbowing Kitchener's Ben Fanelli in the head (the 16-year-old suffered a skull fracture), a lifetime ban is not out of the question, although there are clear differences between the incidents.
But perhaps Patrick Roy, of all people, might let the league and the SQ conduct their inquiries and keep his cakehole in the closed and locked position for a few hours?
We say the Cormier hit deserves a stiff suspension, but let's try and turn down the hyperbole a wee bit and think about poor Mikael Tam, who is still in a hospital in Rouyn, and maybe spare a thought about why it is that junior hockey can't seem rid itself of these types of incidents.