The elbows of Gordie Howe are part of his legend. A player doesn't get the nickname 'Mr. Elbows' for no reason. Elbows have been part of the game forever, and so have elbowing penalties. These things aside there is no excuse for the couple of elbows thrown by Patrice Cormier over the last month.
Preaching about respect for the opponent and the game has all been said before here. Simply put, the lax leadership of the various commissioners, presidents, and rule enforcement officials has created any anything-goes atmosphere catering to the lowest common denominator of fan-all in the name of the almighty dollar. Couple that with a toothless sanction/suspension system and you get a defenceman from the Quebec Remparts convulsing face down at center ice. 'Suspended indefinitely' sounds pretty on paper.
If the leagues were serious about stopping crap hits like the ones in the video clips above, there'd be a blanket suspension across all leagues: If you want to play this way, be prepared to be suspended for as long as the injured player is out plus one season. No exceptions, no appeals. Of course, dropping the instigator rule is such a logical option to help along the process of discouraging this type of play as not to be given even remote consideration.
Excuses abound, but no matter how good a kid Cormier is said to be, or how popular he is with his teammates, its all simply a poor attempt to excuse and justify bad behavior, so go ahead and make all the allowances that have been tried before. None of it is going to get the Tam kid out of a hospital bed any faster, or for that matter make it clear whether he'll ever play again.
Patrice Cormier has received a preliminary suspension and may even be disciplined further. Its a shame that the hockey establishment can't be sanctioned for the soft discipline program in place that has allowed cheapshot hockey to flourish.
Thanks for reading.