Ontario Hockey League player suspended for 20 games for vicious hit
The Ontario Hockey League today suspended 19-year-old Windsor Spitfires forward Zack Kassian for 20 games for his hit to the head of the Barrie Colts' Matt Kennedy last week.
A first-round draft pick of the Buffalo Sabres, Kassian (6-feet-3 and 210 pounds) appears to leave his feet to put his full weight into it as he slams into Kennedy (6-feet-2, 203).
Kennedy, whose helmet flew off with the force of the hit, was left bleeding and suffered a concussion when his bare head hit the ice. He required three staples in the back of his head.
"I don't remember getting hit. I couldn't tell you what happened," Kennedy told the Toronto Star. "I kind of blacked out."
Kassian was originally accessed a five-minute major and a game misconduct and was suspended indefinitely by OHL Commissioner David Branch.
Of course, Kassian is no stranger to doling out hard hits, but leaving his feet puts this one in a different category. While Kennedy hits the ice hard and is clearly dazed and bleeding, Kassian drops the gloves knowing some teammate of Kennedy's will step up to fight and exact revenge. And the crowd goes wild, cheering.
Is 20 games enough?
Meanwhile, Patrice Cormier, a forward with the Rouyn-Noranda Huskies of the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League, will learn Monday what his punishment will be for elbowing an opposing player in the head in a game on Sunday.
That player, Mikael Tam of the Quebec Remparts, was convulsing on the ice following the hit. He suffered brain trauma and broken teeth and spent the night in hospital before being released on Monday.
Cormier was drafted by the New Jersey Devils in 2008.
-- Debbie Goffa