Winnipeg Free Press - PRINT EDITION

'... Hopefully, this will be the break'

Cormier hopes recall a chance at the bigs

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Patrice CORMIER has two things going for him if he draws into the Winnipeg Jets' lineup tonight against the St. Louis Blues.

Good focus and good health.

The 23-year-old forward was recalled from the St. John's IceCaps by the Jets late Wednesday, a move prompted by some nagging injury questions with the NHL team.

Jets coach Claude Noel couldn't say for sure Thursday that Cormier would suit up against the St. Louis Blues. That will come down to the readiness of centres Bryan Little and Jim Slater and left-winger Evander Kane.

Cormier's ability to play either of those spots is one reason he's here.

Another is the impression he left at the end of training camp.

"He left here playing well," Noel said. "He's been a physical player down there that's been responsible.

"He established himself as a really good, hard, reliable player in training camp and he's done it again in the American League. He's really done his part. If the door opens for him to play with us here, I think it would be a good situation for us to put him into the lineup."

Exuberance

A brand of physical exuberance might not hurt his team, Noel agreed.

"It's infectious and we could use some of that infectious nature on our game," the coach said.

Cormier had 10 games for the Jets last season but wasn't used much in those outings. He's been in 40 NHL games since 2010-11, having been injured much of that time.

He said those call-up experiences of the past provide wisdom.

"I'm not nervous," he said after Thursday's practice at the MTS Centre. "I know what to expect. I don't want to be confident, overconfident, I'm not... I know the guys, I know the environment, I know the staff. Every time I come up now, it's just that you think hopefully this will be the break.

"But the game's played on the ice so you can talk all you want about what I'm going to do if I get a chance but it's the play tomorrow that will decide things in the future."

After one assist in his four AHL games so far this season, Cormier had a frantic scramble to the St. John's airport late Wednesday because he went to a late-afternoon movie.

"They tried to call at 4:50 but I only called back at 6:15," he said. "I had to be at the airport at 7:15. I felt kind of dumb but it was good. I made it on time and I'm here.

"It was a pretty hectic turnaround," he laughed. "Grabbed some stuff and it's always a good feeling."

tim.campbell@freepress.mb.ca

Republished from the Winnipeg Free Press print edition October 18, 2013 C9

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