Winnipeg Free Press - PRINT EDITION

Cormier up from farm following Slater injury

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PATRICE CORMIER is getting another shot at proving he belongs in the NHL.

And, as is often the case, it comes at another's expense.

The Jets announced Wednesday they had summoned Cormier from the St. John's IceCaps after Jim Slater apparently injured his hand while blocking a shot in Tuesday's win over Toronto. Jets coach Claude Noel said Slater will be 'week-to-week' in his recovery.

"Jim does a lot of things," said Noel. "He kills penalties, he's a reliable faceoff guy and you can put him in any situation in any position up front and he does a really solid job. He'll be a guy that we'll miss."

Originally chosen by the New Jersey Devils in the second round, 54th overall, of the 2008 NHL entry draft, the 22-year-old Cormier has 11 points, including seven goals, in 32 games with the IceCaps this season. IceCaps head coach Keith McCambridge told TSN 1290 on Wednesday that Cormier has been their best player in the last month.

"The reports I got is he's been playing quite well," said Noel. "He's been very aggressive and been one of their better players. We get game reports every game and he's done well. He brings energy, he's a strong guy, good on faceoffs and he's played very well. I think he'll be enthused to get back up here."

The Jets were also without forward Nik Antropov on Wednesday, but Noel said he was just taking a 'maintenance' day.

RANGER WATCH: The New York Rangers practised Wednesday at the MTS Iceplex and a familiar face in these parts was back on the ice as Arron Asham, who has been out with a sore back for weeks, was working with his teammates.

"It felt really good to get back out there with the guys, it's been a couple of weeks," Asham told the team's website. "It's going to be a work in progress. I'm just hoping it continues to feel better and better. Obviously it's been frustrating. I want to be out there playing and helping this team move forward. It's so tough watching from the stands."

The Rangers fell to the Buffalo Sabres on Tuesday, a game in which head coach John Tortorella said he was disgusted with his team's performance.

But the Rangers were decidedly more upbeat on Wednesday and with good reason: just as there's no time to celebrate, there's no time for moping about either.

"With the schedule we have it has to be a one-day thing, learn from (Tuesday night) this morning and guys have to be moving past it this afternoon," said Derek Stepan to reporters afterward. "We can't sit here and dwell on it and over-analyze it, we've got another big game (today) and it's a quick turnaround."

ed.tait@freepress.mb.ca Twitter: @WFPEdTait

Republished from the Winnipeg Free Press print edition March 14, 2013 D4

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