Winnipeg Free Press - PRINT EDITION
Posted: 09/19/2013 1:00 AM | Comments: 0
Last Modified: 09/19/2013 10:28 AM | Updates
Imagine if your boss came to you today and informed you that your performance over the next week would determine if you could keep your job. Now you understand the stress of life on the bubble for a professional athlete.
"The first year I was here was the same situation and I was younger. I guess now I'm a little wiser. I've learned not to try and control what I can't," said potential Jets winger Patrice Cormier. "What I've learned is to work hard, be a good teammate, have a smile on my face and let the rest fall into place. I can't try to think what the coach or GM or anybody else is thinking. It's not up to me."
Cormier is on a one-year contract that will pay him $575,000 in the NHL and $70,000 in the AHL. Where he ends up has financial implications as well as emotional.
"You learn from the past. The first year I went through this, I was like, 'Oh, what did I do wrong today.' You have to leave what's at the rink at the rink," said Cormier. "You can't call your parents or your girlfriend and fret. It's just spreading misery. And you can't worry about the money. I don't bust my head thinking about what I will make in the AHL or the NHL. If someone told me I could play in the NHL for 100-grand I would say sure. It's about the pride of playing in the NHL, the best league in the world."
The Jets have a number of players fighting for work on the big club and they come in a variety of packages. From rookies such as Mark Scheifele and Jacob Trouba to veteran family men such as Ian White and Chris Thorburn.
Scheifele and Trouba have dreams they want to protect, while White has financial obligations.
"When I was breaking into the league and I was 20 or so it was a similar situation except I had time on my side. This time there's a little more desperation because I don't know how many more years I have left to play," said White. "But the mindset has to be the same. Go out and play and show them what you can do."
White is now a 29-year-old family man with 503 NHL games under his belt.
I have four mouths to feed and lots of bills to pay. This is my job. In the end you just want to play hockey and be around the guys and try to help a team win," said White. "It's not so much stressful. I take it with a grain of salt. It's kind of like this all the time. If you have a few bad games you could be out of the lineup. It's high stress all the time but you have to deal with that as a professional athlete."
Jerome Samson, 26, has played 46 games in the NHL over his career. If he makes the Jets he'll earn $600,000 and if he's sent to the AHL he'll take home $200,000.
"Not knowing where you're going to end up is stressful. But you have to take a day-by-day mentality and give all you have when given a chance," said Samson. "The good thing is they work us so hard in training camp that you get home and fall into bed and go to sleep. If you weren't so tired you might be able to think about it and that wouldn't be good."
Cormier says the call to the NHL is what makes all the work and anxiety worth it.
"I was so close a few years ago and then two days before the season they picked up a player and I was sent down. To have that taste in your mouth and to be so close, it's difficult," said Cormier.
"But then you get those call-ups during the season and it reminds you of how great it us up here. It's why we are all year, to play in the NHL. There's nothing like it."
email@example.com Twitter: @garylawless
Republished from the Winnipeg Free Press print edition September 19, 2013 D9
Updated on Thursday, September 19, 2013 at 10:28 AM CDT: Adds fact box.
Having problems with the form?Contact Us Directly
Ex-Duck Perreault knows value of resilience
Jets boss Maurice mad enough to start cussing
Pavelec not the problem
Paul Maurice is frustrated after Jets' four-game losing streak
Home team did things their way, until 2nd period started
Jets can't stand success
Jets better than they look
Has it already gone sideways on Jets?
Winnipeg Jets vs. Calgary Flames, Oct. 19, 2014
Jets go down against Flames, 4-1
Move brings back memories for Perreault
Lowry man in middle
Simple things seen as the keys
Wakey-wakey, sleeping Jets
Nashville Predators at Winnipeg Jets, Oct. 17, 2014
Crash landing for Jets at home
Enemy no more
Line juggling to solve Jets' early woes
Gary Lawless & Tim Campbell on the Jets' inconsistency - Jets This Week Oct. 16
'You contest every puck'
Jets ready to face 'rock star' ex-teammate
Tonight: PREDS @ JETS
Jets hope to feel energized — not nerves — at home opener
PK is A-OK, power play is MIA
Postma snaps return-to-sender streak
Jets ready for season after facing league's heavy hitters: Maurice
Jets assign Cormier to IceCaps
Wheeler has no plans for further fistic forays
Home is where the hard is
Jets practice drills aimed at cranking up their 'battle level'