DULUTH, Ga. — It was something Patrice Cormier had done thousands of times — getting down to block an opponents slap shot. But never before had it ended in a broken bone, until Thursday.
The Atlanta Thrashers prospect spoke on Saturday for the first time since his injury, ironically the first bone he’s ever broken.
“It’s a pretty big blow, but its not the end of the world,” Cormier said.
Instead of participating in team scrimmages on the first official day of training camp, Cormier was forced to watch with a hard cast, knowing he’ll most likely start the season with the Chicago Wolves, Atlanta’s AHL affiliate.
“Obviously I’ll have to start out in Chicago,” the 20-year-old forward said. “That’s probably going to happen and that makes everything harder. It’s a little adversity, but I can’t wait to get back on skates. I’m not the first guy to have it happen and I certainly won’t be the last.”
Cormier won’t require surgery, but is sidelined for the foreseeable future. He is hoping to return to the ice by the middle of October.
“That’s what I keep telling myself,” he said. “Maybe it’s going to be different. We’ll see. I’m going to take it day-by-day and stay positive. That’s the only thing I can do.”
The injury happened during the final four-on-four scrimmage of rookie camp, when Cormier laid down in front of a Paul Postma slapshot.
“I saw him afterwards and he told me he was sorry, but you can’t be sorry,” Cormier said. “I’m not sorry I blocked his shot. I’d still block it tomorrow. I told him, ‘you can’t be sorry. Keep shooting the puck.’ It was a hard shot for sure.”
Broken feet are nothing new to the Thrashers as last year. After all, Ilya Kovalchuk, Evander Kane and Mark Popovic all missed time with the injury.
“The trainers know how to deal with it,” Cormier said. “I’m going to listen and do what I have to do and get back on the ice as soon as possible. It’s a bone, it will heal 100 percent and I’ll be fine.”