A couple of blocked shots in recent days have thinned out the St. John’s IceCaps’ forward unit.
On Wednesday, the Winnipeg Jets recalled centre Patrice Cormier from St. John’s to replace fellow centre Jim Slater, who reportedly broke his hand while blocking a shot in the Jets’ 5-2 win over the Toronto Maple Leafs on Tuesday night.
Unfortunately, the IceCaps know about such an injury all too well, as they lost forward John Albert in similar fashion — to a broken hand while blocking a shot — in a game against the Syracuse Crunch last Friday at Mile One Centre.
Albert’s injury, Cormier’s recall and already-existing injuries to Jason King, Ryan Schnell, Ivan Telegin and Hunter Tremblay means the IceCaps have just 12 healthy forwards, including right-winger Tomas Kubalik, who was scheduled to arrive in St. John’s Wednesday night. Kubalik was acquired in a trade between the Jets and Columbus Blue Jackets Sunday, one that sent Spencer Machacek to the Blue Jackets’ organization.
The IceCaps have nine defencemen on their roster, including Patrick Cullity, acquired as part of the Machacek-Kubalik deal. But that number includes veteran rearguard Richard Petiot, who is still in Alberta with his wife after the birth of their first child, and Ben Chiarot, who has been sidelined by injury recently and is questionable for games against the visiting Hamilton Bulldogs Friday and Saturday at Mile One Centre.
Nevertheless, IceCaps’ head coach Keith McCambridge said there is a chance he could go with 11 forwards and seven defenceman for Friday’s game against Hamilton.
Cormier has played in 32 games with the IceCaps this season, recording seven goals, four assists and 60 penalty minutes.
The Cape Pele, N.B., native has two points in 30 career NHL games with Atlanta/Winnipeg.
He was originally drafted by the New Jersey Devils in the second round (54th overall) of the 2008 NHL draft.
The Jets host the New York Rangers tonight.