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Cormier looks back on a season of growth

Monday, 07.20.2009 / 3:20 PM / Features
By Eric Marin
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Cormier looks back on a season of growth

Cormier, in white, said his game's about hard work and physical play.

newjerseydevils.com – Patrice Cormier has enjoyed a busy year.

He won gold with Team Canada at the 2009 World Junior Championship last December, then helped get the Rimouski Oceanic (QMJHL) within a game of the 2009 Memorial Cup semifinal last May.

With all that seasoning under his belt, Cormier felt a little more comfortable as he headed into his second rookie camp at AmeriHealth Pavilion last week.

Preparing to take a faceoff.
"You don't know what to expect; you're a little timid, maybe a little gun shy," he said of his camp debut last summer. "I had a good year (that) helped me build confidence. Coming here this year, I know what to expect. My game is playing hard and taking the body, and if I do that, I'll have success."

The Devils' third choice, 54th overall, in 2008, Cormier posted career highs across the board last season with 23 goals, 28 assists and 118 penalty minutes in 54 games with the Oceanic. A center, he resists being categorized as any one type of pivot.

"I don't really want to be compared to anyone," he said. "I just want to be myself and play the way I know I can play, or the way the coaches tell me to play to help the team win."

As the hosts, Rimouski received an automatic berth in the four-team Memorial Cup tournament, which pits the champions of the Canadian Hockey League against one another in a round-robin format. The club finished second in the QMJHL's Eastern Division last season with a record of  44-23-1.

The Oceanic opened the tourney with a 4-1 loss to the Kelowna Rockets (WHL), but stayed alive with a 5-4 victory over the Windsor Spitfires (OHL). They then dropped a 3-2 overtime decision to the Drummondville Voltigeurs (QMJHL) before ultimately coming up short, 6-4, in the tiebreaker against the Spitfires.

"Our team did very well," Cormier said. "We played a season with ups and downs, but had our best hockey in the Memorial Cup. When the team's playing well, you just want to contribute and help the team go as far as possible. That's what I tried to do. I think it could have gone either way... we had some bad luck against Windsor. That's hockey, I guess."

Cormier, 19, scored a goal in each of Rimouski's final three games and added an assist, earning a spot on the tournament's All-Star team.

"It's good preparation; it's a higher level of hockey," he said. "You face teams that you haven't played: Windsor and Kelowna. It was a new challenge. We were hosting it, so it was pretty special. It went very well for our team and it could've gone either way for us."

Cormier's locker stall at rookie camp was just across the dressing room from fellow Devils prospect Adam Henrique (4th choice, 82nd overall, in 2008), whose Windsor squad went on to beat Kelowna this season for its first-ever Memorial Cup. Defenseman Harry Young (8th/202, 2008), who also attended this year's rookie camp, is the Spitfires' captain.

"There's a good rivalry," Cormier said of his relationship with Henrique and Young – former opponents but potential future teammates with New Jersey. "Even though they're not your friends, they're your friends here. You go out and eat with them, but on the ice when you play against them, it's a whole different ballgame. We all want to win, and it's a battle out there, for sure."

Cormier was joined in camp this year by his older brother, Kevin, whom the Devils acquired in a September 2008 trade that sent Sean Zimmerman to Phoenix. The elder Cormier had two goals and two assists with 94 penalty minutes in 29 games last season with Trenton (ECHL) and made one appearance with Lowell (AHL).

Cormier, a native of Moncton, New Brunswick, said he and Kevin keep each other on their toes in practice.

"If I see that he's not doing a certain thing, I'll tell him, or he'll tell me," he said. "He's not going to miss something on me, so he'll tell me for sure. It's positive."

Cormier will attend Team Canada's summer camp next month in Saskatoon.

"Right now I'm just taking it a day at a time and just focusing on the present, not the future," he said.




1 p - BOS 82 54 19 9 261 177 117
2 y - PIT 82 51 24 7 249 207 109
3 x - TBL 82 46 27 9 240 215 101
4 x - MTL 82 46 28 8 215 204 100
5 x - NYR 82 45 31 6 218 193 96
6 x - PHI 82 42 30 10 236 235 94
7 x - CBJ 82 43 32 7 231 216 93
8 x - DET 82 39 28 15 222 230 93
9 WSH 82 38 30 14 235 240 90
10 NJD 82 35 29 18 197 208 88
11 OTT 82 37 31 14 236 265 88
12 TOR 82 38 36 8 231 256 84
13 CAR 82 36 35 11 207 230 83
14 NYI 82 34 37 11 225 267 79
15 FLA 82 29 45 8 196 268 66
16 BUF 82 21 51 10 157 248 52


J. Jagr 82 24 43 16 67
P. Elias 65 18 35 -4 53
T. Zajac 80 18 30 3 48
A. Henrique 77 25 18 3 43
M. Zidlicky 81 12 30 -3 42
M. Ryder 82 18 16 -6 34
A. Greene 82 8 24 3 32
E. Gelinas 60 7 22 -3 29
D. Zubrus 82 13 13 1 26
R. Clowe 43 7 19 -10 26
C. Schneider 16 15 12 .921 1.97
M. Brodeur 19 14 6 .901 2.51


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