FORT WAYNE – The Komets strength this season has been their goaltending. And that position could grow stronger at playoff time.
Four-time Cup-winning goaltender Nick Boucher is a free agent after playing the last five seasons with Fort Wayne and earning a reputation as the best pressure goalie in franchise history.
If he re-signs with the Komets, Boucher thinks he will be able to return around March.
The Komets dont have a particular need for Boucher now – Kenny Reiter and Charlie Effinger have been more than adequate – but theres no telling how injuries and the NHL lockout will change the landscape by then.
Maybe in a month or six weeks, Ill start to consider options, said Boucher, 31, who was selected as MVP last season by his teammates, before undergoing offseason surgery on both his hips. At this point, its still premature to think about (where Ill play). Especially if they sort out the National Hockey League lockout, that will open up some jobs.
The Komets (13-11-2) play today at Kalamazoo.
Reiter has gone 6-5-1 with a 2.88 goals-against average and a .914 save percentage this season. Effinger is 6-5-1 with a 3.07 GAA and a .908. Marco Cousineau has played three games – going 1-1-0 – but hes up with Norfolk of the American Hockey League.
Should the lockout end, Reiter could be a candidate to call-up to Bridgeport of the AHL.
Bouchers championship last season was particular impressive since he had cam impingement – abnormal grinding – in his hips.
He was operated on in July and September.
He has been back on the ice for two weeks, doing rudimentary things like collecting pucks and dropping them on faceoffs. He hasnt taken shots yet.
I feel good doing everyday activities, Boucher said. But as soon as I get on the ice, its still sore. And if something basic is still painful, playing goal is a whole other step up from that. Its a whole other group of movements I havent even attempted yet.
Note: The Komets acquired the rights to defenseman Tim Priamo from Wheeling for future considerations. He had one goal and four points in 22 games last season.
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