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Komets

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Clint Keller | The Journal Gazette
Komets goalie Nick Boucher was first on the ice for the Komets’ home opener, but his playing time has been limited of late because of a hyperextended thumb. He expects to return this weekend.

Awaiting the thumb’s up

Injured goalie set to return for weekend games

Clint Keller | The Journal Gazette
Boucher

While the Komets were going through one of the more arduous practices of the season Monday, goaltender Nick Boucher was on an exercise bike in the hallway.

He would have rather been on the Memorial Coliseum ice.

The Komets’ goaltender was resting an injured right thumb, which was aggravated during a game Oct. 31 and prevented him from playing last Friday, when the Komets defeated the Flint Generals 4-3 in an overtime shootout.

“We were playing Muskegon and my stick got twisted back and it snapped my thumb awkwardly,” Boucher said. “It’s happened to me before. There’s a lot of scar tissue in there.”

The injury was why he didn’t get involved in the two brawls that took place between the Komets and the Lumberjacks, resulting in a 15-game suspension for Brad MacMillan and a 12-game suspension for Muskegon’s Robin Big Snake, both of whom left the penalty box.

Boucher had thought about getting involved when Jason Lawmaster was pummeling Fort Wayne’s Konstantin Shafranov, an incident over which the Komets remain peeved, but Boucher decided not to risk exacerbating his thumb injury.

Asked whether he would play in any of the three games this weekend, which will include a Sunday game at Muskegon, Mich., Boucher said: “Absolutely, I’ll be back.”

It seems the Komets aren’t taking any chances, though. In addition to backup goalie Tim Haun, at practice was goalie Tyler Sims, who was the last cut during training camp.

The son of coach Al Sims, Tyler Sims had been with Mississippi of the Central Hockey League, going 0-2-0 with a 5.17 goals-against average and a .831 save percentage before he was released last week.

“I’m staying in shape and staying on the phone,” Tyler Sims said. “I’m letting people know I’m available.”

The Komets have no plans to sign Tyler Sims, unless Boucher’s injury worsens.

“Tyler needs the (practice) ice time. So this helps him and it helps us,” Al Sims said. “We’d rather have two goalies for practice. … I think Boucher will be able to practice (today). It’s been bothering him and we don’t want it to get any worse. When you hyperextend your thumb, it’s one of those things that can bother you all year. Hopefully the rest will allow him to strengthen it.”

Notes: The Komets waived forward Evgeny Saidachev. … Defenseman Brandon Warner, the Huntertown native, who has been out all season with a hip injury, could be activated for Friday’s game against the Quad City Mallards.

jcohn@jg.net

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