For the past month, Kevin Reiter has been preparing for the upcoming season by practicing with several members of the Pittsburgh Penguins.
There really is no substitute for taking shots from the likes of Sidney Crosby and Pascal Dupuis, and Reiter couldn't ask for a better experience.
"You don't realize how good these guys are until you're on the ice, and then you've got a whole new repsect," Reiter said. "It's very quick. They're good guys and they treat you like anybody else."
When the Penguins are done with him -- their goalies will arrive in the next couple of weeks -- he'll join Worcester of the American Hockey League for a tryout.
If he doesn't make that club, he'll be back with the Komets for the first time since 2007-08, when he and Nick Boucher were the goaltending tandem for the Komets' Turner Cup championship in the IHL.
"The Komets, I've played a lot of places, it's my seventh year, and I've never been treated better anywhere else," said Reiter, the IHL's goaltender of the year in his lone Fort Wayne season. "I was looking at who they were signing, and there were so many guys from that 07-08 team, and I thought it would be great."
The Komets, who won three Turner Cups with Boucher in the clinching game, will be in the Central Hockey League for the first time this season.
"It's going to be fun," said Reiter, who has one season of CHL experience with Laredo. "On paper, we have a great team. New league, new rules, new situation. I know both leagues, and I think it'll be interesting to see how it all pans out."
Reiter spent the last two seasons playing in England, missing most of last season with an abdominal tear. He had surgery in January and said he's 100 percent now.
He turned down offers from at least two other teams in the CHL.
Boucher pushed the Komets to sign Reiter, and Reiter doesn't mind splitting playing time with his good friend.
"Bouch and I have had (this) in common: We feed off each other, and have that friendship where we can bounce ideas off each other, and we both really care about what we do and try to get better each day," Reiter said.
Factoring into Reiter's decision to return to Fort Wayne were that he has a family member experiencing medical problems, and that person is nearby. Also, he recently got engaged and his fiancee likes the Summit City.
- Reiter is looking for ideas for what to put on his goalie mask. From talking to him, he usually does things that are relevant to the town or the franchise. (He had Robbie Irons on his last Fort Wayne mask.) Post some ideas and I'll be sure to pass them along.
- Listen to today's edition of "We've got Game," hosted by Justin Cohn and Ben Smith. We talk about the Reiter signing and then have our college football spectacular, where we break down the Notre Dame, Purdue and Indiana football seasons with beat writers Tony Krausz, Stacy Clardie and LaMond Pope. You can use the radio button the top right of this post.