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Boucher, Komets play waiting game as hip injuries heal

Justin A. Cohn
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Boucher

Komets
at Kalamazoo

When: 7:30 p.m. today vs. Trenton

When: 7:30 p.m. Saturday

Radio: 1190 AM, 92.3 FM

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 don’t have a particular need for Boucher now – Kenny Reiter and Charlie Effinger have been more than adequate – but there’s no telling how injuries and the NHL lockout will change the landscape by then.

“Maybe in a month or six weeks, I’ll 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, it’s still premature to think about (where I’ll 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 he’s 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.

Boucher’s 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 hasn’t taken shots yet.

“I feel good doing everyday activities,” Boucher said. “But as soon as I get on the ice, … it’s still sore. And if something basic is still painful, playing goal is a whole other step up from that. It’s a whole other group of movements I haven’t 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.

jcohn@jg.net

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