During the last five weeks, Komets goaltender Nick Boucher has become an expert analyst of The Golf Channel and he's spent a lot of time playing his guitar.
He's also been healing. Thursday marks the five-week anniversary since Boucher had bone spurs cleaned out of his right hip. Though he's still on crutches and will be for another five to eight weeks, the veteran is glad he went through the surgery. Komets General Manager David Franke and trainer Shawn Dundon encouraged Boucher to go through the first surgery rather than trying to play through the pain one more season.
``The hip feels right now,'' Boucher said. ``I feel like I should be walking on it, but there's a protocol you have to follow. There have been times when I notice the mobility is better than it was. Now my right side is better than my left side. It's pretty obvious to see that the mobility has improved on that side and it's made a difference.''
Boucher is scheduled to meet with Dr. Matt Snyder of Fort Wayne Orthopedics on Monday, and he's sure the possibility of another surgery on his left hip will be discussed. As much as Boucher dreaded the first surgery, he said he'll be ready for the second.
``Given that the right side was so badly damaged and we didn't expect that, I definitely have some concerns about the conditions of the left side and how that is going to be,'' Boucher said. ``With any kind of surgery there are no guarantees, but I'm encouraged because I can see the improvement already. I wish I had been able to have it sooner.''
Boucher battled the injury all year but felt the problem was solved after a midseason cortisone shot took away the pain. When the shot's effects finally wore off in mid-June, it was too late to undergo surgery in time to start the upcoming season. The Komets have signed Charlie Effinger and are expecting to receive Kenny Reiter from Bridgeport of the American Hockey League to replace Boucher.
Originally, the first surgery was expected to knock Boucher out for at least half the season, and getting a second hip operation might knock him out for the entire season. Either way, Boucher is determined to play at least one more year, and if the surgery is very successful, possibly even more.
``I always wanted to come back and play,'' he said. ``This gives me a little more optimism about how things are going to feel because of the improvements I've already noticed in range of motion.''