Despite requiring microfracture surgery, Boucher said he could tell within three days that the surgery was a success. There's no way to tell the extent of the damage on the left side until the operation. In the best case, he could be able to skate in two months and put on the pads in three to begin training.
``I'm completely off the crutches and been weight bearing since last Sunday,'' Boucher said. ``I feel really good. I was supposed to wean off crutches for about a week, but by Day 3 I was ready. There was some soreness in my calf from not being used, but that's long gone now. I feel pretty normal right now.''
Boucher is convinced he'll be able to play this year. The Komets have already signed Charlie Effinger and made arrangements to receive Kenny Reiter from Bridgeport of the American Hockey League. Where Boucher fits in will have to be determined later.
``Obviously when I'm medically ready to go ... there will have to be some decisions made,'' Boucher said. ``I'm not going to be too keen on being the guy who just practices. I've paid my dues, and with the year I had last year it's pretty clear I still have a lot left in the tank. I do want to play, but I don't want to think about December or January already because it's kind of pointless to waste the energy on all the possibilities or the scenarios. I don't know what situation they are going to be in then. We'll take it as it comes right now and focus on trying to get healthy and do the right thing.''
Komets General Manager David Franke said he has to prepare the team as if Boucher is not going to be able to play this season, though he's encouraging Boucher to have the surgery.
``Right now, I don't plan on having Nick available for this season including the playoffs,'' Franke said. ``If for some reason that changes, then we'll address it at that time.''
In the meantime, as soon as he's able after the surgery, Boucher said he's going to help out the Fort Wayne Federals junior team and maybe coach some high school goaltenders.
``The rehab is going well, and the progress has been really steady,'' he said. ``It's getting stronger every week. The right side went so well it made the decision easy to go ahead and do the left side. It's remarkable how quickly the body overcomes stuff.''
According to Franke, DeAngelis has to inform the Komets to today if he's intending to return this season. The defenseman is considering an off-the-ice job offer.
``We're working on a couple of other guys,'' Franke said. ``I'm just kind of holding off here to see what Frankie does tomorrow. I know that there's going to be some players available through Anaheim and Norfolk. There will also be other teams out there to place players because not everybody has an ECHL affiliate. We'll have plenty of guys to choose from.
``Even if Frankie doesn't come in, we'll work as hard as we can to find a replacement. We have some guys here already who have some offense to their game. I know there will be players available from AHL camps.''Goaltender Charlie Effinger is going to training camp with Grand Rapids of the AHL. That's along with Daniel Maggio going to Chicago, and Brandon Marino, J.M. Rizk and Chris Auger going to Norfolk. ... That means neither Effinger nor Kenny Reiter will be in Fort Wayne when training camp starts Sept. 28. ... Former Komet Dustin Molle is going to training camp with Alaska of the ECHL, Franke said. Tom Mele will also be trying out with the Aces.