The Fort Wayne Komets believed they had the best-laid plans. But you know what they say about those, right? They go awry.
Shawn Degagne, who had been slated to battle with Kevin Reiter for position as the No. 1 goaltender, giving the Komets what they thought would be a league-best tandem of netminders, has re-injured the shoulder that kept him out almost all of last season with Elmira of the United Hockey League. Degagne will not be reporting for training camp Oct. 8.
"He won't be ready for the beginning of season," said Komets coach Al Sims, whose team is preparing for its first season in the new six-team International Hockey League. "We're proceeding as if Shawn won't be playing this year. But we definitely need two guys who can play and we'll move to find what we need before the start of training camp."
Degagne couldn't be reached for comment but Sims said the injury happened while Degagne was working out at in his hometown of North Bay, Ontario, and that the minimum recovery time was put at weeks by doctors, but that Degagne was "not optimistic about it."
Degagne, 28, a sixth-round draft pick of the New York Ranges in 1997, has spent most of his career in the Central Hockey League. His last full season, 2005-06, saw him go 24-16-2 with a 3.05 goals-against average and a .911 save percentage for Amarillo. Last season, he was 2-2-0 with a 3.25 GAA and .902 save percentage in four games for Elmira.
The good news is that the Komets still have Reiter, 25, who spent last season with Laredo of the CHL, going 17-6-1 with a 2.33 GAA and a .915 save percentage, and Sims said the Komets can survive fine with him as the sole No. 1. But the team would like to bring in another top-notch netminder for hearty competition and Sims said there are several available.
The Komets do have rookie Shawn Monette on their roster, too, and a good showing in training camp could pay dividends for him. But Monette, who was 32-13-2 with a 2.92 GAA last season for the Dauphin Kings, will likely play in the Southern Professional Hockey League and be a possible goalie of the future for Fort Wayne.
Degagne was put on a non-roster spot and is eligible to come off Nov. 9, at which time the Komets will reevaluate; Sims said it's not impossible to think he'll play in Fort Wayne this season, but it is unlikely.
Meanwhile the Komets were dealt some more bad news when defenseman Jamie Dowhayko informed them he would be playing in Germany instead of Fort Wayne, Sims said. He had two goals and seven points in 29 games last season with the University of Manitoba.
- Also, check this out. Design your own Komets jersey.
For more on this story, check out Saturday's editions of The Journal Gazette
-- By Justin A. Cohn, The Journal Gazette