Let's answer the big question first: Komets goaltender Nick Boucher strained his groin in the third period of the 6-4 victory over the Bloomington Prairie Thunder on Thursday.
The team doesn't know the extent of the injury yet, but this is a big injury since he's 9-1-1 and has arguably been the best goalie in the International Hockey League, even though Kevin Reiter has been No. 1 on the Fort Wayne depth chart.
And it came with a home-and-home series against the second-place Flint Generals beginning Friday at Flint, Mich.
The league-leading Komets said they will probably place a call to Parris Duffus, the former Komets goalie who has NHL experience. He lives in town and is a member of the Fort Wayne Fire Department. No idea if he's interested, but consider this: Duffus qualifies as an IHL veteran and the Komets can play only seven of those in games.
That wouldn't be a problem Friday, most likely, since P.C. Drouin missed Thursday's game because his wife, Michelle, was in labor, according to general manager David Franke. But I doubt Duffus would be a long-term solution.
The Komets also mentioned Brian Gratz, but he's coaching in the Mid-Atlantic Hockey League.
Here's an idea: Call Gratz and get a goalie from his 16-1-0 team, like this guy. Come to think of it, they gave Nick Niedert a tryout once before.
As for the game against Bloomington, Konstantin Shafranov looked splendid with two goals and one assist. It's taken him some time to get back into game shape -- he is 39 -- and after seven seasons in Russia, he had developed some habits, like hanging onto the puck too long and turning it over. Sims gave him little ice time last week to send him a message and it stuck.
Said Shafranov: "This was a home game and you need to be ready." (Check out tomorrow's newspaper for more from Shafranov, who's sometimes reluctant to give interviews.)
On not being able to put the league-worst Prairie Thunder away until late in the game, Sims said: "They're a team that's heading south right now and any excitement you give them is going to give them adrenaline to play you and want to beat you."
The Komets' porous defense didn't help that cause. But they won and, thanks to six fights in the game, the 7,188 fans had plenty to cheer about.
-- By Justin A. Cohn, The Journal Gazette