After nearly two months on the sidelines with a concussion, on Tuesday Thatcher Demko stepped onto the ice for his first full practice with the Utica Comets this season.
Demko was injured during a preseason practice with the Canucks on September 23. He flew back to upstate New York not long after, but had to wait until completely healthy before being officially reassigned to the Comets.
— Utica Comets (@UticaComets) November 20, 2018
The timing couldn’t have been much worse for the 22-year-old San Diego native, who is expected to transition to the NHL next season. With Anders Nilsson out of the lineup with an injury of his own, Demko would have had an opportunity to play multiple games with the Canucks.
Instead, the coaching staff was reluctant to turn to Richard Bachman – who was lit up for six goals against in his only appearance.
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The Comets (6-10-2) have felt Demko’s absence too, putting together the second-worst points percentage (.389) in the AHL so far this season.
Demko was spectacular in his second year of pro hockey in Utica last season, posting a .922 save percentage behind an unspectacular Comets team. He represented Utica at the AHL All-Star Game, and won his lone start for the Canucks when called up.
Ben Birnell, who covers the Comets for the Observer-Dispatch newspaper in Utica, reports that Demko will play his first game of the season on Wednesday.