Canucks franchise number-one goalie Thatcher Demko has been travelling with the club and has rehabbed to the point where he plans to dress as Vancouver’s back-up for the game at Rogers Arena on Saturday against the Philadelphia Flyers.
He denied any and all reports or rumours suggesting that he wants to be traded away from the Canucks and has no idea how those ideas came about. After this one, he has three seasons remaining on his Vancouver contract at $5-million per.
His focus is on getting his body and mind ready to play following his lengthy injury recovery.
“Luckily for me in my career I haven’t had anything this long before, so it was definitely some new territory for me,” Demko said about missing so much time. “Had to work through that a little bit mentally. Just being patient with it and whatever else, so definitely been putting in the work both mentally and physically.”
Demko hasn’t played since December 1st when he was injured late in the first period at home against the Florida Panthers. His original recovery timetable kept getting backed up, but with the team struggling and out of the playoff picture, there was simply no reason to rush him back. It’s been about eleven weeks.
“Just want to come in and make an impact any way I can and help the guys out,” Demko said after practice on Tuesday. “Kind of go from there.”
Demko stole the show last season; the main catalyst behind the Canucks surprising charge to playoff contention under head coach Bruce Boudreau. Demko said he felt almost guilty that he couldn’t help out his former coach and the club as the team struggled earlier this season, but now it’s on to a new plan with a new staff.
Time to jump back into “the jungle”; what he and Canucks goalie coach Ian Clark refer to real action around the net.
“Today is definitely the best that I’ve felt as far as that goes,” he said, “I felt I was making a lot of reactionary saves, desperation saves, things like that, so all that’s good for the rehab and it’s also really fun to get back in those situations as a competitor and as a goalie.”