Following a 4-3 loss to the Senators in Binghamton Friday night, Utica Comets goaltender Thatcher Demko walked passed head coach Travis Green. “You’re going tomorrow,” Green said, to which Demko took to mean he’d be starting Saturday in Syracuse.
“The flight is first thing in the morning,” added Green, smiling as he walked away.
“All I could think was – when we did we start flying to games?” laughed Demko.
It was a delightful misunderstanding for Demko, who had in fact been told he was recalled by the Canucks and would be flying out early the next morning.
When the 21-year-old arrived at the BB&T Center midway through Canucks morning skate, he looked fresh and ready. He said he was quite the opposite, rolling off less than two hours sleep following a two-and-a-half-hour bus ride post-game, and then a 3:30 am EST wake-up call.
“I’d go through a lot worse than that to be here, believe me.”
From Binghamton, New York, to Fort Lauderdale, Florida in flash, Demko will back-up Jacob Markstrom against the Panthers Saturday, then travel with the team to Washington Sunday, presumably assuming the same duty.
If called upon this weekend, Demko would just be trying to stop the likes of Jaromir Jagr and Alexander Ovechkin, superstars he grew up admiring.
I was met with a blank stare when I brought that up to Demko.
“One thing at a time,” he chuckled. “I got a nap in this afternoon and I woke up not knowing what planet I’m on, but now that we’re back at the rink, I’m getting fired up.”
The past, present and future of Canucks collided when we arrived at the rink pre-game as Roberto Luongo said hello to former teammates, with Markstrom and Demko parparing sticks a few feet away, and Ryan Miller speaking with trainers nearby.
Luongo is very well known to Canucks fans, whereas Demko is not.
With any luck, Demko will be just as renowned in Vancouver someday.
That starts this weekend.
Demko said he loves everything about Utica – the city, the team, the coaches – literally everything. He lives with Jordan Subban, down the street from Cole Cassels and Curtis Valk.
His American Hockey League schedule isn’t as different from his school schedule, so Demko has settled into a nice routine and aside from a few tough games to start his AHL career, he’s now off and running.
Rumour has it he’s doing more than stopping pucks in Utica as well. Apparently he dances a mean Juju On That Beat.
He’ll fit right in with the Canucks.
Derek Jory – @NoJoryous