Tim Boron, expected to be the Thunder's No. 1 goaltender this season, has asked the team to waive or trade him. The Thunder placed Boron on suspension on Monday with hopes of dealing him to another Central Hockey League team.
Boron told interim coach Jason Duda on Saturday of his desire to leave.
"There were number of reasons," Boron said Monday. "Let's just say I was looking for a fresh start."
Duda, whose team has lost a franchise-record 13 consecutive games, was unavailable for comment, but assistant Rob Boyle said the team was "disappointed" by Boron's request.
"Would we prefer to have him here? Absolutely," Boyle said. "But there is no sense in having him here if he wants to be somewhere else."
Coming off surgery on both hips, Boron struggled early before he was placed on injured reserve on Nov. 19. The team said that Boron was simply slow to recover from the surgery, but Boron revealed Monday that he had a torn right quadriceps muscle. He said he now feels fully recovered.
On Friday, he gave up six goals in a loss to Bossier-Shreveport, a setback that dropped him to 1-3 with a 5.00 GAA and a .828 SP. However, Boyle said that Boron looked "pretty good" in that performance and was especially impressive helping the Thunder kill a five-minute penalty.
"He was coming out and challenging the puck," Boyle said. "He knew where the puck was going to be all the time. That was the Timmy we know. We could see he was back."
For that reason, Boyle believes Boron has trade value. The Thunder put Boron on suspension so he won't occupy a roster spot while the team is trying to move him.
Boron said his request has been handled professionally.
"This has not been an ugly situation," he said. "We both went about it the right way."
* Boron is the second player to express a desire to leave the Thunder in recent days. Over the weekend, defenseman Jordan Little was waived after telling the team he wanted to play outside the CHL. Boyle was asked if the player defections say something about the state of the team, which is by far the worst in the CHL. "When you're 3-20-3, it's tough for everybody," he said. "Does it say something about where we are now? Yeah, probably a little bit. But we've got to do our best to turn it around here and make this a place where players want to play."
* Boyle and Duda have been working the phones to try to pull off a trade. Rosters are frozen until Sunday.
Marc Belanger has five goals and two assists in his last six games. He leads the team with nine goals, including a team-high four on the power play.
In its last five games, the Thunder is 1 for 31 on the power play. "We think we have seen improvement the last couple of games," Boyle said. "We're having better puck movement, but we're still passing up too many shot opportunities."
TAP OF THE STICK
The annual Teddy Bear Toss brought in 1,270 stuffed animals. The record is 1,669.
Number of consecutive losses at home for the Thunder. One more and the team will set a record for futility at the Kansas Coliseum.
HE SAID IT
"The team captain has something to say, I stand behind him."
—Duda when asked if he was OK with captain Chris McAllister saying the Thunder is the "joke of the league"