Whatever Happened to Thibault and Cloutier?

In a previous post we hypothesized what would become of Dan Cloutier, and if you’re following the Sabres you may have wondered what happened to Jocelyn Thibault.  They’re both alive and kicking but neither knows if the NHL is a part of his future.

Pierre LeBrun (I like this guy more and more every time I read his posts or see him on the Hot Stove Lounge) has a good article in ESPN.com on “Meet the Limbo Club“, players who are waiting on the sidelines for a chance to make it back into the NHL.  You can read the full article from the link above but for those of you who are goalie-centric I’ve copied and pasted just the portions relating to Thibault and Cloutier.

Personally I’d love to see Thibault be a late-season pickup, similar to Curtis Joseph going to Calgary last season, if for no other reason than I’d hate to see his last game played wearing that horrible slug logo in Buffalo.  Seriously, does a guy with masks this good deserve to be remembered in a slug jersey?

jocelyn-thibault-buffalo1jocelyn-thibault-chicagojocelyn-thibault-quebec

Jocelyn Thibault, 33, lives in Magog (90 minutes east of Montreal) with his wife and three kids. He appears once a week on a French television hockey show in Montreal and  has kept in shape in case the phone rings.

“I skate a few times a week and work out for sure,” he said. “It’s all you can do right now.”

The former No. 1 goalie in Montreal and Chicago appeared in only 12 games as a backup last season in Buffalo. Despite his 238 career NHL wins and relative young age, there have been no real takers.

“You start to prepare yourself that maybe you won’t get that phone call,” Thibault said. “You keep your ears open and you keep working out and you keep in shape, but on the other side of things, I’m not a person that’s stuck in the past. I focus on what’s ahead. If I get a chance to play again, I’ll take it. But if not, we’re certainly getting ready for the next step.”

Still, given the rash of injuries to NHL goalies this season, namely to New Jersey’s Martin Brodeur, it’s hard for him not to get his hopes up once in a while.

“You don’t wish anything bad on anyone, but obviously, when a goalie gets hurt, suddenly you find yourself pedaling a little harder on the bike,” he said. “You keep yourself ready.”

He’s not going to wait forever.

“I don’t want to close any doors,” Thibault said. “But here we are in December, and I don’t know what the other guys told you, but it’s not easy. I don’t know if I can wait around like this for another year and a half.”

“Some teams called, but the AHL definitely doesn’t interest me,” Thibault said. “I’m also thinking about my family. I don’t want to live out of a suitcase. I’ve got three girls in school here [in Magog, Quebec]. If the offer is right, I’ll definitely take a look at it, but I’m not interested in a two-way or things like that. I’m a little more selective of what I’d accept.”

Thibault seems ready for life after hockey, although he’s still keeping the door open just a crack.

dan-cloutier-kings-stretchingDan Cloutier, 32, lives in Corpus Christi, Texas, with his wife and infant child. His brother, Sylvain Cloutier, is the coach of the local Central Hockey League team.

Cloutier, whose best seasons were in Vancouver during his 10-year NHL career, had surgery a month ago to repair a torn labrum in his hip.

“He hasn’t lost the dream,” his agent, Roland Thompson, told ESPN.com. “But we’ll wait and see what happens in his recovery.”

The NHLPA also has filed a grievance at the request of Cloutier and Thompson against the Los Angeles Kings, charging they were not in a position to buy him out of his contract last summer because he wasn’t physically fit to play.

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2 Comments

  1. Pierre LeBrun always has the best insider info and best perspective of whats going on

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