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Tailing the Komets

Here you go

After giving up on signing Mario Larocque earlier this summer, the Fort Wayne Komets are close to signing the defenseman General Manager David Franke said Monday.

Larocque, a 6-foot-4, 210-pound veteran, would give the Komets a boost of experience and toughness on the blue line. Last season he had 5 goals, 15 points and 187 penalty minutes in 46 games with Danbury.

``I think we're headed in the right direction, and that there's a real good chance that he's going to come on board on with us,'' Franke said. “Nothing is finalized yet, but we're close to getting something done with him.''

A first-round draft pick by Tampa Bay in 1996, Larocque, 28, has played most of his career in the International and American hockey leagues. He also played five games for the Lightning in 1998, and played for Komets coach Pat Bingham with Wheeling of the East Coast Hockey League in 2003-04.

``I thoroughly enjoyed my experience of being on the same team and pulling in the same direction with Mario,'' Bingham said. “I think he's a great team guy. He's always trying to give the team what it needs.''

The Komets acquired the rights to Larocque in the United Hockey League's dispersal draft after Danbury folded. Originally, the Komets felt they weren't going to be able to afford Larocque who wanted similar pay to what he received in Danbury. The Trashers folded after it was revealed they spent nearly three times as much as the UHL salary cap last season, causing the league to adopt a hard cap this summer.

``Mario came down on his demands, and we just explained to him where we were at money-wise with this hard cap,'' Franke said. “This is where he'd like to play and if we can get it done we're going to get it done.''

Part of Larocque's decision is because of whom the Komets already have signed. He's good friends with and a former teammate of player/assistant coach Bruce Richardson, has been a teammate with forward Daniel Goneau and he knows defenseman Guy Dupuis and goaltender Kevin St. Pierre. In fact, this week Larocque is working out with Richardson and Goneau at Richardson's pre-season camp on Montreal.

``When I signed here, I think that started to make sense for Mario,'' Richardson said. “I talked to Mario the other day, and he said, `I guess we'll probably play together again this year.' I think Mario respects me, and by me going there, he knows we're not going to have a lousy team. I think he put it all together, and it was a no-brainer.''

Franke said the Komets are currently working on a couple of other deals which may be announced late this week. He said that as the Oct. 2 opening of training camp gets closer, more players are starting to return his calls.

``It's getting a little late for players, and it's time for guys to make up their mind and decided I they want to play or sit,'' Franke said. “I think more players are going to decide they'd rather play.''

Posted in: Komets


Mon, 09/11/2006 - 9:02pm

Finally! This should settle the toughness complaints down. Good work by the K's to get this guy to sign.

Tony E
Mon, 09/11/2006 - 9:03pm

Very interesting. He, Richardson and Morency should provide enough "toughness" that the Komets will not be pushed around as some feared.

Mon, 09/11/2006 - 9:04pm

Welcome aboard if it turns out to be...

Mon, 09/11/2006 - 9:05pm

I thought this was going to be important.

Mon, 09/11/2006 - 9:06pm

Just what the Komets needed. Big guy, defenseman, and can actually play. Hopefully not too much money was spent on this. We still have a few other holes to patch up for this team, but this is a big one! Thanks Blake for staying up and posting for us.

Mon, 09/11/2006 - 9:07pm

Boy are you guys gonna be dissapointed.....

Mon, 09/11/2006 - 9:13pm

Dissapointed Steve? This coming from a Flint fan? If he is, he won't last on the team.

Mon, 09/11/2006 - 9:21pm

he takes alot of bad penalties, wont drop the gloves, real cheap shot artist.

What does this have to do with me being a Flint fan?

Tony E
Mon, 09/11/2006 - 9:26pm

Steve based on what I remember of him when he was with the Vipers I disagree to a point. He did have Andre Roy desease at times (dumb penalties at bad times) but he DID drop the gloves on a fairly regular basis.

Hit Somebody!!!
Mon, 09/11/2006 - 9:31pm

Will he take the body and clear the front of the net? That is what I want. Who the heck cares if he drops the gloves all the time. Just play tough, check, play the body, and be mean out there in a smart way. That is the toughness we want to see. Don't confuse that with boxing. Drop the gloves when needed, yes...but give me the physical play first and foremost.

Hit Somebody!!!
Mon, 09/11/2006 - 9:33pm

Goal-scorers next please. Give us some guys that are proven snipers. That #2 line needs some scoring punch and some muscle.

Tony E
Mon, 09/11/2006 - 9:37pm

Hit if that is what you want I think you will like him

Jungle Monkey
Tue, 09/12/2006 - 3:23am

Considering all the hate being tossed his way from other teams fans, I already like Super Mario. Sign him.

Tue, 09/12/2006 - 4:34am

JM-There's only one Super Mario;-). Larocque can be Mario Jr.

If he's signed then welcome, but so far they're saying it's close (I know it means it's probably a done deal, but you never know)

I think after Mario called around he found he wasn't going to get what he asked for and since the Komets had his rights...

I will be interested to see if Blake can find out who's been returning the Komets calls and who starts falling throught he cracks from the higher levels.

Tue, 09/12/2006 - 5:44am

I agree Greg. I think that Mario has finally realized that nobody else was going to pay him what he wanted anyway. It sounds like Richardson might have helped him along. If he signs, great. Now I'm thinking about a couple guys that we lost from last year. What a team we might have had with them too. I'm not saying it doesn't sound good so far. I'm happy with the signings as of now, as long as they perform.

Tue, 09/12/2006 - 5:58am

What's the deal about Mario not wanting to play for a lousy team??? Hopefully, he wasn't putting the K's in that equation.

Tue, 09/12/2006 - 6:06am

hopefully this will come to fuition. it is what we have been asking for, a briser who will clear the crease and hit, fight when needed, but crunch all the time! now i can sit back and wait for camp and dont have to wonder out loud for awhile! skate, what are your thoughts on mario?

Tue, 09/12/2006 - 6:18am

Nice pickup..... As long as Chuckitt and Hit are happy....I'm happy.

Now I'd like to see us shore up that 2nd line combo.

Tue, 09/12/2006 - 6:32am

It's official. He's signed. Just got my Cyber Komet.

Tue, 09/12/2006 - 7:08am

It also on the K's website as well as two rookies. Welcome to all.

Jungle Monkey
Tue, 09/12/2006 - 7:26am

Rookie Martin Aubin is a left wing that is 6'4" and 235 with a few games in the LNAH... might we be looking for a rookie....dare I use the word.... enforcer?

Tue, 09/12/2006 - 7:33am

Martin Aubin Left Wing
Born Apr 9 1985 -- Laval, PQ
Height 6.04 -- Weight 235 -- Shoots L

Tue, 09/12/2006 - 7:35am

Looks like the "beef" is starting to show up.

Where's KW????? Must be in the Men's Room at Meijer looking for his next update

Tue, 09/12/2006 - 7:38am

I would get to excited about the rookies just yet. My thinking is to bring some of them in to see what they can bring, but I bet Bingham and the Frankes will pay attention to the other leagues camps to see who drops out. There might be someone we can pick up.

Tue, 09/12/2006 - 7:38am

Sorry, that should say, "...I would not get excited about the rookies just yet"

Tue, 09/12/2006 - 7:48am

I think the last time we had two bigger forwards that could bang and drop "em were Bruce Ramsay and Steve Parsons. Parsons was moved to forward from D, but he could get down low and create problems for the opposing D men.

At least they're looking at some "potential" talent and not relying on ECHL/AHL waivers to fill all the gaps.

Tue, 09/12/2006 - 8:14am

dont get too excited. aubin is 6 4 235lbs not no scoring and very few penalty min hopefully he is an improving project that we might be able to use. the other guy is a goal scorer, not too big and hdb has nothing on him.

Tue, 09/12/2006 - 8:18am

I'm starting to get very excited about this year!!! Not that I wasn't already...

Blake, do you know when we will see this years jerseys? I thought they might show them off early while the iron's hot to try to get the sales up.

Tony E
Tue, 09/12/2006 - 8:40am

Two quality young players. You get 10 guys like this in camp and maybe one or two work out, maybe none do. But this is how both this team and the league in general will go about replacing some of the has-beens and wannabees that have left for "higher paying" pastures.

Tue, 09/12/2006 - 8:52am

today was a great day and i hope camp is real competitive. i use to go to camp and watch cause it was always interesting back in the days of the i. now i think for the first time we might have a camp with actual jobs on the line. still looking for the sniper maybe bresner can fit that role. good call blake! conehead is still asleep!