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Tailing the Komets

Interesting comment

I thought this was interesting coming from coach Greg Puhalski after last night's game as he was talking about the lack of spark in the Komets' play:

``If you feel like that, then you've got to try to change the attitude and mix it up, and we didn't do that,'' Puhalski said. ``Some of our physical players didn't try to help the hockey club by changing momentum, they just went along with flow. They know better. They have to help the team out in those areas. You want to change momentum, you have to do certain things in order to change that.''

Puhalski gets slammed all the time for supposedly not wanting physical, aggressive teams, but he talks all the time about wanting to set the tone at home with physical play. I wonder if sometimes the coach doesn't get too much of the blame for not having physical teams.

Now, before someone accuses me of being soft on Puhalski (which I'm sure he'd laugh at), think about this: How many teams actually do play the old physical style any more? Maybe Danbury, which we haven't seen here yet? (Did you realize that Danbury has 32 majors and the Komets have 28?) Other than that, there's no one that does, even though that's the one thing fans want to see more than anything else. I'd also argue, and there are stats to back it up, that this year's Komets team is more physical than any of the past four or five teams in terms of body checks.

That still doesn't come close to matching the physical intensity of some of the Al Sims' Komets teams of the early 1990s, but the whole sport has become finesse driven. I'd argue that the rules have taken some of the physical play out of the game, even though the best way to combat a finesse team is to take the body.

Ah, the good old days.

Posted in: Komets


Wed, 12/28/2005 - 11:44am

I totally agree. I think Fort Wayne fans remember those glory years when the hockey was up and down the ice and bodies were flying everywhere. I think many people remember that and want it back. Guess what? It ain't coming back. The rules have changed and there's a lot more teams now which means lesser skilled guys are playing. All you can do is compare how physical a team is to other current teams. Don't compare them to the 90-91 K's or that era. I think it was more exciting back then but a lot of factors have come about that have taken that away. Danbury has tried to do that again and some say that teams can still field a team like that and win. Maybe. But Danbury plays in the weak east. Hard to tell how good they are until they regularly play the west.

Wed, 12/28/2005 - 12:06pm

I think that most Komet fans get upset because visiting teams come into our home rink and don't get scared anymore. Back in the IHL days and even the 1st year in the U, teams would come in here and they would get beat up physically. Now teams come in and out hit us. Teams are no longer worried about coming to the "Jungle" because it's not the "Jungle" anymore. I could care less how other teams are playing these days. If the Komets were more physical and if they would wear team down by being physical then we would win a lot more games, especially at home.

Wed, 12/28/2005 - 1:32pm

Ok smitty, but remember to use lower case. I'd hate to have to toss something back there at you!

Jeff, at least, is known for his fighting. Who cares if he gets thrown out???? At least he usually takes someone with him, eh?

Wed, 12/28/2005 - 4:24pm

That's kind of my point, JC. I don't think anybody in minor league hockey has that anymore, not just FW. I think that might have just been a once in a lifetime thing that spoiled us. You don't think the Frankes wouldn't like to recapture that again? Of course they would. It's just not that easy. I don't think anybody is worried about going into any building at any level of the sport anymore. It's just not the same and probably won't ever be again.

Keep on winning!!!
Wed, 12/28/2005 - 4:56pm

The problem is that the team brings in a Ryan Jorde and builds him up to be a big physical presence on the defense and he acts like he is allergic to contact. This guy has one speed on the ice and it is worse than half speed. Does he not want to be in Fort Wayne, or is the AHL a horrible league because they have defensemen like Jorde there? He stands in one place on the ice, gets out of the way of all contact, and never hustles. What is with this guy. Andy Townsend was more physical than Jorde is and that is a nuts. When I say physical, I mean clearing guys out in front of the net, body contact, hustle, heart, checks, playing the game like its your last shift. Someone needs to knock this guy upside the head. He plays like a Sissy and is in the way out there. We are short-handed everytime he is on the ice.

Also, someone please tell Galbraith to back-up some of his talk on the ice with hockey. He flaps his lips more than anyone I've seen and doesn't back it up. At least not yet.

Keep on winning!!!
Wed, 12/28/2005 - 5:52pm

Another thing...A fan that goes by CHUCKITT had an interesting comment on another site. How can Icy do his traditional Nutcracker dance last night, which if you know what I'm talking about, he ends up busting his nuts on the boards at the end of it and the "on ice announcer" says something like "there it is fans, Icy just cracked his nuts on the boards." How can this happen and we can't as paying fans, season ticket holders no less, get our Goal Song back?

One more for you: Does anyone recall the Flint game last year where the Organization profited from selling the Jim Duhart T-shirts that read front and back: DUHART SUCKS and FLINT BLOWS?
Interesting how they choose to be PC on some things, and not on others. Something to scratch your head about isn't it?

Wed, 12/28/2005 - 7:42pm

Keeps on winning makes the comment that he wants players, namely Jorde to clear the net..in this day and age of hockey you can't do that for the most part, if you take away a scoring chance from a team its more than likely gonna be a penalty. But if you have no idea how the ref is calling the game would you want Jorde taking those penalties because you think he needs to clear the net. I know I wouldn't.

Wed, 12/28/2005 - 7:48pm

Geez - Is it keep on winning or keep on whining? I'm not saying Jorde has been great but when did anyone build him up to be a great physical presence. Blake - do you have a quote from any of the Frankes or Puhalski that says he's a big tough guy?

And the team did not sell those Duhart shirts - those were printed by a guy I know and he handed those out to people he knew. They were pretty cool - weren't they?

Nice try though

P.S. Blake is right. Sure it would be awesome if it was our team that pushed other teams around, took their lunch money, left them bloody and then won the game. The place would go nuts again. But, seriously...name another team that does that. Who out there thinks that any GM or coach wouldn't want that? Wouldn't there be someone out there playing that style if it worked in 2005? It's not the early 90's anymore. Maybe it will be again someday but it's not today. Maybe that's why hockey struggles for fans. Either way there's nothing you can do about it. You have to either like the games the way they are or you do something else like go to the movies.

Man that's a long one

Wed, 12/28/2005 - 8:27pm

Frankes just said he's tough, and he is. That fight with Fels was something else, and I've noticed him talking to quite a few guys on the ice but no one seems to want to go with him. (Kind of reminds me of Fletch that way). The players know how tough he is. You should have heard the Ks when they got him. They were like, `Have you seen this guy fight? Look out.' I've noticed how nobody seems to go near the front of the FW net when he's standing there. They all shy away.

And look at how close the games have been of late. Do you think any player is going to take a chance on an instigation penalty with the way power plays are so much a part of the game this season? Mark is exactly right -- how exactly would you like them to clear the front of the net that is within the rules of the game now? Nowadays, clearing the net means nobody gets through to the goaltender.

As for Galbraith, pick a side and stay on it. Either he's taking too many penalties or he's a wimp when he doesn't take them. Which is it? I think he's played much better since he got back. The other night he was plus-2, and by that I mean he earned the Komets two power plays while not giving any up or he took someone to the box with him. That's much more important in today's game than fighting.

Face reality, that's just the way it is now. Remember when football teams used to only run the ball? That doesn't happen any more either; or NBA teams who ran fastbreak offenses or baseball teams going hit and run or bunting to advance the runner. It's just different now. It used to be that tough guys "only'' had to fight but now they must be a player first and take a regular shift.

Seriously with the way Berkibile was calling things on Tuesday night, how dumb would it have been for someone to take a chance on getting the extra penalty in a two-goal game? Nobody knew what he was going to call. Toughness today doesn't mean you fight every night. Nobody, NOBODY does that any more. And don't give me Worley either, because he wouldn't be pushing it in these one-goal games either. He's too smart for that.

We don't have to like it, but this is the reality that teams and players are dealing with. I'm not sure fighting will ever be eliminated by rule, but it will eventually fade away because it already is.

All, right, I'm done ranting now. My coffee just kicked in. Sorry.

Wed, 12/28/2005 - 9:21pm

Blake... I have noticed that NO PLAYERS mess with Jorde when he is in front of the net. He is the only one I have noticed that seems to repel the other team's players.

Wed, 12/28/2005 - 10:25pm

Everyone seems to have pretty good comments on this topic. Here is my point. The Komets often sit back and seem to let the other team set the tempo. You can't let this happen at home. I will leave you all with this. Our best game of the year was a 4-1 win against Rockford at home. The K's came out right from the get go and set the tempo. They hit, fought, passed well, scored, stood up for each other, and ultimately won the game. I'm not saying you have to fight every game but you have to stand up for your teammates and too often that doesn't happen. I just think that the game against Rockford proves a point. You set the tempo and get the opposing team on its heels, you win the game.

Thu, 12/29/2005 - 5:36am

Exactly JC! They also did it opening night against Motor City. That game had more hits than any Komets game of the last five years.

Thu, 12/29/2005 - 6:30am

Number one, stop blaming the coach. He cannot alway control things or get what he wants my controlling icetime. We don't exactly have a deep bench nor do we have the healthy bodies.

JC said exactly what I was thinking. The Rockford game was a classic. And whomever it was who stated the K's play to how the opposing team wants to play is also right on the money. To much take, not enough give.

*Smart* physical play is what the fans here want to see. Its what these Komets need to compete with the better teams. Being a physical presense creates turnovers and open ice. Imagine how dangerous some of our better players could be with more room to operate.
How many times to I hear "hit somebody" at the game? Countless. How many times am I thinking it? Endlessly. I was disgusted nobody tried to "change momentum" the other night but it also takes two to tango if it leads to that. Nobody is asking for fights left and right. Smart, physical play. Sometimes they come hand in hand.

Sure, the Komets may have 28 fighting majors but some of those are now in Danbury (Stewart). Some of those are now in Roanoke (Vanderbreggen). And the majority of them are hurt or scratched (Kean, Worlton). I don't want to see Chaulk scrapping. I don't want to see Carps fighting either. Jorde is supposed to be our big horse now. When has he actually went for someone when it called for it or when his team needed it? He fought twice that I can recall and both times he didn't call for it. Has played alot better I think but just seems too passive. He should be a bigger presense than what he displays.

And oh yes....bring back Vanderbreggen.

Displaced Komet Fan
Thu, 12/29/2005 - 8:14am

Kinda off topic here....Went to my first Komet game in a long time Tuesday night. Got to sit in one of the suites (which were very, very nice) with a bunch of my friends who hadn't been to any games in long time either.

We all had the same reaction...There are way too many advertisements in the Coliseum. Almost every square inch of ice is filled with ads. Every exit from the main arena had at least 2 ads above it. Every power play, penalty kill etc is sponsored by someone or some company. It almost became a joke among us. Is this common in other minor league arenas?

Also, the PA sound was way too loud. We were in the suites below the press box and the sound was blasting out of the speakers. It made it very hard to have a conversation even with the person sitting next to you.

When did they get rid of the organ player? I bet they could find someone to donate their organ playing skills if they really wanted too. I always thought that was a nice touch at games. I guess intermissions are filled with ads now anayways. We also all commented on the lack of "Jungle Music" being played. I guess we were all used to classic rock/heavy metal at games when we were in the IHL. I miss hearing "Welcome to the Jungle"

Overall, we had a very good experience. The banners with the retired numbers are a nice touch. I think it would be cool to have the league championship banners in a more prominent place, maybe on the vinyl siding stuff where the new roof starts. A jumbotron would also be nice and I would think all the ads they have would be able to pay for it...I know IU uses ad money to pay for their jumbotron in Assembly Hall.

Thu, 12/29/2005 - 8:44am

They don't play Welcome to the Jungle anymore because its not the Jungle anymore. They should play The Sound of Music for the figure skating we have to watch.

Thu, 12/29/2005 - 9:08am

Nice post "Displaced Komet Fan"...when I read it, I thought to myself, did I post that last night before I went to bed? It sounds exactly like what I have been saying recently.

The advertisements have went from "ok, I understand they are bringing money in" to "my god, if they have one more advertisement I'm going to stick my four dollar program with 90 pages of ads up my butt."

I agree with the music, it is pretty bad now. It's hardly anything the fans can get into. Its just random crap. Mix it up, play some well known metal/rock (Metallica, ACDC, Guns and Roses), throw in some new stuff for the younger people (Green Day, Lil John, Linkin Park, 50 Cent, Killers, White Stripes), throw in some fun 80's music that we can sing along to (Pour some sugar on me, Sweet Caroline, Don't Stop Believing, Broken Wings, etc.), and some pump up music (Eye of the Tiger, Final Countdown, Van Halen's Right Now, Thunderstruck, etc)

I also noticed the PA sound was really loud the other night which is weird because I have barely been able to hear it all year.

Thu, 12/29/2005 - 9:32am

It seems like to me that when the Komets are winning are barely any negative comments..about the players, chief, the Frankes, the sound, the coliseum. We won what ..5 and just lost one. We have had a crazy comeback. The fans can help make it the jungle! Look at the Muskegon fans, they are not nice to people coming into their arena. For example, the bus trip to Muskegon in the Finals..anybody go?

Thu, 12/29/2005 - 10:06am

There was barely any negative comments because they won the majority of these games on the roadtrip. Unless you made the trip out east, you and others didn't see them play. Neither did I. No negative comments, only hope for continued success.

To me anyway, I see improvement in some areas, definately. The defense is better positioned and St. Pierre has been unreal. Outside of those two factors its mostly the same. Little of this, little of that.

Thu, 12/29/2005 - 11:09am

I just went back and checked, Stewie had two fighting penalties this season while he was here.
How many times do you think he fought all of last season? Go ahead, take a guess.
As a comparison, Chaulk and Grenville fought three times and Guinn four times last year.
Give up?
In 75 games, Danny fought seven times last year, once in the final 30 games of the season.
Anybody else shocked by that?
As for Jorde, I talked to a couple of players at practice today and they love the guy. They think he's improving every day on defense. And Jorde has fought three times so far, VanderBreggen fought twice.
Displaced Komet Fan: The Komets had Jack Loos for decades but he passed away. When the Komets tried someone else, it just didn't work.
As for the Jumbotron, coliseum is a public building so we'd have to pay for it out of tax dollars and it would cost several million. The other advantage IU has is that they are on TV all the time so the advertisers love that. FW is not on that often.

Thu, 12/29/2005 - 12:20pm

Stewart's stats are not all that surprising. He was not goon. Regardless, and I do not have the access to any stats to back this up, but I think we are still missing alot of the majors we have racked up over the course of the season. I would say maybe half or better are out or been traded. Fighting is the least of my concern anyway and its certainly not what I come to the games expecting to see.

What do you mean about Jorde "improving" daily? Learning systems or was he just not coached very well in the AHL? It might just be me but I would think someone with his pro experience would be demonstrating a more superior skill level compared to who we have. Concidering he was a AHL guy for a few years anyway. Glad the guys like him. I am still holding out hope for him to get meaner though. He might gain another 7,000 friends.

Thu, 12/29/2005 - 12:46pm

Obviously he's going to feel more comfortable the more time he is here. Don't forget he had been sitting for two weeks before he got here, and then he had to play three in three nights right away. I talked to Frenchy in particular, and he really likes Jorde, and he mentioned to me how nobody seems to come to the net when Jorde is in front of him.

The players think he's improving in that he's learning FW's systems better such as have you noticed the D never look to go back and set up, they always push forward? There are a couple of other things as well, mostly about how he has played so well with Neumeier to allow Neumie to do different things as well.

Again, as for the physical play, that's just the way the game is now. To my mind, Stewie wasn't playing that physical either, mostly because he was playing center.

That's why I love the playoffs. Everybody hits then, and don't tell me you didn't see any hitting in the Missouri or Rockford series. Those teams were trying to kill each other.

Thu, 12/29/2005 - 1:02pm

I'll have to start looking for what happens out front. I have been paying more attention (particularly with him) on what happens along the boards.

Playoffs and COLLEGE HOCKEY are the best to watch.

Thu, 12/29/2005 - 1:08pm

I for one do not necessarily need to see fights to have to consider us being physical. Physical is putting a body on a player whenever you get a chance, making that player wonder who is going to hit him the next time he gets the puck. I have seen more big hit this year from Goodwin than I have seen from any of the guys that you would think should be bringing the lumber.

Jorde somehow got over hyped, to me it is probably because of his size, checking his stats at trade time he didn't really have that many penalty minutes. But a guy that size should be able to really mix things up in the corners and in front of the net, and Jorde is more like a China Doll. He won't check anyone and he cannot move a guy out of the front of the net. Tuesday night Frenchy had to move a guy out the net himself and then Jorde got himself knocked into the net and knocked it off. I have a better chance of seeing Haileys Comet again than seeing Jorde check someone.

Basically it's like this, I am tired of going to games and seeing us get pushed around on our ICE! With the exception of THE ROCKFORD GAME we get pushed around constantly. As scoops said we seem to have traded away our more physical players. By releasing Kenny we just gave away Wiggins and VanderBreggen. By the way, as scoops said, BRING BACK VanderBreggen, but only if you plan on playing him. Bringing back physical play does not mean we have to fight. It allows us to dictate play intstead of playing to the pace the other team wants.

Thu, 12/29/2005 - 2:09pm

Jeez, lay off Jorde for awhile. The guy is a stay at home defensenman who is seldomly out of position. I have seen the guy put the body on plenty of opposing forwrds he just doesnt have those big board rattling checks that fans love but almost always leaves the checker out of position or on his butt. Danny Stewart is gone...Stop nit picken on the guy he was traded for....

Thu, 12/29/2005 - 3:04pm

jorde does not any body,he is out position most of the time, thats why he is in the uhl not ahl.but he is better than nothing.

Thu, 12/29/2005 - 3:17pm

A Word about Advertising....For everyone that is complaining about all of the ads that are on the ice; those are paid for by companies that have LOCAL ties to Fort Wayne who support this team and this community. No one is holding a gun to make these business owners purchase the advertising (And I know how much they cost!) I personally am pleased to see this level of community pride in the team. Also, without a lot of these sponsorships, a $15.00 ticket would be more like a $25.00 ticket.

Thu, 12/29/2005 - 4:29pm

Take a minor league tour and you will see alot of teams do the exact same thing. Maybe not to the extent the K's do but I think compared to most cities, Fort Wayne maybe has more to work with. About the only somewhat annoying thing is our PP and PK being sponsered but really....who gives a crap.

Kind of wondering why we still have a Seyferts zamboni when they left a long time ago. Thats about THE most viewed item. Do they pay big bucks for that?

Thu, 12/29/2005 - 7:17pm

The advertising is fine and I think it shows a lot that businesses in our community support the team. Without the sponsors you would only be watching high school hockey at McMillen.

Thu, 12/29/2005 - 7:19pm

Stewart is gone and I can deal with that, but the least Jorde could do is put his body on someone. I am trying to give the guy a chance but his defense is suspect as well. If he played better D, I would lay off him not hitting anyone, but then again you usually have to hit someone to play some defense. That seems to work for the teams that play us.

Fri, 12/30/2005 - 3:50am

Well i guess if your idea of a check is someone who comes from half way across the ice leaves his feet and makes contact with mostly the boards making a big racket then falls on his butt and puts himself out of position...then no, Jorde doesnt hit anyone. He was dubbed as a stay at home defenseman and that is what he is. he uses his body for good positioning and plays the angles. He's a plus one since he's been here, and added some toughness when needed.