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Tailing the Komets

Just talked to David Franke

On a few things:

The Komets definitely want Colin Chaulk back and he said they told him that three weeks ago. They are negotiating some contract points.

``We're looking to make a couple of adjustments, but it's something we've talked to him about and he's fully aware of,'' Franke said. "There's nothing to comment on that.''

What about the rumors of cutting his contract?

``If Colin comes back, he'll receive a very, very fair wage indicative of his performance and his ability. He knows that and knows we want him back. I think he wants to come back, but we'll just see. If he doesn't play here, he'll play in Europe unless he wants to be traded, which I doubt that will happen as he's pretty well entrenched in this city.''

This is what Colin had to say:

``They have offered me a contract, but it was not the contract that was originally signed. I'm looking everywhere I guess, and I'm not really sure what I'm going to do. I'm not saying I'm not going to be in Fort Wayne, but I don't know.

``It's not like I don't have lots of time to think and make a decision. We'll wait to see what these league meetings say. That will play a part in my decision, too.''

Chaulk will have shoulder surgery June 22 for a frayed labrum. Franke said he fully expects Chaulk to be ready by training camp.

``It' s just two-to-four weeks,'' Chaulk said. As for his injured Achilles: "It's good. I'm walking around, but I still can't run yet. I see the doctor on June 12, and if I'm not cleared then, I should be in a week or two after that.''

Franke also said, contrary to rumors, no one from the Komets has talked to goaltender Tom Lawson, but they plan to call and find out what his situation is.

The Komets will be very active in Tuesday's dispersal draft for Motor City, Roanoke and Missouri. The reason more details haven't come out is that the UHL is trying everything to keep Adirondack alive.

Franke said he wants a team that can better take advantage of the new rules with speed next year and expects only four or five players back from last year's team.

``We're really waiting for the summer meetings to see what the landscape is going to be this year,'' he said. ``We're going to take this slow and not jump at anything. There are going to be a lot of players available and we want to make sure we're getting the right ones.''

Posted in: Komets


Tony E
Fri, 06/02/2006 - 1:48pm

It sounds to me like they certainly have a plan for building in place. They should be able to pick up a few decent players from the dispersal draft. I do have a question though. Since UHL contracts are not normally more than one year, why not just make these players free agents and let the market absorb them?

Tony E
Fri, 06/02/2006 - 1:50pm

In other words, isn't just about everyone on every team a free agent anyway? What exactly do you get when you draft one of these guys?

Fri, 06/02/2006 - 1:51pm

I don't understand why they have a dispersal some years and not others.

Fri, 06/02/2006 - 2:07pm

Tony, each team will have until Aug. 1 to begin negotiations or the players will become free agents. Basically, they have the sole right to negotiate until then in this league.

Tony E
Fri, 06/02/2006 - 2:09pm

That makes sense.
So everyone...Maybe Jimmy Duhart ends up a Komet after all???? ........I can see the headlines "HUNDREDS OF KOMET FANS HANG THEMSELVES OFF THE 469 OVERPASS"

Fri, 06/02/2006 - 2:24pm

Tony, I will not be one of those fans hanging myself over the I-469 overpass....since I do not have a problem with Jimmy becoming a Komet. I know, I am probably in the minority, but I am trying to look at the bigger picture.

Tony E
Fri, 06/02/2006 - 2:46pm

Bob you and I are in complete agreement.

Fri, 06/02/2006 - 3:00pm

Please do not give up Frenchy and pick up Lawson...bad, bad move. Also I'm not going to comment on Chaulk until something is written in stone. As for Duhart, I'd like to see him as a Komet, but I don't think he will be picked up by Fort Wayne. Sounds like the Frankes want a faster team. Duhart won't skate from one side of the ice to the other as it is, plus he's only getting older. On top of that he's a vet and I got a feeling Frankes want to pick up vets sparingly this year.

Tony E
Fri, 06/02/2006 - 4:03pm

DNL you may be right on Duhart. I just think it would be interesting to hear the reaction on opening night if he would be introduced as a home player. You know those guys in the DUHART SUCKS shirts would have to change to DUHART RULES lol.
As far as Lawson, why not? He did something in Fort Wayne that Kevin never did. Win a cup. I certainly think he is an option. Going with my point on another thread, if you get Lawson for 50% of the salary you paid Kevin, then take that extra money and pick up a top quality Defenceman, I think that is a wise plan. Lawson played very well behind good defence. You can't keep St Pierre paying him what he was getting and afford to get studs on defence. This is all assuming of course that the UHL ends up with a hard cap. Just like the NHL, when the cap was put in, cuts and contract restructuring will have to take place.

Fri, 06/02/2006 - 5:11pm

It sounds to me from reading this article that the K's have put in a performance clause into to Chaulk's contact and he is not all that happy about it. I give him a 50-50 chance of coming back next year...Just my 2 cents...

Fri, 06/02/2006 - 5:46pm

Blake, can a team in the UHL offer contracts that have incentive clauses....and if a player reaches those incentive levels, would they count against the salary cap? It seems to me to be a way that you could pay someone a decent salary (within the cap, of course) yet, reward someone if they play well. A lot of NFL contracts are that way, since the large part of those are not guaranteed either.

Tony E
Fri, 06/02/2006 - 5:51pm

David I could be wrong but I read into it that David Franke said that they are going to pay him a wage that is typical for a player of his performance. In other words pay him the going rate for a Captain with his numbers at this level of hockey. That is what I thought he meant but now you have me thinking. Blake??? lol? Unconfuse us please?

Fri, 06/02/2006 - 6:20pm

Bob, I don't know if that's possible or not. Usually the way it works is you get the base salary and then some teams give you bonuses for meeting certain goals. If you make the all-star game, you might get a little extra, 40 goals, etc. Neither party was willing to discuss specifics, and that is certainly their right. It's not like the NHL where you're making huge money. But didn't I say earlier this week it might just be negotiation stuff? C'mon give the man his props. Or don't.

Fri, 06/02/2006 - 7:19pm

I knew we would be very active in the draft. We seem to enjoy picking up players off waivers from other teams! hah!

Fri, 06/02/2006 - 7:20pm

Why is a top 5 minor league hockey team like Ft. Wayne in a league like this anyway.

I can only think of 2 reasons:

One is $$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$

I'll let you figure out the other one.

Sat, 06/03/2006 - 3:41am

As far as Chualk goes. This shoiuld quite the Komet fans down somewhat knowing that the Frankes actually are coming out and saying that they want him back. The problem will be if Coiln will accept the deal placed before him or if both sides can come to a compromise.

As for Duhart, I would be one willing to see him in a Komet uniform, but I agree with others that it just won't happen. As some have said he'snot the fastest player anymore which would go against the speed thing the Frankes were talking about and he plays no defense at all so i don't think that would go over with Puhalski very well.

With Tommy Lawson, I wouldn't mind seeing back either. Yes he one a Cup an Kevin didn't. Yes Tommy had a great defense that year and Kevins may have been suspect. BUt I think you give Tommy the benefit of the doubt because he's spnt some good time in the AHL over the past three years and put up okay numbers. But because he's been in the AHL, TONY E, I don't think you can get Tommy for 50% of what yo ppaid Kevin. I could be wrong but I think Tommy would be looking for a little bit more than that. Plus Tommy may still have AHL or even NHL on the brain and wiuld want to hook up with a team that could get him there. We haven't had a lot of Komets move up in recent years. The Komets organization is the type of place you want to set up shop for the long run and i'm not sure if Tommy is at that point yet. So I put Tommy's chances of coming back here at 30%.

Sat, 06/03/2006 - 6:24am

Point #1. Does anyone actually think a Duhart/Puhalski relationship would work? Duhart as a Komet is pretty unlikely.

#2. Tom Lawson to Fort Wayne would be great, but I don't see this as a money saving move. Laswon coming back to the Fort to play for peanuts would basically kill his career. I don't see alot of AHL callups in his future playing for the Komets.

#3. I'm going to the Hummer dealership and telling them that I want a fully customized H2 and I am going to pay $20,000. This is what the Komets have done to Chaulk. They want to "keep" him for less money than his original contract. I would love for Chaulk to stay, but if I were him I would tell them to stick it and find an organization that valued my contributions. Show the man some respect. All this interview with Blake did was begin to paint Chaulk as the "money hungry bad guy". Classy. Really Classy.

Tony E
Sat, 06/03/2006 - 7:14am

I guess I am not seeing the same painting. Blake asked questions of both parties and quoted their responses. He gave both sides equal time to get their points across and you as the reader can decide. Really you are painting the picture. Blake simply gave you the paint and canvas.

Tony E
Sat, 06/03/2006 - 7:24am

Another thing, while it is a bit different at this level because a 24% pay cut might mean having to retire and find another job instead of playing hockey, every NHL player took a cut last year from the rookies to Steve Yzerman.]

NFL players have been taking less or restructuring their contracts for years so the teams could bring in other talented players. That is what unselfish superstars do who are interested in winning.
Let's also not forget Chaulk did have a fairly serious injury and nobody knows until he gets some games in him exactly how he is going to perform.
The Komets budget for player salaries is X. As a business they are not going to go over that figure. So they are going to find the best mix of players to fit into that salary structure. If they have come to the decision that they need to pay Chaulk less so they can bring in other quality players I am all for it. Like others have pointed out, it is indeed a team game. One player no matter how good and how popular is not above the team. Especially not on a team that finished 6th and has a fan base wanting to fire everyone but the
Dippin Dots girls.
If he accepts their offer and stays, great! If he doesn't and they can sign two good players for what they are paying him, that is ok with me too. History has shown that they are not afraid to pay good players fairly and I see no reason for that not to continue.

Sat, 06/03/2006 - 8:33am

The Dipping Dots....talk about an overpriced product! lol!

Sat, 06/03/2006 - 9:00am

I want to clarify. I was not saying that Blake was in anyway painting Chaulk as a bad guy. It was what Franke did and did not say that makes it look that way.

Tony E
Sat, 06/03/2006 - 9:14am

Ok. That makes more sense. I don't know that I agree with you but I can see where you can draw that conclusion.

It seems to me that there is a segment of the Komets fan base that refuses to believe that the Frankes know what they are doing. I just don't see how you can come to that conclusion. They have succeeded over an extended period of time as other teams and owners have come and gone.
These folks know what they are doing, and they care very much about the team and the community. They are winners on and off the ice and I will say that even if this team misses the playoffs next year (which will not happen)

Sat, 06/03/2006 - 9:18am

My guess is that Chaulk was the highest paid K and was given a base Salary somewhere around $40,000, pure guess. I am sure he had performance bonuses, but the majority of his contract was guaranteed money. My guess is they cut his base salary a lot but gave him performance bonus money to make up the difference. I am sure in some cases it is similar to what they did with Sellars last season. I am not saying this is wrong and if you look from the K's point of view Chaulk has a serious injury and it is something that could effect him greatly next year, only time will tell. So are the Franke's playing it cautious, yes and I would to...

Sat, 06/03/2006 - 9:21am

The Frankes have also had the benefit of a larger fanbase than anyother UHL franchise. If Motor City started with a built-in 8,000 people in the seats they would have been more successful. I don't doubt that overall the Frankes know what they are doing, I think that overall they do what they believe to be best. I just think that when you have an ownership group that has too many mouths to feed their are business decisions made that alienate fans. Its obvious that the Komets make more money than any team in the league, however last year they refused to spend the money to get talent on the ice. Next year looks like more of the same. Kzoo, Muskegon, Rockford, and Danbury all had higher payrolls with far less revenue. The money is going somewhere. Maybe they're still paying bills in Kansas City.

Sat, 06/03/2006 - 9:22am

And we all seen how Luke Sellars responded to that. When will Komet management learn they're not the only team in the league??

Sat, 06/03/2006 - 9:29am

Or JM, they paid four or five players a great deal and had no more room in the budget. Sometimes you guys act as if you think they want to lose or you know more about hockey. That's a joke, just like it would be a joke if one of them claimed they knew more about the baseball card business or sportswriting, or whatever you do, just because it was a hobby or something. Someone who spends 10 hours a day every day at something for years and years knows what they are doing. There are just different ways to doing it. And they get to make those decisions because it is their money on the line.

It's called perspective.

This is all negotiating and probably nothing more. It's the way this business is done -- on both sides. Owners look for the best deal they can get, and players do the same thing. It's not right, not wrong, it's just way it is with sports in America, hallelujah.

I have no idea what Colin is going to do because I honestly believe he has no idea right now. He's exactly right in that he has plenty of time to make up his mind.

Sat, 06/03/2006 - 9:30am

In fact they are still paying bills in Kansas City because they didn't want to cheat those people they still owed there. That's also why they are still paying league fees on that franchise.

Sat, 06/03/2006 - 9:33am

So in the first post you praise them as excellent businessmen and in the second discuss a glaring failure????

Tony E
Sat, 06/03/2006 - 9:55am

Even Bill Gates has had some business failures. When you are in business long enough it is going to happen. I am still sitting on 500 Darryl Strawberry rookies I bought 15 years ago.

Sat, 06/03/2006 - 10:14am

I bet you can't hang with my Cecil Fielder collection, Tony!