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Tailing the Komets

Komets, Chaulk struggling with slow start

Posted in: Komets


Sun, 11/06/2011 - 11:44pm

I know getting a shot on goal, stat wise, is really hard to get at the coliseum because all of our off ice officials do it right. Only real shots get counted. So having said that, I looked at the league report and sorted the players by shots and...... We just don't have many shots. I know we've only played 5 games......... But as individuals, we are way down the list.

If you don't shoot, you can't score..... I don't think we have taken a lot of shots in a long time, maybe Puhulski era or before....... Just thinking out loud

Charlie I
Mon, 11/07/2011 - 2:26am

We had a lot of shots when Bingham was the coach.

Jeremy Enright
Mon, 11/07/2011 - 9:30am

Blake, your article nailed my thoughts from last night. From my seat, it looked like Chaulk had the worst night on the team. Which shocks me. It looks as if we have more talent on this team than we've had in years. Yes, even better than the teams that won 3 cups in a row. I'm excited about the potential. But frustrated with the results. It appears that they aren't in rhythm. I'm sure, as usual, they'll figure it out after Christmas. But can someone with more hockey knowledge than myself explain to me why every other team seems able to figure it out so much earlier than us?

Mon, 11/07/2011 - 12:05pm

I'm not going to "hammer" on Colin Chaulk. I'm sure that there is another blog that will do that and is gleeful today.

I have six points I want to make, and these will be quick.

1) Chaulk took a terrible penalty. No reason to be called for hooking in the OFFENSIVE ZONE. The penalty resulted in a power play goal for Quad City. There is a time and place for a hooking call, but no penalty should be taken in the offensive zone.

2) The Komets, except for the Rapid City game, have just been terrible passing the puck.

3) So much for the "crap" about being happy to be playing more games. They embraced the three games in three nights as a thing to look forward to. The game last evening portrayed a team that was tired. When you're tired you are apt to take penalties, which tires out your PK even further. It becomes a vicious cycle.

4) The schedule is not a "friend". The K's play their next four on the road. One in Dayton, then a long trip to Rapid City for two ( do you think Rapid City is looking forward to these two games? I'd say so ), then a trip back to Evansville. Realistically, this team may be limping back to Fort Wayne with a lot of questions.

5) The Komets are the second lowest scoring team in the CHL. It is hard to believe. The Komets do have some scorers on this team, so I have to believe it is something else. Maybe systems? Maybe a lack of getting to the net? Something is wrong and when you only score 10 goals in five games. One would have to start looking at the players, then the Coach, and finally the General Manager. It may be time for the Coach to call a team meeting and go the players and ask what they think, systems-wise.

6) This season is looking and feeling suspiciously like last season. That isn't good. If the next four games go wrong, then I'm afraid you will start to see a dismantling of the team. Unfortunately that may include the Coach. Mistakes were made last year as they entered the CHL. There are no excuses this season as they knew what to expect.

This team has much more speed than last year's unit. They have more skill. I still think they either need one more sniper, or at least, a competent power forward who has the courage to get in front of the net. I would like to see the defense with Starenky and Lovell in the lineup. I would like to see a new goaltender who will push Boucher, although he has played well, under the circumstances.

The most disturbing thing to me is the fact that, as I watch them play, they just don't seem to feel comfortable with each other.

If that is the case, then I'm at a loss to as how to fix it.

Hit the post
Mon, 11/07/2011 - 1:25pm

This may not be a very popular obversation/opinion. Does anyone agree that Schrock seems to be a nonfactor this year? No points, near top of penalty minutes and on the lower end of plus/minus. With scoring a problem, would his roster spot be better utilized with a proven scorer should one become available?

Mon, 11/07/2011 - 1:56pm

A proven scorer like Jamie Milam?

Its awful early to be tossing anyone overboard, isn't it?

I have my favorites and I feel like there are a few guys that aren't hustling as much as they should, but after seeing 3 games its hard for me to make that call with 100% comfort.

Mon, 11/07/2011 - 2:32pm

I've seen a couple people say in different places that Boucher needs to be pushed. I'm not picking on you, Alan, so I'll clear that up right away. I've seen other say the same thing. I really don't see Boucher as being anywhere near the top of the list of things this team needs, or that he needs to be pushed.

IMO what needs to be pushed is our forwards to score and our coach to change his ways (that didn't work last year and aren't working this year) and adapt to the play in this league. His powerplay system is a joke, and has been for a long time. Other teams have players that are not nearly as good as what I feel we have on this team and they have no trouble scoring on our guys. Al is not to blame totally, but I feel like his "he won us 3 Cups" free pass has expired.

off the post
Mon, 11/07/2011 - 2:56pm

lets see.. al's stanley cup, al's ihl turner cup, al's 3 straight cups.. think i will continue to support al and his systems.

Mon, 11/07/2011 - 2:57pm

Maybe so, JungleMonkey. You have seen three, they have played five. just a snapshot when it comes to the season, isn't it? However, when they are done with these four games away from the Coliseum, about 14% of the season will be complete.

Hit the post has a point. Schrock, except for his fighting, has been invisible on the ice many times. So have others, but he mentioned Schrock. Milam has taken his shots, has a great slap shot, and has proved he can score in this league.

It is so perplexing, and I am so sick of watching other teams put a power play unit on the ice that distributes the puck better and gets more scoring chances than Fort Wayne.

It puts a lot of pressure on your defensemen and your goaltender by averaging 2 goals a game.

Like I said above, they look uncomfortable. Is it the lines or is it the system. I've already said what I think the problems are and possible solutions.

They have the horses. Some are thoroughbreds and some are stallions. Sometimes you need to loosen the reins and let them fly.

Blake Sebring
Mon, 11/07/2011 - 3:08pm

I don't think anyone looks comfortable right now. To me, the defensive pairings are off, and I can't say exactly why I feel that way. Milam and Henley are not working, neither are the Molle brothers. They are good players, but maybe they need to change up the pairings a little. We've seen a lot of times where either Frankie or Tristin have gotten caught up ice, leaving the one guy back. Now, that could be the fault of the forwards not rotating back, but I can't tell you how many times i've taken pix of those two D men near the opposing net. That's part of their job, but it's also someone else's job to get back then.

The forwards are getting to the front of the net, but often they are just skating by. How many times on Sunday did we see them just skate by a rebound? Smith and Artem have half the team's 10 goals, and atleast four of those goals have come on the doorstep. There's a big clue.

I look at Chaulker's line and who goes to the net? Maybe he needs to and show the way a little.

And how home Milam never gets a shot on the power play? He's got the most lethal shot in AA hockey but I'll bet he's only had one or two chances on the PP, and they are from the halfwall and not out front. Doesn't make sense.

Mon, 11/07/2011 - 3:53pm

Good comment, Blake.

I'm glad I'm not the only one who has noticed and/or feels that k's just don't look comfortable together.

Your first paragraph alludes to the fact maybe the defensive pairings need to be changed. That is the reason ( in an earlier post) I was waiting to see Starenky and Lovell in the lineup and see if that makes a difference.

Your second paragraph speaks volumes regarding their lack of getting in front of the net and staying there. They act like the place is "disease ridden" and vacate quickly. I posted this morning about getting another sniper or at least a competent physical forward who would park himself in front of the net. Jonathon Goodwin was not the most skilled, quickest skater in the world. The one thing he did do well was get in front of the net. Syro wasn't the fastest skater, either. He was willing to take the abuse in front, also. What do these two guys have in common? They both scored lots of goals. Are you listening, David Franke???

I couldn't agree more with your thoughts on Smith and Apod. All six goals in the Evansville overtime game came in front of the net. Gee, rocket science. I would also like to commend Mele on his hustle.

Your paragraph regarding Milam is the one that troubles me the most. Milam should be out at one point on most all power plays. If Al Sims starts to overlook him, then we may be faced with a situation where he'll want to flee from the K's. That will be a Sims mistake and we have lost good players in the past because of it. Milam has a terrific slap shot, one of the hardest I have seen for awhile. If their is trouble starting, then David Franke needs to step in now and squash it.

By the way, Blake, what is the latest on Bennefield?

RunningKomet, not a problem as I agree Boucher has definitely earned his keep. I just think a good, young, hungry goaltender is needed as this isn't the one goaltender per team "era" any longer. If he would get hurt, this team needs a goaltender the players have confidence in. I don't sense that with Beecher.

Mike in Toronto
Mon, 11/07/2011 - 3:55pm

Tough start, and yes it is a little early to throw people under the bus. I would say you are seeing pressure. These guys are falling into the trap of "we have to be better early this year".
Haven't seen a game but when I read "bad passing" it is a sure sign of anxiousness. No shots or maybe missed nets another sign.
I don't see too many commets about "lack of effort" like were posted last year.
Colin is taking it head on, like a good leader should.
As Blake wrote the next 4 will be difficult but you never know, adversity can lead to some positive things.
In this game you can't afford to take a shift off. Hard work will lead to a few more favorable bounces.
If it is a good team, things can turn around quickly.
I will make a negative comment in that the Power Play has never been my favorite. I believe they make too many passes for the perfect shot. Start taking them from everywhere, be unpredictable, get the PK reacting. That movement willl lead to more rebounds and scoring opportunities. And that is when you need the traffic in front of the net.

Mon, 11/07/2011 - 4:10pm

My concern would be that if things don't start clicking soon, frustration will set in, and that just compounds everything. Often, the teams that struggle are the ones that have lost faith in one another and keep over-thinking things. But the K's aren't to that point just yet. By next weekend, we'll have a much better idea where this season is headed. They'll either sink or swim on this road trip. They aren't in a hole yet, and the best way to stay out of one is not to dig.

Blake Sebring
Mon, 11/07/2011 - 4:11pm

I would buy some of that Mike, but there's only seven or eight guys back from last year. How can the rest of them be feeling so much pressure? I also know some of the guys were battling a flu bug over the weekend.

Blake Sebring
Mon, 11/07/2011 - 4:12pm

Glad to see you back, too, Wendy.

Mon, 11/07/2011 - 4:32pm

Thanks Blake (and Alan). That's very kind.

Blake Sebring
Mon, 11/07/2011 - 5:07pm

Oh, I was told that Bennefield had skatebite again. I also know a few guys were battling the flu over the weekend.

Mon, 11/07/2011 - 5:17pm

Its funny that certain people hold certain players accountable and not others. Milam has done little, Schrock has done little in the 5 games statistically... But because Milam has "the most lethal shot in the tri-state area" he doesn't get the same smoke blown his way. There are only a couple of guys (Smith, Chaumont, Henley, Mele) that are living up to their potential. I'm just not ready for Schrock or anyone else to be singled out. At this point, its a TEAM problem. In the end, one man is held accountable for the entire TEAM.

Mr. Puckmeister
Mon, 11/07/2011 - 5:22pm

Guess we all know it is too early in the season to panic, but with last year's disastrous start, everyone is a bit jittery. I agree with most all of the statements above. Friday night, the team looked like a team. People who attended the Evansville game said they did not play well at all. The first period of Sunday's game was okay, but the second and third were awful. They all looked like they had never played together. Hope they get this thing turned around soon.

John McNeill
Mon, 11/07/2011 - 5:31pm

Patrick Levesque was put on waivers from Tulsa.
2g 2a 4 points with a +4 in 3 games.
Get him Franke. lol

Chris H
Mon, 11/07/2011 - 5:35pm

I agree JM.

I do have a question about Mele. Can anyone tell me what his playing time has been? I usually notice him because he is so agressive and all over the ice, but I only remember seeing him on the ice a few times in the 2nd and 3rd on Sunday. Is this normal and it took me 3 games to notice it or did I miss some of his shifts?

Mon, 11/07/2011 - 5:41pm

I want to know what happened to the team we saw Friday verus the one on the ice Saturday and Sunday? I agree that Chaulk looked way off his game last night, but so did many others. I noticed that a lot of our passes are at the skates or in a pack of defenders. Moving the puck through the neutal zone drove me nuts too. I keep hoping that they will gel with more time, but explain Friday then. Maybe playing teams like Rapid City get them hyped more and ready to play.
I am very high on Smith. He is our best player right now IMO. I'd like to see Mele and Thorne get more shifts; their energy seems to make things happen and it seems they are being held back. I liked Chaumont last night and I'm impressed with Leo's hustles so far. Hopefully he maintains it. I also thought D. Molle played a great game last night as he seemed to be all over the ice and played physical. Its frustrating to watch a team play so well one night and then look like we turned the roster upside down the next.
Hopefully, they take it upon themselves to correct some of these issues and head to Rapid City with some confidence. There is still a long season ahead, but we can't fall in the hole we did last year. I don't see it happening with all of the talent we have on this roster. Go K's!

Mike in Toronto
Mon, 11/07/2011 - 5:48pm

Good points Blake. But I think the guys get talking and last year's start has to come up. The returnees feel the heat. The new guys are well just new.

Mon, 11/07/2011 - 7:30pm

Considering only 8 teams make the playoffs this year, they can't wait too long for the team to gel.....or they'll be out of it before they know it. It was much easier to be patient last year with basically every team making the playoffs

Mon, 11/07/2011 - 7:38pm

Last year the Komets had to do extra practices the second half of the year and work extra hard. It seemed to work. Maybe not wait so long to do the extra work now and get this resolved. Friday night they showed what they can do. Then they must have fallen into old habits again. This team is better than last years. But the work still needs to be done. It takes one step at a time. Pass by pass, shift by shift, period by period, game by game. A good start would be a good showing and win at Dayton tomorrow night to build confidence before heading to Rapid City then Evansville. If the Komets can come back after those 4 games with 4-6 points then build from there, I would think it would be a decent road trip.

Mon, 11/07/2011 - 8:17pm

I'm not sure about the history of Patrick Levesque, meaning is he a vet or not? Also what is his history regarding being a two way player or just a scorer. Certainly his stats that John provided ( 2g and 2a, a +3 for four games) got my attention. How does that compare with the Komets stats? Point being is that I think David Franke should at the least consider him. The Komets have an opportunity here.

I know I'm speaking out of both sides of my mouth at the same time as I think the K's have some fine forwards and yet would like for the Franke's to at least think about Levesque. I'm not sure he's the power forward I crave, but still he has had success in this league. I just think that whenever the team has a chance to get better, they should. Who knows how long Bennefield will be out? Maybe they need to put him on IR to get that wound completely healed.

JungleMonkey and Wendy, I agree with both of you 100%. JungleMonkey, it is a TEAM problem and Wendy, we will know much more after this weekend. The problem is that it is just too darn early in the year to have a pivotal weekend to determine the path the team needs to take.

It is what it is though.

Two Komet defensemen haven't hit the ice, the team has the flu, and an important guy is still nursing an injury. Where are you David Franke? Komet Nation wants to know.

Mon, 11/07/2011 - 9:24pm

off the post: So you'd still have Bob Knight coach your basketball team? Nothing has changed since 1987, so he gets a pass for life.

Mon, 11/07/2011 - 10:11pm

Hopefully they will use the trip to Rapid City as an opportunity to become more comfortable with each other, which should make a world of difference.

Wendy, your comment about over-thinking things is very astute. After observing the power play recently, it looked like they were doing too much "thinking", and not as much "doing".

I say this not to be overly critical, but I sensed a certain amount of apprehension out of fear of not getting the passing to perfection. It's nice to have you back, Wendy.

Right now, this is something that a nice 3-4 game win streak won't fix.

Mon, 11/07/2011 - 10:34pm

Running komet..we are not talking basketball or bob night..we are talking hockey and a coach that has won championships as a player in the NHL and championships as a coach..this is AA hockey..our coach is quite capable..the game is still played on same sheet of ice..same puck..same skates..get a clue

Mon, 11/07/2011 - 10:50pm

I support Al Sims and Bob Knight.........for life