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Tailing the Komets

Lots of changes

The Komets have released T.J. Schneider, Zach Gieszler, Jeff Wheeler and Vincent Zaore-Vanie. They are also bringing in Jimmy Bonneau, Travis Whitehead and defenseman Bobby Phillips, a defenseman who played at Mercyhurst. Some of you may remember his dad.

Komets will have to make more cuts by Friday.

"There are a lot of good players, and we want to make sure before we decide and get as close to the right move as we can," Komets coach Al Sims said.

Posted in: Komets


Blake Sebring
Sun, 10/11/2009 - 1:26pm

For those of you who weren't around, here's a 2002 story I wrote about Bobby Phillips' dad. You might recognize another name in this story, too.

Ex-brawler Phillips recalls high-wire days with Komets

Throughout the Fort Wayne Komets' 50-year history, perhaps no player was more entertaining over a short period of time than defenseman Bob Phillips. During the 1981-82 season, he earned 213 penalty minutes in only 31 games, and after that he was involved in one of the most controversial trades in team history.

During one of his first games as a Komet after coming from Milwaukee, Phillips was involved in a fight with Muskegon's Brian Schnitzler. Under the pile, Schnitzler bit Phillips' finger. That was the case of the "Mystery Muncher."

A few weeks later he had invited the family of his girlfriend, Diane, to the Thanksgiving game. Two minutes after the opening faceoff he started fighting with Saginaw's Al Graves. Graves had head-butted Phillips, so Phillips jammed his thumb into Graves' eye. Phillips watched the rest of the game from the stands with his eventual in-laws.

The incident Phillips is best known for was a huge brawl against Flint that started with Jeff Leverman on Dec. 2, 1981.

"He had not played a shift all game, and Ted Garvin sent him out there at the end of my shift," Phillips said. "He sent him after me."

Leverman threw a wild haymaker, but luckily, Phillips turned in time to see the blow coming. The fist sailed over Phillips' shoulder with enough force that both players fell to the ice. Phillips managed to turn over, but his arms were pinned underneath as the two linesmen jumped on top of the pile.

"He was reaching around and scratching my face," Phillips said. "He tore the inside of my mouth and my nostrils. He actually removed both of my contact lenses."

Once the linesmen let him off the ice, Phillips snapped. He picked up a stick and did a loop to try to spear Leverman. He missed and landed face-first in the penalty box and at the mercy of Leverman again.

When Phillips finally got free, he climbed on top of the dasher rail and walked a high-wire act toward a stack of sticks near the K's bench. The Komets calmed Phillips down, but he returned to the ice and threw a stick at Garvin, the Flint coach who had earlier thrown one at him. Garvin had a reputation for throwing things such as chairs, water bottles and sticks on the ice.

During his dance along the boards, several off-ice officials tried to control Phillips, including off-duty police officer Denny Shebig.

"To this day I owe him a pair of boots because I stepped on his boots and cut them open," Phillips said. "I was totally beside myself. In the locker room I grabbed the shopping cart we put our laundry in and threw it across the room."

Finally, police officer James "Satch" Crawford was able to slow Phillips down. Phillips was eventually fined $100 and suspended for six games, all against Flint.

There are several ironic things about the story. The first is that later that season he was traded with Terry McDougall and Steve Stockman to Flint for four players.

"I forewarned them that as soon as I got there I was going to settle things with Leverman," Phillips said. "I met them in Muskegon, but the day before Leverman broke his femur and was out of hockey for life."

In February of that season, Phillips was suspended for the rest of the year for going into the stands in Saginaw to fight with fans.

The best irony is that now Phillips is one of the best and most dedicated high school coaches in the state. He coaches the Cathedral-Chatard boys team in Indianapolis and is heavily involved with USA Hockey. His clinic is the first one new coaches have to go through.

"It's a different game now," Phillips said. "When I tell the kids some of my stories and tell them how physical and intense they need to play, some of them say they can't relate to it. The kids haven't been trained how to hit, and they can't even fathom that type of hockey."

But Phillips credits his style for allowing him to be a good coach.

"I sincerely say that I am a much better coach than I was a player because I got to sit in the penalty box and watch the best players play," Phillips said. "I still have too much passion for the game and what I do."

Hit Somebody!!!
Sun, 10/11/2009 - 1:33pm

Bobby Phillips stats


Is he a fighter Blake? It seems like the Komets are worried that Stayzer is not the answer with all of the Heavy Weights in the league this year. They must fear Brad MacMillan fighting these guys every night might injure him more. I can't remember a year where we have seen the Mgmt. scramble to bring in some muscle like they are right now. And people like to poo-poo the art of the Fight Game at this level of hockey. We are seeing a return to old-time hockey I think.

Sun, 10/11/2009 - 1:38pm

Did Tyler outplay some of these guys who got cut at some point when I wasn't watching? I guess we'll see by Friday what will come of the much-talked-about back-up netminder position.

Hit Somebody!!!
Sun, 10/11/2009 - 1:44pm

Those cuts don't involve Tyler......it is between Tyler and Haun. It might very well be a money issue at this point too. Salary cap is 13,000 a week total for 20 players. Haun would command more money than Tyler would I think. Just a guess though.

I still think that Stayzer might be in deep doo-doo and maybe even Saidachev. They just brought in 2 Forwards and 1 Defenseman. That speaks volumes.

Blake Sebring
Sun, 10/11/2009 - 1:49pm

I don't know if he is or not, Hit. I think you are more concerned about all the fighters than anybody else is. I still think Stayzer is a lock because he's a pretty good player and because of his versatility. The thing with Al is, if you're a tough guy you better be able to play a regular shift, too. I don't know what's going to happen. There are a lot of guys out there looking for work.

Sun, 10/11/2009 - 2:34pm

Blake--"Crazy Bob" that's what we called him really was a nice guy until he put on skates. Yes, he owes me a "New" pair of Dingo boots. That was the first time and the last time I put them on. I still have them. They are cut clear across the toe. I saw him coming with that stick like a harpoon. Just before he got to the penalty box he let up. His eye had been scratched and he was very intense. Jim "Satch" Crawford is in a nursing home now but he told me later that if Bob really want to go he could not have stopped him. I am quoting Satch "He was the strongest man I ever had to deal with." Satch is 6'4" with a heart as big as his body. He stood in the doorway and told Bob to get on the ice he had to go through him. For some unknown reason he didn't try big Jim. Thank God! I remember that like it was yesterday.

Hit Somebody!!!
Sun, 10/11/2009 - 2:58pm

So they brought Bonneau in to score goals?

Sun, 10/11/2009 - 4:52pm

All this is very interesting and yet I still think that it is the offense that will need help. When did Warner hurt his hip? I have no problem with the players who have been cut so far. This thing with the goaltenders needs to be settled one way or another as soon as possible so the team can get down to business. To many distractions. Don't tell me you are going to wait for one more week of "practice" to decide.

Hit Somebody!!!
Sun, 10/11/2009 - 6:39pm

26 guys left on the roster.....Hukalo on the IR takes the number to 25.......5 guys will be cut. Warner I hear is hurt again, but he might be a 14 day IR guy.

The 5 cuts will include a Goalie, so 4 more cuts.....

I will guess Woodard, Lafrance, Zaleweski, and......Saidachev.

I like Saidachev, but who else are they gonna cut out of this group?

I read a quote from Al Sims talking about bringing in added toughness as he wanted to add to the "mix" and take pressure off Brad MacMillan.

I guess I wasn't the only one thinking about it SuperFan.

Sun, 10/11/2009 - 6:51pm

now thats a name from the past, satch crawford was a helluva nice guy, iit seemed like satch was always around the coliseum.

Sun, 10/11/2009 - 8:11pm


Sun, 10/11/2009 - 8:32pm

and you have all of their jerseys, 3 rookie cards, and 6 locks of hair hahahahaha

Sun, 10/11/2009 - 9:57pm

bob phillips was a really great guy off the ice but he sure knew how to stir it up once he laced them up!!

Mon, 10/12/2009 - 12:32am

Mightbite is now ruler of the blog with all his inside information.

Mon, 10/12/2009 - 3:22am

RK = NO HAIR / I think the way musky manhandled us friday without their heavyweight the K's knew they were weak in the fight department.

Mon, 10/12/2009 - 6:00am

mightbite: hahahahah! well, I will give you the nod (along with a few others on here) of saying we needed to toughen up quite a bit. was anyone else overly impressed with big snake?

Mon, 10/12/2009 - 8:38am

Big snake is a good hockey player. He is not only tough but will chip in close to twenty goals a year. As of the time I type this the Komets have 26 players. They need to get down to 21 players by Friday. We know that one player to be cut will be a goaltender so that leaves 25. Hukalo is on the IR list and does not count as far as the roster is concerned. That means there are 24 players. According to the IHL, if a player is placed on the 14 day IR he still counts against the roster. Each team can place three players on the 30 day IR without counting against the roster. (Hukalo is one of them.) That would leave three players to be cut. My belief is that Zalewski (R) will be cut, Lafrance will be cut, and if Warner was placed on the 30 day IR the team would be complete for now. If he isn't on the 30 day list, one more cut will have to be made and that would probably be between the two new players (Bonneau or Phillips). I know it is confusing because you must have 4 rookies also. The way I have it listed shows that if Sims got cut there would still be 5 rookies on the roster. If Haun gets cut then I think the last cut will not be between Bonneau and Phillips but between Laise, Schrock, and Woodard......By the way, I noticed that Brendan Savage is back reporting on IHL (Flint) hockey with the Flint Journal (good for him), and that Port Huron beat Toledo yesterday 5-2 but only in front of 362 people at Toledo. You would think that after losing hockey for a couple of years the Walleye could draw better than that.

Mon, 10/12/2009 - 9:02am

Big Snake also likes to fight smaller people from most of the videos I saw. I just wasn't really impressed with him. On the other hand, it was just one game, and a preseason game at that so I understand that plays quite a bit into it. Hopefully he continues not to impress me this year as I see him at the Jungle ;)

As far as cuts go, I just hope they don't let Woodard go. He really seemed to have some speed and hustle. I've missed seeing that pretty much since Morrency was here when he would come flying out onto the ice after every period, every night. Aquino was really fast too, but Morrency just looked to explode onto the ice.

Five Minute Major
Mon, 10/12/2009 - 10:30am

Well since someone mentioned locks of hair... those were some nice highlights Big Snake was sporting. Yikes.

Mon, 10/12/2009 - 2:03pm

bigsnake fought Tedstone a few years back=There isn't any bigger than him.

Blueline Baby
Mon, 10/12/2009 - 6:20pm

For all the hype, I thought as a fighter, BigSnake was not too impressive. I've seen better. As a player, he was all right. I'm more worried about his scoring than his fists at this point! Either way, I'm completely irrationally hoping Muskegon cuts him this week....