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Tailing the Komets

My response to a few things

I just wanted to make sure folks could find it without going through 50-some comments. And thanks for all the action by the way. I may not always agree with you but it's always very interesting. I say that in the best interest of not getting my porchlight shot out.

Jungle Monkey, obviously you haven't been reading me for very long. I was the first one, even before training camp, to comment that this team needed more size and more scoring and that they probably brought back too many people. There have been plenty of times I've gotten on them, but I don't just come out and say what a bunch blah, blah, blah. Read Monday's column. Did you think that was ripping in the players too much? I was jumping on them but I did it in an informative way so maybe the message gets across more. I get my message across without calling people names (most of the time. LOL) and ranting and raving. You start doing that and people just tune you out. I try desperately to be fair and honest with everyone, owners, officials, league presidents, players, etc. Kent Hormann always tells me I use velvet gloves, but the uppercut still lands with the same force.

As for the Frankes, you guys have no idea what they go through because they have been very successful in keeping their personal lives private. I tell you what, I'd have sold this team 10 years ago and walked about with the money because the grief they get is unreal. Scoop, didn't you talk a week or so ago about sitting next to them at a Kalamazoo game? They literally die with this team because they want to win so badly. Believe it or not, they are just as passionate if not more than you guys are, though you'll probably never believe it. The only person I've ever met who cares about it more is Chaser.

Maybe I just see the whole picture, and like I've said before, I'm not a fan. Looking what got moved over the past two days, I wouldn't have made any deals either. Sometimes you can't always react to what other teams do, either. Seriously study what Littlejohn's numbers are in the playoffs. I happen to think he was the Komets' best player last year in that first-round series -- playing for Missouri! Stewart ate his lunch, so what would Galbraith do?  Remember the two games he cost the River Otters with dumb penalties? Didn't anybody ever wonder why DAB didn't play the last few games of the Muskegon series two years ago? Or why the Komets let a potential 50-goal scorer go? Do you really think they are that stupid?

Consider that maybe the reasons they said they didn't make a trade might be what they truly believe. Is it just possible they might be right?

You know, last year getting beat up was a serious problem, and I'm the one who wrote about it constantly. Don't you think Galbraith and then Jorde are an attempt to counter that? Do you believe Guy is going to be intimidated or affected by any of that stuff? How about Hukalo or Luciuk, who is by the way a fantastic playoff player? Those are four guys they didn't have last year who are better than what they had. Remember, they didn't have Vene, either. Doesn't anyone remember how great Neumie and Guinn are in the playoffs? This team is quite a bit bigger than last year's playoff squad.

What it really comes down to is how badly the veterans want to win, which is what it always comes down to. I think they want to win, and because this team has gone through so much adversity, it might be better prepared for the playoffs than most people think. There is much better chemistry on this team than last year's team. And for those who say chemistry doesn't amount to much, doesn't anybody remember 1991 or 1993 or even 1994 or 2000? Did those teams even come close to matching up individually in terms of talent? The 2000 team went through 50-some players that year and still won three rounds in the playoffs, losing only because they lost three overtime games to eventual cup winner Quad City. That was all heart.

OK, I'm done ranting. See I did it without calling names or cursing or raving too much. That's what I rely on you guys for. Now it's time for my medicine.

Posted in: Komets


Wed, 03/15/2006 - 11:59am

Blake, For the most part I agree with you. I heard the stories about DAB and I think the Frankes made the right decision. Although to look at that final year of his, DAB was not the only Komets to phone it in, it looked liked the whole team phoned it in.

I do disagree with Jorde and Galbraith being physicall intimidaters. I just haven't seen enough physicall presence from them this year to think they'll make that much of a difference.

As I stated in the last entry, I'm okay wiht the K's stand pat. I didn't see anymore talent being traded than what we have right now. The key at the deadline is to get something without giving up something and I think at this point anything of any value would have cost the K's something of equal or greater value, so it would be a wash or they would have lost.

P.S.-What's your feelings on the cheers and jeers section from the JG last week where Boyce ripped the Twister and the Komets for supporting him and playing his song?

Wed, 03/15/2006 - 12:05pm

Good job Blake,I'am the one who set with Frankes in K-ZOO,

Wed, 03/15/2006 - 12:16pm

I don't know enough to comment on the Boyce situation other than to say Boyce ranks among the finest men I've ever met. Not just as a player but as a man. I've never known him to shoot his mouth off, either.

I do not know Twister at all, and I really don't know what the situation was as I didn't see the comments.

I'm not saying DAB didn't phone it in, he didn't even play! Really think about that.

I never said Jorde and Lance had to be intimidators. That doesn't work in the playoffs anyway, but wasn't it obvious that Dix wanted no part of Jorde the other night? You guys have no idea how often he asks guys to fight who want no part of him. Jorde just happens to be a little scary nuts when it comes to fighting (in a good way), plus he's a lefty so he already has a screw loose. LOL.

Sometimes there's a lot more to toughness than fighting. Chaulk, Neumeier and Guinn are three of the toughest players I've ever covered on the Komets, but they rarely fight if ever. You can never question how tough those guys are, or Guy for that matter.

There's regular season toughness and playoff toughness. I'll take playoff toughness any time. You've got to be able to persevere, and that definitely requires toughness. I just happen to think this team is better prepared for that stuff in the playoffs than last year's team was, and I wrote about it constantly in last year's playoffs.

Also, and I hope this is the last thing I have to lecture today(I'm sure you guys feel the same way), don't you think the Frankes and the coach have already proven this season that they'll pull the trigger on a trade if they thought it would help the club, no matter how popular or unpopular? Think about that a little as well, please.

I wanted them to find something to get better, too, but it wasn't there so they didn't make a deal. I'm not convinced they are done looking, though, either. I just remember all the times the Komets brought in somebody at the last second for the playoff roster who ended up helping them in the playoffs. Anybody remember Sly Couturier or Todd MacDonald or last year Adam Kostichka, without whom the Komets would have lost in the first round?

Wed, 03/15/2006 - 12:17pm

Sorry Smitty. All these bloggers are running together in my mind!!!! Get out!!! Get out!!!! Where's my medicine?

Wed, 03/15/2006 - 12:20pm

You have nothing tobe sorry for. Blake you and Justin realy do a great job.

Wed, 03/15/2006 - 12:22pm

Very good story Blake. I do appreciate posts like this one. Sure we have some major areas that need to be adressed for the playoffs, but so does every other team in the UHL this year.

Wed, 03/15/2006 - 12:29pm

I see your point on Jorde. I wasn't aware that he's calling for people to go. I glad he's not the type to pull a cheap shot on anyone either.
I thought I was backing you on the not making a deal at the deadline. If the Komets couldn't improve don't do anything. Change something now for the sake of making a trade could mess up what chemistry you've got going on right now. I didn't see anyone that was trade that would benefit the K's that would necessitate a change in the line up.

Wed, 03/15/2006 - 12:31pm

Agreed, Greg, Sorry if I misinterpreted.

Wed, 03/15/2006 - 12:33pm

No Problem, If you can see back issues of the JG I think it was in either the 6th ot the 7th about Boyce Jeering Twister.

Wed, 03/15/2006 - 12:40pm

I can't speak for anyone else, but I think the physical play has picked up tremendously. Maybe not in reference to fighting, but honestly, the K's have taken (and been given) too many stupid penalties this season, they don't need to add fighting penalties right now.

What I notice going on is guys like Hukalo looking to make a forecheck. Sunday night was one of the harder-hitting games I've seen in a while at the Coliseum. I was down in the penalty box for awhile and I could see that Hukalo was looking for someone to hit every time he was on the ice.

I had my camera up to the glass earlu in the game down in one of the corners and I don't remember who hit who, but they hit the glass hard enough to knowck my camera into my face and about give me a shiner. I had to feel my eyebrow to see if it was bleeding.

Chaulk has been finishing forechecks with more frequency. He's always been a tough player, but I really think he wants to win right now. Rumble has been on a tear. I could name more, but I don't want to take up all of Blake's space.

The fact is the Komets have stepped up the physical game even if people don't want to believe it. As a side note, I was glad to see the Dix and Jorde squaredance didn't get a fighting penalty to it. That would have been an awful expensive call for a dosey-doe.

Check out my blog for two photos of Fletch and Kaminski doing what they did best back in the early 90's. I was digging through my old negatives from when I was a young punk with antique camera equipment and found those two pictures. I will keep looking through the old stuff to see what I have.

Wed, 03/15/2006 - 12:51pm

My take, not that anyone asked for it, is that things seem to be perceived negatively no matter which move the Franke's make. I have sat down and talked with Mike and Mr. Sproat at Pizza Hut before. I thought I knew alot about what was going on with the team. I quickly found I knew nothing. There is alot going into these decisions that noone knows about, nor do they need to know about. All the Franke's have always treated me great. Now, that part is over, how bout where they go wrong? I would say for one is to build up players to be things that they are not. ie.. Galbraith and Jorde. Undoubtedly, two of my favorite players. However, not the monsters they were touted to be coming in. Is that on the Franke's or the media?? Secondly, it just seems that the Franke's don't listen to the fans. People give requests and suggestions and they often are ignored. For example the You Suck song. How far would that go in pacifying those that are down on things right now?? I for one would find the game much easier to get into if it was still being played. Therefore, enjoying the whole experience much more. Frankly, I feel like a moron standing there chanting Ole Ole. P.S. I hate soccer. I think the little things like that are a BIG part of peoples negativity. Obviously, everyone has there opinion on the trade and no trade scenario. My two cents- we have been on a pretty great run the past few weeks. We may not have the horses everyone thinks we need, but we have been playing intense hockey. If that can continue I feel pretty good about the next few weeks. If somebody lets the air out, well, see ya next season.

Tony E
Wed, 03/15/2006 - 12:58pm

Fort Wayne should throw a red carpet down anywhere the Franke family walks.
Not only have they been pleasant/friendly every time I have ever bumped into one of them(and that should say something that the owners of the team do not hide from their fan base like most pro sports owners) but they are also stable. How would you like to be Port Huron? How many owners, how many name changes, how many summers where the city didn't know if it was going to have hockey or not. Forgive me if I am wrong here, but I have been told that if not for Dave and Michael, there might not BE hockey in Fort Wayne right now!! Then what would folks have to complain about in the winter? (besides high school basketball officiating LOL and I say that from experience)
I don't know if David or Michael read this but there are several reasons I drive 6 hours round trip and spend money on weekends to watch a minor league hockey team and the way they run the team with class is a big part of it. I am probably going to buy season tickets next year for the first time and donate the 25- 30 games I will not be able to use just because I want to show my support and THANK the Franke family for giving me something to watch besides the overpaid clowns who took hockey away last year.....
SIGH......breath....wax on....wax off........

Wed, 03/15/2006 - 1:11pm

I have to disagree wiht Unit as far as the "you suck" song goes. I for one am glad that they got rid of it. I did not participate at first in it than found myself doing in the playoffs and not liking myself for singing it.

Wed, 03/15/2006 - 1:20pm

Greg- I can definetly understand someone not feeling comfortable with it. I thought it was a fun thing to do and I think overall most other people did too. Anyway, my point overall being is the little stuff adds up to big. Take the song out of the equation if you would like. There are other little things I think would help overall fan morale. How bout that for a topic Blake. If you could change one thing about the atmosphere or presentation of the game what would it be? Live game coverage on TV? Changes in the national anthem?? New radio voice?? Not advocating any of them, just throwing out ideas. I have to be honest, I have not visited much lately because of all the sniping. The same reason I stopped visiting FireMikeDavis.com. I sure hope this doesn't turn into a forum for constant bickering. (Not referring to you Greg, I understand the context of your post.)

Wed, 03/15/2006 - 1:25pm

OK, as for building up Lance, I wrote the story on that. I'm the one who compared him to Bezeau because that's what I was hearing from other people who HAD seen him play. Who? How about an scout I know and former Komet Jim Burton who coached Lance and just raved about the guy. And I remember saying in that article that he didn't fight as much as Bezeau but we was the kind of a nut who would bang anything. Hasn't he pretty much done that since he got back from his vacation? You really can't ask much more from the guy since then with 30 points in 30 games. How did he get hurt? Trying to make a hit.

And a lot of people seem to be forgetting how physical last year's playoffs were. Those first two series were massive in terms of hitting. Barrett Jackman never wants to see a Komets uniform again. Neither does Salvador. The Komets knocked those two out with clean, physical play, and it was everybody on the team. That Rockford series was as physical as I've seen since 1993. Remember how I wrote the Komets were using 20-plus ice bags a game instead of the two or three during the regular season? There was a reason for that.

As long as Colin Chaulk and Rob Guinn are captain and alternate on this team, the Komets will drill people in the playoffs. They understand what it takes to win in the playoffs.

Don't forget, if Frenchy doesn't get hurt, or if the referee makes the call, the Komets win Game 1 in Muskegon and then they won Game 2 with Masters. Who knows what happens from there? We're talking about one three-second play determining the entire series. Something that small. Don't you think that's part of the reason they got Jorde? I sure do.

Wed, 03/15/2006 - 1:28pm

You know what, the Komets have a very fine balance to work with in terms of tradition and new stuff. Most of you guys probably don't remember the Welker years, but there was no tradition, no respect for the history of the team, etc. It's really hard to come up with new stuff for 38-plus games a year every year with all the limitations on insurance, security etc. They really can't win either way, but I give them a lot of credit for trying, though I'd love to see somebody clobber Icy on the musical chairs! Scott Sproat is the most inventive person I have ever met. That man is amazing, partly as you'll see in Saturday's paper.

Tony E
Wed, 03/15/2006 - 1:37pm

Scott is also another class individual in the front office. The Komets will be lucky to hold onto him. I am sure before too long if it hasn't already upper level teams are going to find out what he does and try to grab him.

Wed, 03/15/2006 - 1:53pm

They already have. He, like me, has decided to stay.

See, now this is some intelligent, thought-provoking discussion. That might be a first for me.

Wed, 03/15/2006 - 1:55pm

Not laying the blame on the Sebring household Blake. You are not the only one and frankly, I thought your comments were more truthful than the ones I heard from the other outlets(Not the Urinal, cause I wouldn't pick that up to swat a fly). Actually, truthful probably is a bad choice of words. Let me say realistic. Besides, I am happier with what he turned out to be than what he was built up as. I have zero criticism for Lance since he has come back. His all around play has been inspired. As far as Sproat, absolutely agree with all the accolades. On top of being creative, he is also one of the nicest guys you could ever want to spend time with. All us Scoops stand down in the lobby waiting for it to clear out after every game and look forward to him coming down to chide us about this or that. He's a class act and I couldn't be happier that the K's have had him as long as they have.

Wed, 03/15/2006 - 2:02pm

Ok. Don't mean to make up for a week with no posts in one afternoon. I felt kind of bad making nice comments about Scott and leaving out the rest of the office guys. All of the Komets office staff deserve a hand. Rick, Josh, Jody, Tammy and Nancy all make huge contributions that the fans never know about or see. Each and everyone do a great job and are fun to interact with. K, I'm done. I promise.

Wed, 03/15/2006 - 2:06pm

I will never be down on the Frankes..period. The year the Frankes swooped in and saved hockey in Ft Wayne will never be forgotten. That was the worst feeling thinking that hockey was done in the fort. I may not always like some of the moves they make as a fan; but in contrast I agreed this year with the early season trades that moved stewart and virag. I didnt think they would make a big move at the deadline; but I did think they would try and steal a third line guy to upgrade a lil or maybe a rookie defenseman. I look forward to the rest of the season and hope that the K's become spoilers in the playoffs....

Wed, 03/15/2006 - 2:07pm

I have said it before and will say it again. There aren't too many other players in this league that are better then Colin Chaulk and Troy Neumeier in the playoffs.

Wed, 03/15/2006 - 2:39pm

Regarding DAB in the playoffs:

Keep an eye on him.

Wed, 03/15/2006 - 3:17pm

I'd like to chime in and say that the ownership group in Fort Wayne is total class. After having moved to Indy, I painfully learned what the opposite end of the spectrum is like with the Indy Ice. You are all lucky to have the Frankes and Scott Sproat. Readers of this blog may not know this, but Scott is also an owner of the team, and he has been since he started with them. He has turned down many job offers in many sports around the country, but he is from Fort Wayne and cares a lot about the community. Just like the Frankes! Scott just doesn't really care if anybody knows that he is an owner or not. That's just not his style.

As far as complaints about management --Nobody's perfect, and I'm sure that if I still lived in Fort Wayne and was a season ticket holder or went to a lot of games, I would share many of your frustrations about the way minor league hockey has changed, wasn't as physical, or whatever. But just allow me to say here, once and for all, that Fort Wayne is lucky to have a quality minor league franchise that is well run and locally-owned by people who live, work, and raise families in Fort Wayne and care about the city. How many other minor league teams are owned by people or groups that live out of town and just look to pull as much profit out of that town as possible until those profits start to go down and then they look to move the team to another market who will build them a new stadium and give them a better deal. That's how Fort Wayne got the Wizards in the first place, when their ownership moved them from their old market to Fort Wayne for a new stadium and a better deal. At least with the Komet ownership, everyone knows that they're not just looking for the "best deal out there". They own "The FORT WAYNE Komets" and always will. They work hard to uphold many of the traditions of Komet Hockey in Fort Wayne and will always do what's best for the city of Fort Wayne first before ever threatening to move the team or anything else if they don't get their way. Honestly, have any of you ever heard them threaten to leave even once? Even when the downtown arena deal was being talked about, they talked about how they preferred the rennovation of the Coliseum because that was the Komets' home. Even though they might have gotten a better deal if a new building would have been built or new building management would have been in place.

I'm not talking about the team right now. Everyone on here is a "fan" and you have every right to complain, voice your opinion, or rant and rave. That's what fans do. The word "fan" comes from "fanatic". So I say rant away.

But I think everyone should just be glad that they have the Frankes and the current Komet ownership group. Until you see some of the other realities out there in minor league sports, you just really don't know how lucky you are!

Just IMO (I think that's the abbreviation you all use).

Hit Somebody!!!
Wed, 03/15/2006 - 3:20pm

Komet Hockey is the best franchise in Minor League sports. The Frankes are the reason behind it. I feel very fortunate that I am able to take my family to every game. When we disagree on things they do at times, I hope no one loses sight of how awesome they have been for us. I hope that we do succeed this year and have a great playoff run. I am just looking for the games to be ultra-exciting. Can't wait for Sunday and K-zoo. That is our measuring stick, I think. So watch out on the blogs after that one. You think last night was something, LOOK OUT!!!! (Bob Chase famous line)

Wed, 03/15/2006 - 4:51pm

You know what should really scare you guys? Justin and I, two of the most cynical people on earth, are actually excited about this team's playoff potential and a lot of you, the fans, seem to be the most pessimistic.

What's up with that? Did the earth just tilt?

Hey Hit Somebody, does this prove to you once and for all that I'm not a fan? LOL.

I'm really looking forward to the Kalamazoo game, too, but they better be very ready for Richmond first. That's a very dangerous game.

Wed, 03/15/2006 - 5:35pm

Good info Blake, remember all, Tuesday was just the TRADE deadline. I think we have a good playoff team if everyone is healthy. Besides that, someone may pop up between now and then to snag.
Been out of town (Red Wing City)and internetless a few days, its going to take me all week to catch up on all the posts. As of right now i don't think we can make a very good prediction on who will be seeded what, the last month of the season will be interesting to watch.
Good news on lance, the new surgery techniques are great, my meeting was with a guy who just had his third knee surgery (Same Knee) and walked out of the Surgery center, other two times he needed crutches.

Wed, 03/15/2006 - 6:14pm


Awesome post..I couldn't agree more with what you said. I rant and rave with the best of them, but at the end of the day I'm still a HUGE FORT WAYNE KOMET HOCKEY FAN, thats is first and foremost.

Wed, 03/15/2006 - 6:19pm

Blake its all your fault!!!!!!!!GREAT READING TONIGHT.This is a lot more fun.

Wed, 03/15/2006 - 6:31pm

I know. I feel shame.